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Raising Legal and Human Rights Awarness by Empowering Woman for Promotion of Peace and Gender Justice in Peace Villages

Intolerance and violent extremism are still challenges in Indonesia. Intolerant and extreme acts that reject pluralism and differences in ideology, religion, and belief must be detected and prevented as early as possible by building tolerant and inclusive ideas through women’s empowerment in grassroots communities. The Wahid Foundation has been collaborating with UN Women since 2017 to develop the Women Participation for Inclusive Society (WISE) program, which aims to encourage women's participation at the local level in promoting peace within the Peace Village/Kelurahan program. Women are expected to be able to become driving actors in their communities by encouraging policies and applying human security and gender justice approaches at the local level that support efforts to prevent conflict, intolerance and violent extremism.

 Each Peace Village/Kelurahan forms a working group (Pokja) as part of the implementation of the nine Indicators for Peace Villages/Kelurahans. This working group accommodates all community elements, including the village youth, women's groups, the village government and apparatuses, community and religious leaders of various religions. Currently, the Peace Village/Kelurahan working groups and the village/kelurahan governments in East Java are developing a Peace and Equality Village Action Plan for their respective villages/kelurahans.  This action plan is one of the results of the Peace Village/Kelurahan policies, which aims to build protection and empowerment mechanisms for women to promote peace and gender justice as well as preventing violent extremism. These mechanisms must be strengthened by formal and informal justice mechanisms. Therefore, the Peace Village/Kelurahan working groups are also encouraged to use legal and non-litigation approaches at the local level in preventing and handling issues of discrimination and violence, including discrimination and violence against women and children.

 Based on the above, the Peace Village/Kelurahan working groups need to be equipped with knowledge of the law and women's rights to strengthen their formal and non-formal legal perspectives in handling cases of violent extremism and gender-based violence. The Wahid Foundation trained 35 working group representatives from five Peace Villages/Kelurahans in East Java, namely Guluk-Guluk, Prancak and Payudan Dundang in Sumenep Regency, Sidomulyo Village in Batu City, and Candirenggo Village in Malang Regency. This legal literacy training session took place over a span of three days. This training, titled, “Strengthening the Capacity of Working Groups on Women's Rights, Protection and Legal Services for Victims of Gender-Based Violence and Building Community-Based Protection Mechanisms,'' was held on February 26-28, 2021 at the Mercure Mirama Hotel, Surabaya.

 "Given that women and children are vulnerable groups during a conflict, this activity is carried out to provide education about the realms of the law in Indonesia and the world, particularly related to acts of discrimination and violence against women and children. There is a need for a legal-formal dimension of national-international laws to counter potential conflicts, extremism and violence against women and children, which is then synergized with the Nine Indicators for Peace Villages/Kelurahans through the Peace and Equality Village Action Plan," said Mujtaba Hamdi, Executive Director of the Wahid Foundation during the training opening.

 This training equips the Peace Village/Kelurahan working groups with knowledge on law and human rights, including the role of women in the prevention of violent extremism, religious interpretation of equal relations between men and women, the international and national legal frameworks on women's human rights and women's skills to access justice in the family. This training is expected to increase knowledge and skills of the working groups so that they can strengthen the implementation of the Peace and Equality VIllage/Kelurahan Action Plan and the establishment of mechanisms for early detection and response to conflict, including legal services for women victims of violence, community-based women's protection mechanisms, and women's access to justice.

 "It is hoped that the capacity building for the Peace Village working groups can realize the achievements of the Peace Village program, which is a gender-equal society with legal actions taken for acts of discrimination, violence and harassment against women and children. So far, there have been many acts of violence against women due to child marriages, unregistered marriages, child labor and others. Therefore, a comprehensive strategy is needed in combating acts of extremism and violence against women, among them, through the cultural and ideological dimensions," continued Mujtaba.

 This whole training was facilitated by Siti Aminah Tardi, Commissioner of The National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan). The Head of East Java Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection and Population Agency was also invited to speak about the role of the local government through regional policy programs in efforts to protect women during the training. In addition, several experts, who were women Islamic scholars, academics and legal practitioners, were invited as speakers.

 Contact Person: Siti Kholisoh (087832517514)

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