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Rights Activists Want Basuki to Mollycoddle Illegal Slum Dwellers

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Residents of Kampung Pulo watch as police backed government workers in demolishing dwellings across the river from them in Jakarta, August 20, 2015. Residents facing eviction from a flood-prone part of Indonesia's capital of Jakarta clashed with police on Thursday, prompting security forces to fire tear gas and water cannon. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside
Residents of Kampung Pulo watch as police backed government workers in demolishing dwellings across the river from them in Jakarta, August 20, 2015. Residents facing eviction from a flood-prone part of Indonesia’s capital of Jakarta clashed with police on Thursday, prompting security forces to fire tear gas and water cannon. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

Jakarta. Rights activists have criticized Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama for his hard-line stance in the eviction of slum residents, saying he should be more amenable to dialogue and less heavy-handed in his treatment of illegal settlers.

“There are always human rights violations in every eviction,” Siane Indriani, a member of the National Commission for Human Rights, or Komnas HAM, said on Thursday as quoted by CNN Indonesia.

She added, “No one can force another person to move away regardless of the status of his or her home.” (Actually they can.) “There must be a dialogue [between the parties involved],” she said, adding that the governor “needs to approach the slum residents [prior to the evictions] and treat them like humans.”

She cited the land law, which she said stated that people who do not have title deeds for their homes can simply register their land with the local land agency, and that in the event of an eviction they must be paid compensation.

Siane said that in the case of slum dwellers, whom the Jakarta administration is moving into city-funded apartments in order to restore riverbanks, the governor should be asking the affected residents what kind of housing they wanted as compensation.

She claimed moving them away from slums and into apartments – provided by the city for free – deprived the residents of their livelihoods.

“For instance, one person worked making and selling tofu from his home [in a slum area]. After the eviction, he moved to a low-cost apartment where he couldn’t possibly produce tofu,” Siane said.

“Keep in mind that this should not be about getting rid of the poor, but about getting rid of poverty,” she added.

Yunita, a representative from the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation, or LBH Jakarta, agreed that the city administration had failed to fully account for the losses suffered by residents evicted from illegal settlements, or to inform those affected why they were being moved.

“The government does not involve the [evicted] people at all,” she told CNN Indonesia.

The Jakarta administration says it hopes to create a slum-free city by 2018, as a part of its wider spatial planning program. Clearing up the riverbanks, where most of the city’s slums and illegal settlements are located, is also seen as essential in addressing the chronic floods that the city is subjected to each rainy season. The slums have over the decades constricted the flow of the rivers so severely that they regularly burst their banks during even moderate rains.

Source: http://jakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/news/rights-activists-want-basuki-mollycoddle-illegal-slum-dwellers/

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