Protest rally in Yogyakarta demands ratification of sexual violence bill

Arah Juang – July 15, 2020
Alliance for the ratification of RUU PKS rally in Yogyakarta – July 14, 2020 (AJ)

On Tuesday July 14, pro-democracy and gender equality organisations and individuals in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta from the Enact the Draft Law on the Elimination of Sexual Violence Alliance (Aliansi Sahkan RUU PKS) held took to the streets to peacefully demand the immediate ratification of the Draft Law on the Elimination of Sexual Violence.

The group started the action a 3pm with a rally in front of the Yogyakarta Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) bringing posters with messages such as “Enact the RUU PKS” and calling on the state to immediately pass the RUU PKS into law.

Peaceful actions were held simultaneously in three cities on Tuesday including Jakarta, West Java and Yogyakarta.

The simultaneous RUU PKS actions were sparked by a recent decision by the House of Representatives (DPR) to remove the RUU PKS from the 2020 National Priority Legislation Program (Prolegnas).

This is despite the fact that the number of sexual and domestic violence (KDRT) cases has been rising, particularly so during the Covid-19 pandemic.

This can be seen from data released by the online publication from the women’s crisis centre Rifka Annisa which has seen a two-fold increase in complaints on violence against women and children since the pandemic began.

Instead of the state using the high rate of sexual violence in Indonesia as the grounds for enacting the RUU PKS, the state has instead enacted laws such as the Mineral and Coal Mining Law (UU Minerba) and is continuing to deliberate the Draft Omnibus on Job Creation.

Both of these laws will further benefit capitalists and oppress the ordinary people, the working class and labourers.

During the peaceful action between 3-4 pm the protesters handed out propaganda leaflets on the urgency of immediately enacting the RUU PKS.

Quite a few members of the public near the action asked about the RUU PKS with the majority saying they did not know about the draft law.

As a result, in addition to urging the state to immediacy enact the RUU PKS, the action was also used to provide as much information as possible to the public about the draft law.

The protest was also an act of solidarity with the survivors of sexual violence which have been left in limbo by the legal process. According to the National Commission on Violence Against Women’s (Komnas Perempuan) 2020 annual report, there were 14,719 cases of sexual violence against women throughout Indonesia.

Providing information to the public is no less important because this relates to the organisation of the masses. In urging the state to ratify the RUU PKS mass pressure is needed, and only through mass action will this demand be won.

At the end of the action, the Enact the RUU PKS Alliance agreed to hodl protest actions in front of the DPRD every Tuesday until the RUU PKS is passed into law. (mg)

-- Arah Juang (Direction of Struggle) is the official newspaper of the Socialist Union

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Aksi Diam Menuntut Pengesahan RUU Penghapusan Kekerasan Seksual”.]