Rape and Domestic Violence: The law prohibits rape, domestic abuse, and other forms of violence against women. A 2016 government survey found that one-third of women between the ages of 15 and 64 had experienced violence. Violence against women previously had been poorly documented and significantly underreported by the government. Domestic violence was the most common form of violence against women.
The legal definition of rape covers only forced penetration of sexual organs, and filing a case requires corroboration and a witness. Rape is punishable by four to 14 years in prison. While the government imprisoned perpetrators of rape and attempted rape, sentences were often light, and many convicted rapists received the minimum sentence. Marital rape is not a specific criminal offense under the penal code, but it is covered under “forced sexual intercourse” in national legislation on domestic violence, and it can be punished with criminal penalties. Reliable nationwide statistics on the incidence of rape continued to be unavailable, although in June 2016, the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment announced the creation of a nationwide data center to monitor cases of sexual violence.
The government ran integrated service centers for women and children (P2TPA) in all 34 provinces and approximately 242 districts, which provided counseling and support services to victims of violence. The larger provincial service centers provided more comprehensive psychosocial services, while the quality of support at the district-level centers varied. Women living in rural areas or districts where no such center was established had difficulty receiving support services and some centers were only open for six hours a day and not the required 24 hours. Nationwide, police operated “special crisis rooms” or “women’s desks” where female officers received reports from female and child victims of sexual assault and trafficking and where victims found temporary shelter.
In addition to the provincial-level task forces, the number of task forces at the local (district or city level) rose from 191 in 2015 to 196 of 497 districts/towns in 2016.
Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): FGM/C reportedly occurred regularly, and no laws prohibit the practice. A February 6 UNICEF report, which reflected 2013 government data, estimated that 49 percent of girls age 11 and younger, or an estimated 60 million women and girls, have undergone some form of FGM/C, despite laws prohibiting medical professionals from administering it. The Ministry of Women’s Empowerment has been vocal about its opposition to FGM/C but has run up against conservative groups, including the Indonesian Ulema Council, who claimed a religious foundation for the practice. For more information, see data.unicef.org/resources/female-genital-mutilation-cutting-country-profiles/ .
Sexual Harassment: Article 281 of the criminal code, which prohibits indecent public acts, serves as the basis for criminal complaints stemming from sexual harassment. Violations of this article are punishable by imprisonment of up to two years and eight months and a small fine. Civil society and NGOs reported sexual harassment was a problem countrywide, but government institutions actively worked to counter it.
Coercion in Population Control: There were no reports of coerced abortion, involuntary sterilization, or other coercive population control methods. Estimates on maternal mortality and contraceptive prevalence are available at: www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/monitoring/maternal-mortality-2015/en/ .
Discrimination: The law provides for the same legal status and rights for women as for men under family, labor, property, and nationality laws, but does not grant widows equal inheritance rights. The law states that women’s participation in the development process must not conflict with their role in improving family welfare and educating the younger generation. The 1974 Marriage Law establishes the legal age of marriage as 16 for women and 19 for men. The same law also designates the man as the head of the household. As such, married women who work outside the home are taxed at a higher rate than working husbands.
Divorce is available to both men and women. Many divorcees received no alimony, since there was no system to enforce such payments. The law requires a divorced woman to wait 40 days before remarrying; a man may remarry immediately.
The National Commission on Violence against Women reported 421 policies that discriminate against women were issued by provincial, district and municipal administrations between 2009 and 2014. These include “morality laws” and antiprostitution regulations, such as those in Bantul and Tanggerang, that have been used to detain women walking alone at night. More than 70 local regulations require women to dress conservatively or wear a headscarf. The Ministry of Home Affairs is responsible for “harmonizing” local regulations that are not in line with national legislation, but as of August the ministry had not invoked this authority to overturn any gender discriminatory local regulations.
Women faced discrimination in the workplace, both in hiring and in gaining fair compensation.
Birth Registration: Citizenship is primarily acquired through one’s parents or through birth in national territory. Without birth registration, families may face difficulties in accessing government-sponsored insurance benefits and enrolling children in schools.
The law prohibits fees for legal identity documents issued by the civil registry. Nevertheless, NGOs reported that in some districts local authorities did not provide free birth certificates.
Education: Although the constitution guarantees free education, most schools were not free, and poverty puts education out of reach for many children. In 2015 the government introduced a nationwide compulsory 12-year school program, but the implementation was inconsistent. The Ministry of Education, representing public and private schools, and the Ministry of Religion for Islamic schools and madrasahs, introduced a new system giving students from low-income families a certain amount of money for their educational needs.
According to the National Statistics Agency, in 2016 approximately one million children between ages seven and 15 did not attend primary or secondary school. An estimated 3.6 million children between ages 16 and 18 did not attend school.
