Indonesia: End Shackling of People With Disabilities

Indonesia: End Shackling of People With Disabilities


In Indonesia, people with mental health conditions
are put in pasung, chained or locked up in homes or in institutions because they have
conditions such as schizophrenia or depression. Pasung is very common. There are many different forms of pasung. It can be locking someone up inside the house,
or in a room, or using stocks, or a metal chain or forbidding them to go beyond a fence. It means the person must sleep, defecate,
urinate, and eat at the same place. People are shackled in homes by their families, in institutions run by faith healers and traditional healers, and sometimes even in social care
institutions. Agus is a 26-year-old man with a psychosocial
disability. He was locked up in a shed by his family for
a month. The conditions were not good.It was so hot. My legs were tied, my hands were tied, otherwise
I would have destroyed the shed. Because something inside came over me. Agus’ family decided to lock him up because
they didn’t know what was happening to him. They were convinced, they told me, he was
possessed by the devil. That was the story. Agus is possessed, the faith healer said. Possessed by a strange spirit. It’s difficult to stand there. Because the shed is so short. You can only sit. Today Agus is working in his village, building
houses, and leads a fulfilling life, because he’s receiving the support and services that
he needs. Currently, the government estimates that there
are about 18 000 people who are still shackled in Indonesia. Despite this practice being illegal in Indonesia, the government has banned pasung since 1977. And yet the practice persists across the country. We visited one institution run by a faith
healer, where the department of social affairs was actually sending people. They knew fully well people were being shackled. We accommodate a number of patients from the
Brebes department of social affairs. This month approximately 14 people. People who are put in pasung become extremely
neglected, isolated, and develop all sorts of physical ailments as a result of being chained. The longer someone remains restrained the
more problems arise. First, is muscular arthrophy, which is when
muscle size decreases, the second is malnutrition. From a mental health perspective, it’s likely
to be a traumatic experience. Socially, they lose any chance to lead a normal
life. We met Ikram’s family in Central Java. Ikram has been locked up in this shed for
many years now. We spoke to his brother Mustafa who explained
the challenges his family faced in caring for his brother. He [my brother] often fell into a rage. He could even slap my parents’ face and mine. So I tied him with a rope. Each time he hit, immediately I put him there. Come eat. There was a time where Ikram’s family took him to see a doctor, where he had access to medication and services, and he was doing
much better. He even lived for a short while in the family home. However, as soon as the medication ran out, and the family did not have time to travel to a provincial hospital, and to spend the
money on a regular basis, Ikram was put back in the shed. The problem with pasung is that there is no
other option available. The family has no choice because there is
no support. Good social support, economic support, medical support. So for them the only way out is pasung, or
putting the person in an institution where they then shackle the person. The conditions in these institutions are extremely
insanitary. People are chained with metallic chains and can’t move around much. They are eating, sleeping, defecating, urinating in that same space, for period of years. There is an urgent need for the government to monitor these institutions, and to ensure that its ban on shackling is implemented in homes and institutions. But in the long term, there needs to be a
shift from institutions to community based services, so people with mental health conditions
and their families can live in the community and access the services and support they need. It shouldn’t be like that. I hope nobody, no one, has that experience. I wish my brother was cured. I want support from the government for my
brother. This has taken too long for him. My poor brother.

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About the Author: Sam Caldwell

46 Comments

  1. Shame on Indonesia. As the largest "Muslim" country in the world you should be setting an example. Under Islam, the mentally ill were considered incapable YET deserving of HUMANE treatment and protection. For example, Sura 4:5 of the Quran states… “Do not give your property which God assigned you to manage to the insane: but feed and cloth the insane with this property and tell splendid words to him.” Early Muslims were the first to show mercy and compassion to the mentally ill/unstable, while Europe was whipping them and hurling accusations of sorcery, or witchery.

  2. Very poignant, disturbing but important video. Superstition still plays a very destructive and unnecessary roll in some societies. Awareness is key to help bring an end to this unfortunate situation.
    LSWD shared this video on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SurvivenThrive/
    Thank you Human Rights Watch.

  3. Dear god this is so crazy. When a so called patient breaks free from those chains, you better be sure who they're coming to kill.

  4. The practice of pasung mostly happens in rural area, where people are still lacking knowledge about mental illness / psychiatric disorder. Despite the large number of population, Indonesia has quite a number of people who are still poorly educated and a lot of them still believe in mystic and supernatural (that's why there still exist the so called "faith healer" , shaman, or witchdoctor in countryside). These people believe that people with mental disorder are being disturb by the spirit.
    The government also needs to constantly educate people more about the many type of mental disorders and invest more in setting a proper mental health care and facilities to accommodate people.

  5. vi ste bolesnici jedne nerazvijene civilizacije koje treba raznjeti car atomik bomb 500 mega tona. da nestanete zauvjek.

  6. kenapa tiada 1 pun pengikut Tuhan Yesus mendoakan dia dan membuka hati hati manusia di sana. Supaya mereka tahu bahawa Yesus adalah Tuhan!

