Indonesia: government using Covid-19 pandemic to silence protests and pass problematic bills

Author: Ghina Ghaliya, The Jakarta Post , Published on: 6 April 2020

"House, govt to deliberate problematic bills despite COVID-19 pandemic, protests", 

The House of Representatives has its eyes set on deliberating three problematic bills, namely the omnibus bill on job creation and revisions to the Criminal Code (KUHP) and 1995 Correctional Center Law, as the country grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic and despite persistent public protests against the bills…

Students, workers, activists and experts had taken to the streets to protest the government and House’s plan to endorse it, claiming that it would harm the nation’s democracy, environment and interests of workers. They had initially geared up for street rallies in March to protest the articles in the bill, which was cancelled due to restrictions on mass gatherings during the pandemic. Critics have also slammed the legislative agenda, saying that lawmakers used the pandemic to diminish public participation in the deliberation of the problematic bills. Activists and members of the public have also been persistent in protesting revisions to the KUHP and Correctional Center Law, deeming them as threats to democracy and civil rights.

…The National Welfare Movement (Gekanas) labor union called on the House to stop the deliberation of the omnibus bill, saying that it would hold a massive protest if the request was ignored.

 

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