Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations
MS. KHOFIFAH INDAR PARAWANSA
FOR THE EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN
OF THE REPUBLIC OF INDONESIA
BEFORE THE TWENTY-THIRD
OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
ENTITLED "WOMEN 2000: GENDER EQUALITY?
DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE FOR
THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY"
NEW YORK, 9 JUNE 2000
It is a great honor and privilege for me to join you here today in this twenty-third special session of the United Nations General Assembly.
As a developing country contending with formidable social, economic and political challenges, Indonesia has not found it an easy task to translate the global concepts on women's rights and gender equality into practical country level strategies, nor to replicate the best practices from all over the world in promoting the welfare of women. Nevertheless, we have been greatly inspired by the strong commitment of the international community to fulfill the Beijing Platform for Action and the Nairobi Forward-Looking Strategies, as well as by the current efforts to mainstream the gender perspective into all policies and programs in the UN system.
In 1999, Indonesia's People's Assembly adopted its new Broad State Policy Guidelines that, inter alia, identifies gender equality and gender justice as one of our national development objectives. Moreover, Indonesia's newly reconstituted State Ministry for Women's Empowerment has conducted an internal reorganization and policy review that resulted in far-reaching changes on how the Ministry defines and carries its mission. The Ministry is presently launching different steps to support other departments and government agencies to develop policies and programs to reduce gender gaps in their respective areas of responsibility. Gender mainstreaming is one of the main strategies for achieving the national development goals of gender equality and gender justice. In order to affirm the joint roles and responsibilities for gender mainstreaming, we are now drafting Presidential Instructions. This new regulation will require every government department and agency to: first, assess the differential impact on women and men of legislation, policies, programs, projects, and budgets through gender based analysis; second, take positive measures to close gender gaps in the access to and benefits from development resources and gains; third, establish internal institutional mechanisms for coordinating, evaluating, and reporting the results of Indonesia's gender mainstreaming strategy.
In order to obtain nation wide support in our quest for gender mainstreaming, a Bureau of Women's Empowerment have been established in 14 out of 27 provincial governments offices. There are 89 centers for women studies located all over the country, as important parts of the national machinery for the advancement of women, but improvement of their quality is a great challenge. Moreover, there are numerous institutions to end violence against women and promote women's human rights, such as the National Commission on Human Rights, the National Commission on the Protection of Children, and the National Commission on Violence against Women. The latter is now developing models of witness protection programs to be adopted by the Government, as well as draft laws on the protection of victims and witnesses of violence.
In November 1999, Indonesia strengthened its commitment to the objective of eliminating violence against women as a key barrier to gender equality. It was then that the State Minister for Women's Empowerment officially announced a joint "State and Community Proclamation to Eliminate Violence Against Women", on behalf of members of the government- including the vice-president, all cabinet ministers and many parliamentarians - NGOs and members of the community - including representatives of national and regional women's groups and equality-seeking organizations. To end violence against women, a government and civil society partnership has developed a national action plan based on a "zero tolerance policy".
In February of this year, Indonesia signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). The Government is now also reviewing from a gender perspective all of Indonesia's laws and regulations to identify those that discriminate against women. A large array of Indonesian women's NGOs, women's rights groups and human rights organizations have played an important role as partners and supporters for the harmonization of amendments of laws, policies and programs with a view to making them in line with the Women's Convention, the Beijing Platform and the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
There are many challenges still ahead. The financial crisis has had a profound impact on the quality of life of all Indonesians. The economic effects of the crisis have especially hard hit women. A national survey in 1998 showed that the problem was compounded by the fact that 12.95 per cent of Indonesian families are headed by women, a majority of whom are divorced or widowed and work outside the home. Studies reveal that families headed by women are disproportionately high among the poor, and that childcare in such families is inadequate, thereby adversely affecting the growth and development of children, especially girls.
The economic crisis has also increased maternal mortality rates and the incidence of poverty among women, as well as increasing drug abuse. In response to these challenges, Indonesia is carrying out various programmes. One of those programmes is the strengthening and revitalization of community service centers, called POSYANDU. There are over 200.000 POSYANDU spread out in urban and rural areas. POSYANDU basically provides integrated services for health, nutrition, family planning, and activities aimed at generating income for women as part of the poverty alleviation -; strategy. Being also the Chairperson of the National Family Planning Coordination Board (BKKBN), I intend to launch a social education campaign to further reduce maternal mortality, infant mortality, and to help prevent spread of sexual transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS, through promoting a more active role of husbands in reproductive health.
Early age marriages are still common in many parts of the country and it exposes the girl child to health risks. It also stands in the way of attaining sufficient formal education that will provide the knowledge and skills necessary to empower and enable her to improve her life. It is therefore essential, that social and cultural barriers to the proper education of women and girls, including the widespread practice of early age marriages, should be eliminated.
The Government is also endeavoring to uphold the human rights of women in the workplace. Having ratified all of the ILO's core conventions, including Convention No. 182 on the worst forms of child labour, Indonesia is embarking on a program to reform labour laws. Such a reform is being carried out to ensure that women's rights at work are respected, which are crucial to their self-reliance and improvement of their living conditions and families. Furthermore, Indonesia is committed to reversing the negative effects of the crisis on women and to removing entrenched barriers preventing their full participation in political life and economic development. We are also taking immediate and vigorous action to stop such ruthless practices as trafficking in women and children, child prostitution and pornography.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are please to note that prominent women's and human rights NGO's at the national and international levels have extended their support and assistance to Indonesian women migrant workers who seek redress for violations of their human rights in the receiving countries. We hope that more countries and NGO's can join together to give the women migrant workers a safe and dignified life and working environment. Let me therefore seize this opportunity to pay tribute to the good work these NGO's are doing in defending the human rights of women migrant workers all over the world.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In our common noble endeavour to improve and promote the rights of women and children, we in Indonesia have along way to go and undoubtedly international support and cooperation is needed. Nevertheless, Indonesia remains committed to helping women and children realize their full human rights and an enhanced quality of life. To realize gender equality, equity and justice, we pledge our readiness to work together with all members of the international community in enhancing the status of women everywhere for the well being of all humankind.