JUBI: Discrimination against women must stop

JUBI:  Merauke.
5 September, 2013
A large gathering of people, mostly women, took place in Kampung Matara in the District of Semangga, Merauke to publicise the widespread occurrence  of domestic violence.Several of the women present wondered what happens to complaints made by women about the domestic violence they have suffered because as things stand at the moment, they have no idea about how these complaints are handled. Some of them wanted to know the telephone number of Engelberta, a well-known Papuan woman activist, so that they can phone her and inform her about having experienced domestic violence.

Such  incidents are clearly a serious violation of human rights as laid down in a number of international conventions …. [part of the text is missing at this point].

One participant said that the victims of such violence are mainly women and children. There are incidents when men are the victims but they can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

Engelberta said that the violence in most cases takes the form of physical or psychological violence. The latter refers to situations for instance where there is absolutely no communication between men and women. ‘This must not be allowed to continue, she said.

She stressed the importance of people reporting incidents of violence when they occur. ‘We must put an end to this discrimination against women. Whenever anyone commits an act of violence and behaves as if they can take the law into their own hands, the matter should be reported to  the police. It is the responsibility of the police to take anyone alleged to have committed an act of violence into custody for investigation.

She urged parents to pay close attention to what happens to their children at school or when they are playing together in the streets. These are situations, she said, when many acts of sexual abuse occur. She mentioned in particular a recent incident when a young boy was sexually abused by  an elderly person.

During the discussion, the head of the District of Semangga, Recky Samkakai said that no one, in particular women,  should be afraid of reporting incidents when they have personally experienced an act of violence. Such occurrences should be reported to the local police in order for the case to be handled in accordance with the law.

Translated by TAPOL

“Enough Is Enough!” Testimonies of Papuan Women Victims of Violence and Human Rights Violations 1963–2009


March 14, 2012
ICTJ, the Women Commission, and the Women Working Group of Papuan People Assembly

“We women of Papua have been bruised, cornered, besieged from all directions. We are not safe at home, and even less so outside the home. The burden we bear to feed our children is too heavy. The history of the Papuan people is covered in blood, and women are no exception as victims of the violence of blind military actions. We have experienced rape and sexual abuse in detention, in the grasslands, while seeking refuge, no matter where we were when the army and police conducted operations in the name of security.”

In 2009–2010, ICTJ, the Women Commission, and the Women Working Group of Papuan People Assembly provided support to Papuan women in a project to document gender-based violence and human rights violations that occurred between 1963 and 2009. This documentation effort aims to understand different patterns of violence, including abuses committed by security forces and resulting from efforts to seize natural resources in Papua, as well as violence women have experienced in their own households since the army took control of the region in 1963. Of the regions in Indonesia, Papua—on the verge of becoming independent when Soehato gained power—experienced some of the highest rates of atrocities committed under the regime. And recent crackdowns in Papua indicate the government is still adopting a heavy-handed security approach.

The women in Papua worked on this collection of stories of violence and abuse over three months, interviewing 261 people (243 women and 18 men). The report finds that a range of factors within Papua—violence employed by security forces, a culture of discrimination against women, and lack of political will to change policies among others—have meant the victims are still neglected and none of the effects of violence have been addressed. “Change cannot be postponed any longer,” the women conclude.

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