Devina Halim, Jakarta – National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas HAM) chairperson Azriana Manalu has revealed that the government has discarded as many as 100 articles from the Draft Law on the Elimination of Sexual Violence (RUU PKS). Komnas Perempuan is one of the initiators of the RUU PKS.
Manalu said that when they initially handed over the draft RUU to the House of Representatives (DPR) it had 154 articles. Then, during the deliberation process the government discarded 100 articles.
"It's quite serious what was discarded by the government, as many as 100 articles were discarded, leaving only 52 articles", said Manalu during a press conference at the Komnas Perempuan offices in Central Jakarta on Wednesday February 6.
Manalu related how the articles discarded by the government have resulted in the RUU losing its main aim of being a revolutionary legal umbrella to regulate sexual violence. "The government only left 50 articles and none of these represent [legal] breakthroughs", she explained.
Manalu gave as an example six important points in the draft that were proposed for removal. The six points consisted of articles on prevention, procedural law, prosecution, restitution, rehabilitation and monitoring.
The entire chapter on procedural law was also discarded. The government, said Manalu, claimed that these points are already covered under the Criminal Procedural Code (KUHAP).
Yet, she said, the right to rehabilitation for victims is not included in the KUHAP. This is why the RUU PKS is needed to fill the existing legal vacuum.
Then, the government cut the nine types of sexual violence crimes down to four. The nine types of sexual violence initially defined in the bill consisted of sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, forced contraception, forced abortion, rape, forced marriage, forced prostitution, sexual slavery and sexual torture.
Manalu also gave the example of how sexual harassment was replaced with "violation". Yet the many cases of verbal sexual harassment are not accommodated in the RUU PKS.
"For Komnas Perempuan these nine crimes cannot be cut by even one, because it they're cut out it means that there will be factual crimes which cannot be [legally] addressed", she said.
"The nine [crimes] were taken from incidents that are actually taking place, not imagined, there are victims, there are incidents, but no [law] exists to address them", added Manalu.
The other chapter which was removed was on rehabilitation, which was cut on the grounds that it is already included in the Law on the Protection of Witnesses and Victims. The reality however is that this law is only able to provide protect to victims once the case goes to trial.
On the other hand, many victims are reluctant to report their cases to police. Among other things this is because of the culture in society that frequently blames the victim and because there is no legal protection.
Bearing in mind the importance of these points, Komnas Perempuan will continue to try and lobby the government to pursue the deliberations in the hope that these crucial articles can be enacted into law.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Komnas Perempuan Sebut Pemerintah Hilangkan 100 Pasal di RUU PKS".]