Finland expresses its gratitude for contributions to equality with special recognition – Rumah Kita Bersama Foundation from Indonesia among the recipients

Jakarta, 11 July 2019

 Finland places great significance on promoting equality in the world, and wishes to thank those who are working towards this common goal. To express its gratitude, Finland is presenting special recognition to individuals and groups around the globe. The names of the first recipients from 17 countries are released, with one of the honours going to Indonesian Rumah Kita Bersama Foundation.

 

Equality is a core value for Finland and its people. To highlight the importance of equality and to show gratitude for the valuable work that is being done to advance equality in society, Finland is presenting special recognition to individuals and groups around the world. Finland aims to encourage conversation about equality and promote initiatives for a more inclusive society.

 

Rumah Kita Bersama Foundation is a research institution aiming to empower women, children and marginalized groups in Indonesia. It pursues an equal society by shedding light on discriminating social and religious structures through advocacy, education and awareness building. It is led by Ms. Lies Marcoes-Natsir, an expert in the fields of women’s rights, reproductive health and gender in Islam.

 

“We are thankful for this Hän Honour that recognises our humanitarian work, the importance of equality among people and the acceptance of diversity of ethnicities, races, religions and genders. For Rumah Kita Bersama, the recognition serves as a motivation to work even more actively in the community”, said Lies Marcoes-Natsir, on receiving the Hän Honour at the Embassy of Finland in Jakarta on 11 July 2019.

 

“Rumah Kita Bersama’s work encapsulates very well the meaning of this equality campaign”, said Ambassador Jari Sinkari at the recognition ceremony. “Hän” is the neutral 3rd-person singular pronoun in Finnish language and the symbol of the campaign as it stands for equal opportunity.

 

Among other recipients of the recognition are individuals and groups from for example Singapore, Croatia, Namibia, Norway and Japan. They represent a range of fields, including education, minority rights and gender equality.

 

The recognition forms part of a broader campaign about equality, launched in June 2019 and continuing until the end of the year. Finland aims to bring questions of equality to the fore of the international conversation.

 

In 2017, the year Finland celebrated the 100th anniversary of its independence, it promoted action around the world in the name of gender equality and launched the first International Gender Equality Prize. The prize will be awarded for the second time in 2019.

 

List of recognition recipients: https://finland.fi/han/#Han_honours
Finland’s equality campaign website: www.finland.fi/han

Rumah Kita Bersama website: https://rumahkitab.com/en/

IGEP: https://genderequalityprize.fi/en

DISCUSSION OF BOOK ON FIKIH ON GUARDIANSHIP: RE-READING THE RIGHTS OF GUARDIANSHIP FOR PROTECTION OF WOMEN

Qiwamah and Wilayah Column:

[Over the next several months, this Qiwamah and Wilayah Column will appear in the Rumah Kita Bersama website. As well as reporting on the Roadshow for outreach on the book conducted in several cities, this column will try to reach a broader range of readers. Therefore, this column is presented in both Indonesian and English. This column is published four times, in cooperation with the Oslo Coalition]

 

Jakarta, 25 June 2019

Unchaining Fiqh from the Manacle of Asymmetric Relations in Gender’s Construction

JAKARTA. On Tuesday, 25 June 2019, Rumah Kita Bersama launched the book Fikih on Guardianship: Re-Reading the Rights of Guardianship for Protection of Women from Forced Marriage and Child Marriage. This book is the outcome of a study on classical and modern texts on the concepts of wilayah and qiwamah together with various religious figures, sociologists, anthropologists, legal experts, and activists conducted over several months.

This event took place in the hall of Griya Gus Dur at the Wahid Foundation, Menteng, Central Jakarta. The event was attended by sixty participants from various institutions: NGO activists, representatives of the government such as from the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Supreme Court, Ministry of Law and Human Rights, Ministry for Women’s Empowerment, Commission for Prevention of Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan), Commission for Protection of Children (Komnas Perlindungan Anak), university lecturers and students, and the media. Also in attendance were three representatives of the Oslo Coalition, Norwegian Centre for Human Rights: Dr. Lena Larsen (the Director of the Oslo Coalition, one out of six thematic areas at the Norwegian Center Department), Prof. Dr. Nelly Van Doorn, and Kathrine Raadim (the Director of International Department at Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, University of Oslo).

