Indonesia: Treatment of Tsunami tragedy victims has to pay special attention to women and children

Solidaritas Perempuan
Press release by Solidaritas Perempuan (Women's Solidarity for Human Rights)
The Tsunami tragedy of 26 December 2004 has killed thousands of people and has destroyed livelihoods and sources of sustainable living on a massive scale.
The tragedy has left in its wake severe suffering for millions of people in Aceh and North Sumatra, as well as in India, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia and other countries.

Solidaritas Perempuan (SP) fully supports the concern of many parties, including governments, in delivering aid to those have died, those who have been injured, and those who have lost everything. Concerted and systematic efforts are desperately needed as many survivors face the risk of dying.

They are barely coping with injuries, sickness, and are exposed to the perils of post-tsunami diseases. They are surviving under appalling living conditions, with lack of clothes, food and clean water. Solidaritas Perempuan expresses its appreciation to all the support and assistance rendered to the tsunami victims.

However, Solidaritas Perempuan is of the view that the process of attending to the victims has not been done in a way that pays attention to the needs of women and children. Without discriminating and neglecting the needs of the other groups, we have to stress that victims who are women and children require special attention and merit specific care. This special consideration can be explained in two ways. First, the process of discrimination already experienced by women and children in their daily lives is also experienced by them in the treatment provided to them as victims of the tsunami tragedy.

Second, women and children have certain vulnerabilities and have different needs compared to adult male victims of this tragedy.

Unfortunately, these vulnerabilities and differences in needs are often overlooked in the process of attending to victims. Women and children victims are treated the same as the male victims, causing unfairness to the women and children.

Considering the above, Solidaritas Perempuan expresses the following:

  1. Extends its deepest condolences for the loss of lives and the immense losses suffered by family members who survived.
  2. Calls on the government, military, and aid givers to provide special attention to the more vulnerable groups of victims such as women and children.
  3. Invites all parties to give a helping hand to save victims and sources of livelihoods in the disaster areas.
  4. Appeals to donors of funds and helpers of logistics to be transparent and accountable in delivering aid, without manipulation or corruption.
  5. Beckons the government to refrain from taking advantage of this national disaster in order to fulfill political interests, especially in continuing and maintaining the civil emergency status in Aceh.
Solidaritas Perempuan joins hands with others in raising funds to relieve the suffering of the victims, especially women and children. In this respect, Solidaritas Perempuan (SP) has established the Solidaritas Perempuan crisis center for Tsunami Victims in Jakarta and Aceh. SP has sent a special team to Aceh on Wednesday, 29 December 2004 to identify victims and attend to the special needs of victims.

Jakarta, 28 December 2004

Head, National Executive Committee
Solidaritas Perempuan (Women's Solidarity for Human Rights)

Bank Account Number: 126-0002261096
Bank Mandiri, Kalibata Branch, Jakarta, Indonesia
Under the name of Salma Safitri and Mieke

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