Lawyer Nursyahbani receives honorary doctorate from SOAS University of London

Indonesian lawyer and human rights activist Nursyahbani Katjasungkana has received an honorary doctorate from the SOAS University of London for her role in championing human rights.

SOAS director Valerie Amos personally bestowed the recognition to Nursyahbani, who had “fought for and gained recognition women’s right in Indonesia”.

During her speech, Nursyahbani told the audience attending the university’s graduation ceremony on Wednesday to join the fight against human rights violations.

“Looking back on my 40 years of human rights activities, my advice to you is this: Be changemakers, show imagination, fight against the greatest human rights violations to all […] Don’t accept the world as it is, dream about what the world could be and then help make it happen,” she said.

Nursyahbani served as commissioner of the National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Ham) between 1998 and 2004, and the first secretary-general of the Indonesia Women’s Coalition for Justice and Democracy (KPI), which she also cofounded. She held the position from 1998 to 2003.

She was a member of the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) from 1999 to 2004 and was a House of Representatives (DPR) member from 2004 to 2009.

The SOAS University of London also honored other figures in the fields of law, literature, journalism and finance, including journalist Lindsey Hilsum; scholar, former banker and anticorruption campaigner Muhammad Sanusi II; and editor, broadcaster and critic, Margaret Busby. (dmr)


Citation to delivered by Professor Carol Tan, Head of the School of Law, SOAS University of London, graduation ceremony 24th July 2019

Madam President, ladies and gentlemen and colleagues, it is an honour to present to you Nursyahbani Katjasungkana.

Nursyahbani is a prominent Indonesian feminist human rights lawyer and activist.

Born in Jakarta, Nursyahbani graduated in 1978 with a bachelor degree in Law from Universitas Airlangga. Her initial specialisation was Criminal Law. She also holds a postgraduate diploma in International Comparative Sexual Orientation Law from Leiden University.

She has authored and co-authored books and articles on sexual violence against women, family law, gender and the state, Asian feminisms, and religious fundamentalism amongst other topics.

Her published writings mirror her activism in the area of Domestic Violence, Women’s and LGBTIQ rights,  nationality, and other laws in Indonesia. She founded APIK (Asosiasi Perempuan Indonesia Untuk Keadilan/the Women’s Association for Justice) and established LBH (Lembaga Bantuan Hukum/Legal Aid Board and an arm of APIK) in 16 provinces throughout Indonesia. She was also the founder and Executive Director of Solidaritas Perempuan (or Women’s Solidarity) between 1993-1995. In addition, in the years 1998 to 2003, she was founder and the first Secretary General of the Indonesian Women’s Coalition for Justice and Democracy, a well known women’s mass organisation  working on the subject of women and politics . These organisations are critical to the effort to advance the rights of women.

In 2015, Nur became a member of the Board of Trustees of the Ardhanary Institute, an organisation whose vision is equality and justice for LGBT Indonesians and which works chiefly through public education and policy reform.

Last year, Nursyahbani was amongst 5 leading persons to be appointed to the Anti-Corruption Committee, a new committee of Jakarta’s Gubernatorial team for Expediting Development.

Long before that, in 1999, Nur was selected as a Member of the People’s Consultative Assembly and from 2004 till 2009 she was a Member of Parliament.

Amongst her contributions to public consciousness regarding human rights violations is her continuing work in search of recognition and justice for those who suffered in the atrocities committed during the period from 1965-1967, a period that the Indonesian state has yet to acknowledge. Not surprisingly it remains little known amongst the younger generation of Indonesians. Mass killings, of an estimated at 4-500,000 people, were perpetrated by the state to annihilate the Indonesian Communist Party and other activists. Nursyahbani led and coordinated the efforts to initiate IPT 65 (International People’s Tribunal on the 1965 Crimes Against Humanity in Indonesia), convened in The Hague in 2015. The Tribunal was to find that crimes against humanity were committed by the Indonesian state, and that the USA, the United Kingdom and Australia were complicit. This genocide, to quote the tribunal, “must be included among the major genocides of the 20th century.”

Nur continues to work tirelessly, including conducting human rights training in West Papua, an area that has seen unspeakable inter-ethnic violence and human rights abuses.

It is clear that Nur has devoted her adult life to the cause of human rights. To the many first and subsequent generations of Human Rights Law university lecturers in Indonesia – amongst them the current leaders of SEPAHAM (Indonesian union of Human Rights Law Lecturers), Nursyahbani is ‘Ibu Nur’, held in their affection and esteem in equal measure.

