Investigate human rights violations during nationwide student rallies

[TEMPO/STR/M. Taufan Rengganis; MT2019011016]

Responding to the latest report by the National Commission on Human Rights yesterday on the 24-30 September 2019 protests, Amnesty International Indonesia’s Executive Director Usman Hamid said: 

“There must be justice for all those killed and injured during last September’s rallies, through independent and impartial investigations into the deaths, and where appropriate through trials of those responsible in accordance with fair trial standards. Six police officers involved in the death of two students during the protest in Kendari, South East Sulawesi, were given only the mildest of administrative punishments for the killings.” 

“While one police officer has allegedly been named a suspect in the death of one of the students, Himawan Randi, the investigation has been not transparent and the process has been appallingly slow. Other perpetrators have yet to be identified and brought before the court. Promises of accountability and justice from the authorities are very far from being met, the process so far has been an abject failure.” 

“If the commission’s findings do not speed up the accountability process, it will create a chilling effect on Indonesian’s ability to exercise their right to freedom of peaceful assembly. It will also worsen the already-toxic climate of impunity in the country.”

Background 

On 24-30 September 2019 there were nationwide protests led by student unions as the last session of the Indonesian parliament for the period of 2014-2019 was drawing to an end. The protests called for accountability for past human rights violations, the end of violence in Papua, the cessation of environmental degradation caused by forest fires, and for the national parliament to rescind several pending repressive bills.

On Thursday 9 January, National Commission on Human Rights (KOMNAS) released their latest report stating that five students were killed and two injured during the 24-30 September 2019 rallies. 

The commission also found that five rights were violated during the protests: the right to life, children’s rights, the right to health, the right to justice, and the right to personal security.

The commission also alleges violations against legal procedures by the Indonesian police. That includes limited legal source for those arrested and slow medical response for the victims. The findings echo what human rights organizations, including Amnesty International Indonesia, observed during the rallies, including the police’s use unnecessary and excessive force against protesters.