Women and Human Rights Under Islam


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Women and Human Rights Under Islam

  2. 2. WOMEN IN THE REFORM ERAIN INDONESIA (1998-2007)Lecture 3
  3. 3. The End of 32 YearsAuthoritarian Rule• May 21, 1998 Suharto stepped down, ending 32 years ofauthoritarian, military dominated-rule• Opened up Pandora’s box of New Order: illusion of Indonesia’sdevelopment paradigm, ‘bubble economy’ dependent offoreign loans, monopoly, collusion corruption, nepotism (KKN)• Indonesia plummeted further into ‘kristal’ (krisis total, totalcrisis) - political, economic, moral, which had preceded theSuharto’s ouster• May riots, peak of anarchy: mass destruction, arson, looting,rampages, and rape of Chinese women• Emergence of new civil society groupings: political, religious,student and women > opening up of democratic space
  4. 4. Women as Pioneers ofDemocratization• Suara Ibu Peduli (SIP), Voice of Concerned Mothers: the first, helddemonstration Feb. 23, 1998, at Hotel Indonesia roundabout,demanding economic and political reforms, moved by concern forsoaring prices, social unrest, and rise in violence• Participants: university lecturers, activists, intellectuals andhousewives, playing on state ibuism model to legitimise their action• Timing: bold, held during week-long ban on demonstrations beforeparliamentary session to elect a ‘new’ president• Historical: the first time in 32 years a women’s group taken to streetsin protest of the government, and first of any civil society group
  5. 5. Awakening of Civil Society’sPolitical Consciousness• Other civil society groups followed: professionals, Muslim, civilservants, students, business people, housewives, and other middle-class groups who had otherwise been complacent or inert. No daywithout demonstrations!• Increase in number of NGOs and social organisations• Political parties: mushroomed uncontrollably (including PartaiPerempuan Indonesia, Indonesian Women Party), a reflection ofstrong desire to participate in a more liberal and open arena, as wellas to access political power previously denied in New Order.• Political parties viewed ambivalently, perceived as reflecting narrow,selfish interests, even extremism; power, not people-oriented
  6. 6. Short and Long Term Issues• Short term: Habibie’s (former VP) presidency, Suharto family &cronies, eliminating KKN, role of military, legitimacy of government• Long term: deeply entrenched economic crisis, reviewingdevelopment policies, making institutional changes, doing away withthe dual-function of the military, breathing new life into economic,political and legal spheres, creating bureaucratic efficiency, changingthe electoral system, formation of true political party system,creating a free press, redressing the ethnic economic balance,reaffirming religious tolerance, liberalization of the educationsystem, legal reform, decentralization of the economy, politicalpower and government, and a greater decision-making role forwomen
  7. 7. Change in Balance ofForces & Political Powers• Considerable weakening of state power, in particular, theexecutive branch, and legislature become dominant branch• Weakening of military power, rise of civil society and religiousgroups• Decentralization and regional autonomy
  8. 8. Women as conspicuous politicalparticipants• In the transitional period between New Order and the Reform Era, informal political and state structures: Megawati Sukarnoputri as firstwoman party leader (PDI-P - Indonesian Nationalist Party) and symbolof opposition to the wrongs of unrestrained executive power; SitiHardiyanti Rukmana (Tutut, Suharto’s daughter) as most influentialleader in Golkar and as a cabinet minister (Social Affairs); firstwoman faction leader in parliament; first woman deputy speaker ofthe MPR (People’s Consultative Assembly); and first womanagriculture minister• Women more influential, occupying senior positions in economic andpolitical portfolios
  9. 9. Women as conspicuous…• In civil society: SIP (Voice of Concerned Mothers), Women’s Coalitionfor Justice and Democracy (founded May 18, 1999, more overtlypolitical than SIP), women’s NGOs, lawyers, and individual activists(academics, scholars, journalists, artists, writers).• Gained legitimacy from their role as protectors of the moral andsocial order• In first 6 months of 1998, protested against state violence, dwifungsi,soaring prices of basic commodities and against state-sanctionedreligious & ethnic intolerance• Staged demonstrations, organised inter-faith prayers, issuing politicalstatements and analysis, arrested for political activism, establishednew political organisations, and strong advocates of political reformin President Habibie’s transitional government
  10. 10. Initial advancesand achievement• May Riots 1998: ironically the riots, which included the organisedrapes of Chinese women, added momentum to women’s politicalactivism (during crisis, increase in VAW, including domestic violence;VAW systemically used by state to suppress separatism in Aceh,Papua, E. Timor)• Visit of Radhika Comaraswamy in 1998, UN Raporteur on Violenceagainst Women, leading to Formation of National Commission onViolence against Women (set up by Presidential Decree under Habibieadministration)• Raised awareness of women’s political rights (politically correct),advocacy campaigns for women’s political participation, push forwomen’s quotas in parties, parliament, state bodies
