IWD rally in Jakarta says Jokowi's policies harm women, workers' rights

CNN Indonesia – March 8, 2024
Workers commemorate International Women's Day in Jakarta – March 8, 2024 (CNN)

Jakarta – The Labour Movement with the People (GEBRAK) alliance held a demonstration next to the Arjuna Wiwaha or Horse Statue in Central Jakarta on Friday afternoon, March 8, during which hundreds of women workers conveyed their aspirations on International Women's Day (IWD).

The demonstration began with a long-march from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) office. The protesters said that that the government often issues policies that impoverish women and deprive them of their basic rights. GEBRAK also believes that the government of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has weakened democracy.

A representative from GEBRAK, Siti Eni, highlighted Widodo's policies which were considered "evil". These include weakening the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), issuing the Omnibus Law on Job Creation, issuing the revised Criminal Code (KUHP) and the second revision to the Information and Electronic Transaction (ITE) Law.

"So far, the Cipta Kerja Law or Omnibus Law has weakened workers' rights by eliminating guarantees of job security, expanding contract labour system, the political practice of cheap wages, making layoffs easier, and reducing rights to severance pay, said Eni.

Eni said all these policies have had an impact on women. Economic inequality with soaring prices of basic commodities for example, has also worsened conditions for women in Indonesia.

She also remarked that although there has been an increase in income, even though it was only 2-4 percent per year, this figure did not compensate for the increase in the number of mass layoffs in various sectors.

"The space for civil liberties has narrowed throughout the Jokowi administration with repression against civil liberties", she said.

Based on data from the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), throughout 2023 there were 622 violations and attacks on civil liberties, including against freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.

Eni also highlighted that even though the Law on Sexual Violence Crimes (TPKS) had been passed, cases of violence against women, including sexual violence, are still occurring in significant numbers.

Regime fails to protect women

The National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) reported that throughout 2022 there were 459,094 cases of violence against women, with sexual violence as the most dominant form, namely 2,228 cases.

"And the regime has failed to protect female domestic workers. For more than a decade the RUU PRT [Draft Law on the Protection of Domestic Workers] has been langusishing [in parliament] and not immediately passed", she explained.

Furthermore, Eni also revealed that the climate crisis is experienced more by women, children and other vulnerable groups, which in fact has been exacerbated by the ambitions of the president and his oligarchy through neoliberal projects in the name of the public interest such as National Strategic Projects (PSN) and natural resource downstreaming.

According to Eni, these projects displace many women, farmers, indigenous communities and increase occupational accidents for workers.

According to the Agrarian Reform Consortium (KPA), during the decade Widodo has been in office (2015-2023), there were at least 2,939 agrarian conflicts, which sacrificed 181 women (109 were abused, 69 were criminalised, one was shot and two were killed) because they were defending their land and source of livelihood.

Eni also believes that the culmination of the ordinary people's suffering over the past ten years was when Widodo rigged the 2024 elections by misusing state resources to smooth the way for his son, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, to run as a vice presidential candidate alongside Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, who appears set to win the presidential election.

"So GEBRAK is inviting all women and the Indonesian people to unite to build a genuine alternative political force to repeal the Job Creation Law, fight dynastic politics and the oligarchic regime", she said. (khr/DAL)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Aksi Hari Perempuan di Patung Kuda Sentil Jokowi Lemahkan Demokrasi".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20240308185347-32-1072336/aksi-hari-perempuan-di-patung-kuda-sentil-jokowi-lemahkan-demokrasi