Jakarta’s Governor and city administration have been systematically driving the poor out of this city of 10 million people. Some 6,000 families have had their three-wheel pedicabs confiscated and 3,000 street vendors been banished, thus losing their means of earning a living. Almost 10,000 families have been forcibly evicted. Jakarta’s high-speed development emphasises luxury hotels and office buildings, and deprives the poor of places to live and work. Malls and megastores squeeze out traditional markets.
“Governor Sutiyoso’s plan to use more muscle to bring order to the city, including evicting illegal squatters, will not solve his administration’s many problems”, says Yohanes Sudriyanto SJ, co-ordinator of an Anti-Eviction Network and director of the Jesuit Institut Sosial Jakarta (ISJ). Established in 1974, ISJ does research, analysis and documentation; provides legal aid for victims of pauperisation and violence; and offers training in basic health and income-generating programs. ISJ works with National Commissions on Human Rights, Violence against Women, and Child Protection, and its own programmes for Street Children and Workers Rights have became autonomous NGOs.
Though an urban centre, ISJ has also advocated for the Farmers Union of Riau, whose agenda is agricultural credit and land reform. Since the difficult transition from authoritarian rule began in Indonesia in 1998, the Institute has been involved in the deepening democratisation process. See www.isj.or.id