Her academic writing, advocacy and activism is an inspiration to all of us in the SOAS family. We honour her many achievements, but one thread that runs through her work and life that especially draws Nur and SOAS together is that in Nur, the privilege of knowledge is combined with practice and the courage to make a difference.

Madam President, it is my privilege now to present Nursyahbani Katjasungkana for the award of Honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD) of the School, and to invite her to address this assembly.

SOAS University of London is a specialist institution offering courses on the social sciences, humanities and languages. Its School of Law specialises in Human Rights Law, International Law, Islamic Law and Environmental Law.

ACCEPTANCE SPEECH By: Nursyahbani Katjasungkana

Honourable Madam President Graca Machel, Director of SOAS Baroness  Valerie Amos, Dean of Law Faculty, Prof. Carol Tan, members of faculty, friends, and all the students who graduate today, to whom I offer my congratulations.

First of all, I convey my gratitude to the President and Director of SOAS for conferring on me such a high award. My gratitude also goes to Prof Tan for her most generous oration.

I dedicate this award to my beloved father R.Katjasungkana who taught me about the courage to take risks in fighting for freedom, democracy  and combatting poverty. I pay my deepest tribute to my beloved mother Maimoenah, who taught me about honesty and solidarity as a way of life. Thanks also to my children who always support me.

I would like to convey special thanks to Prof.Saskia Wieringa,  all my friends in the Indonesian Association of Legal Aid for Women and the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation, my second campus where I learnt law in practice. I also thank my  friends who strengthen my faith in feminism, three of them have come here today.

My key political inspiration is RA Kartini, an Indonesian national heroine, who fought against feudalism and patriarchy. My other inspiration came from Patria, my class mate in primary school who was forced to marry when she was 14 years old. On the third day of her marriage she sent her husband home. The fear of losing her as my friend, strengthened my decision to become  a lawyer.

I have dealt with many controversial past human rights violations such as the crimes against humanity and the genocide of 1965/6 in Indonesia, the third horrible  holocaust as well as the ongoing genocide against Rohingya.

Looking back on my 40 years of human rights activities, my advice to you, fellow graduates, is this: be changemakers, show imagination, take risks. Fight against the greatest human rights violation of all: neo-liberalism, which has created a world divided into rich and poor and is responsible for global warming and corruption.

Don’t accept the world as it is. Dream about what the world could be – then help make it happen.

Thank you for your kind attention.

SOAS celebrates leading figures from the world of literature, law, journalism and finance honoured at this year’s graduation

SOAS University of London is honouring pioneering figures in the fields of law, literature, journalism, and finance at this year’s Graduation Ceremonies.

The awardees are:

  • award-winning journalist Lindsey Hilsum
  • scholar, former banker and anti-corruption campaigner, His Highness Muhammad Sanusi II, CON (Sarkin Kano)
  • editor, broadcaster and critic, Margaret Busby
  • human rights lawyer Nursyahbani Katjasungkana.

Baroness Valerie Amos, Director of SOAS, said: “Our honorary awardees this year are all remarkable people who have been pioneers and innovators and sought to bring about change in the world. Their work has furthered the public’s understanding of conflict and humanitarian affairs; demonstrated how to tackle high level corruption in often complex situations; paved the way for greater diversity in publishing; and fought for and gained recognition for women’s rights in Indonesia. Their achievements reflect the values which are important to us at SOAS and I am delighted to welcome them to our community.”

Image clockwise from top left: Nursyahbani Katjasungkana, Lindsey Hilsum, Margaret Busby
His Highness Muhammad Sanusi II, CON (Sarkin Kano)

The award winning Journalist Lindsey Hilsum is the International Editor for Channel 4 News and the author of two books: In Extremis; the Life of War Correspondent Marie Colvin and Sandstorm; Libya in the Time of Revolution. For three decades she has specialised in covering conflict and refugee movements, reporting from every continent bar Antarctica. This year she has reported on the political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, the demise of the Islamic State’s caliphate in Syria and human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. Lindsey is the founder of the Marie Colvin Journalists Network, which supports female journalists in the Arab world, and has been a mentor for young journalists through the John Schofield Trust. Ms Hilsum will receive an Honorary Fellowship.

