Women in Indonesia insist on self-determination


In Indonesia, the societal resistance against the proposed laws for the enforcement of conservative Islamic morals and gets upset. The protests remind some of the democratic revolution 20 years ago.

Really full it will be this evening in the backyard of the Sangkring Art Space in the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta – for the subject is probably too difficult: Several organisations have under the name of “Gerakan28September” (“movement 28. September”) to be called on the occasion of the “international day for safe abortion” a common event. Between the colorful art installations, there is information for victims of sexual violence and reproductive health, also tips for hand-sewn Binding and a lot of music with social critical texts. The mood is emotional.

Some visitors have a punk hairstyle and a fresh set of Tattoos you can sting, others wear head scarves and flowing dresses. What unites them is their interest, to determine about yourself and your body. “In Indonesia, these topics are still taboo,” says the artist Fitriani Dwi Kurniasih, who has co-organized the event. “It is important on unwanted pregnancies and safe abortions, educate, otherwise the Concerned, go to a healer without having to be aware of the risks.”

Woodcut of the artist Fitriani Dwi Kurniasih: theme is self-determination of women over their bodies

Even sexual education is a punishable offence

All of this could soon be possible. The draft for a new penal code in Indonesia (in the Public under the abbreviation RKUHP known) provides for, among other things, that information about abortion should be banned. In addition, any sexual relationship outside of marriage could be subject to prosecution. This relates to illegitimate living communities, as well as mixed residential communities or gay couples. “Since the state intervenes too much into the private lives of its citizens,” scolds Hera Diani, editor-in-chief of the feminist magazine “Magdalene”. “With the most critical, I find the paragraph on reproduction and contraception. It States that self-health advisors, or even parents and teachers could go through sexual education of their children is a punishable offence – this is ridiculous!”

Demo against new criminal laws and for democracy in Papua

Student protests show effect

Tens of thousands of students go since last week all over the country to the streets to protest a softening of the Anti-corruption laws, the violence in West Papua and the apparent inaction of the government in view of the vast rain forest fires. Hardly anything moved, however, the Indonesians at the moment as much as the planned new penal code, the new morality paragraphs could affect anyone personally, especially the young Generation. The Hashtag #semuakena (“take all”) is these days one of the most posted, as well as #tolakrkuhp (“rejects RKUHP”).

In Yogyakarta, the protest trains per day travelling from three directions is carried out in the Gejayan junction. Here has fought 20 years ago, the parents ‘ generation for the democratisation of the country. In addition to banners with political slogans is not “My sex life is your business” and “don’t throw us in jail because of love” on colorful posters. However, the funny sayings and the good Campus uniforms cannot conceal the fact that the protesters are serious: It is the largest student protests since the mass demonstrations that forced the former dictator Suharto’s 1998 resignation.

While it remained in Yogyakarta, yet peacefully, it came in several other cities to battles the road with the police. The seriousness of the protests has obviously also recognized President Joko Widodo and the adoption of the draft law be postponed. Now must be dealt with by the new Parliament, which met on Tuesday officially together. New coalitions have been forged, which will decide in the back room, whether the tougher laws have to be as planned, or slightly attenuated to be adopted.

Law Professor Hiariej: “The critique of this large body of law, not justice”

“We have to compromise,”

For Eddy Hiariej, it seems quite natural that such an important law reform triggers in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic state such as Indonesia Controversy. The 46-year-old law Professor, teaches at the prestigious Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, and has also written to the controversial draft. Currently, he is a popular guest in Indonesian talk shows, where he eloquently accented with a radiant Smile and talk tirelessly, that it was in the criticised paragraphs only a tiny fraction of a large body of Law, of the more than 50 years. In fact, the current Indonesian criminal code dates from the Dutch colonial period.

Completely modern, the new building of the faculty of law in the office of the Hiariej is located. While he is a wizard, the lunch will bring, he explains that most of the critics have not read the law correctly, and many of the paragraphs don’t be too hard, as they appeared at first glance. He warns, however, to draw a Parallel to Germany or other societies in the West. “We have to make compromises. LGBT people don’t fit into our culture. We will have a Muslim majority and must respect their values,” says the Ambon-born Muslim. That women should not go out at night alone, is such a compromise: “This is a Form of protection from the state for the individual. Women as victims very vulnerable, so we need to preserve is actually stronger.”

President Widodo at the swearing-in of the new Parliament

Concern about “Stray paragraph”

The Fitriani Dwi looks Kurniasih different. The 39-year-old artist is often up in the night to go to exhibition openings or with her Band to perform. The so-called “strays” – Paragraph should enter in its present Form is in force, it would be hardly possible, even working with your collective, in the alternative art space “Survive Garage” would be constrained by a Quasi-curfew for women in the evening. “I’m afraid that the men will again dominate all of the evening events. We have just tried to create a space in which all members are equal and is particularly open for women,” says the activist, who is active in various women’s and human rights groups. “Sure will have its effect on our gay friends, for it is increasingly difficult to Express their desires.”

Journalist Hera Diani: “New criminal law book Yes, but not at the expense of women and minorities”

Between utopia and realism

On the evening before the event of Gerakan28September she stands on the small stage in front of the brightly painted wall of “Survive Garage” and sings of the deprivation of the little people, of social injustice and of environmental destruction. The concert is part of the climate week of strike in Yogyakarta, which is gone due to the huge student demos, some under. In a very alternative crowd, especially of young people, some coming from other provinces of Indonesia, some from abroad. No one here is striking, because he looks different, different moves or the same-sex loves. “Given the current Situation, my hopes for the future are actually utopian,” says Kurniasih. “But when I see the current student movement, I’m pretty optimistic: you are very active, and very courageous.”

Hera Diani hopes on the young Generation: “so Far, I thought the young people would be critical, but now you can form a movement and Express their opinion,” says the 42-year-old journalist, who was at the student protests of 1998 and was active in it. She has no doubt that Indonesia is in urgent need of a new criminal code. “But first, the population must be involved, it must not be behind closed doors negotiated. We don’t have to reject the draft until he is problematic, and women and minorities not by laws, and discriminated against, to be bullied.”