11th February 2015, BANGKOK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Indonesian officials have dropped a plan to require female students to pass virginity tests in order to graduate from high school and apologised after sparking a public outcry, human rights campaigners said.
On a recent Sunday afternoon, a group of women lay out books, mats and glasses of hot tea on a shady veranda. It’s time for Arabic class at Pondok Pesantren Waria, an Islamic school in the Indonesian town of Yogyakarta.
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.
Last year, 12-year-old Riri was sent from her village in Central Java to live with her uncle and aunt two provinces away, in Jakarta, the capital. Over a period of four months, she was repeatedly raped by her uncle, who threatened to kill her and possess her with evil spirits if she reported the abuse. He then forced her to become a sex worker.
Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) welcome news that the government in Aceh, Indonesia has recently removed a provision calling for adulterers to be stoned to death from its draft set of criminal bylaws (Qanun Jinayat).
New legislation being proposed in Indonesia has created a stir of antagonism, especially from conservative Islamist groups in the country, who demand that Islamic law, or Sharia, is implemented and followed in the country.
Survivors of sexual violence in Indonesia face an uphill battle in recovery as a result of an inadequate legal system, police inaction, and prevailing societal attitudes that tend to be suspicious of victims, say activists.