His Highness Muhammad Sanusi II became the 14th Fulani Emir of Kano, Nigeria in June 2014. His Highness was appointed Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria in 2009. He led a campaign against high level corruption in government in Nigeria and pioneered the introduction of Islamic banking into the Nigerian banking sector. Alongside his anti-corruption work in the financial industry, His Highness pursued his scholarship in Islamic history, thought, and law. He continues to bring his wealth of expertise to resolving significant development challenges including public health, girl-child education and reforms of Muslim family law as well as the systems of zakat and auqaf (endowments). His Highness has received many awards including the Global Central Bank Governor of the Year 2011 from the Financial Times and the Nigerian National honour of  ‘Commander of the Order of the Niger’ (CON). His Highness Muhammad Sanusi II will receive an Honorary Doctorate.

Renowned editor, broadcaster and critic Margaret Busby OBE became Britain’s youngest and first black woman book publisher when in 1967 she co-founded Allison & Busby. She was editorial director for 20 years. She has campaigned for recognition of the need for and importance of diversity in publishing since the 1980s. In 1992 she compiled and edited the groundbreaking Daughters of Africa (1992), an international anthology of writing by women of African descent, and its 2019 follow-up, New Daughters of Africa (Myriad) which includes contributions from the internationally acclaimed authors Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Zadie Smith. Ms Busby published award-winning authors Buchi Emecheta, Nuruddin Farah, Hunter S. Thompson, Rosa Guy, and Andrew Salkey. Ms Busby will receive an Honorary Doctorate.

Prominent Indonesian lawyer Nursyahbani Katjasungkana has worked tirelessly for human rights throughout her career. She was the country prosecutor of the Women’s International War Crimes Tribunal on Japan’s Military Sexual Slavery (2000), General Coordinator of The International People’s Tribunal on 1965 Crimes against Humanity in Indonesia (2015) and recently she was a judge at the Permanent People’s Tribunal of Rohingnya (2017). She was a member of The People’s Consultative Assembly of the Republic of Indonesia (1999-2004) and elected as a Member of Parliament (2004-2009). Ms Katjasungkana was Commissioner of the National Commission on Violence Against Women (1998-2004) and co-founder and the first Secretary General of the Indonesia Women’s Coalition for Justice and Democracy (1998-2003) and member of the World Bank Advisory Council on Gender and Development (2013-2015). Ms Katjasungkana will receive an Honorary Doctorate.


Sumber dari Tweeter

Hentikan Diskriminasi Terhadap Perempuan

Kondisi dan situasi nasional saat ini masih belum berpihak kepada kesejahteraan dan kemerdekaan untuk perempuan dan kelompok rentan atau marginal di masyarakat. Hal itu mendorong berbagai kelompok masyarakat bergabung dalam Parade Juang Perempuan Indonesia untuk bergerak bersama dan menyuarakan penolakannya terhadap diskriminasi, kekerasan, intoleransi, dan pemiskinan terhadap perempuan dan kelompok marginal.

Parade Juang Perempuan Indonesia yang terdiri dari berbagai elemen masyarakat di antaranya buruh/pekerja, nelayan, kelompok penghayat, kelompok difabel, korban kekerasan HAM, dan LGBT , serta kelompok lain akan bergerak bersama pada 8 Maret 2018. Gerakan ini akan menyuarakan keprihatinan sekaligus seruan untuk mengatasi persoalan opresi terhadap perempuan dan kelompok rentan masyarakat. Parade Juang Perempuan Indonesia sekaligus memperingati hari perempuan sedunia.

Dalam sejarahnya, 8 Maret 1910, para buruh/pekerja perempuan di pabrik bersama aktivis perempuan menggelorakan semangat dan membawa isu perempuan ke ranah politik yang lebih luas. Semangat yang sama dibawa Parade Juang Perempuan Indonesia untuk bergerak bersama dan mengajak seluruh elemen masyarakat bergerak untuk memprotes aktivitas politik yang meminggirkan dan menindas perempuan serta kelompok rentan.

Perjuangan perempuan Indonesia melintasi waktu yang panjang untuk mewujudkan ruang demokrasi, yang berpihak pada perempuan dan kelompok rentan. Akan tetapi, saat ini, pemerintah dan DPR RI justru membuat kebijakan dan tindakan yang tidak mendukung dan merebut ruang demokrasi perempuan dan kelompok rentan masyarakat. Kebijakan itu, misalnya, Undang-Undang MD3 yang memosisikan DPR sebagai lembaga negara yang tidak tersentuh hukum.