Child Abuse: There continued to be reports of child labor and sexual abuse. The law prohibits child abuse, but NGOs criticized the slow police response in responding to such allegations. The Child Protection Act addresses economic and sexual exploitation of children, as well as adoption, guardianship, and other issues. Some provincial governments did not enforce these provisions.
Early and Forced Marriage: The legal distinction between a woman and a girl was not clear. The marriage law sets the minimum marriageable age at 16 for women (19 for men), but the child protection law states that persons under age 18 are not adults. A girl who marries has adult legal status. Girls frequently married before reaching the age of 16, particularly in rural and impoverished areas. See also the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: The penal code forbids consensual sex outside of marriage with girls under the age of 15. The law does not address heterosexual acts between women and boys, but it prohibits same-sex acts between adults and minors. On March 14, Jakarta police disrupted a major Facebook group used for sharing child pornography.
The Pornography Law prohibits child pornography and prescribes a maximum sentence of 12 years and fine of IDR six billion ($447,000) for producing or trading in child pornography.
According to 2016 data from the Ministry of Social Affairs, there were 56,000 underage sex workers in the country; UNICEF estimated that nationwide 40,000 to 70,000 children were victims of sexual exploitation and that 30 percent of all females in prostitution were children.
Displaced Children: According to a Ministry of Social Affairs’ March 2017 report, there were approximately four million neglected children nationwide, including an estimated 16,000 street children. The government continued to fund shelters administered by local NGOs and paid for the education of some street children.
International Child Abductions: The country is not a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. For more information, see the Department of State’s Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction at travel.state.gov/content/childabduction/en/legal/compliance.html.
The country’s Jewish population was extremely small. Some fringe media outlets published anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.
Trafficking in Persons
See the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.
Persons with Disabilities
The law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical and mental disabilities, and mandates accessibility to public facilities for persons with disabilities. The government, however, did not always enforce this provision. Persons with disabilities are legally classified into three categories: physically disabled, intellectually disabled, and physically and intellectually disabled. These categories are further divided for schooling.
In 2013 the General Elections Commission signed a memorandum of agreement with several NGOs to increase the participation of persons with disabilities in the national elections. As a result 3.6 million voters with disabilities were eligible to vote in the 2014 elections. Regional elections in 2015 and 2017 saw increased accessibility nationwide for voters with disabilities. Improvements were not uniform around the country, however.
Persons with disabilities also faced lingering social and cultural stigmas that depressed accurate counting of persons with disabilities, in turn resulting in resource underallocation. Due to social stigmas that view persons with disabilities as “spiritually deficient,” persons with disabilities commonly failed to pursue the accommodations to which they are entitled.
The law provides children with disabilities the right to an education and rehabilitative treatment. According to NGO data, there were 1.4 million children with disabilities in the country, and fewer than 4 percent had access to education. Children with disabilities were reportedly seven times less likely to attend school than other school-age children. More than 90 percent of blind children were reported to be illiterate.
In 2016, the DPR passed a comprehensive disability rights law that requires improved access and accommodations for persons with disabilities, including provisions for reasonable accommodation at work, and establishing new employment quotas, concessions, and prohibitions. It also imposes criminal sanctions for violators of the rights of persons with disabilities.
The government officially promotes racial and ethnic tolerance, but in practice in some areas, religious majorities took discriminatory action against religious minorities, and local authorities made no effective response.
On February 11, an estimated 200,000 people attended a “mass prayer” at Jakarta’s national mosque that was organized by members of the FPI and other groups that urged Muslims to vote for a Muslim candidate in the February 14 Jakarta gubernatorial election. The event implicitly opposed the leadership of Jakarta governor Ahok, an ethnic Chinese Christian, who was running for election after having risen administratively from vice governor to governor when the governor’s position became vacant. The FPI and other groups made Ahok’s ethnicity and religion an issue throughout the campaign season. The groups claimed that Governor Ahok committed blasphemy during a September 2016 speech in which he cited a verse of the Quran to defend pluralism, angering some conservative clerics and Muslim leaders who alleged the remarks were blasphemous. In November 2016 an estimated 60,000-100,000 persons participated in a Jakarta protest intended to prompt Ahok’s arrest for blasphemy. Another protest calling for Ahok’s arrest was held in December 2016, with an estimated 500,000 participants.
The government views all citizens as “indigenous”; however, it recognizes the existence of several “isolated communities” and their right to participate fully in political and social life. The Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance of the Archipelago estimated there are between 50 and 70 million indigenous people in the country. These communities include the myriad Dayak tribes of Kalimantan, families living as sea nomads, and the 312 officially recognized indigenous groups in Papua. Indigenous persons, most notably in Papua and West Papua, were subject to discrimination, and there was little improvement in respecting their traditional land rights. Mining and logging activities, many of them illegal, posed significant social, economic, logistical, and legal problems to indigenous communities. The government failed to prevent companies, often in collusion with the local military and police, from encroaching on indigenous peoples’ land. Melanesians in Papua, who were mostly Christians, cited endemic racism and discrimination as drivers of violence and economic inequality in the region.
