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NGOs urge govt to include forced marriage in Sexual Violence Bill

Tempo - January 20, 2022

Antara, Jakarta – Six non-governmental organizations (NGOs) under Indonesia Joining Forces (IJF) have urged the government to include forced marriage in the problem inventory list (DIM) of the Sexual Violence Bill (RUU TPKS).

"We recommend including forced marriage as one of the forms of sexual violence in the DIM arranged by the government," IJF executive committee chairman Dini Widiastuti said during a media briefing on the Sexual Violence Bill on Wednesday.

Eliminating child marriage will have many positive impacts and will contribute to resolving some of the problems that the government faces, she added.

"Child marriage has many negative impacts on the health of children who are victims of such marriages, such as the potential to give birth to stunted babies, malnutrition, the potential to suffer from cervical cancer and maternal death during childbirth," she expounded.

In the long term, child marriage could also have a social and economic impact on the country's development, she said.

According to Widiastuti, early marriage leads to many children failing to complete 12 years of compulsory education and taking up cheap labor, thus, draining Indonesia of quality human resources.

"Currently, Indonesia is ranked second in ASEAN and tenth in the world, as the country with the highest number of child marriages," she revealed.

IJF has also recommended including the prevention and prosecution of online gender-based sexual violence in the DIM in greater detail, she informed.

The advancement of digital technology has left children vulnerable to sexual violence, prostitution, commercial sexual exploitation, and sexual slavery, she said.

Widiastuti expressed the hope that the related ministries, institutions, and all parties support the ratification of the Sexual Violence Bill and supervise its implementation to provide protection and justice to victims.

She also lauded the House of Representatives (DPR) that has ratified the bill as a DPR Initiative Bill.

She also expressed her appreciation of the House of Representatives' Legislation Body (Baleg) for discussing and taking inputs from organizations that strive for children's rights.

"We also appreciate President Joko Widodo, who has pushed the acceleration of the discussion on the Sexual Violence Bill," she remarked.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1551884/ngos-urge-govt-to-include-forced-marriage-in-sexual-violence-bil