Kebijakan lainnya bisa ditemui dalam peraturan daerah yang masih diskriminatif. Hingga tahun 2016, Komnas Perempuan mencatat sekitar 421 kebijakan diskriminatif yang mengatur tubuh perempuan dan meminggirkan perempuan dan kelompok Lesbian, Biseksual dan Transgender (LBT). Kelompok LBT menjadi paling terancam kehidupannya di masa reformasi. Mereka tidak hanya menjadi kelompok yang mendapatkan kekerasan, bahkan dianggap sebagai kelompok yang dilarang hidup di Indonesia di masa sekarang ini.

Ancaman terhadap warga negara juga semakin besar yang terlihat dari Rancangan Kitab Undang-Undang Hukum Pidana (R-KUHP). Beberapa aturan dalam RKUHP bertentangan dengan semangat perlindungan anak, khususnya UU Perlindungan Anak dan UU Sistem Peradilan Pidana Anak. RKUHP belum mempertimbangkan dampak kelembagaan jangka panjang pada upaya reformasi di bidang keadilan, kesehatan, pendidikan, dan kesejahteraan pada perempuan dan kelompok marjinal. Jika disahkan, RKUHP akan berdampak lebih luas yang mempengaruhi ketenteraman, keamanan, dan kesejahteraan hidup semua warga negara Indonesia tanpa melihat usia, jenis kelamin, agama, suku, dan golongan.

Sementara itu, kebijakan yang berpotensi melindungi perempuan dan kelompok marginal di masyarakat justru diabaikan. Hal itu bisa terlihat pada 2017,RUU tentang Perlindungan Pekerja Rumah Tangga (RUU PPRT) dan RUU tentang Keadilan dan Kesetaraan Gender (RUU KKG) tidak menjadi prioritas program legislasi nasional 2018. Padahal keduanya merupakan RUU yang strategis untuk mewujudkan kesetaraan gender dan memberdayakan perempuan di Indonesia, dan telah terlalu lama tertunda. RUU Perlindungan Pekerja Rumah Tangga (RUU PRT) sudah dinanti pembahasannya sejak 13 tahun silam. Penundaan pembahasan RUU PRT menyebabkan Pekerja Rumah Tangga belum memiliki perlindungan hukum untuk mengatasi kerentanannya dari tindak kekerasan, eksploitasi kerja hingga perbudakan modern. Upah yang rendah, ketidakpastian hari libur dan cuti, serta pemutusan hubungan kerja secara sepihak masih dialami oleh pekerja rumah tangga.

Pembahasan kebijakan yang diharapkan berpihak pada korban kekerasan pun belum terwujud. Dalam RUU Penghapusan Kekerasan Seksual, pendefinisian kekerasan seksual mengesampingkan fakta penderitaan yang dialami oleh korban secara fisik maupun psikis. Pasca-pembahasan di DPR, sejumlah bentuk kekerasan seksual dihilangkan, yaitu ancaman (intimidasi) secara seksual (seperti: ancaman perkosaan) dan penghukuman secara seksual (seperti kasus arak bugil), padahal kejahatan ini nyata terjadi di dalam masyarakat. Pencabulan, merupakan salah satu bentuk kejahatan yang nyata terjadi di dalam masyarakat. Oleh karenanya tindak kejahatan pencabulan, ancaman/intimidasi secara seksual , dan penghukuman secara seksual perlu dimasukkan dalam RUU Kekerasan seksual.

Dalam kondisi hiruk pikuk politik nasional, kelompok rentan masyarakat dari buruh, petani, nelayan, dan miskin kota juga masih harus berjuang keras.Buruh perempuan masih mengalami eksploitasi dan kekerasan seksual. Perjuangan untuk menolak upah murah merupakan perjuangan panjang. Buruh perempuan yang bekerja di pabrik-pabrik mengalami nasib tak menentu. Upah rendah, sistem kerja target tak manusiawi, kondisi kerja berat yang tak berpihak pada perempuan hamil, serta kekerasan dan pelecehan di tempat kerja masih terus dihadapi pekerja perempuan. Kondisi kerja yang sama buruknya juga dialami pekerja difabel dan kelompok LBT.