To discuss the book, Rumah Kita Bersama invited four resource persons: Dr (CH) KH. Husein Muhammad (head of Pesantren Dar at-Tauhid, Cirebon and former commissioner of Komnas Perempuan), Nursyahbani Katjasungkana SH (women’s activist from LBH Apik Jakarta), Drs. Mohammad Noor SH, MH, (Judicial Judge of the Legal Bureau and concurrently Public Relations officer of the Indonesian Supreme Court), and Ulil Abshar Abdalla MA (young intellectual from Nahdlatul Ulama). The event was led by Lies Marcoes-Natsir MA from Rumah Kita Bersama.

In her introduction, Lies Marcoes noted that normatively, Islam places the values of equality of men and women as a principal value, but in terms of fikih law – where the law regarding social relationships within the family is constructed – the relations between males and females are placed asymmetrically.  In the concepts of fikih, the relations between these two genders are linked in ways that are slanted or imbalanced. Nevertheless, this asymmetrical construct is (often) considered to be certain, fixed, and immutable, or qath’i. In reality, these asymmetrical relations are not always accepted, even by the fuqaha themselves. This can be seen from their interpretations, which very obviously seek to achieve a fairer balance in the relationship. In the book, many figures are presented, including some from the Middle East such as Rif’at Thohtowi, Qasim Amin and Muhammad Abduh. From within Indonesia, the book presents the ideas of Kiai Salah Mahfud with his social fikih, as well as breakthroughs by religious court judges in the Supreme court as exemplified by figures such as Prof. Hasybi Asydidiqie, Prof. Hazairin, and Andi Syamsu Alam SH. They offer new ideas, in terms of both methodology and interpretation, on family law and on how these methods can be applied in court hearings.

Many people assume that Islamic law is whatever is set out in the fikih. In fact, according to Ulil Abshar Abdalla, Islamic law is not just what is stated in the (books of) fikih, though fikih is one part of the big picture.

Meanwhile, Nursyahbani Katjasungkana stated that the concept of guardianship in Islamic law differs from the concept of guardianship in both the Civil Code and the Marriage Law. In both those laws, women are allowed to serve as guardians; something that is very different from the concepts of qiwamah and wilayah found in the book. Nursyahbani also noted that this asymmetry occurs not only in fikih, but also in the Laws on Islamic family law, such as in the Marriage Law, which states that the man is the head of the household and the woman is a housewife. This indicates that the Marriage Law does not refer to international law or conventions such as CEDAW.

Another problem, as noted by Kiai Husein Muhammad, is that to date men have been at the center of the lawmakers, and they enjoy luxury in many aspects, including in the issues of wilayah and qiwamah. This process of granting luxury to men, according to Kiai Husein Muhammad, is not solely a form of delegation of rights based on gender due to descent or to relations that arise from the occurrence of a legal event, such as marriage, but is instead related mainly to the man’s responsibility and obligation to protect the rights of the children or the wife. In other words, this is a gender construct relating to the obligations and responsibilities of men, and not simply about rights.

Unfortunately, this kind of reading that emphasizes the aspect of obligations, rather than rights, is not very popular in the community. The fikih that we currently use, Kiai Husein Muhammad explained, is a product of medieval Arabic culture, which granted greater leeway to men based on their situation and condition. Methodologically, there are certain principles that should be upheld throughout the ages: the humanitarian ideals of Islam, the ideals that place males and females on an equal standing as humans. Since the death of the Prophet Muhammad, nearly all religious teachings are interpretations. And interpretations are closely linked to time and space, so the interpretations of religious texts, even (interpretations) of the hadith of the Prophet, are products of culture, while in fact they (should) constantly refer to the ideals of Islam.

