As one of major civilized nations, we agree to confess that a “child” encompasses an important core in the continuity of human race and of a nation. In order that a child latter on is capable of being responsible to carry the continuity of a nation and of a state, every child is ideally and necessarily obtaining as well as enjoying a wide possible protection to develop and grow in an optimum atmosphere, physically, mentally and socially. So, it is so imperative for us all to materialize welfares, so as to ensure fulfilling proper protection as mandated through laws and regulation, without leaving any single space for the possibility of discriminatory treatment.
For the purpose of those noble ideas, from the beginning Indonesia has set up an umbrella of law, namely the Law NO. 23/2002 concerning Child Protection. Somehow, along with such a changing dynamic, the said law had not yet been so effective to accommodate the changing needs due to the existing overarching sectoral laws pertaining the issue of child’s definition, in the one hand. On the other hand, the increasingly growing crimes involving children in the societies. One of them was of a sexually committed violence, which is sometimes done by those who are in close relationships with the children themselves, as well as any problems related to children with disabilities, which are not yet well accommodated in the said law.
Latter, in view of the paradigm of Law NO. 23/2002 on Child Protection, through Government Regulation in Lieu of Law NO. 1/2006 on the Alteration Second of the previous law No, 23/2002 on Child Protection, was finally to be altered to Law No. 35/2014 on the Alteration of Law NO. 23/2002 on Child Protection. This new adopted law strongly emphasizes the importance of weighing crime punishments against perpetrators of child related crimes, most especially those related to sexual abuse with special purpose of putting more deterrent effects, as well as to encourage a more concrete to recover children from social and psychological impacts.
It is worth praising that since the 80s Indonesia has been showing a serious interest in various different things in relation to child protection, to mention a few are like the following:
- In 1984, Indonesia ratified The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
- In 1990, Indonesia ratified The Convention on Rights of the Child – CRC.
- In 1998, Indonesia ratified The Convention Against Torture.
- In 1999, Indonesia ratified The International Covenant on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
- In 2000, Indonesia ratified the ILO Convention 182 on the Elimination of All Worst Forms of Child Labor.
- In 2006, Indonesia ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
- In 2002, Indonesia enacted Presidential Decree NO. 59/2002 on The National Action Plan on the Elimination of All Worst Forms of Child Labor.
- In 2002, Indonesia enacted Presidential Decree No. 87/2000 on The National Action Plan on the Elimination of Commercial Sexual Exploitation Against Child.
- In 2002, Indonesia enacted Presidential Decree NO. 88/2002 on The National Action Plan on the Elimination of Trafficking Against Women and Children.
- In 2003, Indonesia enacted Law of Employment NO. `13/2003 on which is clearly regulating a minimum age of child employment.
- In 2004, Indonesia enacted Law 23/2004 on the Elimination of Domestic Violence.
- In 2006, Indonesia enacted Law No. 13/2006 on the Protection of Victims and Witness.
This Law No. 35/2014 officially enacted on 18th October 2014. The shifting use of this law carries some promising changes in terms of “legal paradigm” compared to that of the previous one, such as the Imposition of Responsibilities and Obligation of the State, Governments, Sub-national governments, Community, Families and Parents, as well as Guardian of children, in relation to the implementation of child protection, including the increase of crime punishment of child sexual crime, as well as the being introduced legal new system dealing with Restitution.
II. Obligation of the State, the Government and Sub-national Governments.
Responsibilities of State, Government and Sub-national Governments, within the Law NO. 35/2014, are regulated through several articles, which is a few among others are to respect the fulfillment of child rights regardless of tribe, religions, race, groups of certain kind, sex, ethnic, culture and language, legal status, line of birth, mental and physical condition, and to be responsible for and to implement policies in any areas of child protection.
As set forth therein in the said law, all sub-national governments are obliged and responsible for implementing and supporting national policies in the implementation of child protection in respective sub-national regions, which all can be realized through sub-national’s efforts to establish child friendly regions, as well as to provide supports of any required facilities and infrastructures, with adequate availability of human resources in relation to the total implementation of child protection.
Despite responsibilities and obligation by State, the Government, and the Sub-national governments will also ensure the protection, the care, and the welfares of children by keeping in mind the rights and responsibilities of parents, guardians, or anyone else who legally are responsible for children, overseeing the implementation of child protection, ensuring all children to be able to use their rights in proposing their opinions in accordance with their age and their level of astuteness, as well as the most important responsibilities and obligation in relation to implementing 9 year obligatory education for all children, and providing all possible opportunities for children to get proper education, as well as to providing free cost of education, and free of charge support, or free service for those children of the less able families, neglected children, and those children living in the most remote places.
