Case Study: Civil Political Rights during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Strengthening civil society and spreading narratives on civil rights to influence public and government perspectives related to civil liberties during the pandemic.

Executive Summary

In recent years, the escalation of human rights violations in the Province of Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta is rising. The state (local government and law enforcement officers) often carries out repressive actions, persecution, and intimidation. This situation has been exacerbated by the emergence of the COVID-19 outbreak. The government often imposes civil restrictions. The reason given is the potential transmission of COVID-19. Although it is possible to limit rights for health reasons, the practice in Yogyakarta is haphazard. Even the government does not provide a solution for minimizing the impact of the pandemic on minority and vulnerable citizens.

During the pandemic, we saw restrictions on civil space in Yogyakarta that affect civil society, across sectors and actors. 

Examples include:

1) Yogyakarta Food Solidarity (Solidaritas Pangan Jogja), an emergency kitchen run by civilians, is visited – and controlled – by police.
2) The evaluation meeting on the distribution of food and masks held by a 
group of civil society at WALHI office (The Indonesian Forum for the Environment) was dismissed by the authorities.
3) Police repression in demonstrations against the omnibus law in Malioboro.
4) Issuance of Regulation of the Governor of DIY No. 1/2021 concerning Control of the Implementation of Public Opinions in Open Spaces.
5) The demonstration to commemorate International Women’s Day in front 
of the Yogyakarta Governor’s office was dispersed by a group of people.
6) A number of demonstrators also become victims of violence.
7) The transgender group in Yogyakarta did not receive any social assistance 
from the impact of COVID-19 from the government

This project aims to contribute to making changes and improvements to policies that no longer limit civil rights on the grounds of a pandemic. We are encouraging the government to solve the root of the problem, namely how they will tackle a serious outbreak. By consolidating civil society movements that have a human rights perspective and qualified advocacy skills, we aim to influence the government to reduce policies that violate or restrict civil rights during the COVID-19 pandemic in Yogyakarta.