Friday, December 4, 2015

Violent Eviction in Kampung Pulo Jakarta: The Need of Community Development Approach

Eviction in Kampung Pulo - (C)

In August 2015, the Jakarta administration evicted 925 poor households from their houses in Kampung Pulo which located in East Jakarta Ciliwung’s riverbank (Jakarta Post 2015: n.p). Jakarta Administration has planned to condemn all houses built in riverbanks across the capital city to normalise Jakarta’s riverbanks as one of the integrated solutions to the floods affected the city every year (Padawangi and Voorst 2015: n.p). According to the police report, there were 12 injured victims both from residents and police officers during the eviction and 27 residents were arrested (Jakarta Post 2015: n.p; Coconut Jakarta 2015: n.p).

Jakarta administration claimed that all settlements on riverbanks are illegal, but residents consider that they legally own their land and houses. Kampung Pulo already exists since the era of the Dutch colonialism and some residents have their proof of property ownership in the form of verponding issued by the Dutch administration (Jakarta Post 2015: n.p) and some of the residents also have their legal certificate issued by the Indonesian Government. Moreover, Kampung Pulo is also registered as a village and lead by Lurah (village leader) appointed by Jakarta administration (Kompas 2015: n.p) and the residents also pay the property taxes every year (Jakarta Post 2015: n.p). These facts are among the arguments that Kampung Pulo is not an illegal area to live and the residents are not squatters.

Why the government is trying to evict residents

Solving Jakarta’s chronic problems such as floods and traffic jams are among the promises of Joko "Jokowi"Widodo during his candidacy as Governor of Jakarta in 2012 gubernatorial election. Before the gubernatorial election in 2012, Jokowi was a Mayor of Surakarta City and known as his pro-poor policies. One of his popular words was: menggeser bukan menggusur or shifting/relocation without eviction (Detik 2013: n.p; Tempo 2013: n.p).

In 2007, Jokowi succeeded in relocating about 1,000 street vendors in Surakarta from Banjarsari Park to a new place to make the face of the city much friendlier to tourists and visitors without any violent and the relocation was even celebrated by all street vendors (Poer 2008: n.p). This success story was a result of about 50 informal meetings between Jokowi and the community of street vendors (BBC Indonesia 2011: n.p; Detik 2012: n.p).

Kampung Pulo was among the important sites he visited during his campaign and again he promised that if relocation must be done in order to normalise the function of Ciliwung River, then Jakarta administration will give compensation to all households (Republika 2014: n.p). Jokowi also promised that Jakarta administration will also build ‘kampung deret’ (village of row houses) for them. Kampung deret project was among Jokowi’s champion program aimed at rebuilding slum areas in Jakarta (Jakarta Post 2014: n.p).

Jokowi’s promises and track records attracted people to vote for him and he won the gubernatorial election in 2012. Unfortunately, some programs and promises were stopped and cannot be fulfilled by his successor when Jokowi won the presidential election in 2014.

In 2015, when Jokowi was no longer the governor, Basuki (his successor) started the eviction of Kampung Pulo as the first stage of major flood mitigation project along the Ciliwung River. Jakarta government claimed that the eviction is necessary to avoid major economic losses due to floods that cripple the city every year (Setiawan 2015: n.p).  Unfortunately, Basuki rejected to give compensation to residents as they illegally occupied state-owned land and forced them to move in to government-owned renting apartment about a kilometre away and this is the only option given by the government (Jakarta Post 2015: n.p).

Later, after the condemnation finished in late August 2015, Jakarta administration announced that they will build a number of apartments on the site to be developed by a private company and the ground breaking is expected to be done this year (Jakarta Post 2015: n.p).

The ideological and political issues

Cunningham and Cunningham (2012: 38-39) believe that politicians are motivated by particular ideologies which shaped their actions.  In the context of Kampung Pulo, it can be analysed that neo-liberal perspective has shaped the way government acted because state (Jakarta government) was avoid the responsibility to secure the economic and social needs of the people (Cunningham and Cunningham 2012: 40).