  11. 11. Women’s concerns sidelined• Women’s concerns sidelined by ‘bigger’ socio-economic andpolitical issues, and power interests and competition• Partly a carryover from past attitudes, but also because ofsignificant contemporary political issues: who would be newleader, what would be basis of the state, role of Islam, shouldSuharto be tried for past abuses, etc.• First democratic elections in 1999: organisation of politicalparties to contest in elections rose to national centre stage• Parties - 180 plus created, 48 eligible for elections, heavilydominated by men• For PDI-P, having Megawati as party leader and striving tomake her president of R.I. was the women’s issue
  12. 12. Women sidelined…• Women’s issues co-mingled with broader struggle for democracy• Views of larger parties: democracy, with attendant equality beforelaw and human rights = solution to women’s problems• Women’s issues used to suit other political interests. Many Islamicparties opposed Megawati’s presidential bid: a woman could not bepresident of an ‘Islamic’ country• Underlying tension (the real issue): opposition of Islamic parties tosomeone from secular-nationalist stream to the presidency. ThatMega was a woman, made it easier to construct the ‘politicalarguments’ against her• No unity among women, on top of conflicts between reform andstatus-quo groups, and within reform groups, so women’s issuesslipped quietly away
  13. 13. Women’s Political Participation• Historically underrepresented: involved in struggle forindependence, but then relegated back to ‘the kitchen’. InNew Order marginalised by state ideology and KKN (e.g.parliamentary seats taken by wives and daughters of men inpower)• In 1955, the only democratic election since 1999, inIndonesia’s brief period of liberal democracy (1949-58),women represented 2.9% of parliamentary candidates. In 1971,4%…….. (check out more figures)
  14. 14. Will the real Islam stand up?• 88% of people identify themselves as Muslim, but the streams of Islamin Indonesia are many, dozens and more• From Osama bin Laden look-alikes (in appearance as well as inideology and political goal, to JIL (Jaringan Islam Liberal, Network ofLiberal Muslims) who adopt a scholarly, intellectual, and liberalinterpretation of Islam; sufi (spiritualist) and syncreticinterpretations & practices• Islamic political parties and mass organizations, some aiming forIslamic state, others more inclusive• Rise of feminist interpretations of the Quran: publications (books,magazines), and organisations (mass and NGOs)• Majority moderate, but growing trend in Arabization: wearing of‘Muslim’ attire for both men (koko shirt, cap, beard) and women(covered head to toe & headscarf) > fashion & identity
  15. 15. Countervailing Forces• Conservative forces (traditional and religious) on the rise, claimingtheir rights and determined not to let their chances slip out of theiryet again• At same time, Indonesia had grown up with the world (one of thepositive aspects of globalisation and the information age), exposed tonotions of democracy, freedom of expression, human, gender andsexual rights that came unfiltered through the media, cable TV,internet, pop culture, consumerism, free trade, global activism,group (e.g. NGOs) and personal relationships• At end of New Order, the conflict between conservative andprogressive forces were already sharp, but in Reform Era, theybecame even more clearly defined
  16. 16. Arenas of Conflict• No longer focused in the arena of formal politics, althoughfights between political parties and parliament also veryvisible; also open debates in the press and law suits (?)• The state bowed to societal forces and merely attempted toarbitrate between interest groups• Two case studies:1. Perda: regional regulations2. RUU APP
  17. 17. Identity Politics• In the Reform Era, the notion of ‘national identity’ and theauthority of the state were shot, as ‘Suharto, family andcronies were the state, and they were out.• Deconstruction of power, social, political, economicstructures, and search for new meanings (ideologies andbeliefs) and negotiation of identities• Remember: global context after 9/11, hegemony of the US,terrorism & violence as expression of rampant anarchy• Three main elements (to replace ‘national identity’):ethnicity, religion, gender and their sexual components
  18. 18. Decentralisation andRegional Autonomy• Reformasi: a promise to unravel the New Order and the legacyof state control. One of key mechanisms was the granting theregions various levels of autonomy• Buah simalakama (Catch 21), Pandora’s box or socialdynamics? A necessity but full of perils• Three decades of repressed identities let out, exploded to thefore. In the regions often they were primordial, conservative,even reactionary• Wave of regional elections up to 2005: brought some of mostradical changes Indonesia has experienced in decades
  19. 19. New and/or old?• 219 local elections to date, some 40% resulted in the removal of oldincumbents and the rise of new elites• New-but-old: these ‘new’ elites were in fact old elites redux, leaderspushed to one side in the New Order, reasserting themselves threedecades later.• Invariably make, and deriving their authority from traditional localsources: adat ( traditional values/laws) and religion• Legitimacy from conservative and socially-regressive value systemslinked to local identity• In many regions these groups replacing the old Jakarta-endorsedbureaucrats, most who had strong secular, nationalist bent, and somelevel of commitment to a modernising agenda
