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The intricacies of implementing international gender-related policies to promote sexual health and rights in Indonesia

The intricacies of implementing international gender-related policies to promote sexual health and rights in Indonesia

The 1948 Human Rights Universal Declaration emphasizes the equality in dignity and rights including sexual rights. Sexual health and rights is affirmed in ICPD Program of Action (1994), CEDAW (1979), Beijing Platform for Action (1995) and MDGs. Indonesia has ratified the covenants upholding gender equality principles and has taken on the responsibility to put these principles into practice. This paper assesses Indonesia’s endeavours to implement international policies to promote sexual health and rights.

Applied centre on policy analysis of legal instruments on sexual health and rights and in-depth interviews with policy makers, program implementers, gender specialists, NGO activists, religious and community leaders. Preliminary findings suggest that critical issues hindering the integration of sexual health and rights relate to lack of commitment, inadequate management skills, misperceptions of financial costs, lack of skilled government officials, cultural values disrespecting women, and religious beliefs entrenching patriarchy.
Sexual rights problems include rights to safe and satisfying sexual relationships, to be free from sexual violence, rights to prevention of unwanted pregnancy and unsafe abortion, and access to age-appropriate sexual health services. Success was declared for the family planning program proven effective in lowering total fertility rates, increasing contraceptive prevalence rates, and facilitating “Safe Motherhood” programmes, but this success has been muted by failures in controlling sexually transmitted diseases and assurance of sexual health and education for young people. Since fulfilling sexual health and rights for women is essential, greater priority has to be given to appropriate programs to protect universal sexual rights.