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A couple who have not received the COVID-19 vaccine are facing banishment from a Bali village, and are seeking legal action over the alleged rights violation.

Fery Wahyudi Satria Wibawa and his wife were recently told to leave Gulingan Village in Badung Regency as village elders demanded that all residents have the COVID-19 vaccine certificate.

The couple, who own the home in the village and have lived there for three years, were given the order to evacuate the village a few days ago. However, they have remained and sought for legal assistance from the Bali Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Bali), who has agreed to help.

“Essentially, the village issued a written circular announcing that those without vaccine certificates will be banished from the village,” Fery’s legal representation from LBH Bali, Felix Juanardo Winata, said yesterday.

Felix did not go as far as calling Fery and his wife anti-vaxxers, and the lawyer said they haven’t gotten their jabs for personal reasons.

Presidential Decree 14/2021 rules that vaccine-eligible citizens who refuse the jab may be given administrative sanction in the form of the withholding of social aid, government services, or a fine. LBH Bali argued that if Fery and his wife were to be banished, it would set a dangerous precedent for future punishments elsewhere.

“The rule is defective. On a substance level, it’s even more defective,” Felix said.

Ida Bagus Gangga, a traditional village leader (Bendasa) in Gulingan, said Fery could not be persuaded to get the vaccine.

“He asked if the state would be held responsible [if anything happened to him],” Gangga said.

Gangga added that the village leaders afforded Fery the chance to get a medical exemption from a doctor, only for him to claim that he’s never gone to see a doctor, taken medicine, or received any injections.

Fery, meanwhile, has testified to the Badung Police saying that he is being falsely accused of being an anti-vaxxer.

“I want to get vaccinated. They’re going over the top to sway opinion on this issue,” he told the police in his complaint.

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This article, Unvaccinated villagers facing banishment seek legal assistance, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia’s leading alternative media company.

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