Responding to the passage of a long-awaited sexual violence bill by the Indonesian House of Representatives, Amnesty International Indonesia Executive Director Usman Hamid said:
“This is a long-overdue step forward for protecting the rights of survivors of sexual violence and a contribution to state efforts to address sexual violence in Indonesia.”
“This historic moment could only be achieved due to the persistence and hard work of civil society organizations, particularly women’s rights groups, as well as sexual violence survivors and their families, who continually worked to raise awareness about the urgency of the issue for nearly a decade.”
“While the bill is a welcome first step, much more needs to be done, and the decision to remove the articles regarding rape in the bill was an unfortunate one. We urge the government and the House of Representatives to ensure that articles regarding rape in the draft revision of the Criminal Code are in line with international human rights law and standards around rape and consent.”
Indonesia’s House of Representatives passed the sexual violence bill into law on April 12, 2022, the first such legislation in Indonesia’s history. Prior to the bill, the only forms of sexual violence recognized by Indonesian law were rape and sexual molestation of minors.
The anti-sexual violence bill was first initiated by the National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan) in 2012. Komnas Perempuan finished drafting the bill together with the Legal Aid Foundation of the Indonesian Women’s Association for Justice (LBH APIK) and the Service Provider Forum (FPL) in 2016, after which it was introduced in the House of Representatives.
The bill was stalled by opposition from conservative groups, some of which argued that it was “pro-adultery” because it did not criminalise sexual relations outside marriage. It was briefly dropped from the priority legislation list in 2020 before being restored to the list in 2021.
The final bill introduces nine different types of sexual violence offences: sexual harassment (both physical and non-physical), forced contraception, forced sterilization, forced marriage, sexual torture, sexual exploitation, sexual slavery, and sexual violence online.
Rape and forced abortion, which had been included in previous drafts, were removed from the final bill to avoid overlap with a draft revision to the Criminal Code, which is currently still being deliberated by lawmakers.