  20. 20. Strengthening Local Support• Local heroes want to differentiate themselves from the oldapparatchiks• Strengthen local support by supporting or even leading localagendas sponsored by conservative/religious groups• Result: wave of attempts to introduce conservativeinterpretations of adat and syariah-derived moral normsthrough regional regulations (Perda - Peraturan Daerah) at theprovincial, district and sub-district levels• Occurred mainly in Aceh, but social disruption not sosignificant as many of the norms underpinning the new Qanon(syariah-based laws) already internalised by the Acehnese
  21. 21. Hierarchy of Authorityof Laws• Syariah: Gods law contained in Quran and the hadith(traditions/ sayings of prophet)• Fiqh/fikih: man-man interpretations of God’s law• Qanun: Acehnese perda, application of norms made intolegislation, derived from fiqh, but also just governance laws(municipal laws, dispute resolution, education, health, etc).The term ‘qanun’ is derived from the Ottoman empire, whichhad Jews, Christians and Muslims, and there were separatelaws for Muslims
  22. 22. Creeping Fiqhizationin the Regions• New regulatory regimes clearly inspired by Muslim hard-liners• Example:1. drafting of Acehnese Qanun inspired by controversial andcontroversial codes introduced by PAS (Partai islam Se-Malaysia),rurally based, in Kelantan and Trengganu, poor backward rural states2. Drafting of Islamic code for South Sulawesi in 2001, attended byAbu Bakar Basyir, recently returned from Malaysia• Defeat at national level: in 2002, proponents of Islamisation soundlydefeated in the MPR (parliament) to re-insert the ‘Jakarta Charter’(obligation for Muslims to apply syariah) into the constitution, deletedin 1945
  23. 23. Jakarta Charterunder the Radar• Failure at national level pushes hardliners to renew efforts tointroduce legal grounds for syariah implementation at thelocal level, with some success• Implementation of perda in 42 districts in the regions of:Padang (South Sumatra), Cianjur (West Java), Bulukumba(South Sulawesi), Pamekasan (island of Madura, East Java),Tangerang, etc• Aim and target: to regulate behaviour as prescribed by ‘Islam’• Women victimised the most
  24. 24. Perda:some case studies• Tangerang Morality Building: Tangerang, an industrial sateliteof Jakarta, passed draconian laws against prostitution anddrinking (except in 3 to 5-star hotels. By-laws No. 8/2005,bans people in public places, from persuading or coercing,either in words or gestures, acts of prostitution. Limits arealso imposed on hemlines, which forbid schoolgirls fromwearing skirts ending below the knees.• The much publicized case of a pregnant woman, waiting to bepicked up by her husband, was arrested, and had to languish inprison for 4 days until her husband came to pick her up• Aceh: women having hair cut off for not wearing headscarf;caned for being caught with a man not her husband, etc
  25. 25. Comments & criticismagainst Perda• Indra Pilliang (CSIS): A 2004 law gives central government the powerto squash perda if they contravened national laws or the Constitution,but don’t because of fear of offending religious groups because theyneed their electoral support and for fear of inflaming conflict• Ryaas Rasyid (former regional autonomy minister): central govt shouldbe more active in enforcing the law and determining if theregulations were illegal. Laws requiring women, even non-Muslims, towear headscarves, should be abolished• Andi Yuliani Paris (National Mandate Party, Islamic party with secularplatform): regulations that divide religious groups will sharpenconflict. A judicial review or class action could be filed against localadministrations
  26. 26. Central Government Stancetoward Perda• Perda produced by local government according to regionalautonomy laws, except religious affairs (and foreign affairs)• Ministry of Internal Affairs can strike out non-compliant perda,and have done so on a number of occassions, but have notdone so with precisely the religious perda• Rumour has it that Susilo Bambang Yudoyono hates the perda,but doesn’t do anything about it because of fear of backlashfrom Islamic constituency• Politics as usual, just like in the New Order
  27. 27. Victimises & Targets Women• Much of the perda restricts women’s behaviour and freedomand even criminalises them:1. Clothing: not allowed to wear clothes that reveal hair,arms, thighs2. Travel: cannot travel alone3. Employment: cannot work at night• In the same way that State Ibuism marginalised and oppressedwomen, these local perdas produced by the local despots aredoing the same
  28. 28. Perda counter toDemocratization• Irony: Reforms intended to give democracy and the right to avoice to milliosn of people silenced for decades under Suharto,may strip away the few rights they have• Against pluralism: what about non-Muslims?• Strips away freedom of ideas, expression and politicalparticipation fought so hard for by the opponents of Suharto• Regional conservatism not isolated Reflected in RUU APP - theAnti-Pornography and Anti-Pornoaction Bill being debated inDPR (People’s Representative Assembly)