Jember Regency in East Java has increasingly emphasised the protection of the rights of disabled persons and promotion of gender equality, as part of the regency’s push for greater inclusivity for its citizens. This push resulted in a regency-level law, bylaw – Perda 7/216, which addresses the fair treatment of disabled persons and women in areas such as inheritance, marital abandonment, and employment quotas. This bylaw requires inclusive decision-making and supportive infrastructure for historically marginalised parts of the population. Jember Regency was recognised as a national leader in disability and gender rights in 2022, when the regency received an award in this field from the Indonesian Ministry of Law and Human Rights.
To build on these efforts, Nuffic Neso supported the CILC-implemented project called “Strengthening capacity to support the enactment of inclusive regulations” in January and February 2023. In conjunction with the University of Jember’s Centre for Human Rights, Multiculturism and Migration (CHRM2), national and international experts in disability and gender law and practice worked with local parliamentarians, representatives of civil society, academics, and religious leaders to strengthen the rights of disabled people and gender equality in Jember. The project also served to promote CHRM2’s leading role in supporting the regency government to develop inclusive regulations to complement Perda 7/216. The project had two parts: capacity development and development of practical approaches to enhance disability and gender rights in the regency.
On January 16-20, 2023, intensive and highly interactive training sessions were held on the University of Jember campus. The group almost immediately coined their own training motto, “Inklusi = harga mati!” (“Inclusion = non-negotiable!”), which was chanted frequently and powerfully. The first days focused on disability rights as well as the policy and legal framework impacting persons with disabilities. This part of the training was led by a former Commissioner of the National Commission on Human Rights of the Republic of Indonesia (Komnas HAM) Ms Sandra Moniaga and a disabilities rights expert from a leading Indonesian civil society organisation PSHK Mr. Fajri Nursyamsi working on socially responsive law-making. Practical examples were discussed, such as the experience of women with disabilities in Jember.
Gender equality was the other focus of the training week, facilitated by international expert Mr Josh Friedman, on gender-based violence (GBV) and gender mainstreaming. These sessions built on the experience of disabled women discussed previously and covered the impact of gender norms and the differences between gender and biological sex.
Notably, participants and trainers visited the offices of the Jember Regency and met with the Regent, Pak Hendy Sisawanto. This allowed for a fruitful exchange which confirmed the regency government’s commitment to the rights of disabled persons and gender equality. The Regent expressly encouraged participants to work with the local administration to develop specific interventions that could be taken forward together.
Meeting the Regent provided a strong impetus to the work of the participants in the final third of the training week of the project when they drafted two specific action plans to strengthen disability rights and gender equality in Jember. Following the training week, participants continued their work on the action plans, which were completed in February 2023. CILC is grateful to Nuffic Neso for their empowering this training, and looks forward to seeing the group’s action plans materialise.