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FAQs about refugees

This FAQ is intended as a living document which will be open for updates, revisions, and addition based on the needs of the refugee community, and the changes on relevant Indonesian laws and regulations.

What does sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) mean?
SGBV is violence that is directed against a person’s will on the basis of gender or sex. It includes acts that inflict physical, mental or sexual harm or suffering, threats of such acts, coercion and other deprivations of liberty. Based on Article 5 Domestic Violence Eradication Law (Undang-Undang Penghapusan Kekerasan dalam Rumah Tangga), SGBV is mentioned as a form of domestic violence. SGBV, based on the draft of Sexual Violence Bill (Rancangan Undang-Undang Penghapusan Kekerasan Seksual), can be sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, forced contraception, forced abortion, rape, forced marriage, forced prostitution, sexual slavery, and sexual torture. It should be noted that women, men, boys and girls can be survivors of sexual gender-based violence.

What can you do to help the survivors of SGBV?
When we encounter an SGBV case, it should be noted that we cannot force any decision for the victim and their wish should be respected. For some survivors, they decided not to report the case because usually the perpetrator is their closest people. Before we decide to ask the survivors about what happened, make sure that we have the capability to listen to them, including to give them suggestions. It is important to keep all the information confidential and be empathetic towards the survivors. We should not blame the survivors of what happened and make sure that they are comfortable while telling us their story by not forcing them to open up when they are not ready which could trigger their trauma.

If the survivors want to proceed with reporting the case, we can help them by making the chronology of the case by asking them what, who, where, when, why, and how the violence happened. While asking the survivors about the chronology, we can help them by identifying the possible evidence and/or witnesses of the case. After that, identify what the survivors want and need, and try to gather necessary documents that would support the claim, such as UNHCR ID (victim and/or perpetrator), marriage certificate if and birth certificate (if any), etc.

With the survivor’s consent to proceed with legal action, we can assist them to contact a trusted
legal aid provider. We can also contact SUAKA through legalaid@suaka.or.id.

Where can survivors of SGBV report their cases?
UNHCR has following Hotlines that you can contact:

  • SGBV Hotline – managed by CRS: 0811 8161 511
  • PSEA Hotline – managed by UNHCR: 0811 1390 2363
  • Health Hotline – managed by CWS: 0811 8161 511
  • Share information with CWS Hotline and copy CWS Senior Health Officer (0811 9966 682)
  • Protection Incident, Stigmatization/discrimination contact Legal
  • Protection Hotline – managed by UNHCR: 0812 107 9546 or 0811 9840 643
  • Security: managed by UNHCR: 0811 846 514

How does Indonesian Law give protection to refugee in unregistered marriage (nikah siri) household and suffering from SGBV sexual gender-based violence?
Domestic Violence Eradication Law does not explicitly regulate the protection of refugees from SGBV in an unregistered marriage household. Based on the Marriage Law (Undang-Undang Perkawinan), marriage is considered legal when it is implemented based on each religion’s beliefs. The registration of marriage is not mentioned in the definition of a legal marriage.

The term used in Article 44 until Article 47 about sentencing the perpetrator in Domestic Violence Eradication Law is “each person” which means each person in the household, whether the marriage is registered or unregistered, who allegedly committed SGBV can be indicted with this law. In fact, there are some good practices when it comes to SGBV cases in an unregistered marriage household which are Decision Number 1683/Pid.Sus/2017 Pengadilan Negeri Bekasi and Decision Number 323/Pid.Sus/2016 Pengadilan Negeri Gorontalo. The judges on these two cases used the Domestic Violence Eradication Law to decide the cases although the marriages are unregistered.

We can see from a bigger perspective that unregistered marriage is in the gray area due to the differences of the practice itself. Other than that, the spirit of Domestic Violence Eradication Law is to eradicate domestic violence in every household, whether it is a registered or unregistered marriage household. From this explanation, someone who suffered from SGBV in an unregistered marriage household can be protected under the Domestic Violence Eradication Law.

Moreover, Article 351- 361 of Criminal Code Law (Kitab Undang-Undang Hukum Pidana) about persecution can also give protection to the survivors of SGBV despite the fact that the articles do not necessarily mention household scope. It should be noted that the judge has the authority to interpret the law based on Judicial Power Law (Undang-Undang Kekuasaan Kehakiman)

This FAQ is in collaboration of SUAKA and Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS)

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