Experts at ICJ webinar say Indonesia needs to do more to combat discrimination against women

The ICJ, together with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) in Indonesia, held a webinar on 6 April to consider ways to combat discrimination and violence faced by Indonesian women.

In particular, participants identified advocacy strategies towards strengthening Indonesia’s compliance with its international legal obligations under the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

The webinar was broadcast live on Facebook and showcased the Bahasa Indonesia version of CEDAW video and attended by more than 50 women human rights defenders.  The participants discussed the adequacy of measures taken by the Indonesian government to implement recommendations issued by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) after it had reviewed Indonesia’s report in 2012. These recommendations included a call to repeal discriminatory by-laws adopted at the provincial level that restrict women’s rights in Aceh province and elsewhere; the adoption of  measures taken to ensure that the draft or proposed amendments to the Criminal Code Bill and other bills do not contain provisions that discriminate against women; the need to address gender based violence and sexual violence against women including indigenous women; and the protection of women human rights defenders.

Devi Anggraini, Chairperson of Association of Indigenous Women of the Archipelago (Perempuan Aman) said although Indonesia had ratified CEDAW through Law No. 7 year 1984 to protect the individual rights of Indonesian women, policies had yet to effectively protect the collective rights of indigenous women. She shared her concerns regarding discrimination against Indigenous women in the context of large-scale development projects, exploitation of natural resources, deforestation, and expansion of agriculture, as well as their access to land and resources.

“The Indonesian government does not seek ‘free, prior, and informed consent’ by the affected indigenous people, especially indigenous women and this has caused 87.8% of indigenous women to lose control of their traditional lands,” said Devi.

Dian Novita, Coordinator of Policy Advocacy Division from Legal aid for Women and Children (LBH APIK Jakarta) raised concern about discriminatory draft laws and provincial laws.

“LBH APIK assists many cases of women who are victims of gender-based violence in which their videos containing private sexual conducts were distributed online. However, they were criminalized under the pornography law and Electronic Information’s and Transactions (EIT) Law. We are currently trying to pursue judicial review of the ETI Law from women’s perspective”, said Dian.

Andy Yentriyani, Head of Komnas Perempuan said that despite existing challenges and new obstacles, there had been some progress in responding to the Recommendations of the CEDAW Committee from the previous cycle, such as the enactment of Supreme Court Regulation no.3 year 2017 on guidance for judges in adjudicating cases involving women and similar gender sensitive regulation released by the Attorney General’s Office and the Police. “It is now our duty to monitor that these policies and training are effectively implemented. For example, we gained extraordinary support from the civil society during the campaign urging the Government to adopt the Sexual Violence Bill and this expanded participatory space for constructive dialogue for public to understand more about State responsibilities to protect and promote the fundamental rights of women.”



Ruth Panjaitan, Legal Adviser for Indonesia, e: ruthstephani.panjaitan(a)




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