Moreover, capitalism also underpins the policy because one of the reasons of the eviction was to avoid major economic losses due to floods in the capital. This explains one of the Marxist perspective on the role of the state that social policies are geared towards meeting economic needs rather than the welfare of citizens (Cunningham and Cunningham 2012: 40). In addition, Jönsson (2010: 394) argues that the globalisation has created ‘capitalist world system’ which forces many non-western countries to implement the western models of ‘development’ which mostly relates to economic growth whereas poverty and other social problems often described as individual problems.

Basuki is now preparing for his gubernatorial election in 2017 through the independence channel and he needs about 300,000 copies of identification of supporters. In addition, solving the floods problem also becomes his campaign. The media also portrayed the poor people and their ‘illegal’ houses as the main cause of floods in the city and this attract people’s willingness to give their copy of identifications to support his candidacy in 2007. This explains the argument given by Cunningham and Cunningham (2012: 39) that the aim of most politicians is to govern and win the election. 

It can be seen from the explanation above that the ideological and political issue are strongly affect the decision making by the Governor.

Living in an apartment: creates new social problems

Most of the residents are now living in a renting apartment provided by the Jakarta government. Each household received a 30 square metres unit with 2 bedrooms (4 square metres each) and 1 tiny bathroom. In addition, the residents will be charged 300,000 rupiahs (AU$30) a month excluding charges for water and electricity (Kompas 2015: n.p). In total they can spend about AU$50 – AU$100 a month depend on the usage of water and electricity.

Most of the families cannot afford to pay this amount as they only engage in informal economic activities such as making tofu, growing and selling chickens and mechanical repairs (such as radios, televisions and motorcycles) and all these activities would not be allowed and almost impossible to be done in an apartment environment (Setiawan 2015: n.p).

Other social problems also emerge when a 30 square metres must be used for family with more than 5 members because the unit will not enough to accommodate them. In addition, from the total of 925 households in Kampung Pulo, only 518 units were available in the apartment (Okezone 2015: n.p).

Easthope and McNamara (2013: 4) argue the important of the neighborhood for community cohesion and social interaction and living in apartment tends to create individualism.  Also, important to note that the poor people cannot be self-sufficient in solving the problem of poverty and they need a community as a system to support them (Berner and Benedict 2005: 20). 

Violations of Human Rights Principles

Responding to the forced eviction in Kampung Pulo, several actions performed by the Jakarta administration can be categorised as violations of human rights principle. The National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) – based on their investigation and reports from public – found several human rights abuses cases during the demolition of houses such as the use of violent by Public Order Officers, the custody of innocent citizens, and several actions classified as ‘repressive’ and ‘inhuman’ (Tempo 2015: n.p).

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) (UN n.y: n.p) and, at national level, 1945 Indonesia Constitution and Law No. 39/1999 on Human Rights (UDHR 2013: n.p) are among the frameworks that can be used to analyse this issue. Based on these frameworks, several violations of human rights principles can be listed as follow:
Tabel 1. List of Violations of HR Principles in Kampung Pulo Case

