On IWD, protesters in Bali say Omnibus Law legitimises modern slavery

Tribune Bali – March 8, 2020
IWD rally against Omnibus Law in Denpasar – March 8, 2020 (Tribune)

Adrian Amurwonegoro, Denpasar – Scores of people from the Bali Gender Justice People’s Coalition (KRBAG), the majority of which were women, held a peaceful action at the Car Free Day Area in the Renon area of the Balinese capital of Denpasar on Sunday March 8.

Action coordinator Ni Kadek Fani explained that the action was organised to commemorate International Women’s Day (IWD) and at the same time to oppose the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation (RUU Omnibus Law) which they see as not being pro-women.

During the action, which was held on Jl Raya Puputan, they gave speeches agitating for their demands while displaying dozens of posters containing message rejecting the Omnibus Law.

In addition to this, they gathered signatures on a length of white cloth from members of the public who passed by as a form of support for the action.

“The Bali Gender Justice People’s Coalition states explicitly that it rejects the Draft Omnibus Law and the Draft Law on Family Resilience and [calls for the] immediate ratification of the Draft Law on the Elimination of Sexual Violence and the Draft Law on Domestic Workers”, Fani told Tribune Bali during a break in the action.

Fani said she hopes that through actions such as this they can pressure the central government to develop a comprehensive and systematic system to protect women.

“We ask for cases of violence against women to be solved, revoke gender discriminative policies, end all forms of discrimination and systematic violence against women as well as halt development programs which side with investors”, she asserted.

Fani said that the state intervention in the private sphere and the domestication of women, which is clearly demonstrated in the Draft Law on Family Resilience, is nothing new.

This phenomenon is a legacy of Suharto’s New Order regime and the state is still intervening in social life and the private sphere of sexuality.

“This draft law is attempting to restrict the role of women and assert the stigma of women as second class citizens and that they should stay at home”, she said.

And it is not only this draft law which represents a threat. The packet of policies contained in the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation also threatens women workers because it will abolish various kinds of leave such as menstrual leave, extend working hours to 12 hours a day, has the potential for arbitrary sackings, the potential for people to remain contract works all their lives and will abolish restrictions on outsourcing.

“Ideally women work for eight hours, rest for eight hours, outside of this there are activities related to children and family, so people in society are burdened by responsibilities, if [working hours] are extended to 12 hours it will create a dilemma and be difficult to manage their time”, she explained.

These policies, explained Fani, are a form of modern slavery which the government wants to legitimise.

Conversely, the Draft Law on the Elimination of Sexual Violence (RUU PKS) and the Draft Law on Domestic Workers (RUU PRT), which are clearly needed by women, are still not a priority for the government.

“The RUU Omnibus Law threatens women workers”, she reiterated.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Peringati Hari Perempuan Internasional, Koalisi Rakyat Bali Adil Gender Tolak RUU Omnibus Law”.]

Source: https://bali.tribunnews.com/2020/03/08/peringati-hari-perempuan-internasional-koalisi-rakyat-bali-adil-gender-tolak-ruu-omnibus-law