Indonesia: parliament to use COVID-19 restrictions to protests to pass controversial bills threatening environmental protections

Author: Hans Nicholas Jong, Mongabay, Published on: 8 April 2020

"Indonesian lawmakers push to pass deregulation bills as COVID-19 grips country", 06 April 2020

Indonesia’s parliament looks set to push through contentious bills that threaten to roll back environmental protections in favor of facilitating business. Activists have denounced the decision to resume deliberations of the so-called omnibus bill on job creation and an amended mining bill at a time when the government and the public are struggling to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. They call it a deliberate move by parliament to use the cover of physical distancing measures and other social restrictions to pass the bills with minimal oversight or pushback by the public…

The omnibus and mining bills were expected to receive a harsh reception during this stage of the deliberations, with groups ranging from environmentalists to labor unions to indigenous rights activists almost universally opposed to them. Mass demonstrations involving labor unions and student groups flared up last year in protest at similarly controversial bills, including one that weakened the national anti-corruption agency (which passed), another revising the criminal code (which was abandoned), and the mining bill, which was deferred to this year. For the bills under consideration now, the COVID-19 outbreak has prompted social distancing measures that effectively quash the possibility of repeat protests.

 

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