Arguments for sexual violence bill delays fabricated: Women activists

KBR – October 1, 2019
Rally demanding House immediately ratify sexual violence bill (KBR)
Rally demanding House immediately ratify sexual violence bill (KBR)

Valda Kustarini, Jakarta – The National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) believes there is no relationship between the Draft Law on the Elimination of Sexual Violence (RUU PKS) and the Draft Criminal Code (RKUHP).

According to Komnas Perempuan Chairperson Azriana Manalu the arguments being used by the House of Representative (DPR) and the government for postponing the deliberations on the RUU PKS are completely fabricated.

This is because postponing the enactment of the law will be seen as a step back for the women’s movement. Manalu is of the view that the RUU PKS will actually complement the RKUHP.

“The RUU on the Elimination of Sexual Violence should be ratified. The enactment of the RUU PKS in fact seeks to address the limits of the RKUHP. The RUU PKS should be realised for the sake of obtaining justice for the victims. But in the end the victims have got nothing”, said Manalu at the Komnas Perempuan offices in Jakarta on Tuesday October 1.

Manalu said that in holding the RUU PKS hostage, the victims of sexual violence will not receive justice.

She believes that there is inconsistency on the part of the DPR’s Commission VIII which deals with women’s issues. When the DPR pushed through the Anti-Pornography Law and the Law on Human Trafficking there was no concern that it would conflict with the Criminal Code.

“Why is it only the RUU PKS that can’t be ratified?”, asked Manalu angrily.

Komnas Perempuan says that there are four key issues that must be regulated in the RUU PKS. First, the need for a change in views and the pattern of thinking by the state and the public about sexual violence, so that the crime is not just seen as an act of indecency but a crime against human dignity.

Then, the need to prevent sexual violence, starting with looking into the roots of the problem, because one of the causes is unequal power relations between victims and perpetrators. “Then, a new regulation also needs to be drafted to protect victims”, said Manalu.

In order to accelerate this process, Komnas Perempuan is urging the political party leaders and the leaders of the factions in the DPR to assign newly elected lawmakers who have expertise in law, human rights and gender as members of the working and special committee on the RUU PKS.

“Komnas Perempuan is also asking the DPR’s legislative body to designate the RUU PKS as a draft law which will be taken to the 2020 session. Finally, asking the DPR’s consultative body for the 2019-2024 period to ensure that the RUU PKS is discussed by the cross-commission special committee. Because, the issue of sexual violence is not just a women’s issue but also cuts across related commissions”, explained Manalu.

Manalu added that they had previously endeavored to get the RUU PKS included in the national pro-legislation list for 2015-2019 and in 2016 it was included in the national priority legislation program.

In 2018 Komnas Perempuan was also involved in public hearings on the RUU PKS. “However, up until the end of the DPR 2014-2019 term, the RUU PKS has still not been deliberated or ratified”, she concluded laughing.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Komnas Perempuan: Alasan Pemerintah-DPR Tunda RUU PKS Mengada-ada”.]