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Pressure to cancel the 'Honoris Causa Award' for Jakarta governor JAKARTA - Open Letter to the Rector and Students Senate of the Diponegoro University in Semarang

Pressure to cancel the Honoris Causa award for Jakarta governor Sutiyoso

Dear Madame/Sir:

As most people in Indonesia already know, the University of Diponegoro in Semarang of C. Java will soon award to the Jakarta governor Sutiyoso the Doctorate of Honoris Causa. The award is based on the argument that Mr. Sutiyoso is considered to have succeeded in developing the Jakarta city as a megapolitan that maintains rooms for small and medium businesses (UKM). The relocation of those real sectors that Mr. Sutiyoso has conducted has also been regarded as giving strong influence for the increase of small and medium businesses and the economic condition of the city in general.

We regret and we state our deep concerns, however, to the university with this award. We are of the opinion that the university does not base the award delivery on a comprehensive deliberation and not on acurate data from the ground. We reject the university's decision because a decision that bases on misleading data will deceive the public and taint the academic reputation that should have been freed from political and business interests.

The following are arguments that we do concern with and the implication of which we prop our pressure to cancel the false award.

First, the argument that mentions that (1) Mr. Sutiyoso has successfully developed Jakarta as a `megapolitan' city (2) while maintaining rooms for small and medium businesses is not based on real facts from the ground and therefore it has no strong foundation. It is true that Mr. Sutiyoso is the first governor who publicly states the 'megapolitan' city concept for Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, Bekasi and Cianjur in his attempt to support the draft of law on the Indonesian capital. However, this concept remains only as an idea that has not been agreed or negotiated by related parties. In the law on the Indonesian capital that has been passed, the clause on 'megapolitan' city concept is not mentioned. If such concept has not been approved, how could the university assesses that Mr. Sutiyoso has successfully developed Jakarta as a 'megapolitan' city?

Second, the argument that Mr. Sutiyoso has given room for small and medium businesses has also contradicted the real facts from the ground. Mr. Sutiyoso's concern and commitment with small and medium business in Jakarta is strongly doubted. In his tenure Mr. Sutiyoso supports more the big capital owners, particularly in the property development (business centers, middle and upper middle class apartments, and office buildings). Even in the case of business centers, Mr. Sutiyoso has ignored the importance of safeguarding the environment and the city space planning. He has turned open green spaces, conservatory city forest and other public spaces into business activities and expensive housing complex. No wonder that the city areas prone to flood have vastly increased in recent years.

Meanwhile, in his tenure, the growth of traditional markets has indicated negative trend (8.4%) and the hypermarket has increased about 31.4% (AC Nielsen). From 151 traditional markets in Jakarta, now they remain only 20 percents that has future prospects, and from 120.000 street vendors now they remain only 70 percent who now fight for their survival. They could only afford their daily needs. (Source: Hasan Basri, the head of regional council of the APPSI in Jakarta, 2007)

Third, at the same time, in Mr. Sutiyoso's tenure, Jakarta has turned into an unfriendly city to the poor communities. During 2001 to 2005 at least 86 times of evictions of the poor areas has taken place that sacrificed at least 75.077 women and men; 74 times of evictions against street vendors that have caused the existence of 62,263 small and medium businesses; the demolition or expropriation of tricycles (becak), and 591 cases of fire or arson excluding the poor communities and 71 percents of (424 cases) of fire or arson to the poor communities' living places themselves. (Source: public reports from the mass media and other respected sources) In 2006 as many as 146 cases of evictions have destructed the living places and the working places of the poor communities. The evictions were often accompanied by massive violence involving thugs and arsons.

Fourth, Indonesia received the worst reputation as `The Housing Rights Violators Awards 2003' from the international institute of The Center on Housing Rights and Evictions. Jakarta is the most outrageous perpetrators of people's rights.

Fifth, the many evictions that Mr. Sutiyoso had ordered during 2001-2003 was matched by a serious response from the Indonesian National Commission of Human Rights. In 2002, the commission pressurized Mr. Sutiyoso to hold moratorium of eviction for 100 days to find out alternative, better solutions.

