KOMNAS PEREMPUAN: Indonesia’s frontline on Women’s Rights
Dated: 23 November 2016
The Indonesia National Commission on Violence against Women’s 18th birthday took place on 15 October 2016. The Commission – locally known as Komnas Perempuan – has become the country’s major promoter and protecter of human rights. It came into existence following the appeals for justice for the May 1998 riot victims. The events of May 1998 were one of Indonesia’s greatest human rights violations, with dozens of Indonesian women, mostly of Chinese ethnicity, allegedly subjected to mass sexual assaults and rape during the riot. Human and women’s rights activists condemned the government and demanded that it focused on this incident, and consequently the National Commission on Violence against Women was born.
Komnas Perempuan’s focus is based on assessment of the issue of violence against women, and how it will be affected in future years due to: the increasing number of women living in poverty; the growing nationalist tendencies, focusing on ethnicity, underpinned by the ideas of militarism; and the continuing impunity of gross human rights violations perpetrators, including those that victimised women.
Sexual violence in Indonesia is in a state of emergency: it is due not only to increasing levels of sexual violence, but also that some sexual abuse cases cannot be addressed under the current law. Thus, the state is failing to bring justice to the victims of sexual violence, and consolidating a climate of impunity.
In June and September 2016, Komnas Perempuan submitted the draft bill on the ‘Elimination of Sexual Violence’ to the House of Representative and conjointly to the Women's Caucus of the Parliament of the Republic of Indonesia. As yet the legalisation of the bill has not occurred. Komnas Perempuan urged Parliament to establish a Special Committee to begin discussions, and to pass the bill before the end of the 2016 parliamentary session. Postponing the legalisation is non-negotiable. The bill contains comprehensive guidelines on the prevention and reporting of sexual violence, enforcement of laws, and the recovery of victims. Therefore, the role of a Special Committee is critical and urgently needed.
“Komnas Perempuan invited all levels of society to oversee the discussion of the bill on the Elimination of Sexual Violence through articulated engagement by social media with the Komnas Perempuan’s hashtag #GerakBersama” – Komnas Perempuan.
Adhigama Andre Budiman (@bandaidpuppy) is a law graduate from Justus-Liebig University. He is now taking an internship at OHCHR Regional office and responsible for monitoring human rights issues in Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, and the Philippines. He is also a "HeForShe" or "DiaUntukDia" in Bahasa Indonesia.