Target: President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
Goal: Free women and religious minorities in Indonesia from discrimination
Despite reproach from dozens of Human Rights Watch activists and warnings from the United Nations, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has signed nearly 60 new discriminatory laws into legislation. Joining the 282 such rules already in place, the laws assign stricter punishments for women and religious minorities who do not adhere to the archaic and patriarchal rules outlined. Some bylaws include women being forced to wear the hijab and high school girls being subjected to random ‘virginity tests’ to tackle problems of premarital sex and prostitution.
Among the obvious discrimination against women are the laws that perpetuate prejudice against religious minorities. The Law on Mass Organizations imposes strict, unnecessary restrictions on the activities of nongovernmental organizations stating that they must adhere to notions of monotheism, regardless of their personal religious and secular orientations. Sunni Islamist groups have also threatened and attacked religious minority communities with immunity from Indonesian authorities. Indonesia’s home affairs minister has even regarded the extremist group as a ‘national asset.’
In the wake of atrocities and breaches in human rights across the world, the most recent being the war in Syria, the United Nations and human rights groups have urged leaders to take the livelihoods of their people more seriously. In spite of noble efforts, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has continued to detain peaceful activists and turn a blind eye to the excessive and unnecessary use of force against peaceful protesters.
As Yudhoyono’s presidency winds down, his legacy is that of an active failure to use his power to defend the rights of every Indonesian — especially those of women and religious minorities. Sign this petition to encourage President Yudhoyono to make significant changes in the time he has left as president of Indonesia.
Dear President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono,
I am shocked and appalled to know of your recent discriminatory actions against women and religious minorities in Indonesia. As other countries across the world begin to consider the rights of their people, you’ve taken significant steps backward in the protection of and compassionate representation of Indonesians. By passing nearly 60 new discriminatory laws into place you’ve made a bold statement about how apathetic you are to the rights of women and religious minorities.
As your presidency comes to an end, you still have the power to reverse these wrongs and be seen as an empathetic leader. By amending or abolishing hundreds of the bylaws in place you’ll leave behind a legacy that is deserving of respect by the Indonesian people. You might even inspire other world leaders to follow suit.
I urge you to reconsider your recent legislation and free the women and religious minorities in Indonesia from pointless discrimination.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Reuters via Human Rights Watch