Government has ‘circumcised’ key points in sexual violence bill

CNN Indonesia – November 17, 2018
Protest banner reads 'Fight Sexual Violence' (CNN)
Protest banner reads 'Fight Sexual Violence' (CNN)

Jakarta – National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) chairperson Azriana R Manalu says that the government has “circumcised” at least 100 articles in the Draft Law (RUU) on the Elimination of Sexual Violence.

According to Manalu, the 100 articles that have been cut out contain the very “soul” of the RUU.

“There are 152 articles in total, 100 of the articles have been dropped by the government”, said Manalu at the offices of the Legal Aid Institute for the Press (LBH Pers) in South Jakarta on Friday November 16.

Manalu says that Komnas Perempuan is not concerned if a few of the articles are cut as long as they are not related to key elements in the draft law. The problem is that the exact opposite has happened. The most important points that the RUU is attempting to address are in fact the ones that have been cut out.

This includes, among others, the abolition of the phrase “unequal gender relations” in the definition of sexual violence and narrowing down the types of sexual violence from nine to only four.

Other things that have been cut from the RUU are the chapter on procedural law, the chapter on rehabilitation and the chapter on protecting the rights of victims.

Manalu says that the soul of the RUU on sexual violence is providing a legal framework to address crimes which society often deems as being too taboo to discuss.

She gave as an example the importance of the concept of unequal gender relations in sexual violence. Sexual violence often occurs as a consequence of unequal relations of power and gender.

This, she added, was highlighted in the case which befell former honorary teacher Baiq Nuril Maknun, who was recently jailed for defamation by the Supreme Court after reporting her superior for sexual harassment.

“So we included unequal gender relations [in the RUU] so that this kind of thing can be addressed, but it has instead been rejected by the government”, she said.

Komnas Perempuan member Sri Nurherwati was reported earlier as saying that one of the obstacles in the deliberation of the RUU was a view that has emerged among some lawmakers that the law will acknowledge the existence of the Lesbian, Gay, Transgender and Bisexual (LGBT) community.

Nurherwati and her colleagues counter that sexual violence occurs in all kinds of relationships and this is why the state has to play a role in protecting them.

Even though lawmakers are sticking to this assumption, she is asking that the House of Representatives (DPR) Commission VIII continue to deliberate the RUU for the sake of preventing other cases of sexual violence.

“If indeed it is to protect the victims, discuss how to protect the victims. Don’t get trapped in a polemic about LGBT because this is urgent, there have already been too many victims of sexual violence”, concluded Nurherwati. (bin/kid)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was Pemerintah Disebut Sunat 100 Pasal RUU Antikekerasan Seksual.]