Supporters of losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto seen during riots in Jalan K.S. Tubun in Central Jakarta on Wednesday. The Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) has decried the presence of minors among the victims of clashes between protestors and police during this week's rioting. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

Kids Must Not Be Involved in Election Disputes: KPAI

BY :LAURENS DAMI & NUR YASMIN

MAY 23, 2019

Jakarta. The national child protection agency has decried the presence of minors among the victims of clashes between protestors and police during this week's rioting in Jakarta.

There was a 15-year-old boy among the 140 injured admitted to Jakarta's Tarakan Hospital – one of several medical facilities that treated protestors wounded in the violence. Two of the victims eventually died, one of them 17 years old.

Rita Pranawati, deputy chairwoman of the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI), said there was evidence that children were actively encouraged to join the May 22 rally, staged by supporters of losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto against the result of the April 17 presidential election. 

During a body-search of 14 teenagers from Sukabumi, West Java, police found part of a letter by one of them suggesting that they had been "relinquished for religion and state." Police are still investigating the matter.

The agency has invited representatives of the campaign teams of both presidential candidate pairs to address the issue. 

"The KPAI and the two campaign teams agreed to reject all forms of child involvement in the dispute over the election results and asked all parties to conduct constitutional democratic education," Rita said on Thursday, as quoted by Antara news agency. 

"Since before the 2019 election, the KPAI has tried to prevent the involvement of children in the election process and afterwards," she added.

Rita said the KPAI has signed a memorandum of understanding with the General Elections Commission (KPU), Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) and Ministry of Women's Empowerment and Child Protection to prevent the involvement of children in election disputes.

Leaves for Reunion, Returns Dead

Another 17-year-old boy, later identified as Abdul Azis, died at Kramat Jati Police Hospital in East Jakarta from injuries he sustained during the riot.

Johani, the victim's father, said the boy left for Jakarta from Kuningan, West Java, on Monday to meet his brother and have a reunion with friends.

"My son never went anywhere, just stayed home, not working. He said he wanted to attend a reunion with his friends in Jakarta," Johani said in the capital on Wednesday.

He said his son was a student at an Islamic boarding school in Kuningan. The family is originally from Pandeglang, Banten. His cause of death is still unknown.

Rita asked parents to prevent their children from joining mass rallies and getting involved in clashes with security forces.

She said there is a period of self-discovery when children often accept challenges, such as participating in this type of action, without really understanding what is going on.

"Parents need to teach their children about the democratic process without causing them harm," she told Antara.

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