Negotiating Gender Justice, Contesting Discrimination: Mapping Strategies that Intersect Culture, Women and Human Rights

Publication Date: 
September, 2010
Mapping Strategies that Intersect Culture, Women and Human Rights


This report documents diverse strategies adopted by community groups in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia and Nepal to negotiate women’s rights in the context of culture, while grounding the strategies in the specific political - historic local and national contexts. It looks at secular strategies along with the more recent responses to fundamentalism, that use cultural identity and religious/ cultural resources. The report provides a rich account initiatives that promote culture as relational, transforming, plural and accommodating of women’s rights, and in doing so, challenges dominant static and fundamentalist assertions of culture. This documentation assumes significance in relation to human rights with the creation of the new mandate of the Independent Expert in the field of Cultural Rights in 2009, in that it gives content to the term cultural diversity and participation and contribution to cultural life, both integral part of Cultural Rights.  

South Sulawesi, Indonesia: General Statement on Socialization of Indonesia's Porn Law

Publication Date: 
September 1, 2010
Women's Activist Coalition of South Sulawesi




Since the enactment of Indonesia's pornography law No. 44 year 2008, therefore we, from Women’s activists coalition of South Sulawesi rejected the bill and urged the government to withdraw the law.  Our legal effort that we have done by doing a judicial review of this pornography act was rejected by the constitutional court.

Supporting syariah, advancing women

Publication Date: 
September 1, 2010
Inside Indonesia
Umi Rahimum at her daya (Photo: David Kloos)


The life and work of an Islamic teacher in Aceh shows that the struggle for gender equality is about much more than syariah.

In Aceh, a special formulation of Islamic law, the qanun, was implemented in 2003, and ever since, national and international media covering Aceh have been obsessed with it. Although this interest is perhaps understandable, it also results in distorted, incomplete, and sometimes false portrayals of local dynamics.

Shariah in Aceh: Eroding Indonesia’s Secular Freedoms

Publication Date: 
August 18, 2010
Jakarta Globe
A woman is caned and shamed in Aceh’s Pidie Jaya district for breaking Shariah bylaws.

A woman is caned and shamed in Aceh’s Pidie Jaya district for breaking Shariah bylaws. It is unclear who was actually behind the implementation of Shariah and resistance to the controversial code is growing.  (Antara Photo/Rahmad)

Feminists on the Frontline: Case Studies of Resisting and Challenging Fundamentalisms

Publication Date: 
August, 2010
Association for Women in Development

This collection of case studies is a testament to the women and men around the world who have stood up to reject the imposition of norms and values in the name of religion as well as to expose and challenge the privileged position given to religion in public policies. In 2008 AWID launched a call for proposals to document the strategies of women's rights activists confronting religious fundamentalisms. The final 18 case studies presented here are drawn from a wide range of religious and geographical contexts, and cover various fields of activism. We hope that this collection will inspire, inform and encourage discussion and debate. Please visit this page again for updates, as finalized case studies and a brief summary of each case study will be posted on a rolling basis. We will also soon be posting a paper that introduces the trends and themes that are threaded through the various case studies.

Islam without veil

Publication Date: 
July 27, 2010
The Jakarta Post

Since the recent controversy surrounding the French government’s ban on total face coverings (burqa or niqab), the head scarf issue has once again attracted the world’s attention.

Amnesty International launches action to protect women domestic workers in Indonesia

Publication Date: 
June 24, 2010
Amnesty International
Protect women domestic workers in Indonesia

Women domestic workers in Indonesia face human rights abuses at work, including economic exploitation, poor working conditions and gender-based discrimination. 

There are around 2.6 million women domestic workers in Indonesia, but they are not protected by current legislation safeguarding workers' rights. As a result they are subjected to physical, psychological and sexual violence in the workplace.

Many domestic workers are denied sexual and reproductive rights, such as access to information and services on family planning, contraceptives and the prevention of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Civil society groups have been campaigning for a specific law on domestic workers that will provide legal recognition and safeguard their rights.

Indonesia: 'Islamic' Police Jailed for Gang-Raping Woman

Publication Date: 
July 15, 2010
THe Jakarta Globe
A government prosecutor hands over a whip to a Shariah police officer during a public caning in Aceh earlier this year.

Banda Aceh.
An Indonesian court on Thursday jailed two Islamic policemen for gang-raping a young woman in custody, a case that has sparked outrage in the deeply religious province of Aceh.

Mohammed Nazir, 29, and Feri Agus, 28, were found guilty of raping a 20-year-old student in a police station in January after she was arrested with her boyfriend under local laws designed to enforce Islamic morals.

Women point to biases in Koranic exegesis

Publication Date: 
July 3, 2010
The Jakarta Post
Nur Rofiah

Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and the National Commission on Violence Against Women and Children are hopeful their newly launched book will change the views of the Indonesian Muslim community surrounding women and their rights.

Breaking the Silence: Religion listens to the voice of women victims of violence for the sake of justice, launced on June 30, is intended to serve as a reference for clerics, Islamic women's organizations and the government, in promoting progressive and just perspectives on the Islamic view of women.

Indonesia: Islamists take fight against Christians to Jakarta's suburbs

Publication Date: 
July 7, 2010
Associate Press, Indonesia
The banner in front of a mosque at Bekasi on the outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

A banner with a picture of a young, bespectacled Christian man is draped in front of a mosque, a fiery noose around his neck and the words: "This man deserves the death penalty!" Churches are shut down. And an Islamic youth militia held its first day of training.

Though the events all occurred less than 15 kilometres from Indonesia's bustling capital, making headlines in local papers and dominating chats on social networking sites such as Facebook, they've sparked little public debate in the halls of power.

"I really see this as a threat to democracy," said Arbi Sanit, a political analyst, noting leaders never like to say anything that can be perceived as "un-Islamic," because they depend heavily on the support of Muslim parties in parliament. "Being popular is more important to them than punishing those who are clearly breaking the law," Sanit said.