III. Obligation and Responsibilities of the Common People
This Law No. 35/2014 also sets up a mandate, obligations and responsibilities to the common people in the societies. All stakeholders in the societies cannot anymore just fold their hands at ease, and they should participate and take necessary roles in the whole process of implementation of child protection, such as mass-based organizations, academic-based experts, as well as child observers by directly dealing with any types of prevention and conducting educational measures in the area of child rights protection, which is all intended to minimizing all types of child abuses.
IV. Obligation and Responsibilities of Parents
This law also imposes obligation and responsibilities upon all parents in context of child protection in order to care, raise, educate, protect, and to grow and develop their children in accordance with ability, talents, interests, and protect them from early marriage, and provide education to mold their characters, and to inculcate values of good reasoning and sensibleness. This is all because by the fact that it is the parents who are really closed to day-to-day growing process of children, physically and psychologically.
V. Sexual Abuse Against Children
One of child violence that is gaining public attention is sexual abuse taking place surrounding our life. It is quite often done by any ones in close relationship with the children themselves, and such thing can take place unpredictably with an unknown sign, such as some reported cases of incest by biological fathers, adopted fathers, brothers, as well as uncles of the children, etc. such happenings have been taking place across areas of Indonesia. We all agree to take action fast enough without making further delays until its number increases significantly.
We all acknowledge that our present day world has been more open in almost segments of life. Until very recently, crimes relating to sexual abuse are considered taboo that carries an extraordinary stigma upon the victims and the families. Consequently, countless cases are not openly reported and they keep it away from the press attentions. However, along with times and technology, this type of crime has to be considered not taboo anymore. People are increasingly aware about it. This is a promising ambience toward better future.
In addition, crime of this type, is done by perpetrators who have chronic trauma of the past life. We might still remember the perpetrator of sexual crime back in 1999, in Jakarta, done by someone by the name of Robot Gedeg who sodomized 8 (eight) children and latter on killed the victims, and he confessed to be satisfactory and felt not guilty of himself, and unafraid of being in jailed. All that he did, he said for the purpose of his personal satisfaction, and he stated to be in a serious headache unless he did not such a deed. (reported by: www.museum.polri.go.id).
In another case, which is more a stunning one, in 2004, a case of pedophiles, perpetrated by Andri Sobari alias Emon, claimed 110 children falling victims (tmpo.com). As a matter of fact, both Robot Gedeg and Sobari had had serious trauma of past life relating to sexual abuse, violence and harassment. The up-scalling trends of sexual abuses have caught more public attention that the wide publics have urged a serious punishment be strongly imposed by which minimum charging be highly increased.
In the former Child Protection Law No. 23/2003, the charging imposed upon perpetrator of sexual abuse was at a maximum 15 years of imprisonment, and at a minimum 3 (three) years of imprisonment, as well as at a maximum fine as much 300 million IDR, and at a minimum fine in the amount of 60 million IDR. In the new Child Protection Law No. 35/2014, such provisions have been significantly changed. The maximum punishment is set up at a maximum of 15 years imprisonment, and at a minimum of 5 years imprisonment, as well as a fine at a maximum 5 billion IDR. The more special about this law is that in a case of rape and adultery when the perpetrator is parents, child caretakers, child guardians, or teachers, then the prevailing punishment is increased by one third of the common portion of time length.
VI. Child with Disabilities
This new law has included rights and legal protection of child with “disability”, one term firstly introduced within the Convention on The Rights of Persons With Disabilities (CRPD). The document of CRPD refers to this as children who have physical, mental, intellectual, and sensory defects, either for a short or a long time, by which their interactions disturbs their participation in the society, fully and effectively. As a matter of fact, law No. 35/2014 is more specific to delineate it that is any child with any disability physically, mentally, intellectually, and sensorial, in the long or short term, or that has limitation to get involved in any participation to interact with his/her society, socially and environmentally, fully and effectively in accordance with equality of rights.
The adoption of Law No. 35/2014 guarantees the fulfillment of child rights and legal protection, the equality before the law to all children with disabilities of any kind to be equal with normal children. This emphasizes the responsibility of the State and the sub-national governments to provide any means of support that are needed by children of the said kinds, since it is further meant to fulfill and respect the human rights, as a whole.
This new law also specifically stipulates about Restitution. According to the Main Dictionary of Bahasa Indonesia, the word “restitution” means “to compensate” or to repay for any loss; such any employee is rightful for health compensation, or to hand over any payment left whatsoever. According to Government Regulation No. 3/2002 on Compensation, Restitution, and Rehabilitation of Victims of Heavy Human Right Abuse, the word “restitution” means any compensation given out to any victims or their families imposed upon any perpetrators, or by any third parties, that can be in the forms of any properties originally owned by victims, the handing over of compensation upon any loss or afflictions, or any repayment upon any cost of any certain damaging acts.