Di sektor pertanian, Presiden Joko Widodo juga secara tegas pernah menyatakan soal kedaulatan pangan sebagai salah satu prioritas dari Nawacita. Akan tetapi, fakta yang terjadi justru memperlihatkan situasi yang sangat memprihatinkan. Para perempuan petani kehilangan tanahnya akibat alih fungsi maupun dirampas untuk perkebunan, pabrik semen, bandara atau proyek pembangunan lainnya.

Di pesisir, nelayan terancam proyek reklamasi dan penambangan pasir. Di satu sisi, pemerintah memang mengeluarkan kebijakan untuk berupaya melindungi, namun di sisi yang lain pemerintah juga semakin agresif mengikatkan diri pada perjanjian internasional yang menghilangkan kedaulatan pemerintah untuk melindungi produsen pangannya. Kedaulatan rakyat Indonesia atas pangannya semakin menghilang. Perempuan pun terpinggirkan dari kontestasi perebutan sumber-sumber kehidupan ini.

Sementara, perempuan buruh migran kerap mengalami kekerasan dan ketidakadilan berlapis. Mayoritas perempuan buruh migran mengalami berbagai bentuk kekerasan dan pelanggaran hak, seperti dieksploitasi jam kerja, pemotongan/tidak dibayar gaji, dipindah-pindah majikan, kekerasan fisik, psikis, dan seksual, kriminalisasi, hingga trafficking dan penghilangan nyawa. Hal lain yang menjadi sorotan yaitu tentang praktik perekrutan dan penempatan buruh migran yang sarat dengan indikasi perdagangan manusia.

Kondisi memprihatinkan tersebut ternyata juga tidak ditangkap oleh kaca mata media yang diharapkan menjadi alat kontrol sekaligus pengawas bagi kebijakan represif. Produk jurnalistik direbut oleh kepentingan politik pemilik media. Selain itu, kepentingan pasar membuat media daring lebih memilih menjual berita sensasi mengenai perempuan dan kelompok marginal untuk mengejar klik.

Pembiaran menjadi banal ketika tahun politik dijadikan alasan untuk melegalkan segala sesuatu: intoleransi yang dibiarkan, pemidanaan terhadap kelompok LBT, kebebasan berekspresi yang rendah, kebijakan yang tidak melakukan pembelaan terhadap perempuan dan kelompok rentan. Kami melihat bahwa kondisi ini akan makin memburuk di tahun Pemilu dan politik.

Maka dengan kondisi tersebut, kami berbagai oganisasi yang tergabung dalam Parade Juang Perempuan Indonesia mengadakan aksi ke DPR RI dan Istana negara pada Kamis, 8 Maret 2018. Kami menyatakan sikap:

  1. Negara harus segera mencabut beragam bentuk kebijakan dan peraturan yang diskriminatif baik terhadap perempuan, kelompok rentan dan warga negara secara keseluruhan. Stop pembahasan RKUHP; Cabut UU MD3; Hapus PP 78 tahun 2015 tentang Pengupahan;
  2. Hentikan persekusi, diskriminasi, kekerasan, dan pemidanaan terhadap kelompok LGBT, aliran kepercayaan, korban NAPZA, masyarakat adat, kelompok kesenian, serta kelompok marginal lain di masyarakat.
  3. Pemerintah untuk segera menyelesaikan kasus pelanggaran HAM berat masa lalu baik melalui mekanisme yudisial maupun non yudisial. Memperkuat UU No. 26 tahun 2000 tentang pengadilan HAM. Dimana amandemen UU ini juga telah masuk dalam daftar Progam Legislasi Nasional 2015 – 2016, dan menolak ketentuan pelanggaran HAM berat dalam RKUHP.
  4. Wujudkan segera UU untuk menghapus kekerasan seksual yang berpihak pada korban dan segera sahkan RUU tentang Keadilan dan Kesetaraan Gender (RUU KKG).
  5. Segera sahkan UU Perlindungan Pekerja Rumah Tangga serta ratifikasi konvensi ILO 189.
  6. Wujudkan fasilitas layanan kesehatan, termasuk kesehatan reproduksi yang layak dan bebas diskriminasi pada korban NAPZA, perempuan, kelompok difabel dan kelompok marginal lainnya.
  7. Wujudkan kebebasan hak berorganisasi dan berserikat. Jaminan kepastian kerja bagi buruh dan perlindungan terhadap pelaksanaan hak maternitas buruh.
  8. Wujudkan Politik Pemilu dan Pilkada yang bebas dari Politik SARA.