In December 2016 President Jokowi announced the government granted 53,000 acres of forest concessions to nine local indigenous groups to support local community livelihoods. These “customary forest” or hutan adat land grants are a new land classification specifically designed for use by indigenous groups. Nevertheless, access to ancestral lands continued to be a major source of conflict throughout the country and large corporations and government regulations continued to displace persons from their ancestral lands. Central and local government officials reportedly extracted kickbacks from mining and palm oil companies in exchange for land access at the expense of the local populace.
The government program of transferring migrants from overcrowded islands, such as Java and Madura, diminished greatly in recent years. Communal conflicts often occurred along ethnic lines in areas with sizeable transmigrant populations (see Other Societal Violence and Discrimination below).
Acts of Violence, Discrimination, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
The antidiscrimination law does not apply to LGBTI individuals, and discrimination against LGBTI persons continued. Families often put LGBTI minors into therapy, confined them to their homes, or pressured them to marry.
The pornography law criminalizes the production of media depicting consensual same-sex sexual activity and classifies such activity as deviant. Fines range from IDR 250 million to seven billion ($18,600 to $522,000) and sentences from six months to 15 years, with increased penalties of one-third for crimes involving minors.
In addition, local regulations across the country criminalize same-sex sexual activity. For example, the province of South Sumatra and the municipality of Palembang have local ordinances criminalizing same-sex sexual activity and prostitution. Under a local ordinance in Jakarta, security officers consider any transgender person in the streets at night to be a sex worker.
According to media and NGO reports, local authorities sometimes abused transgender individuals and forced them to pay bribes following detention. In some cases the government failed to protect LGBTI individuals from societal abuse. Police corruption, bias, and violence caused LGBTI individuals to avoid interaction with police. Officials often ignored formal complaints by victims and affected persons. In criminal cases with LGBTI victims, police investigated the cases reasonably well, as long as the suspect was not affiliated with police.
Article 63 of Aceh’s sharia criminal code bans homosexual activities and makes them punishable by up to 100 lashes, a fine of approximately IDR 551 million ($41,000), or an eight-year prison term (100 months). According to Aceh’s Sharia Agency chief, at least four witnesses must observe individuals engaging in homosexual activities for them to be charged. On May 10, two gay men in Aceh who reportedly identify as Muslims were charged with violating Article 63 of Aceh’s criminal code after neighbors observed them for months, broke into their home, and then used mobile phones to film them. On May 23, the two men were each publicly caned 83 times before a crowd of onlookers. The men were not allowed to speak with lawyers after being detained by Sharia Police, according to human rights organizations. This was the first instance in which individuals have been charged and punished for homosexuality, which is not illegal under national law (see section 1.d. for more information on sharia law in Aceh).
Transgender individuals faced discrimination in employment and in obtaining public services and health care. NGOs documented instances of government officials not issuing identity cards to transgender individuals. The Civil Administration Law only allows transgender individuals officially to change their gender after the completion of sexual reassignment surgery. Some observers claimed the process was cumbersome and degrading because it requires a court order declaring that the surgery is complete and is permitted only under certain undefined special circumstances.
HIV and AIDS Social Stigma
Stigmatization and discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS were pervasive. The government, however, encouraged tolerance, took steps to prevent new infections, and provided free antiretroviral drugs, although with numerous administrative barriers. The government’s position of tolerance was adhered to inconsistently at all levels of society. For example, prevention efforts were often muted for fear of antagonizing religious conservatives. Diagnostic, medical, or other fees and expenses that put the cost of free antiretroviral drugs beyond the reach of many compounded barriers to accessing these drugs. In previous years there were reports of persons being fired with impunity for being HIV positive and persons with HIV/AIDS reportedly continued to face employment discrimination.
Fourteen men in police custody were tested for HIV after they were arrested on April 30 in a police raid on a “gay party” at a Surabaya hotel. The men’s identities and HIV status were subsequently leaked to media.
Other Societal Violence or Discrimination
Minority religious groups were victims of societal discrimination that occasionally included violence. Affected groups were Ahmadis, Shias, and other non-Sunni Muslims. In areas where they constituted a minority, Sunni Muslims and Christians were also victims of societal discrimination.
Ethnic and religious tensions sometimes contributed to localized violence, and tensions between local residents and migrant workers occasionally led to violence.
Tensions between ethnic Papuans and migrants from other parts of the country who have moved to Papua continued. The death of a migrant woman from Maluku in May near Papua’s provincial capital of Jayapura prompted retaliatory violence against Papuans by a group of migrants from Maluku. The group, which erroneously believed an ethnic Papuan was responsible for the woman’s death, killed a Papuan passerby. Human rights observers criticized the slow police response for sparking communal violence in the case.