invisible citizens crisis

By Kayla Clemson

With the extension of the PPMK to the 16th of August 2021, the vulnerable population of Yogyakarta, Indonesia along with other cities find themselves in strife with the minimal funds granted by the Government. One such major issue for vulnerable groups is a problem has been slowly increasing since the rise of the pandemic.

The “Invisible Citizen Crisis” is a major issue for people in low-income communities, it mainly affects stigmatized communities such as transwomen, female sex workers, people living with HIV and homeless (street) people, in particular youth on the street. This problem comes from a troubling issue with the accessibility of a National Identity Card (KTP). Without one people in such problematic situations due to the pandemic are unable to get free health care and economic assistance. Acquiring a KTP is a very lengthy and in-depth process before the pandemic but now it has become practically impossible. The process in itself requires an application to court, letters from a village or its head and witnesses in which they all must have their own identity card.

Without people able to acquire a KTP and with jobs becoming harder to do with the continuous lockdowns, many “Invisible Citizens” find themselves with very minimal income and no healthcare support. One such case is 20-year-old Ibu Adeg Nurbaya, her partner only works 12 days a month which earns around 800,000 Rupiah which equals to $76 Australian dollars. This was not enough to pay for necessities and take care of their 5-month-old son and has had to work on the road to help provide for her family. This is one single case from thousands of people struggling with such severe similar circumstances.

Another case is Ibu Mustika Rani who has stated “I have a hard time working. Many Lesehan are closed. I’m currently selling food at a crossroads. However, I often worry if there are raids from the Satpol PP.” It is often that Satpol PP operates during PPKM and with her husband sick she must make ends meet.

With Indonesia in such a critical state due to the Pandemic and extension of PPKM going on even further it is crucial that we support those vulnerable communities and those in poverty. The Emergency Covid Relief Fund has supported and is supporting over 200 people and their families in Yogyakarta, East Java and Bali and will continue to support vulnerable groups, invisible citizens, and those in need during this trying time.

About the author: Kayla Clemson is currently enrolled at Murdoch University pursuing her degree in Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Psychology. She is highly interested in health, education, mental health, and gender issues. Kayla is currently undertaking the virtual internship program at Harapan Fian (Fian’s Hope) with the ACICIS 2021 Virtual DevelopmentStudies Professional Practicum. Kayla received New Colombo Plan mobility grant to support her participation on this program.