Indonesia’s National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan) is an independent national institution that promotes women’s human rights in Indonesia. The Commission was established by Presidential Decree no. 181 of 1998, on 15 October 1998. In response to organizational development within Komnas Perempuan, Presidential Decree no. 65 and 66 were signed in 2005, superseding the former decree.
Komnas Perempuan was established in response to the demands of civil society (especially women) for the state to take responsibility in handling cases of violence against women. These demands were subsequent to the mass rape and other forms of sexual attacks against Chinese women during May 1998 riots occurring in Jakarta and several other large cities in Indonesia.
Komnas Perempuan’s framework has been developed by referring to the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia, Law no 7/1984 on the Ratification of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Law no 5/1998 on the Ratification of the International Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or punishment (CAT), the International Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women and other human rights policies.
Based on Presidential Decree No. 65/2005, the aims of Komnas Perempuan are:
- To build a conducive environment for the elimination of all forms of violence against women and the fulfilment of women’s rights in Indonesia,
- To increase efforts to prevent all forms of violence against women and to increase the protection of women’s rights.
Presidential Decree No. 65/2005 gives Komnas Perempuan the mandate:
- To increase awareness of all forms of violence against women, prevention efforts and the elimination of all forms of violence against women;
- To conduct research on all rules, laws and international instruments relevant to the protection of women’s rights;
- To monitor (including the fact finding and documentation of violence against women and violations of women’s rights)and to disseminate the results of monitoring activities to the general public and take action for the accountability and handling of cases of violence against women;
- To provide recommendations to the government, legislative and judicial bodies, and civil organizations to support law and policy making that strengthens the prevention and elimination of all forms of violence against women, and the protection of women’s rights;
- To build regional and international partnerships in order to increase prevention efforts, the elimination of all forms of violence against women and the protection and fulfilment of women’s rights.
The execution of its mandate enables Komnas Perempuan to play the role of:
- observer and rapporteur for gender-based violations of human rights and for the fulfilment of women’s human rights;
- resource centre for women’s human rights;
- initiator of policy reforms and policy making;
- negotiator and mediator between government , victims and women’s human rights defenders, highlighting the interests of the victims;
- facilitator for the development of local, national and international networks to prevent violence against women and to build their capacity in eliminating all forms of violence against women.
The beneficiaries of Komnas Perempuan’s activities include:
- Women victims of violence;
- Women vulnerable to violence;
- Women human rights defenders;
- Women’s Crisis Centres;
- The State, through the availability of input for strategic steps to carry out its responsibility to fulfil human rights as mandated by the constitution and its commitment to the international community.
Implementing the mandate, 2010-2014
The plenary meeting of Komnas Perempuan’s commissioners (rapat paripurna) is the highest authority in the decision-making process of implementing Komnas Perempuan’s mandate. The Commissioners are elected from various backgrounds, fulfilling the requirements of the Paris Principles on human rights mechanisms. The election is held openly, conducted by an independent team that holds consultations with partners in deciding the criteria and details of the selection process. To ensure the continuity of the organization’s initiatives, and to see that democratic principles are observed, an individual may only be elected twice in a row and the number of re-elected Commissioners must not exceed 30% of the total number of Commissioners.
There are fifteen Commissioners for the term of 2010-2014. A chairperson and two vice chairpersons are elected from among them. The remaining Commissioners head Sub-commissions and Task Forces to ensure the fulfilment of Komnas Perempuan’s mandates. The current Sub-commissions are: Monitoring, Development of Recovery Systems, Legal and Policy Reform, Research and Development and Public Participation. The current Task Forces are: Papua, Migrant Workers and Women under the Constitution and National Legal System.
In carrying out its work, the Commissioners are assisted by the Executive Committee, led by a Secretary General. The Executive committee consists of divisions and units according to the needs of the existing sub-commissions and task forces, in addition to five secretarial offices: General, Human Resources, Finance, Information and Documentation, and Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation.
