Women and Conflict in Indonesia
May 28, 2019
Indonesia is an archipelago country with 240 million people spread in more than 13,000 islands, living in 3 time zones, with 34 provinces and hundreds of districts/cities. It is one of the largest social media users especially among youth, not only middle-class, but also grass-roots particularly migrant workers. Known as a prominent organization founded by young women’s activists, which have been working for almost two decades, the Institute understands that combating human trafficking in a majority Muslim population country (with Christian, Catholic, Budhist, and Hindu least than 9 percent of population) will touch sensitive issues such as moral, cultural, and religious, not to mention patriarchal mindset from the government officials, parliament members, and also media, making the efforts face strong resistances and difficulties, and even threats. Some of NGOs released monitoring report on conflict showing conflict is still remains as problem. West Java is one of the highest rank province potentially effect by conflict.
Women are most often reduced to the role of victims in conflicts. As well as the significant suffering they face, being specifically targeted because of their gender thus experiencing rape as a weapon of conflict in addition to displacement harassment and economic hardship, women are also agents in conflict resolution, peace-making and peacebuilding. Institut Perempuan or Women’s Institute -the first feminist, independent, non-profit organization established (since 1998) in Bandung, West Java province- carries out numerous activities for pushing forward human rights particularly women’s, child, and minority rights through comprehensive strategy for empowering (via educating and organizing) grass-roots women and simultaneously conducting advocacy at all levels from local up to regional and international.
In Indonesia, there are several cause of conflict, namely:
Political background. E.g: The conflict in Papua is related to the differences of opinion on the legitimacy of the Papua integration to Indonesia in 1969 which resulted in armed confrontation between the central government and Papuan leaders under the Free Papua Organization (OPM), since more than 40 years ago until today.
The massive poverty and economic injustice. E.g: agrarian conflict in througout Indonesia, human rights violation in Papua in the context of economic injustice by PT. Freeport
Conflict regarding freedom of religion and intolerance acts
In 2009-2012, Wahid Institute (Indonesian NGO advocating for freedom on religion issues) report increase of conflict regarding freedom of religion and intolerance acts:
In 2009, there were 35 cases of violations of freedom of religion. Violations of freedom of religion occurred in: West Java (10), East Java (8), Jakarta (4), Central Java (3) NTB (3), Sumatra (3), Sulawesi (2), Borneo (1). There were 93 cases of intolerance, occured in West Java (34%), Jakarta (16%), East Java (15%), and Central Java (14%).
In 2010, there were 64 cases of violations of freedom of religion. There were 135 cases of intolerance, occured in West Java and Banten (33%), followed by East Java (19%) and Jakarta (13%), North Sumatra and Aceh 8 cases, West Nusa Tenggara 5 cases, Sulawesi and Kalimantan 4 cases, North Lampung 2 cases, South Sumatra 1 case, Jambi 1 case and Riau 1 case.
In 2012, there has been 274 cases of violations of freedom of religion and 363 acts of intolerance. Intolerance committed by the state apparatus as much as 166 actions, intolerance committed by the non-state apparatus by as many as 197 actions. Most cases occured in West Java.
Conflict regarding Ahmadiyya
In 2009, the third highest humber of intolerance cases (93 cases) is demands of dissolution of Ahmadiyya. Among the 93 cases of intolerance which caused 99 casualties, there were 14 victims of Ahmadiyya community. In 2010, there are 15 cases of violations of freedom of religion occured among Ahmadiyya community. And 18 victims among 153 victims of intolerance acts came from Ahmadiyya community. In 2012, 19 victims of intolerance cases are Ahmadiyya. (Wahid Institute).
On 2005-2006, National Commission on Anti Violence against Women (KOMNAS PEREMPUAN) monitored conditions of several Ahmadiyya community that became target of violence in West Java and West Nusa Tenggara. Their findings in West Java province showed that women experience violence at the time of the attack, women faced discrimination from the community, women encounter difficulties in practicing their religious belief, women experienced sexual violence and threats of violence during the attack. Their findings in West Nusa Tenggara province showed that Ahmadiyya community under threat of violence before the attack, women's health status declined due to the attack to the community, women access to decent livelihood has decreased, Ahmadiyya children face discrimination at school, women experienced sexual violence in refugee camp and on market, women experienced unpleasant treatment from community nearby the refugee camp.
