By: Beh Lih Yi
Date: September 30th 2016
Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation
JAKARTA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Slum dwellers in Indonesia have launched a landmark legal case to challenge a decades-old law which has been used to forcibly remove thousands of families, amid a wave of evictions in the country's capital.
The case comes as authorities ramp up efforts to clear housing along a main river bank in Jakarta, the sprawling capital of 10 million people, to pave the way for an ambitious flood mitigation project.
Local residents have asked the court to declare a law enacted in 1960 as unconstitutional as it "gives the government a great authority to take the land from the people" without due consultation, court documents show.
"I see more and more people suffering like me. This is wrong, this is inhumane," said Mansur Daud who was evicted last year from a slum in west Jakarta to make way for the project.
The 54-year-old hawker launched the legal challenge with two others this week, saying they want justice to be upheld.
"There was no dialogue, no compensation. I have to live at my parents' house now, my children were traumatized by the eviction, where is the justice?" he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on Friday.
The 1960 law prohibits the use of land without permission from the rightful owner, but land rights advocates argue it has long been invoked in favor of the authorities.
Lawyer Alldo Fellix Januardy said the law unfairly targets slum dwellers and the poor who cannot provide proof of land ownership, due to a legacy of unclear and overlapping land titles, as well as bureaucracy in Indonesia.
However he said this was exacerbated by the fact that the law does not require the government to provide the same proof of title when it is used to evict the residents.
"The problem with land evictions in Indonesia is that nobody has a (land ownership) certificate," said Januardy, who specializes in land rights cases and represents the slum dwellers.
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Proportion of urban population living in slums, informal settlements or inadequate housing
Last updated on 1 February 2022
This indicator is currently classified as Tier I. The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) is the Custodian agency for this indicator.