Indonesian parliament passes landmark bill aimed at tackling sexual violence

Indonesia’s parliament has finally managed to pass the bill against sexual violence that had been in discussion for six years. The passing of the bill holds significance as the Muslim majority country often sees sexual abuse as a private matter, not a legal one.

However, the bill has received some objection from activists because of its limited scope. It only talks about some sex crimes and has omitted rape from its ambit. The government has promised that clauses on rape will be included in some other legislation.

The country’s House of Representative passed the RUU Tindak Pidana Kekerasan Seksual (RUU TPKS) bill with a majority vote. “This is a gift to all Indonesian women and the people of Indonesia. We hope that the implementation of this law will resolve sexual violence cases,” said speaker Puan Maharani after the passing of the bill.

The National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) and civil society groups had first advocated for such a legislation a decade ago. However, a draft bill was only submitted in 2016.