Opening Remarks UN Resident Coordinator on Discussion Creating Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces for Women and Girls

16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence
Discussion “Creating Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces for Women and Girls”
M Bloc Space, Jakarta, Tuesday 10 December 2019
Opening Remarks by UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Anita Nirody

Selamat Siang, Good Afternoon

I am delighted to be here today to commemorate the last day of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence, which is also Human Rights Day.

I would like to thank UNWOMEN and Pulse Lab Jakarta for organizing this important event and to congratulate them for successfully launching an excellent “After Dark” research report.

The 16 Days of Activism is an annual UN campaign that invites us all to take a stand to end violence against women and girls, to speak out against normalizing violence, and challenge the social norms and negative stereotyping around gender that prevents women and girls from realizing their rights.

We know that gender equality and the empowerment of women are central to the success of the Sustainable Development Goals. It will require urgent action to eliminate the root causes of discrimination and violence that still curtail women’s rights in private and public spheres.

One in three Indonesian women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime. These incidences happen in nearly every space of their lives, at home, at school, in the streets, on public transportation, at work, and impact women of all ages. According to Komnas Perempuan data, one-third of reported cases in 2018 occurred in public spaces. It negatively affects women’s well-being and prevents women from fully participating in society.

I commend Government of Indonesia’s continuous efforts to accelerate infrastructure development, including improvement in public transportation services. There are new options of public transportation that are convenient for daily commuters. In addition, we have increasingly seen public transportation companies voluntarily taking part in ensuring the safety of women’s mobility by having anti sexual harassment policies and response mechanisms. Nevertheless, challenges remain.

At the same time, social norms that normalize violence often discourage bystanders to act which affects women’s choices and mobility and often hinders their ability to participate in public life. Furthermore, infrastructure and public services often tend to be gender blind and do not sufficiently take into account the differing needs and concerns of women and men. When women are consulted, urban development projects tend to focus more attention on pedestrians, include more safety measures such as streetlights, public sanitation facilities and safer bus stops and pedestrian crossings.

The United Nations is working with the government, the private sector and civil society organizations in Indonesia to help accelerate the SDGs that are focused on ensuring that no one gets left behind, including women and girls.

The “After Dark” report launched today by Pulse Lab Jakarta and UN Women provides valuable and unique perspectives about women’s safety and mobility in Medan, Surabaya and Semarang. The report focused on women’s individual experiences when traveling at night using quantitative and qualitative data. The research generated fresh insights on what “being safe” means for women and their strategies to safely navigate public transportation at night which should be integrated into transport and urban planning across Indonesia. No city can be labelled as a truly ‘smart’ city unless all its inhabitants also feel safe.

In line with the research, today’s panel discussion will focus on the issue of violence against women and girls in public spaces and to find opportunities for local governments, private sector companies working on transportation as well as bystanders to together create safer cities for women.

The 16 Days of Activism may end, but meaningful actions to end harassment and violence against women must continue.

The UN in Indonesia looks forward to continuing our work together with you all to create a better future for women and girls, free from violence.

My sincere thanks and appreciation to the EU, the Embassy of France and the French Institute for your support and collaboration on this event and to all national and international partners for your ongoing support.

Terima kasih banyak


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