Shia-Sunni Conflict in Sampang, Madura Island
Tensions between Sunnis and Shia have occurred since 2004 . Sunni - Shia clash on December 29, 2011 resulted in the burning of Shia community’s houses by mass (approximately 1000 people). As a result , Shia community (300 people) in Karang Gayam Omben Village, Sampang district fled to Sampang Sports Area.
Then the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) in Sampang issued a fatwa (dated January 1, 2012) which states that Shia teaching brought by Tajul Muluk are misguided and an insult to Islam. Violence against Shia in Sampang returned on August 26, 2012 . Hundreds of people blocked the departure of Shia children to Islamic boarding schools. On June 20, 2013 , approximately 168 of Shia Sampang forcibly relocated to Puspo Argo Sidoarjo Flats by Sampang regency using police cars/trucks.
The conflict impacted on Shia refugee women, They faces lack of access to information and is not engaged in decision-making; security issue; Shia women feel ashamed to go to health center caused by cynical behaviour of health officers.
Human Rights Abuse in Papua during Conflict
KOMNAS PEREMPUAN documented 261 violence against women and women’s rights violation in 1963-2009. Among 261 cases, there are 138 cases of violence against women perpetrated and condoned by State: killings/ disappearances, shooting/attempted murder, arbitrary detention (18), assault (21), torture, sexual abuse, rape (52), attempted rape, sexual slavery, sexual exploitation, forced abortion and family planning, displacement/hunger (24).
Some women become victims simply because they are wives, mothers and children of husband/son/fathers who become targets of violence by State.
ELSAM recorded at least seven forms of violence and allegations of human rights violations in Papua during 2012. Communal violence occupies the highest number of 55 cases of the total 133 events. It consisted of communal violence (55 cases), shooting (39 cases), arrests related to mysterious shooting (15 cases), discovery of bodies of victims of mysterious shooting (9 cases), military/police clash with armed civilians (7 cases), use of violence in the name of law enforcement (7 cases) and arrest of activists (7 cases).
According to Consortium on Land Reform,there are increasing of agrarian conflict namely 106 agrarian conflicts (2010) 163 agrarian conflicts (2011), 198 agrarian conflicts (2012). Conflict areas reached more than 963,411.2 hectares, involving 141. 915 families. Criminalization and violence against peasant (2012): peasant arrested (156 people), 55 people injured and ill , 25 peasant were shot, and 3 people were killed.
In 2012, highest number of agrarian conflicts are in East Java (24) and North Sumatra ( 21). While Jakarta, West Java and South Sumatra respectively 13 cases . Each in Riau and Jambi, there are 11 cases , and the rest scattered in other provinces in Indonesia.
Challenge in Advocating Women, Peace and Conflict in Indonesia
In the year 2000, the United Nations Security Council passed a Resolution on Women, Peace and Security, known as UNSCR 1325. This is the first formal and legal document from the Security Council that requires parties to a conflict and the international community to respect women's rights and to support their participation at all stages in peace negotiations, conflict prevention and post-conflict dialogues.
Until now Indonesia has not issued a National Action Plans (NAP) as it is mandated by the UNSCR 1325. The Ministerial of Women Empowerment and Child Protection has established a working group to discuss and develop the NAP, but until now it remains as draft. On March 2014, Indonesian government issued Perpres Number 18 Year 2014 on Protection and Empowerment on Women and Children in Social Conflict.
More over, the socialization and the meaningful participation/engagement of civil society in the development of NAP is also remains as challenge. As addition, there is a new challenges where State have repressive laws which criminalized the activity of community organization, such as the Law on State Intelligence, the Law on Community Organization, and the Law on Handling Social Conflict. According to the Law on Community Organization for example, the government could impose sanctions and can even dissolve community organizations (including Foundation and Associations) through judicial mechanisms. The Law on Handling Social Conflict is also bias in defining conflict so it potentially violate human rights.
Bandung – Indonesia, July 2014
Demi Keadilan, Kesetaraan, dan Kemanusiaan,
For Justice, Equality, and Humanity,
INSTITUT PEREMPUAN - WOMEN'S INSTITUTE
Jl. Dago Pojok No. 85, Rt.007/Rw.03, Coblong, Bandung 40135
Jawa Barat, INDONESIA
Facebook: Institut Perempuan