Intimidation, Threats, and Forced Dispersal of Humanitarian Advocacy at the G20, Bali

“Complete chronology: Intimidation, Threats, and Forced Dispersal of Humanitarian Advocacy at the G20, Bali”

1. Introduction: YLBHI Views on G20, agenda of YLBHI & Other Organizations

Indonesia as the host of the G20 has been preparing since a few months ago with a very intense campaign by the Government. This requires YLBHI to respond to the event involving 20 of the most powerful countries in the world. This power is reflected in the world’s economic and political power, with the composition of its members covering 80% of the world’s GDP, 75% of global exports, and 60% of the global population. In order to run “smoothly” the Summit was guarded by more than 18,000 officers.

YLBHI (Indonesia Legal Aid Foundation) is a legal aid organization working with grassroots in Indonesia. YLBHI’s response to the G20 event was carried out together with other non-government organizations, students, traditional leaders, and several communities from various regions in Indonesia, who were the direct victims of the development that occurred in recent years.

Attempts to frighten and thwart a series of humanitarian advocacy in Bali happened in every event which was held openly and privately.

2. Forum with Students, NGOs, Victims of Human Rights Violations at Udayana University, Bali.

Terrors, stalking, requests of information, photos capturing without permission by officers who did not wear uniform have been carried out since the first event, namely a public discussion held at Universitas Udayana (Thursday, 10 Nov 2022). Even during the event at Universitas Udayana, hoaxes circulated that this event would end with a demonstration, aiming to thwart the G20. Due to this series of pressures, the event that should have been held for two days was packed into one day because the campus did not allow it.

The event that was successfully carried out on the Udayana campus was a public discussion that brought together lecturers, students, NGOs and the victim communities.

3. Consolidation of Victims and NGOs Responding the G20

On Friday, 11 November 2022, after the public discussion held at the Udayana campus, dozens of victims consolidated by discussing three major themes: the National Strategic Project, Energy, and Democracy. This consolidation became the spirit of the joint statement which then conveyed to the public in the form of press releases, which it had been cancelled several times.

4. YLBHI Internal Consolidation Facing the G20 and the Political Years

On Saturday, 12 November 2022, after a series of public discussions and consolidations, YLBHI Boards with 18 LBH Offices also had a meeting to address the G20 event and 2024 political year which previously led to many conflicts and criminalization. The discussion was held in one of the villas in Sanur.

In the middle of the discussion, at around 12.30 WITA [Central Indonesia Time], suddenly 5 people who claimed to be local village officials asked about YLBHI’s activities and asked for the discussion to be stopped. They said the reason was any activities were banned during the G20 event held in Bali. Several YLBHI Boards and LBH Office Directors tried to explain that this was an internal discussion and did not involve parties outside YLBHI so it would not cause a commotion. Some of the agreements resulted in the negotiation were that the discussion would continue until the afternoon and YLBHI made a statement which would not make any events that violated order.

At around 17.30 WITA, dozens of Pecalang [Local Head Village] and officers without uniforms returned to the villa where the YLBHI consolidation took place. Some of them entered the villa and shouted asking for the event to be disbanded while accusing someone of doing “live streaming”. The party who claimed to be Pecalang used a high tone while speaking and asked about the return schedule of the people in the villa. The atmosphere was very tense because the officer asked all laptops to be turned off while cursing that we violated the agreement to disband in the afternoon, even though it was not yet the end of the afternoon. They also asked for ID cards and forced them to check all participants’ mobile phones and laptops.

The situation grew more tense when they forced to search the villa and asked for the identity of everyone in the villa. The YLBHI negotiation team firmly refused all of these requests while inviting them to have a relaxed discussion in the courtyard of the villa. Negotiations went on for more than 2 hours and the situation was tense because the front of the villa was filled with police officers and officers not in uniform. During the negotiation, we also got the fact that the officer who claimed to be the Police, was not known by the Bali Police.

During the negotiations, YLBHI thought of making an open resistance by disseminating the information and asking all participants to be brought to Police Office for legal proceedings if they still insisted on using force against the law. However, this idea was cancelled considering that the series of events was still ongoing and could endanger the victim communities who were present in Bali.

Negotiations ran tensely again when YLBHI refused to hand over our ID cards and if they persisted, we still chose to be taken to the police station. The person who claimed to be a Pecalang, again speaking in high notes, forcing all participants to write down their names. As a result, we were allowed by the officer inside the villa to leave the villa. However, the situation heated up again when someone appeared who was not from the Bali Police but showed his authority in front of other officers by shouting. YLBHI asked for the identity of the person but was not answered, then YLBHI asked the person to leave the villa. The negotiation process was tense.

The final result of the negotiation is that all participants who did not stay in the villa were allowed to return to their respective places after writing their names without any other information. During the trip, the all vehicles the group rode were followed by several persons.

8 people agreed to stay in the villa by providing pictures of IDs as guarantee with some important information blurred. Outside the villa, the officers without uniform but wearing Pecalang clothes guarding the villa’s exit door strictly.

The next morning, we explored the possibility of getting out of the villa by sending one of the leaders of LBH-YLBHI to come out to see the situation outside the villa because someone would leave Bali in the afternoon.

Outside the villa, we found several people dressed as Pecalang and Officers clothed as organized gangsters. They said everyone in the villa was allowed to leave the villa at 09.00 WITA. We were even not allowed to buy cigarettes. We asked them why we were not allowed to leave the villa. They replied that this was the orders of the Police. Based on the statement, we contacted Bali Police who negotiated with us last night to find out the reason for the ban. The officer we contacted replied that he never ordered his team to do so.

At 09.40 WITA we re-negotiated to leave the villa, but they did not allow everyone to leave the villa unless the local Police allowed it. YLBHI immediately contacted the Police and he stated that he had never banned YLBHI from leaving the villa.

However, the group of people outside the villa still forbade us. Then in this negotiation we again refused their request. We also conveyed that several journalists were already aware of this incident. If the ban persists, we will fight against the ban. Hearing that the journalists had learned about the illegal villa arrest, the officers who were not in uniform rapidly shifted their position to about 15 meters away to the right of the villa.

At around 10.00 WITA, we decided to stay out of the villa together by using 2 online taxis to Ngurah Rai airport. All the way from the villa to the airport gate, we were followed undisguisedly by a car and 3 motorbikes. During at the airport, they still followed us and when one of the YLBHI Boards entered the airport waiting room, they were seen going to the check-in officer and checking the passenger’s manifest.

Until this chronology published (Monday, 14/Nov/2022), we no longer stayed at the villas which rental period is still valid. It was decided for reasons of security and continuity of the next event. In addition, at least until Sunday night 13 November 2022, villas in several locations occupied by YLBHI Boards and LBH Offices are still being monitored by the police and a group of people claiming to be Pecalang.

5. Stance of YLBHI

Development ambitions of country members of G20, mainly Indonesia, which they said on behalf of people’s wealth factually is being developed on repression and silencing the voice and activities of the people communities. This is a perfect reflection of the low level of Indonesia democracy index, which one of them is freedom of expression. So actually, what is the G20 for? And for whom?

YLBHI and other organization’s statement on G20 can be found here.

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