MER-C Press Conference on 21-23 May 2019 Mass Protest: This is About Humanity
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On May 25 2019 MER-C held a press conference regarding the post-election incidents during 21-23 May 2019 mass protest. The conference took place in MER-C HQ, Kramat Lontar, Central Jakarta.
MER-C founder, Dr. Joserizal Jurnalis SpOT stated his sadness upon the bloody incident that happened. “Sadness still lingers on our faces due to the violence that was done on 21-23 May 2019.” He said that the casualties in the protest could be considered as “Crimes against Humanity.”
Jurnalis said that, even in war situations, civilians must be respected even they are involved in the process of victim evacuations, so that respect is even more obligatory during protests. Particularly, he said that protection and respect should be given to minors, women, and religious figures, as mentioned in the Geneva Convention. “The Geneva Convention also regulates the protection to ambulances in war situations, medical personnel too can never be attacked,” he said while adding that during the tragedy that happened yesterday, some medical personnel and ambulances were brutally attacked by the apparatus.
“Yesterday, according to video reports, pictures from medical personnel and on -field MER-C volunteers, it can be seen that the situation was not balanced, for instance the stones that were carried by the protestors were addressed with firearms used by the apparatus.”
Yesterday’s incident also evident that the apparatus used firearms, added Jurnalis, while showing evidences of black lead that appeared to hit the bone of a victim, a rubber bullet and a metal bullet.
Jurnalis also regrets attacks towards journalists because, according to the doctor who experienced volunteering as a medical personnel during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, attacking journalists at wars is considered to be a crime, so it is even a higher crime to attack journalist in less dangerous situations such as protests.
Jurnalis explained further that MER-C would discuss the matter with its lawyers in order to report the incident to foreign institutions. “This is because MER-C is a universal NGO, so we will take this matter to the ICC or ICJ and UNHRC.”
Lastly, Jurnalis ended the press conference by saying that this is a humanitarian issue, which must be respected, and he sees that that sense of humanity was overlooked during the protest.
MER-C Press Release
Have Respect for Live,
Notes of the Mass Protest on 21-23 May 2019
from Medical and Humanitarian Point of View
The event that took place from May 21 until early morning of 23, 2019 has left a deep wound for the people of Indonesia, particularly to those who upholds the human lives disregard from political affiliation, ethnicity, etc. Many people lost their lives, while others had to suffer from light to heavy traumas.
The price of this year ‘s election appeared to be very high. While we are still trying to finalize the matter behind the death of more than 600 electoral commission and thousand others who fell ill, now the people of Indonesia as the holder of the nation’s sovereignty had to be faced again with the death of the children of the nation who wanted to voice their aspiration.
The Governor of DKI Jakarta had released that there were 8 casualties during the mass protest that went violent and as much as 737 people who suffered from wounds (data per Thursday/23 May 2019, 11 AM). 93 of them suffered from non-traumatic wounds and 79 suffered from heavy injuries. There were also 462 people who suffered from light injuries and identification of their wounds is still going. Most of the victims comprised of young people were between 20-29 years of age (294 people), and as much as 170 people comprised of those under the age of 19 years of age.
MER-C as a medical emergency, humanitarian and disaster social institution deployed its volunteers on 21-23 May 2019. More than 30 volunteers that were made of doctors, nurses, medical logistic personnel as well as 4 operational vehicles were prepared to provide medical assistance for the victims both from the people and from the apparatus.
MER-C condemns the government and the apparatus’ repressive acts in addressing protestors that overlooked the humanitarian values and International Conventions.
Below are our notes from the 21-23 May 2019 mass protest from the medical and humanitarian points of view:
1. The protestors were addressed with violence and guns. Some of the apparatus were also found to
- The shooting of minors
- The chasing of protestors into places of worship
- The acts of close-range shootings
- The shooting of protestors who have fallen
- Not using water canon in advance, but directly using tear gas, rubber bullets and metal bullets.
2. Medical volunteers
In the Geneva Convention, medical personnel are the party who must be protected in the situation of wars and conflicts. Apparatus were also supposed to be the protectors when medical staffs are conducting their duties. But in yesterday’s protest it appeared that the police seemed to hinder medical personnel in conducting evacuations, and ambulances were also not given access to the areas of conflict.
Article 24 of the Geneva Convention 1949 states that “Medical personnel exclusively engaged in the search for, or the collection, transport or treatment of the wounded or sick, or in the prevention of disease, staff exclusively engaged in the administration of medical units and establishments, as well as chaplains attached to the armed forces, shall be respected and protected in all circumstances.
Article 20 Of the Geneva Convention 1949 also states that “Persons regularly and solely engaged in the operation and administration of civilian hospitals, including the personnel engaged in the search for, removal and transporting of and caring for wounded and sick civilians, the infirm and maternity cases shall be respected and protected”
Attacks to ambulances and repressive acts of apparatus towards ambulance personnel.
What happened has served as a page of history that would be hard to forget by the people of this country, and will always be remembered in the memory of the people of Indonesia. It would be paramount to take the hard lesson so what happened would never have to happen again.
We are urging the government and the apparatus to use persuasive and wise attitudes as well as to respect the victims of casualty and injury.
MER-C is committed to keep evaluating and identifying the issues concerning humanitarian during the 2019 election. This is in order to respect and value human lives.
Jakarta, 25 May 2019