In Indonesia: Strengthening gender-responsive community justice

Photo: UN Women/Satu Bumi Jaya
Photo: UN Women/Satu Bumi Jaya

UN Women promotes a people-centred, gender-responsive approach to justice. We support community-based models for gender justice by: working with women to increase their confidence and legal literacy; enhancing the gender responsiveness of community-based justice mechanisms, local leadership and establishing platforms for coordination; supporting women’s rights organizations and women human rights defenders to advocate and support women’s pursuit of justice; and involving the whole of communities to change social norms, which will result in the prevention of discrimination and acceptance of women as active citizens.

Since 2019, under the ‘Enhancing Access to Justice for Women in Asia and the Pacific: Bridging the gap between formal and informal systems through women’s empowerment in Asia and the Pacific Region’ programme and with the generous support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the programme engaged ten villages in deepening women’s participation in community-based justice mechanisms integrated into the Peace Village initiative in Indonesia. 

The approach for the community-based justice mechanism in Indonesia aims to provide systematic and consistent support to women who experience violence through the adoption of community-based guidelines focusing on prevention and community-based protection mechanisms for women and girls who are seeking justice. Moreover, this community justice mechanism serves as a conflict mediation and early warning system to prevent social conflicts.

Find out more in our latest brief

Women’s participation in informal, community-based justice mechanisms

Recognizing economic empowerment as a foundation for change, the Peace Village initiative promotes women's voice and agency, increases women’s access to economic opportunities, and builds their capacity to resolve communal conflict. Women hold around 40 percent of the Pokja (working group) seats to ensure women’s full participation and active engagement to prevent violence against women and girls and community-based protection mechanisms for women and girls seeking justice – including protection mechanisms for women and girls. 

Utilizing the existing infrastructure of women’s active citizenship and leadership in the Peace Village communities, the Wahid Foundation, in collaboration with the local women’s cooperative Cinta Damai Cooperative (women’s cooperative), provided resilience and relief support during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic with additional resources through the Regional Access to Justice programme. This support included emergency sustaining support, PPE kits, and business recovery funds for women-owned small businesses. Moreover, the Pokjas adopted a virtual monitoring mechanism to protect women’s rights to document and coordinate mediation, rolled out direct cash assistance to 89 women entrepreneurs and distributed food staples. 

Watch the video below to learn more about women’s leadership in the communities for COVID resilience and relief support:

Advancing gender-responsive justice

Through a co-creation process with the Pokjas and other community-based justice actors, including community leaders and government-appointed village heads, community referral guidelines were developed to provide practical steps to enhance women’s access to justice in the villages. 

Involving Pokjas, local government, and the Provincial Integrated Service Center for the Empowerment of Women and Children, a community monitoring & evaluation system was developed and adopted to document women’s rights concerns, including formal and informal justice procedures. This led to the development of a ‘Guidebook for the Approach and Mechanism for Community-Based Protection for Women and Girls to Access formal and informal justice’. The guidelines include basic paralegal knowledge, referral procedures and formal justice structures, and advocacy strategies for women’s rights. A user-friendly version was also developed to empower members of the community to protect their families and community from human rights violations concerns, including how they protect themselves and their community from disaster:

Through the Access to Justice programme interventions, a platform for regular exchange between the Peace Village Pokja members and counselling services, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and governmental legal aid services was established, which led to a formalized agreement between the parties to ease the referral of women seeking justice to these services. 

Learn more about the 'Enhancing Access to Justice for Women in Asia and the Pacific' Regional Programme