Sixth, the intensity and the vastness of the evictions ordered personally by Mr. Sutiyoso during 2002-2003 had prompted 15 noted academicians in Indonesia, who set up the Acadecians' Forum of Concern, to launch a public statement on November 11, 2003, lashing out and voicing out announcement to stop the evictions on behalf of the Jakarta administration. The academicians also pressurized the Jakarta administration to find out better, human and fair solution over the conflicts on public spaces that compromised the poor communities in the city. It is worth to note that one academician who hand signed the open letter on November 11, 2003 was Prof. Ir. Eko Budihardjo, MSc who is now the rector of the University of Diponegoro in Semarang. It is deeply ironical that the university awards the prestigious Doctorate of the Honoris Causa, based on the same argument that such noted public official i.e. the university rector formerly rejected.

Seventh, other data about the main profile of Jakarta during 1997-2007 has nullified the claim of success that Mr. Sutiyoso as the governor has shared room to small and medium businesses. See table below. Had he succeeded, such businesses should have improved the economic condition and created job openings for the poor. After all the data shows that the rate of poverty and unemployment in the city has not changed.

Eighth, one week before the award of the Doctorate of Honoris Causa, on July 27, 2007, Mr. Sutiyoso proposed a revision to the city regulation No. 11/1988 on public order to the zcity council, adding another article that shall fine 50 million rupiah (US$5,494) and five month of jail threat to anybody who buy what the street vendors sell while she or he does not have the permission to do so. Such legal revision will certainly curtail the lives of many street vendors, who represent most of category of the small and medium businesses in the city. What Mr. Sutiyoso does by the end of his tenure of the Jakarta governor proves that he does not have minimum commitment to deliver rooms for small and medium businesses in the city.

Based on the above arguments, we, once more, regret over the decision of the students senate and the rector of the University of Diponegoro in Semarang to award such prestigious academic, public honor to Mr. Sutiyoso. We are also very concerned about the process of taking decision in the Senate of the University of Diponegoro, that does not found on accurate information about the recipient candidate of the public honor. This could rise doubts or allegation about hidden agenda that involve certain parties that go against the academic values that put high nobility, honesty, openness and truth.

To sum up, in order that most people keep their public trust to the University of Diponegoro as an academic institution because it keep its integrity in front of the interest of political and business power, we humbly ask the Rector and the Senate of the University of Diponegoro in Semarang to withdraw the Doctorate of Honoris Causa to Mr. Sutiyoso.

Jakarta, July 3, 2007
Jakarta Residents of Concern that consists of


Donny Gahral Adian (Lecturer of Department of Philosophy at the University of Indonesia, Jakarta)
Dr. Karlina Supelli (Lecturer of the Post-graduate Studies on Philosophy at the Driyarkara School of Philosophy in Jakarta)
Suryono Herlambang (Lecturer in Planning Science of the University of Tarumanegara in Jakarta)
Dr. Faisal Basri (Member of `Indonesian Movement'; lecturer at the School of Economics at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta)
Dr. B. Herry Priyono (Lecturer of the Post-graduate Studies on Philosophy at the Driyarkara School of Philosophy in Jakarta)
Rudi Gunawan (Lecturer at the National Institute of Science and Technology [ISTN])
Dr. Hendro Sangkoyo (SDE Indonesia)
Kurnia Setiawan (Lecturer on Social Graphic Studies)
Totok M Mukmin (Lecturer on Social Graphic Studies)
Ine Rivayantina (Member of the Association of Indonesian Architects/Community Architects)
Yayat Supriyatna (Lecturer on Regional Planning at the University of Trisakti in Jakarta)
Dewi Susanti (Lecturer at the School of Architecture at the University of Pelita Harapan, Jakarta)

Students groups:

Indonesian Christian Students Movement (GMKI Jakarta) (Jl. Salemba Raya 10 flat 20, Jakarta)
The Senate of Students of the University of Empu Tantular, Jakarta (Jl. Cipinang Besar, Jakarta Timur)
Indonesian Muslim Students Movement (PB-PMII) (Jl. Kramat Raya No. 164 Jakarta)
Indonesian Student Movement Against Debt (ISMAD) (Jl. Pangkalan Asem No. 17 Cempaka Putih Barat, Jakarta Pusat)