To achieve a reading of religious texts that is fair to both women and men, a new methodology is needed – a method that is willing to read the changing reality in society. Women nowadays are better educated and more self-reliant. Consequently, a method for reading texts is needed that is friendlier and more sensitive toward women. In this way, the texts will be able to read the special needs of women, which have to date been covered up by the misogynistic power of the texts.

Such efforts are often accused of being a Western agenda that promotes immorality. Lena Larsen said that this egalitarian approach that is undertaken in rereading the concepts of qiwamah and wilayah does not promote immorality. Rather, these efforts are simply to protect the family, especially children and wives, who are vulnerable to unjust treatment.

The efforts to perform reconstruction or deconstruction of texts are not easy. Over many centuries, the existing theological ideas and interpretations have become sacralized. Thus, a significant investment of time and thinking is needed in this regard. But this does not mean it is impossible.

One of the initiatives that has been undertaken by Rumah Kita Bersama is the publication of the book Fikih on Guardianship: Re-reading the Rights of Guardianship for Protection of Women from Forced Marriage and Child Marriage. Muhammad Noor says that this book produced by Rumah Kita Bersama is important. In his opinion, this book can be used as a reference by judges and those who provide direct support to the community in handling cases of family law, especially child marriage and forced marriage. (Aida, Lies)

Seminar on criminalising and participatory trends in family laws in Muslim majority countries, Van Volenhoven Institute, Leiden, 15-16 Nov 2018

BERDAYA Report from MAKASSAR: Youth Initiative for Child Marriage Prevention

Around 30 adolescents participated in the BERDAYA Training Program for Child Marriage Prevention held by Rumah Kita Bersama on 1-3 June 2018 in Makassar, South Sulawesi. During the third day of the training, the participants were appointed as Child Marriage Prevention Ambassadors in their respective areas. They were asked to work in a group to come up with ideas and initiatives to campaign for child marriage prevention in their residential areas, Tamamaung and Sinrijala administrative villages.

Radiana was the guide for various competitions during the 73rd Indonesian Independence Day at RT.08, Sukaria 13, Tamamaung, Makassar.

Child Marriage Prevention Campaign at the People’s Party/Pesta Rakyat

The first group consists of the participants who live in Jalan Sukaria, Tamamaung Administrative Village. They initiated a child marriage prevention campaign during the 73rd celebration of Indonesia’s Independence Day. For the event that was held from 16-19 August 2018, the group formed a committee, made a budget plan, and created an event concept outlining various competitions for the adolescents, children, and mothers to be held as a part of the People’s Party.

Nearing the event, the group was busy preparing. They distributed tasks among them. Some were tasked with gifts, while others collected donations from people around the area. The community was excited that the adolescents were bringing back the People’s Party which had not been held in the area for quite some time. Interestingly, the group received a lot of help from mothers who live in the area. Children also enthusiastically registered to join the competitions. The girls were also busy practicing a dance to be performed during the event. Everyone was delighted!

Radiana is one of the most active adolescents at the committee. Radiana organized her friends and the children who wanted to participate in the competitions. Sri Dewi Permai, the event’s chairperson, was also seen busily preparing for her speech and the event report a couple of days before the event. “I don’t know what to say, this is my first time delivering a speech in front of a large audience,” Dewi stated nervously.

The competitions started on 16 August 2018. People gathered at Jalan Lorong Sukaria 13. Radiana and her friends, with the help of the mothers, prepared the equipment needed for the competitions. Cracker eating contest, marble-and-spoon race, and sack race were among the competitions held on the first day of the event. The wave of excitement continued on the second day as children aged 6-12 years, adolescents aged 13-16 years, and mothers joined a balloon dance. The third day of the event saw continuous excitement as people participated in a sitting-on-a-balloon competition. The group took the chance to campaign against child marriage during this competition. Each of the balloons had a secret note containing messages to support child marriage prevention which the participants had to read out loud once the balloons popped.