Based on the above description, that restitution may definitely mean a compensation given to any child victims, as clearly stipulated within the Law No. 35/2014, Article 71 D, such as the following:
(1) Any child falling victim as stipulated within Article NO. 59 – verse (2), words b, d, f, h, I, and word j, are rightful to claim restitutions as for which the perpetrator of any crime whatsoever is responsible, through the court;
(2) Further provision regarding the conduct of restitution as stipulated within verse (1) is regulated through Government Regulation.
Within the explanation section as regard with the said article, what is meant by “restitution” is of any payment of compensation being imposed to any perpetrators in accordance with a court decree legally binding over any damage or loss materially and mentally being experienced by victims or of the heirs. Especially for the Child in Contact with Law, the one having the rights of restitution is the only the child victim. In the last chapter dealing with the conduct of the restitution, the Government of Indonesia has issued Government Regulation NO. 43/2017 on the Implementation of Restitution for the Child Falling Victims of Criminal Acts.
With the fully available laws and regulation regarding child protections, it is just fair enough that all parties and stakeholders to take steps and participation in controlling and ensuring all Indonesian children be well protected, in general, so as to prove that Indonesia is one of a civilized major nations in the world in the area of child protection most especially, and uplifting the respects on Human Rights, in general, in both home country and of international spheres.
VIII. Program Direction of YPI Towards 2018 – 2030
Whereas the wider scope of child protection issues in Indonesia, it is becoming really a heavier work for Yayasan Pusaka Indonesia to do alone. This heavy work cannot only be done by YPI unless otherwise joint cooperation with various parties stakeholders is made on the ground; governmental institutions; private sectors; mass organizations; civil society organizations; social, cultural, political organizations, etc.
To open a clear path for program direction, Yayasan Pusaka Indonesia, in the year 2018 – 2030 has set up the following program direction:
- Together with all concerned stakeholders to provide protection for Children in Emergency Situations.
- Together with all concerned stakeholders to provide protection for in Contact With Law.
- Together with all concerned stakeholders to provide protection for Children from Minority and Isolated Groups.
- Together with all concerned stakeholders to provide protection for Children from being exploited economically or sexually.
- Together with all concerned stakeholders to provide protection for Children of Trafficking Victims.
- Together with all concerned stakeholders to provide protection for Children who become victims of substance abuse including narcotics, alcohol, psychotropic substances, and other addictive substances.
- Together with all concerned stakeholders to provide protection for Children who are victims of kidnapping, sale and trading.
- Together with all concerned stakeholders to provide protection for Children who are victims of both physical and/or mental violence.
- Together with all concerned stakeholders to provide protection for Children with certain disabilities.
- Together with all concerned stakeholders to provide protection for Children working in bonded areas of industry and palm oil plantation.
- Together with all concerned stakeholders to provide protection for Neglected Children due economic and educational barriers.
IX. Program Priority of YPI, 2018 – 2030
Considering the limited capacities it possesses and its lesser amount of human resource, YPI has at least set up program priorities that some of which are likely to be accomplished like the following:
- Providing legal aids to children and women through litigation activities beginning right from the levels of the police, court justice, and of the correctional centers.
- Research programs and the formulation of an integrated framework to save children in emergency situations.
- Research Program and the formulation of an integrated framework to help children in contact with law.
- Protection Program for isolated children in the minority groups, and all children being the victims of political, cultural, social and economic segregations.
- Research Program and the formulation of an integrated framework to help fulfill the rights of children of refugee families and/or asylum seekers.
- Research Program and formulation of an integrated framework to help protect the rights of children falling victims of trafficking.
- Research Program and the formulation of an integrated framework to protect and save children falling victims of hazardous substance; narcotics, alcohol, and psychotropical substances, and various other addictive causing substances.
- Research Program and the formulation of an integrated framework to save children from hazardous places and of the palm oil industries and plantations.
- Research Program and the formulation of an integrated framework to save and protect the rights of children with certain disabilities.
- Programs to provide for wider opportunities to neglected children including children with economic and education obstacles.
X. Beyond Any Assumption
Beyond all the description stated above, YPI is just a small organization with various limitation and scarcity of resources available that which is without the support of all concerned parties is simply unable to do more constructive work with tangible results and outcomes.
It is therefore the support and collaboration of various different parties, including private sectors in a bigger scale, is seriously required, most essentially in program financing. In addition, supports and helps are required from the governments, private sectors, research foundations, higher learning institutions, national and international donor agencies, including related UN Bodies mostly concerned with the protection of child rights, and child protection in its wider sense.
Medan, November 2017
Deputy to the Chairman of Executive Board
Yayasan Pusaka Indonesia