Komnas Perempuan’s Plenary Commission 2010-2014
Desti Murdjiana, Masruchah
Agustinus Supriyanto, Andy Yentriyani, Arimbi Heroepoetri, Husein Muhammad, Kunthi Tridewiyanti, Neng Dara Affiah, Ninik Rahayu, Saur Tumiur Situmorang, Sri Nurherwati, Sylvana Maria Apituley, Tumbu Saraswati, Yustina Rostiawati
Eleven Priority Issues for Komnas Perempuan, 2010-2014
- Violence against women in the context of conflicts and past human rights violations;
- Violence against women in the context of marriage and family;
- Violence against women as a consequence of women’s impoverishment, including within the context of migration, exploitation of labour within factories and domestic work, exploitation of natural resources and internal displacement;
- Violence against women as a consequence of abuse of identity politics, and moral and religious-based policies;
- Sexual violence in various other contexts, including violence by public officers, teachers, public figures and in the media;
- Violence against women vulnerable to discrimination, including but not limited to women with a disability, indigenous women and members of minority groups;
- Violence against women in the contexts of detention and conditions similar to detention;
- Violence against women within cultural practices;
- Violence against women within the electoral process (both national and local);
- Woman defenders of human rights;
- Strengthening human rights mechanisms for women.
The Sub-commission on Monitoring Violations against Women’s Human Rights
In carrying out its mandate, Komnas Perempuan strives to collect information and conduct fact finding on cases of violence against women and other forms of gender-based human rights violations, their root causes and their consequences. The monitoring results are then reported to the executive, legislature, judiciary and general public; including recommendations on the remedies and preventative measures to be followed-up by each relevant authoritative party. Through cooperation with partners specialized in providing services to women victims of violence, Komnas Perempuan publishes its ANNUAL NOTES on violence against women (CATAHU) on the number, forms and trends of violence against women in Indonesia and the quality of services available for victims provided by governmental agencies or civil society organizations. To strengthen the monitoring function based on the active participation of the community, Komnas Perempuan develops monitoring instruments and mechanisms This includes building monitoring networks in areas where human rights violation are likely to occur.
The Sub-commission on the Development of Recovery Systems for Survivors
The integration of the fulfilment of women victims’ rights to truth, justice and recovery into the state and public systems and mechanisms to address survivors is the paramount factor in ensuring the availability of comprehensive recovery. To that end, Komnas Perempuan is building synergy between the state and the community to encourage development of a broad-based recovery system, pushing for national and local recovery legal policies governing an integrated multi-sectoral service, endorsing an improvement in case treatment quality through cross-institutional dialogue between groups providing services for victim recovery, building understanding that violence against women is a public health issue, and advocating for the integration of the need for recovery into all human rights mechanisms. Komnas Perempuan encourages the development of community-based initiatives and maintaining solidarity between women’s human rights defenders and survivors.
The Sub-commission on Legal and Policy Reform
The elimination of violence against women requires a policy framework that is conducive to the fulfilment of women’s human rights. To this end, Komnas Perempuan actively provides policy input to legislative, executive and judicial institutions in order to improve national and local legislation. This initiative is conducted via the legislation process within the national and local parliaments, judicial reviews of the Constitutional Court, and dialogue with state institutions holding a strategic role in the elimination of violence against women. In terms of the police, Attorney-General’s Office, Department of Justice, bar associations and women’s organizations, Komnas Perempuan strives to strengthen the capacity of law enforcement agencies to build an integrated, gender-sensitive justice system, responsive to solving cases of violence against women.
The Sub-commission on Research and Development
The availability of the latest and most comprehensive information on the problems of violence against women and its root causes and consequences are essential in formulating strategic planning to eliminate and address the problem. As such, Komnas Perempuan conducts research and analysis on various issues of violence against women. These efforts include collaboration with the Postgraduate Program on Women’s Studies at the University of Indonesia through a program called “Knowledge from Women”. The program is intended to open up dialogue between academicians and practitioners of women’s human rights. It is expected that the dialogue will lead to a more comprehensive understanding on violence against women and conceptualization of knowledge based on the experience of survivors in surviving the threat of violence and the uphill task of fighting for justice. Komnas Perempuan is currently developing a scholarship program to develop the capacity of women human rights defenders both in concept and in the practice of advocacy.
