Activists in Aceh commemorate IWD with call for human dignity

Waspada Aceh – March 8, 2021
Flower Aceh Human rights school head Gabrina Rezeki speaking a press conference – March 8, 2021 (Cut Nauval Dafistri)

Banda Aceh – Non-government organisations (NGOs) and millennial groups in Aceh held an International Women's Day (IWD) virtual campaign at the Ivory Cafe in Setui, Banda Aceh, on Monday March 8.

The action took up the theme "The youth generation looking at human dignity and Indonesianness”. The activity was organised by the Ungu Institute and the Norwegian Embassy, in collaboration with Flower Aceh and various other institutions and communities to demand the fulfillment of rights for Acehnese women.

During the campaign, representatives from each of the communities as well as women journalists spoke out about human rights, particularly for women.

Representing women and millennials, Flower Aceh Human Rights School manager Gabrina Rezky said that women have had strategic role in upholding human rights in Aceh. During the armed independence conflict, women took over social roles when men left the village to seek shelter due to the threat of violence.

In addition to this, women organised to promote a peaceful resolution to the Aceh conflict through the Aceh women's congress or the Duek Pakat Inong Aceh (DPIA) as it was known in February 2000. The event was attended by 437 women from various parts of Aceh who called for a peaceful resolution to the Aceh conflict.

"Today, the participation of the women's movement continues with various actions, organising women's groups in villages, critical discussions to increase capacity, building support, campaigns and advocacy realted to the fulfillment of women's rights and human rights in Aceh", said Rezky.

In addition to this, Rezky said that there are still many cases of discrimination against women and children. In 2021, said Rezky, there have been 26 such cases.

Flower Aceh Director Riris said that sexual violence against children is still happening and that most child victims of sexual violence are reluctant to report it.

"Many cases of sexual violence against children are still happening, many victims are reluctant to report it, this is also a problem", she said.

Riris said that support needs to be built at the community level to deal with cases of sexual violence against women through strengthening family resilience, ensuring family security as well as the important role of government in policies and protection.

"That there is already bylaws for the empowerment of women as well as children, these policies are quite good. Hopefully all these policies will be implemented well", said Riris.

Riris added that traditional and religious figures have an important role in handling cases of human rights.

Young Voices facilitator Heriyan Tuan Miko took up the issue of human rights, including the rights of people suffering disabilities.

Miko said that there are good practices which still need to be improved, namely providing facilities in public places, healthcare, education and employment.

Miko said that there is an opportunity for equality for disabled people. Such as being able to be active in formulating policies and the right to take part in elections and to be elected, free of negative stigma, along with obtaining accessible legal protection.

Millennials Empowerment coordinator Syarifah Zahra Salsabila said that every person has the same role and responsibility.

"Women must have the courage to think, the courage to act and the courage to take big risks along with being able to develop an attitude which is in accordance with the potential they have without feeling afraid", said Salsabila.

The IWD 2021 virtual campaign action was also enlivened with a performance by the Ronsokan Theater. (Cut Nauval Dafistri)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Hari Perempuan Sedunia, Ini Tuntutan Perempuan dan Kaum Milenial di Aceh".]