The group of mothers also celebrated and assisted the Child Marriage Prevention
Ambassador to prepare and enliven their activities

During the last day of the event, the stage was set and the traditional costumes for the dancers were ready. Our ambassadors enthusiastically prepared themselves to campaign for child marriage prevention during the night of the People’s Party.

Lorong Sukaria 13 was teeming. The men climbed the stage to put up the event’s banners. Children were seen arranging chairs while the adolescents were busy preparing gifts and the mothers were preparing snacks. All of them worked together enthusiastically. Ibu Ramlah, the wife of the village head, was also busy welcoming people. The women sat in front row while the men occupied the back row. As the children were really thrilled, they only wanted to sit right in front of the stage. The long-awaited party was finally held!

Tulolona Dance of Sulawesi was performed to open the event. Radiana and Neneng, in their green-colored Baju Bodo clothing, were the event’s masters of ceremony (MC). They invited their friend, Dewi, to deliver her speech and event report outlining the budget they managed. The head of the village, Muhammad Ridwan, gave a speech and opened the event. In his speech, he expressed his appreciation for the spirit and work of our ambassadors. He hoped that such an activity would strengthen the harmony in the communities.

The winners of each competition were announced during the party and each of them proudly went to the stage to claim their gifts.

In the middle of the event, our ambassadors took the chance to campaign for child marriage prevention. They presented data and facts on child marriage in Tamamaung taken from research conducted by Rumah Kita Bersama in 2017 in Tamamaung and Sinrijala Administrative Villages. The presentation was supplemented by national data on child marriage. Our ambassadors further presented information on the definition of a child and of child marriage as well as factors contributing to child marriage and its impacts. The event was concluded with a Tari Kipas dance performed by six girls.

The Ambassadors for Child Marriage Prevention giving information about child marriages facts

A Creative Campaign, Statements Stitching

Our child marriage prevention ambassadors who are students of Tut Wuri Handayani Junior High School in Tamamaung Administrative Village had a different idea to campaign for child marriage prevention in their school. Initially, they wanted to run the campaign by gathering students and teachers in the school hall. However, this idea was met with mockery as soon as their friends learned about the topic. This was indeed a common reaction to this topic.

On 3 August 2018, seven young people gathered to discuss how they were going to implement their child marriage prevention training’s follow-up plans, as they were worried that their initial idea would result in bullying. They agreed that they needed a better idea. Finally, they came up with an idea to campaign creatively with stitching. On the same day, they also came up with the idea to stitch the statement that reads ‘I need a diploma, not a marriage certificate’ on to their clothes. They believed that this statement would serve as a powerful reminder for them and others to prevent child marriage. The statement was also addressed to their teachers to gain their support for child marriage prevention in school.

 

 

On 19 August 2018, our ambassadors met again at the home of Ade, one of the ambassadors. They selected their cloths and distributed tasks between them. Interestingly, this stitching activity was not exclusively done by the girls, as a couple of boys also turned up to help.

 

Activity embroidering statement

For them, stitching is an easy and interesting activity to do as they are accustomed to doing it during their craft lesson at school, but it was only then that they realized that stitching could be used in a campaign. They planned to display their works on the wall of their art room. They intend to meet their school’s headmaster to get permission and support for their campaign. (Sartika Nasmar)

PHOTO GALLERY OF BERDAYA: TRAINING OF PARENT CAPACITY BUILDING IN CHILD MARRIAGE PREVENTION, CIREBON, 18-20 AUGUST 2018

NATIONAL SEMINAR AT UNIVERSITY OF INDONESIA: RESOLVING AMBIGUITY OF CHILD MARRIAGE LAW, 13/08/18

PHOTO GALLERY OF BERDAYA: TRAINING OF PARENT CAPACITY BUILDING IN CHILD MARRIAGE PREVENTION, CILINCING, 10-12 AUGUST 2018

PHOTO GALLERY OF BERDAYA: TRAINING OF STRENGTHENING FORMAL AND NON FORMAL CAPACITY IN CHILD MARRIAGE PREVENTION, CILINCING 7-9 AUGUST 2018