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Activists camp out at parliament to push for domestic workers bill enactment

Kompas.com - March 11, 2023

Fika Nurul Ulya, Jakarta – The Civil Society Coalition for the Domestic Worker Protection Law is holding a five day tent action in front of the House of Representatives (DPR) building in Jakarta between Saturday March 11 and Wednesday March 15.

The tent action is in response to a statement by DPR Speaker Puan Maharani who said that the enactment of the Draft Law on the Protection of Domestic Workers (RUU PPRT) has been postponed, and that it would not be taken to the DPR's Consultative Body (Bamus) as had been decided by a DPR leadership meeting.

March 11 Tent Action field coordinator Fanda Puspitasari said that there are no grounds for the draft law will not be deliberated and ratified. This is because domestic workers could potentially suffer continued violence without a legal umbrella to protect them.

"We feel that there are no grounds not to discuss or postpone the enactment of the RUU PPRT, because PRT [domestic workers] need a legal umbrella in order to obtain legal justice and get guarantees of security and protection from the state", said Puspitasari when speaking with Kompas.com in front of the DPR building on Saturday.

Puspitasari said that the action is being held to invite DPR Speaker Maharani to hold a dialogue with domestic workers in the lead up to a DPR plenary meeting on March 14.

Because of this, the five day action could potentially be extended for longer if there is no response from Maharani.

"We will continue it not just on March 11-15, but will continue until the RUU PPRT really gets some attention and is given serious concentration by the DPR. We want to show that DPR that the RUU PPRT is very urgent", said Puspitasari.

Furthermore, Puspitasari revealed that they will not hesitate to continue the action by extending it past the five days. This is because they hope that the DPR will ratify the RUU PPRT into law so it becomes a basic part of domestic workers' lives.

"So, with our 11-15 action there is no plan yet to say overnight, but if the time is extended [past five days] there is a good possibility also that the tent action will be done with staying overnight", said Puspitasari.

Puspitasari said that domestic workers have been subject various forms of violence. They suffer economic violence such as wages not being paid or wages that are inadequate despite working full time.

On the other hand, there is also sexual violence in the form of harassment through to rape. Likewise there is psychological violence in the form of intimidation, threats and other forms of coercion.

"A great many PRT are abused, many suffer severe trauma. So the violence that is suffered by PRT are part of the emergency situation", said Puspitasari.

The Coalition has made a number of requests of the DPR speaker and leadership.

First, the Coalition is asking the DPR to organise a leadership meeting (Rapim) to schedule the enactment of the RUU PPRT as a DPR draft initiative at the March 14 plenary meeting.

This is bearing in mind that domestic workers and civil society have been fighting for the RUU PPRT to be enacted for 19 years and recently, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo publically expressed his support for the bill on January 18.

The Coalition is also asking Maharani to receive or meet with domestic workers at the tent action and hold a dialogue. The aim being so she understands that there is an emergency situation facing domestic workers, especially those who have been victims of violence.

Furthermore, the Coalition is proposing that the chairperson of the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) faction in the DPR be replaced because of his statements and attitude that denigrates poor women, a base of support for the PDI-P.

Then, the Coalition is inviting the public to take part in the tent action in front of the DPR building to support the enactment of the domestic workers bill.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Pembahasan RUU PPRT Ditunda, Koalisi Sipil: Tak Ada Alasan Ditunda Pengesahannya...".]

Source: https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2023/03/11/16142531/pembahasan-ruu-pprt-ditunda-koalisi-sipil-tak-ada-alasan-ditund