Indonesia Towards a New Era for the Women, Peace and Security Agenda: How Far Can It Go?

Indonesia Towards a New Era for the Women, Peace and Security Agenda: How Far Can It Go?

where did it all come from

The adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on 31 October 2000 was seen as a victory for women’s organizations, governments, UN Women and others in placing the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda at the center of the Council’s work (Otto, 2010 ) ). The resolution was also considered a progressive gender equality agenda, as it began to challenge the notion in many collective images and records that many portray women only as victims in situations of war. Shepard (2011) agrees, noting that through Resolution 1325, the Security Council began to recognize women as participants, not just victims.

The WPS agenda is broadly based on four interrelated pillars of participation, protection, prevention, relief and recovery. Participation requires the full and equal participation of women in all peace and security environments. Protection requires protecting women and girls from gender-based violence (GBV) in conflict and instability. Prevention requires preventing conflict by engaging women’s groups, involving women in peace processes, and preventing all forms of gender-based violence in fragile settings. Relief and recovery calls for improved gender-sensitive relief and recovery and for women to play a meaningful role in the development of relief and recovery planning (UNDP, 2019).

When Resolution 1325 was born, the right to speak was still dominated by Western countries, and cases of gender inequality occurred from time to time around the world. Many scholars believe that there is a need to move away from the often Western-centric study of international relations in order to learn more about the rest of the world (Acharya & Buzan, 2017; Kang, 2003). The WPS agenda provides one of the most striking examples of how gender equality research and discourse that is largely Western-centric and draws on Western thought and theory is being discussed in the Global South. The question that then arises is how the politics, structures, and values ​​of 1325 work differently in a particular region, such as Indonesia.

Of course, we also remember that Indonesia became a permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2020. Under Indonesia’s leadership, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2538 on Women and Peacekeeping, the first peacekeeping resolution exclusively targeting women. We all know that Indonesia has one of the most outstanding commitments to peace in the world. Indonesia has been making this contribution until the end of March 2023; Indonesia ranks as the most important troop contributor to UN peacekeeping operations in ASEAN and the eighth largest troop contributor globally. Indonesia has deployed nearly 3,000 military and police personnel, of whom 170 are women (MOFA Indonesia, 2023).

legal overview

Interestingly, Indonesia is now trying to implement a more liberal agenda into structures that are not as liberal as the West, where the West has enacted its agenda. As Tallberg et al. (2020) point out that it is often easier for countries that are more liberal and democratic to adopt new liberal norms than those that do not. However, as Acharya (2004) emphasizes, this has a lot to do with the degree of adaptation, localization, and general acceptance of norms, especially those that are less familiar.

Resolution 1325 refers directly to treaties, calling on all parties to armed conflict to fully implement their obligations under the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the 1977 Additional Protocols; the 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1967 Protocol; and other UN treaties, including the Elimination of All Forms of Violence Against Women Discrimination Convention and its 1999 Optional Protocol; CRC and its two Optional Protocols 2000; and the 1998 Rome Statute. Under the terms of operative paragraph 9 of resolution 1325, to further emphasize the commitment to respect these IHL foundations, the Security Council recommends the development of a National Action Plan (NAP) to implement resolution 1325 and on women, peace and security.

The four pillars of the WPS thus reflect existing State obligations, primarily the full implementation of international humanitarian law and international human rights law to protect women and girls during and after conflict. Swaine (2009) argues that the Action Plan will continue to gain momentum as a strategy to draw attention to Resolution 1325 and, whatever its shortcomings, it will undoubtedly be used as a tool to compel States to act. Therefore, assessing women’s (and girls’) performance and impact on reliable indicators by observing their participation in the NAP process is critical to the effectiveness of the NAP.

Important Notes for Implementation in Indonesia

Indonesia is committed to peace, not only through the deployment of peacekeepers, but also through the institutionalization of the concept of gender equality into national policy. Within the global framework of Resolution 1325, Indonesia attempted to localize the WPS agenda into a National Action Plan (NAP).

In 2014, by Presidential Decree (Perpres No. 18), Indonesia adopted the National Action Plan for the Protection and Empowerment of Women and Children in Social Conflict 2014-2019 (NAP P3A-KS). Formulated by the Ministry of People’s Welfare. The first phase of the NAP aims to guide government agencies in the protection and empowerment of women and children in social and communal conflicts by collecting and monitoring data on women and children in conflict areas and on the extent of gender-based violence in these areas.

Howe (2022) analyzed a set of codes from the WPS agenda document and then used them to assess NAPs in Southeast Asian countries and made interesting findings. The central agenda of the WPS implies that women should be leaders, policymakers and peacebuilders. Indonesia’s national action plan, on the other hand, does not clearly state how to empower women, nor does it include a statement on women’s participation in leadership. Indonesia is more of a showcase of how women play a role in conflict and take typical jobs, especially away from leadership and peacebuilding positions.

This Women’s Leadership Agenda does not integrate the WPS Agenda into the statements and articles made, but is separate from the WPS Agenda. WILPF (2018) records that 73 women have been elected as district leaders or deputy district leaders since the last election. Since the last general election, Indonesia has had an ambitious plan to increase female parliamentary representation for the upcoming 2019 general election. In 2018, the number of women running for office increased. In parliamentary and regional head elections, almost 10 percent of candidates are women. The mainstreaming of women peace leaders is being encouraged separately through different policy products.

Without stopping at the first phase, under the leadership of the National Anti-Terrorism Agency, a second National Action Plan on WPS was adopted in July 2021 after the National Digital Consultation on Review of the National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security in Indonesia ( 2020-2025) (BNPT). UN Women’s (2023) report on WPS in Indonesia noted that the multidimensional impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of online disinformation have exacerbated gender inequalities and fueled pre-existing social tensions, divisions and conflicts. Finally, the second national action plan incorporates new non-traditional security issues prioritized by Indonesia, including prevention of violent extremism (PVE), intolerance and radicalization, land disputes, and the prevalence of misinformation and disinformation, including false News and online hate speech.

At the ASEAN regional level, BNPT also led the development of the ASEAN Action Plan to Prevent and Counter Radicalization and Violent Extremism 2019-2025 (Bali PCRVE Work Plan), which includes gender-sensitive approaches and ASEAN sectoral agencies collaborated to ensure that PCRVE’s Bali work program takes into account the role of gender and the needs of women in preventing violent extremism. These bodies include the ASEAN Committee on Women (ACW) and the ASEAN Committee on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC). Thus, a new era of FSW in Indonesia is beginning.

in conclusion

Considering the implementation of the national action plan for FSWs mentioned above, Indonesia and other countries implementing the plan must pay attention to several things. As stated by Krystalli (2020), the emphasis on protection and victimization in the NAP P3A-KS is problematic because it suggests that women are merely victims of conflict rather than agents of change. Thus, NAP P3A-KS undermines the understanding that women can and should be actively involved in shaping policy and maintaining peace and security, which may explain the limited focus on women’s participation. This remains the case with Indonesia’s 2014-2019 FSW National Action Plan, which still focuses on conservation and requires greater reference to women’s representation or leadership in many NAP WPS documents.

Criticism accepted by Tallberg et al. (2020), who highlight the lack of commitment to liberal norms, especially in the Asian region. In reality, if actors in the international community do not have a real understanding, assumptions and consensus on what “should” be, the international cooperation enshrined in the WPS agenda is likely to achieve little and even risk creating conflict in the long run. As mentioned above, this could happen in Indonesia, but it could also happen in countries that have not yet committed to the WPS agenda.

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