Indonesian government official threatens those who refuse Covid-19 vaccine with legal trouble

An Indonesian government official has said the denial of the Covid-19 vaccination is an act against the law in the country, prompting condemnation from human rights organizations and experts.

Indonesia began vaccinating its population against Covid-19 on January 13. The government aims to vaccinate 181.5 million people, or two-thirds of Indonesia’s population by April 2022. was the first person in the country to be vaccinated.

A Doses “Coronavac” manufactured by Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac have been delivered to Indonesia to date. While Indonesia will soon receive shipments of raw materials to manufacture more doses, vaccine doses are expected to arrive around the second quarter of 2021.

With the vaccination underway, the Indonesian government has come under fire for promising to punish those who refuse it. Edward Hiairej, Deputy Minister of Law and Human Rights, said vaccination against Covid-19 is an obligation of every citizen. Those who refuse to be vaccinated will be sentenced to one year in prison and a fine of up to one hundred million rupees (US $ 7,100).

Hiariej cited Health Quarantine Law 6/2018, a law dealing with large-scale social restrictions and the obligation of every citizen to comply with health quarantine regulations, as issuing his warning.

“So when it is said that this vaccine is compulsory, then if any citizen who does not want to be vaccinated will be subject to penalties,” said in a webinar.

In response to the statement, said: “Forcing vaccinations with the threat of punishment is a violation of human rights.

Director Usman Hamid said the government must guarantee the right of everyone to consent to vaccination. He urges the government to educate the public on the benefits of vaccination rather than punishing those who refuse it.

“It’s an emergency”

Although the vaccine has been approved by the Indonesian Food and Medicines Authority (BPOM), some Indonesian citizens are concerned that the Chinese Sinovac vaccine for Covid-19 may pose health risks or are wary of a vaccination warrant. . The Indonesian Council of Ulemas, the highest Muslim body, also , or permitted under Islam.


Photo credit: Reuters / TPG Images

Staff organize containers of COVID-19 vaccines at Soekarno-Hatta Airport, Tangerang near Jakarta, Indonesia, January 12, 2021.

“It’s an emergency, it’s unethical for people to refuse [vaccination]. The state has thought of the best solution for its people. If it’s not an emergency, there are options, but it’s an emergency, we have no choice. We have to follow this vaccination. There must be a penalty if you refuse, ”said Edy Rahmayadi, governor of North Sumatra. The objective of the news following the first vaccination campaign in North Sumatra on January 14. Rahmayadi is the first person in North Sumatra to receive the Sinovac vaccine against Covid-19.

MUI North Sumatra president Maratua Simanjuntak said that according to the fatwa of the MUI (Islamic decree), the vaccine has been declared holy and halal, so citizens, especially Muslims, need not hesitate to get vaccinated.

“Holy means free from najis (ritually unclean things) and the BPOM has also declared this vaccine to be safe, so I urge Muslims not to hesitate to vaccinate,” he said.

Encouraging people to get the vaccine, Simanjuntak called on skeptics not to influence the decisions of others to get the vaccine.

“The fatwa is obligatory for the whole umma (community in Arabic), but for those who have a different view of the fatwa, it is allowed. But it should not be passed on to other people. It means disrespecting the government. If he delivers it to other people, he will receive moral sanctions, ”he said.

However, Janpatar Simamora, a constitutional law expert at HKBP Nommensen University in Medan, said it is true that there is an article in the law that provides for penalties for citizens who violate the quarantine rules, but the government has never determined a Covid-19 vaccine as part of the implementation of the quarantine.

“It is not entirely fair to link the penalties provided by law to an attitude of refusing to be vaccinated,” Janpatar said. The objective of the news.

Janpatar argued that the government should not apply sanctions. “Refusal is not a crime, but an option.”

“The attitude of the government which links refusal to be vaccinated with criminal sanctions is very uneducating and even tends to threaten people,” Janpatar said. Vaccination, he added, is an effort to be appreciated, but the imposition of sanctions is not the main key to the success of the vaccination program.

a professor of political sociology at Medan State University, argued that citizens should be free to make their choice. “Citizens should have the right to reject or accept, there should be no such coercion,” he said.

Some public figures have announced that they will not be vaccinated. Last week, , a member of the Democratic Wrestling Party (PDI-P), has openly declared that she refuses vaccines and that it is better to pay a fine than to be vaccinated. Without referring to any particular vaccine, she argued that vaccines could cause death. “If it is forced, it violates human rights,” she said.

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TNL Editor: Bryan Chou, Nicholas Haggerty (@thenewslensintl)

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