In commemoration of the campaign of 16 Days of Anti Violence Against Women, Solidaritas Perempuan and Solidaritas Perempuan Jabotabek held demonstrations in two separate locations in Jakarta to protest World Bank and Asian Development Bank financing, which they say have caused impoverishment and violence against women.
Around 50 demonstrators in colorful costumes walked from Inndosat Horse Statue to State Palace in the morning of November 29 then held a protest action in front of the ADB Indonesia Resident Mission office later in the afternoon.
At the State Palace, the demonstrators criticized the ADB and the World for their debt-creating projects and technical assistance for policy reforms such as water privatization and the proposed law on land acquisition for development. They said these initiatives have resulted in the failure of the Indonesian government to protect and fulfill women's rights.
Puspa Dewy, Head of the Women and Natural Resources Conflict Program of Solidaritas Perempuan, said ADB and World Bank projects that supposedly sought to address women's needs and interests have actually increased gender injustices. Violence against women, discrimination, multiple burden and marginalization have become more rampant and have worsened poverty among women.
Aside from the speeches delivered by women leaders during the program at the State Palace, SP Jabotabek members also expressed their protest through a traditional Betawinese performance called Lenong. The performers dramatized the impacts of the food crisis and water privatization as a consequence of ADB funding to Palyja.
At the ADB IRM Office, the protestors expressed their disappointment over the approval on November 24 of a regional road development project. The project, which costs US $ 180 million worth of loans, would have disastrous impacts and cause the eviction of citizens in the project areas of West Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, East Java and Central Java. The demonstrators pointed out that they project was approved despite the protests by communities in Indonesia and the violations of various ADB policies such as Protection Regulation, Public Communication Policy and Gender and Development Policy.
Wardarina, Program Coordinator of Solidaritas Perempuan, said the approval of the road project was solid proof that ADB policies were merely lip-service. Among the concerns raised during the rally were the non-recognition of the rights of indigenous communities, meaningless consultation, lack of information on the social, economy and cultural status of women and the lack of lack of project documents in Bahasa provided to affected communities.