Actions performed by Jakarta administration
Violation of HR principles
Forced eviction uses obsolete approach: excessive use of force (about 2000 security personnel). 
-          UDHR article 12, 17
-          ICCPR article 2 (1)
-          ICESCR article 2
The use of violent during eviction.
-          UDHR article 3, 5, 9
-          ICCPR article 7, 10, 20
-          1945 Constitution, article 28G (1), 29 (2)
-          Law No. 39/1999, article 36 (2)
The custody of innocent citizens.
-          UDHR article 9, 11
-          ICCPR article 9
Most of the residents lost their daily income as most of them were employed in the informal economy.
-          UDHR article 23, 24, 25
-          ICCPR article 1 (1)
-          ICESCR article 1, 2, 5, 6
City spatial planning was not open publicly and the development of spatial planning was not participative.
-          UDHR article 19
-          ICCPR article 19
-          1945 Constitution, article 28E (2) and (3)
-          Law No. 39/1999, article 23 (2), 28F
Poor residents portrayed as the cause of floods in the capital therefore must be evicted.
-          UDHR article 1, 6, 7
-          ICCPR article 16
-          ICESCR article 9
Social capital was neglected in the relocation program.
-          UDHR article 29
-          ICESCR article 1
-          ICESCR article 15
The absence of compensation for residents despite their legal status
-          Law No. 39/1999, article 37 (1)
Jakarta administration categorized the residents as illegal citizens.
-          UDHR article 15, 17, 21
-          ICCPR article 24, 25
-          ICESCR article 1
Apartment units provided by the government were too small for family with 5 members or more.
-          UDHR article 25
-          ICCPR article 23
-          ICESCR article 1, 11, 12

Multistory kampung: A community development approach

Tesoriero (2010: 2) defines community development as a process of establishing human community which enable them to organise their social life by promoting and respecting human rights in order to meet their needs. Moreover, Kenny (2011: 8) argues that community development is also about collective partnership, control and responsibility of the decisions based on trust, mutual respect and sharing knowledge and resources. In the context of Kampung Pulo, the solution given by the government cannot be categorised as community development as it neglected the role of community to solve the problems and at the same time, human rights values were violated.

In 2000, a community organisation (Kenny 2011: 13) named Ciliwung Merdeka (Free Ciliwung/CM) established by social activists and communities in Ciliwung’s riverbanks including Kampung Pulo. During its establishment, CM has been working to improve the quality of life of poor people by several initiatives including the awareness of rights, responsibilities, solidarity and also self-resilience. CM also has tried to implement a community development concept in their work. Residents were involved in every discussion to identify their problems, needs, priorities and resources (Kenny 2011: 8).

In 2012, CM and several community leaders met Jokowi (now President of Indonesia) to set up a blueprint for the implementation of ‘multistory kampung’ as a more proper living environment for the residents on the riverbank. The design of ‘multistory kampung’ was prepared by involving citizens in all phases. It allows fire trucks to pass and green space will also be provided. Moreover, each building in the ‘multistory kampung’ compound will be provided for residents from one Rukun Tetangga (the lowest level of neighborhood unit) and space for businesses will be provided on the building’s lower levels (Jakarta Post 2012: n.p). After several meetings and presentation, the governor agreed on the proposal given by CM and citizens (Jakarta Post 2015: n.p; Kompas 2015: n.p).

Looking at the advocacy and activities have been done by CM from 2000, It gives the important values of community development to involve people from the beginning, respect the democratic principles and also understand the will of the people (Battacharyya 2004: 21).

The concept and idea of ‘multistory kampung’ in Indonesia is not a new thing. In late 1980s, the ‘multistory kampung’ firstly initiated by Mangunwijaya – a Catholic priest – in Kali Code riverbank in Yogyakarta (Arditya 2013: n.p). This concept also received several international awards including Aga Khan Awards for Architecture in 1992 (AKDN 1992: n.p). Kali code ‘multistory kampung’ project is one of the success stories of community development project in Indonesia (Yossi and Sajor 2006: 299-301).

The three principles of community development: self-help, felt need and participation (Bhattacharyya 2004: 21) has already been considered in the works of CM.  They encourage people in the community to be productive and take care of themselves for their own future, respond and define community’s problems and needs as they see them, and also involved people in every stage of their works for a long period of time.

The works and concept by CM were among the best solutions to solve the problem of slum areas in Jakarta as they used the values and principles of community development and also respect the human rights principles. The problem needs to be further addressed was the political commitment of the government to involve citizens in the decision making process and stick with their promises to acknowledge poor people as partners and not enemies of development.***

Written by Agung Wasono (November 2015) 


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[1] Jokowi is the nick name of Joko Widodo, he is now the President of Indonesia