Indonesian Village Threatens to Exile Unvaccinated Residents

A health worker administers a dose of the Sinovac Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine at a convention hall building in Banda Aceh on July 26, 2021. (Photo by CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN / AFP) (Photo by CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/AFP via Getty Images)
CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/AFP via Getty Images

Leaders of Gulingan Village on Bali, Indonesia, threatened to banish a couple in recent days for choosing not to receive Chinese coronavirus vaccinations, local news site Coconuts Bali reported Thursday.

“Fery Wahyudi Satria Wibawa and his wife were recently told to leave Gulingan Village … as village elders demanded that all residents have the COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] vaccine certificate,” the news site revealed, referring to a document used to demonstrate that a person has received a Chinese coronavirus inoculation.

The couple, who have chosen not to receive inoculations against the Chinese coronavirus currently available in Indonesia “were given the order to evacuate the village a few days ago,” Coconuts Bali reported on July 29.

Wibawa and his wife have chosen to remain in Gulingan Village and fight their banishment order, as they suspect it is illegal. They recently “sought … legal assistance from the Bali Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Bali), who has agreed to help,” according to Coconuts Bali. LBH Bali assigned lawyer Felix Juanardo Winata to the couple’s case.

Local leaders of Gulingan Village issued an edict in recent days stating that “immigrant residents who already live in Gulingan Village must have taken the COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] vaccination by showing a vaccination certificate,” Winata told Detik.com, an Indonesian news site, on July 27.

“If they cannot show a vaccine certificate, they will be expelled from Gulingan Village,” the statement further read.

Wibawa and his wife are legal residents of Gulingan Village, according to their lawyer. The couple has “lived in Gulingan Village for three years and own a house in the village with a deed of sale, including an official letter from the [Indonesian] National Land Agency,” Winata told Detik.com on Tuesday.

Despite their proof of legal residency, Wibawa and his wife “were still required to leave the local village because they did not have a COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] vaccine certificate,” Winata said.

Winata told Detik.com he believes Gulingan Village’s edict banishing his clients from the community “violate[s] human rights … stated in the 1945 [Indonesian] Constitution Article 28H paragraph (1).” That article states that “everyone has the right to live in physical and spiritual prosperity, to have a place to live, and to have a good and healthy environment and have the right to obtain health services,” according to Winata.

Gulingan Village’s expulsion order is also contrary to an Indonesian presidential decree “concerning the procurement of vaccines and the implementation of vaccinations in the context of dealing with the COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] pandemic,” Winata further argued, “because, in the regulation, there is no sanction to be expelled from the village if you don’t follow the vaccination [recommendation].”

Winata referred to a decree issued by Indonesian President Joko Widodo stating that “vaccine-eligible citizens who refuse the [Chinese coronavirus] jab may be given administrative sanction in the form of the withholding of social aid, government services, or a fine,” according to Coconuts Bali.

“Well, my client said, if you haven’t been vaccinated, that’s what applies and he is willing to be punished based on a presidential regulation which is legally recognized,” Winata told Detik.com on Tuesday.

“Now, what was rejected [by my clients] was the decree issued by this village,” Winata clarified.

“You can’t, for example, if someone can’t show a vaccine letter, then he or she is expelled from the village arbitrarily, it can’t [happen],” the couple’s lawyer continued.

“And it’s very dangerous if it’s followed in other areas or followed in other provinces or throughout Indonesia,” he warned.

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