The Sub-commission on Public Participation
To create an environment conducive to the elimination of violence against women and the fulfilment of women’s human rights, active public participation is necessary. Public support will be pledged if the community understands why violence against women (VAW) needs an urgent response. Accordingly, Komnas Perempuan strives to provide the public with robust information on the forms, root causes, consequences, and the efforts to eliminate VAW. This information is conveyed through Komnas Perempuan’s website, social networking on the Internet, independent publications, the mass media and campaign activities. The campaign activities are also utilized to forge strategic coalitions with individuals and local, national and international civil society organizations. Komnas Perempuan’s three main campaign activities are: the Sixteen-day Plus Campaign against VAW, Let’s Talk Truth, and the Pundi Perempuan. Other activities include the Commemoration of the May 1998 Tragedy, the Commemoration of Anti- Torture Day, Constitutional Day and other principal historical days regarding Indonesian nation-building and human rights.
The Task Force on Women under the Constitution and National Legal System (since 2007)
The decentralization process through local autonomy is a crucial instrument for the democratization of Indonesia. For women, local autonomy opens up opportunities for more accessible quality services for survivors of VAW, and policies on gender equality. On the other hand, the imperfect mechanism of local autonomy has sparked a more serious problem: the implementation of a number of local policies discriminatory towards women which are a serious challenge to constitutionally guaranteed citizenship rights. To address the matter, Komnas Perempuan develops monitoring systems in order to understand the problem and the impact of these discriminatory policies on women and on national integrity, conducts policy dialogues at the national and local levels, conducts programs to strengthen local legislation capacity in cooperation with local reformist groups, and organizes public support for the fulfilment of constitutional citizenship rights to non-discrimination.
Task Force for Papua (since 2008)
The problem of violence against women in Papua has been one of Komnas Perempuan’s priorities since its establishment. Cooperation with local women’s organizations is forged through, for instance, joint efforts to document cases of VAW and to develop an integrated gender justice perspective into human rights education. Considering the complexity of VAW cases in Papua and the implementation of local autonomy in the provinces, Komnas Perempuan facilitates the strengthening of the Women’s Working Group in the Papua People’s Council to conduct its mandate to fulfil women’s human rights. Empowerment to monitor VAW in a participatory, independent and accountable way is the focus of the collaboration, in addition to endorsing the recovery of women survivors of VAW cases perpetrated in the personal, community or state spheres. These recovery efforts are based on the principles of state responsibility and active public participation.
The Task Force on Migrant Workers (since 2008)
In the wake of impoverishment and the shortage of available jobs across the country, numerous women have taken the risk of working abroad in order to support themselves and their families. Without the provision of adequate protection for migrant workers, especially women domestic workers, cases of deprivation of rights, discrimination and violence —physical, psychological, or sexual— are perpetually experienced by women migrant workers. Since its establishment, Komnas Perempuan has been actively encouraging the state to take responsibility in protecting women migrant workers and their families, including the provision of legal aid and recovery facilities for women survivors of VAW. Advocacy towards this goal is conducted by forging alliances at local, national, regional and international levels, including communications with the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants and UN Special Rapporteur on Torture. Komnas Perempuan continues to monitor the conditions of the human rights of women migrant workers’ in collaboration with the National Human Rights Commission, endorse public efforts to demand the ratification of the Convention on the Protection of Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, and develop synergy between advocacy for the protection of women migrant workers and national efforts to develop protection for women domestic workers.
Komnas Perempuan accepts reports from survivors and/or support workers, in person, phone, or long distance correspondence: mail, fax or e-mail. Because Komnas Perempuan does not have a mandate for direct support, it continues to build referral mechanisms and advocacy support mechanisms to address the reporting of VAW cases. The analysis of all the reports received annually has always been a part of the Annual Notes on VAW (CATAHU) in order to strengthen the understanding of VAW and to shed light on strategies for its prevention and treatment.
Accountability and Transparency
In an effort to preserve democracy and to contribute to improving the management of state institutions, Komnas Perempuan abides by the principles of accountability and transparency. In addition to annual reporting and the election of Commissioners for each term, Komnas Perempuan regularly engages independent evaluation teams to measure its performance and find ways to improve its working strategies. All reports are in writing to the President and the public by way of discussion forums, printed materials or publications on Komnas Perempuan’s website. Komnas Perempuan also welcomes external evaluation efforts by national and international institutions, including the UN. Protections for survivors, the independence of human rights mechanisms and transparency have become the abiding principles for Komnas Perempuan in handling financial matters.
