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Student activists struggle against conservative religious politics

Indonesia

ACTION • National Action against Sexual Violence in Indonesia

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Indonesian student activists struggle against conservative religious politics to ratify a progressive sexual violence bill.

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At the end of August 2021, the Indonesian Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology issued a ministerial regulation on the Prevention and Handling of Sexual Violence at Higher Education institutions. The Socialist Youth Organization (Organisasi Kaum Muda Sosialis-OKMS) considered that the Ministry’s Regulation, called regulation No. 30/2021, is progressive enough to prevent sexual violence on campus.

However, at the same time, the long-awaited Sexual Violence Eradication bill (the PKS Bill), which aims to protect women’s rights, has been on and off the table at the Parliament since 2012. Moreover, the PKS Bill was watered down before it was ratified. Under pressure from from religious conservative groups, the legislation removed any mention of ‘sexual consent’ from a bill supposed to eradicate sexual violence, because it might provide tacit approval of consensual extramarital sex. A

The Minitry’s Regulation No. 30/2021 risks following the same path as the PKS bill. Although various online campaigns and statements have supported the Ministry’s Regulation, a solid mass mobilisation in support of it is still lacking. The Socialist Youth Organization wants to connect the struggle to defend The Ministry’s Regulation No. 30/2021 with the PKS Bill with strategic poster campaigns and national demonstrations to bolster support for the the ratification of the PKS Bill.