An aerial view of the Tamansari area in Bandung, West Java. (Antara Photo/Raisan Al Farisi)

Excessive Use of Force Suspected During Forced Eviction in Bandung Last Month

BY :DIANA MARISKA

JANUARY 15, 2020

Jakarta. Officials in Bandung have been accused of using violence to break up a crowd during a forced eviction in Tamansari, a kampung in the West Java capital, last month. 

On Tuesday, the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) received representatives of the Tamansari residents, accompanied by staff members of the Bandung Legal Aid (LBH Bandung), who submitted a report of the alleged violence in one of the hamlets (RW 11) in the area on Dec. 12.

The city administration insisted on vacating the area because they wanted to build a low-cost apartment on top of it, even though the National Land Agency (BPN) said the status of the location was "free land owned by the state," not by the city of Bandung.

More than 1,000 local officials were deployed to evict residents from the area, including police and municipal police (Satpol PP) officers.

Komnas HAM commissioner Choirul Anam said the commission would launch an investigation into the alleged excessive use of force during the eviction process.

Having seen videos of the incident and testimonies from witnesses and victims, Choirul said there was likely a case to be made for excessive use of force by the city officials.

"We've heard that five out of 90 officers investigated in the aftermath of the incident have already been charged. That could be proof that the officers had acted rather brutally," Choirul said.

Komnas HAM would also provide assistance to Tamansari residents who were already forced out of their homes.

"They've lost their homes, some have also lost their jobs. We have to make sure they are properly looked after. At least they should have enough food and their health is not compromised," Choirul said, pointing out that some of the residents were injured in clashes with the city officials and had needed special medical treatment.

Around 60 Tamansari residents are now forced to take shelter in a nearby mosque, 20 of them children.

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