Individuals dan journalists :

Benny Susetyo, Pr ('Budayawan')
Fajroel Rahman (Pedoman Indonesia)
Mega Christina (Journalist)
Ignatius Haryanto (Author, Journalist)
Agus Sudibyo (SET Foundation)
Nugroho Dewanto (Journalist)

Groups of victims for eviction:

Aliansi Rakyat Miskin (ARM) (Our secretariat has been evicted!)
Paguyuban Warga Anti Penggusuran (PAWANG) (Secretariat evicted, no permanent address)
Komunitas PKL Blok M (Sekretariat: evicted)
Asosiasi Pedagang Kaki Lima Indonesia (APKLI) (Secretariat evicted, looking for place)
Komunitas Warga Kalijodo (Secretariat: Under the Jelambar fly-over, W. Jakarta)

Civil Society Organizations:

Perguruan Tinggi Dakwah Islam Indonesia (Jl. Tawes No. 1 Tanjung Priok, Jakarta)
Serikat Rakyat Miskin Kota (SRMK) (Jl. Tebet Dalam II, Jakarta Selatan)
Paguyuban Rakyat Miskin (PARAM) (Belakang Gelanggang Mahasiswa Kuningan, Jakarta)
Solidaritas Anak Jalanan untuk Demokrasi (SALUD) (Stasiun Juanda, Jakarta Pusat)
Federasi Organisasi Pedagang Pasar Indonesia (FOPPI) (Jl Faletehan Raya No 2 Jakarta Selatan)
Jakarta Center for Street Children (JCSC) (Jl. Otista I gg Penghulu No.11 Jakarta Timur)
Aliansi Buruh Menggugat (Jl Basuki Rachmat 25 Jakarta)
Urban Poor Consortium (Kompleks Billy Moon Blok H1/7 Pondok Kelapa, Jakarta)
LBH Jakarta (Jl. Mendut No.3 Jakarta Pusat)
Institute for Ecosoc Rights (Tebet Timur Dalam VI-C/17, Jakarta 12820)
LBH APIK Jakarta (Jl. Kampung Tengah No. 6, Kramat Jati, Jakarta Timur)
Ciliwung Merdeka (Jl. Bukit Duri I No. 21 RT 06/12 Tebet, Jakarta Selatan)
Perhimpunan Bantuan Hukum Indonesia PBHI Jakarta (Jl. Salemba 1 Jakarta Pusat)
WALHI (Jl. Tegal Parang Utara No. 14 Jakarta Selatan)
Front Perjuangan Pemuda Indonesia (FPPI) (Kayu Manis, Jakarta Timur)
Jaringan Relawan Kemanusiaan JRK Jakarta (Jl. Bonang No. 1 A Jakarta Pusat)
Perkumpulan Prakarsa (Kompleks PWR Jl Taman Margasatwa 54 Jatipadang, Jakarta Selatan)
Indonesian Coruption Watch (ICW) (Jl. Kalibata IV D No. 6 Jakarta Selatan)
Yayasan Perlindungan Hak Anak (YPHA) (Jl. Atahiriah II No. 18 A Pejaten Barat, Pasar Minggu, Jakarta Selatan)
Fadli Fadilah (Community Development) Condet Jakarta Timur
Rudi Sumakto (Community Developmen) Condet Jakarta Timur
Trade Union Research Center (TURC) (Pejompongan Baru I No. 6, Bendungan Hilir Jakarta)
Perkumpulan DEMOS (Jl Borobudur No 4 Jakarta Pusat)
Arus Pelangi (Jl Tebet Dalam IV No 3 Jakarta Selatan)
Lembaga Studi Pers dan Pembangunan (LSPP) (Jl. Penjernihan 1, Kompleks Keuangan N0. 12, Jakarta)

Contact persons:
1. Asfin (0812 8218 930)
2. Benny Susetyo (0817 140 021)
3. Palupi (0813 1917 3650)

Posted in Human rights @ 06 August 2007 by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink

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