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Regulations discriminating against women, religious minorities on the rise

Kompas Newspaper - August 23, 2013

Jakarta – As of mid-August this year the number of discriminative regulations has risen two-fold, from 154 in 2009 to 342. Of these 334 are regency or municipal regulations and the province with the most discriminative regulations is West Java.

"Out of the 334 regional regulations, 265 target women in the name of morality or religion and 31 policies target religious minorities and indirectly discriminate against female members of these communities", said National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) commissioner Andy Yentriani at a press conference in Jakarta on Thursday August 22.

Included within these 265 policies are 79 regulations that regulate what women wear, 124 that regulate prostitution and pornography, 27 on the separation of public space for men and women on moral grounds along with 35 regulations that place restrictions on women being out at night.

"In pornography cases, women who have fallen victim to human trafficking networks have instead ended up being accused", continued Yentriani. "Many Indonesian women have to go out at night, working to meet family needs. These regulations have claimed victims in Tangerang [West Java]."

All of these regulations indicate that real independence for Indonesian women remains far from the ideals of independence and demonstrate a low level of understanding of the Indonesian Constitution's mandate.

Komnas Perempuan also found 529 policies that were favourable in 2013, increasing from 252 in 2011. Of this total however, only 11 policies regulated comprehensive protection for women victims of violence.

According to Komnas Perempuan commissioner Kiai (religious leader) Husein Muhammad, religion, which is the source of values, does not need to be included in regulations that are of a particular character.

It was also revealed that there are well intended regulations but which are incorrectly implemented and become prejudicial. "Such as the virginity test [for female students in South Sumatra - JB]", said Muhammad, "This is an individual's private right, no one is allowed to interfere in this".

With regard to the continuing rise in the number of discriminatory regulations, Komnas Perempuan commissioner Kunthi Tridewiyanti said that policy makers do not yet fully understand constitutional guarantees, human rights and real equality. (MH)

[Hak Asasi Manusia - Jumlah Peraturan Diskriminatif Bertambah – Kompas. Jumat, 23 Agustus 2013. Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service.].

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