Komnas Perempuan has two sources of funding: public funding through the National State Budget and grants from donors, both national and international individuals and institutions. The state funding is an integral part of the effort to encourage the state’s responsibility in fulfilling human rights, especially the prevention and treatment of VAW cases. The majority of state funding is used to pay for operational costs, while the costs for programs are supported by other grants. A balance between the two sources is maintained to ensure the independence of Komnas Perempuan. In addition to monitoring from the state’s auditory body, Komnas Perempuan regularly calls for audits by independent auditing firms. Currently Komnas Perempuan is advocating for state financial management that is more responsive to the needs of the survivors and more compliant to human rights mechanisms.
Consultation to collect information and suggestions from various partners, state institutions and the general public is one of the regular mechanisms employed by Komnas Perempuan to build its work strategy and to ensure a common ground on VAW issues. Komnas Perempuan develops and strengthens local, national, regional, and international networks in order to conduct advocacy. Komnas Perempuan builds networks to monitor VAW and consolidates local reformist groups to encourage local legal reforms. Komnas Perempuan establishes forums for dialogue between groups providing services to survivors of VAW and encourages the use of ALIMAT as a network to develop just family laws.
Komnas Perempuan does not establish local branches. In Komnas Perempuan’s commitment to preserve democracy and will to honour its own history, Komnas Perempuan considers that local women’s human rights mechanisms should be based on the aspirations in each region. Komnas Perempuan supports public initiatives to develop these mechanisms. In order to reach out in its responses to the cases of VAW throughout the country to include remote areas, Komnas Perempuan collaborates with civil society organizations, especially groups providing services to survivors of VAW and women’s organizations.
One of the mandates of Komnas Perempuan is to develop international cooperation. To that end, Komnas Perempuan actively participates in international consultative and advocacy forums through the Asia Pacific Women, Law and Development (APWLD) network, implementing “The Jakarta Process” – a collaborative initiative between national and regional human rights commissions and migrant worker advocacy groups. Komnas Perempuan initiates meetings between the human rights commissions of India, Korea, the Philippines and Indonesia, and women’s rights commissions from Asian countries such as Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bhutan, the Philippines, and Cambodia.
As a human rights mechanism, Komnas Perempuan actively supports the efforts of survivors and their advocacy groups to access international human rights mechanisms. For instance, Komnas Perempuan facilitated the meeting in 1998 between UN Special Rapporteur on VAW Rhadika Coomaraswamy and women survivors of the May 1998 Tragedy and conflicts in Aceh, Papua and East Timor; the consultative meeting with UN Special Rapporteur on VAW Yakin Atruk in 2004; with the UN Special Rapporteur on Migrant Workers in 2005; with the UN General Secretary Special Representative for Human Rights Defenders in 2006; and with the UN Special Rapporteur for the Elimination of Torture in 2007. Komnas Perempuan also submitted independent reports to those Special Rapporteurs and submitted recommendations based on the findings of monitoring efforts to relevant UN committees, such as the CEDAW Committee in July 2007 and CAT Committee in May 2008.
At the regional level, Komnas Perempuan provided input into the process of forming new human rights mechanisms under ASEAN, namely the ASEAN Inter-Governmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC), and the ASEAN Committee on Migrant Workers (ACMW) to strengthen the commitment of ASEAN nations in upholding human rights. Komnas Perempuan also participated actively in developing criteria for the selection process for Indonesian representatives to the ACWC.
- Komnas Perempuan initiates the building of a knowledge base on VAW through:
- publications including “Peta Kekerasan terhadap Perempuan” (A Map of VAW) and “Kita Bersikap: Empat Dasawarsa Kekerasan terhadap Perempuan di Indonesia” (Our Stand: Four Decades of VAW in Indonesia);
- monitoring reports of the state regarding the fulfilment of human rights for women survivors of violence against women and other gender-based human rights violations within various contexts such as the May 1998 Tragedy, Aceh, Poso, the 1965 Tragedy, Buyat, Manggarai, the detention of migrant workers, attacks on the Ahmadiyah religious minority, and in relation to policies based on morality and religiosity;
- the publication of key documents of the state, documents from international human rights mechanisms, and the Annual Notes on VAW.
- The integration of “Integrated Services” and “Community-based Services” for women survivors of violence against women within the implementation of state responsibility on the rights of survivors. The concept conceived through collaboration with community-based service groups has contributed to the establishment of various policies for better handling of VAW and institutional set-ups, both local and national, including the Protection of Women and Children Unit within the Police Force, the Integrated Crisis Centres in many hospitals, and the coordination centre for handling cases of violence against women and children.