  7. mungkin klo mereka tergolong orang yg punya,tidak akan memasung keluarga mereka, mereka lebih memilih menitipkan nya di rumah sakit jiwa jgn sangkut dgn agama

  8. They locked up by their family… or just some little part of sick institutions. why did you make it sound like us? All of indonesian people will do this to every single disability person ? The way you film it and speak about it… you know our country is just big, you do make us look like a monster… (Indonesian people) which part ? Not all of us (most of us never do it that way)

  9. Wtf is this. Of course people will get pissed if you do not have the medicine and guidance from the right psychologist.

    'Kasihan' isn't the right word to use for people with disabilities. I prayed that they will banish those chains and institutions because you are not helping them. You are neglecting them.

  10. watching this video makes me want to punch those faith healers and those people who act like they know anything about mental disorder on the face. no matter how you tell mentally disabled patients to "not stray your path and believe in God's power", it won't work. chaining them makes their conditions even worse. my heart aches when watching this documentary.

  11. SAYA BERASAL DARI BAGIAN WILAYAH TERKCIL DARI INDONESIA, SAYA ADALAH SEORANG MAHASISWA YANG SEDANG CUTI PADA SEMESTER 5. SEORANG OKNUM DARI NEGARA. SAYA MAKSUD SEKELOMPOK PENEGAK HUKUM. TELAH MELAKUKAN PENYADAPAN KEPADA SAYA ATAU ADA ALAT SADAP DI TUBUH SAYA. SAYA MERASA ADA ALAT SADAP DI DALAM TUBUH SAYA YANG BERFUNGSI UNTUK MENGIRIMKAN SUARA DAN SEBUAH GAMBAR DARI AKTIVITAS SAYA , YANG BERTUJUAN UNTUK MELAKUKAN AKTIVITAS ANTI MANUSIAWI DARI PIHAK ANGGOTA BADAN INTELEJEN NEGARA (BIN ) .DAN MEMBERIKAN ISU PALSU TERKAIT APA YANG SAYA LAKUKAN SEMENTARA SAYA TIDAK MELAKUKANNYA. PENEGAK HUKUM DI SUMATERA UTARA TURUT TERLIBAT DALAM AKSI KETIDAK ADILAN TERSEBUT. SUMATERA UTARA ( MEDAN ) MENJADI SALAH SATU TEMPAT DIMANA KETIDAK ADILAN SERING TERJADI DAN TERMASUK SAYA. SAYA MASIH BERTAHAN MELEWATI KETIDAKADILAN YANG MENIMPA SAYA DAN ALAT SADAP TERSEBUT MASIH ADA DALAM TUBUH SAYA. SAYA MELEWATI PENINDASAN ANTI KEMANUSIAAN MULAI DARI SEKITAR RUMAH SAYA SAMPAI KEPADA TEMPAT KAMPUS SAYA. SUDAH HAMPIR TUJUH BULAN SAYA MELEWATI PENYADAPAN YANG DILAKUKAN OLEH ANGGOTA INTELIJEN INDONESIA. MUNGKIN KEJADIAN INI MEMBUAT SAYA BERPIKIR BAHWA HUKUM DI NEGARA SAYA MASIH KURANG POPULER DARI PADA PEMIKIRAN MASYARAKAT TETAPI NEGARA INDONESIA ADALAH NEGARA HUKUM DAN HUKUM DI NEGARA SAYA SANGAT ADIL, TETAPI ITU HANYA PEMIKIRAN SAYA. SAYA SAMPAI SEKARANG MERASA KAWATIR APAKAH MASIH ADA ORANG YANG MAU MEMBERIKAN KEADILAN KEPADA SAYA. ATAU MUNGKIN MENINDAS SAYA KARENA SAYA TIDAK DAPAT MELAWAN. SAYA RASA PERJUANGAN SAYA HANYA DIKETAHUI OLEH TUHAN. SAYA PERNAH MENGONSUMSI PIL TIDUR YANG SAYA BELI DARI APOTIK,SEBANYAK 20 BUTIR. DIKARENAKAN KETIDAK ADILAN YANG SAYA ALAMI, SAYA MERASA DENGAN MINUM OBAT TIDUR MASALAH SAYA AKAN SELESAI TETAPI ALAT SADAP TERSEBUT MASIH BERFUNGSI DI TUBUH SAYA. DAN TERSANGKANYA MASIH BERKELIARAN. SAYA PEMELUK AGAMA KRISTEN DAN SAYA PERCAYA KEPADA TUHAN DAN SAYA SELALU BERDOA KEPADA TUHAN PADA SAAT ORANG YANG SEDANG MELAKUKAN HAL YANG TIDAK BAIK DENGAN MENGGUNAKAN ALAT SADAP TERSEBUT UNTUK MERUSAK PIKIRAN SAYA. SAYA PIKIR NEGARA SAYA DEMOKRATIS TETAPI YANG SAYA JALANI JAUH DALAM KATEGORI DEMOKRATIS ATAU MANUSIAWI.
    MARET 2019

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