- The availability of legal frameworks for the fulfilment of survivors’ rights, including the Elimination of Domestic Violence Act, the Witness Protection Act, the Act Against Human Trafficking and the inclusion of efforts to address discriminatory regulations in the National Middle Term Development Plan of 2010-2014.
- The availability of recommendations and considerations for the executive, legislature, judiciary and general public from the perspective of gender justice and the fulfilment of citizen’s constitutional rights on the prevention and handling of VAW cases. In addition to monitoring reports, the recommendations are submitted in the form of policy input such into such matters as the Aceh Government Act, the Disaster Management Act, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act, and Komnas Perempuan’s proposals in the Judicial Review of the Anti-Pornography and Religious Defamation Acts. Komnas Perempuan has encouraged the development of a theological basis for justice for woman survivors of violence. This initiative was supported by four religious institutions, namely Muhammadiyah, Nadhatul Ulama, Persekutuan Gereja Indonesia and Konferensi Wali Gereja Indonesia.
- Komnas Perempuan makes tools available to widen public understanding and encourage public participation in the fight to eliminate VAW. Instruments for monitoring gender-based human rights violations, training modules on human rights with gender justice perspectives and gender-based crimes against humanity, methods for handling cases of domestic violence by religious courts, the fulfilment of constitutional rights for women citizens and other references developed by Komnas Perempuan have been often used by other institutions to develop their own capacity.
- Komnas Perempuan has initiated the Pundi Perempuan as an initiative to promote the sustainability of public funds to support existing groups providing services to victims of VAW.
Komnas Perempuan has achieved national and international recognition as a human right mechanism. This recognition was conveyed by many including President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on 30 November 2009 during the tenth anniversary of Komnas Perempuan, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, the UN Special Representative for Human Right Defenders, and in the findings of independent evaluators. Komnas Perempuan is referred to by other countries such as Nepal in developing special national mechanisms for the fulfilment of women’s human rights.
“Thanks to Komnas Perempuan for continually carrying the voice of the survivors of the May 1998 Tragedy. So far, we Chinese-ethnic women have been largely silenced. Today we have found a new strength; we are no longer alone in fighting for justice.” (A Chinese woman in responding to Komnas Perempuan’s report on the condition of women survivors of sexual assaults during the May 1998 Tragedy , 10 years after the incident)
“Komnas Perempuan is our home, where we can fight for justice for women survivors of violence.” (A woman human rights defender from Maluku, during Komnas Perempuan’s National Consultative Forum, 2009).
“The collaboration with Komnas Perempuan feels like a true friendship between women human rights defenders. Komnas Perempuan was the first to inquire into our condition when we were devastated by the tsunami. Many of us lost loved ones. The loss was compounded by fatigue from disaster management work, and the exhaustion from the effort to help women survivors due to prolonged armed conflict. Komnas Perempuan understood that we were burnt out and in need of recovery to carry on with the struggle.” (A woman defender of human rights from Aceh, during Komnas Perempuan’s National Consultative Forum, 2007).
16 Hari Anti Kekerasan terhadap Perempuan (16 Days of Activisim against Gender-Violence)
This international campaign was first introduced as a national campaign in Indonesia by Komnas Perempuan in 2001. The annual campaign starts on 25 November (the International Day of Elimination of Violence against Women) and ends on 10 December (the International Day of Human Rights). The campaign is designed to raise public support towards the elimination of all forms of violence against women and other gender-based human rights violations.
Pundi Perempuan is a solidarity public fund to support women victims of VAW. The fund goes towards support the performance of women’s crisis centres support victims in their struggle for justice and recovery, including running a safe-house. The fund is also used to support recovery activities initiated by the community of women survivors of VAW and to provide healthcare subsidies for women human rights defenders. Since 2003, Pundi Perempuan has been supporting 37 groups, two women victim groups and one woman human rights defender.
Mari Bicara Kebenaran (Let’s Talk Truth)
This is a movement to encourage Indonesians to open their mind and discuss the dark and hidden history of their own country through listening to the voices of woman survivors. It is aimed at raising public support towards the fulfilment of the rights of women victims and to ensure that gross violations of human rights do not reoccur in future.