Indonesia: End government legitimization of female genital mutilation (FGM)

8 AUGUST 2013 UPDATE: We are pleased to report that following Equality Now and Kalyanamitra’s joint submission to the Human Rights Committee (HRC), the Committee expressed concern about Indonesia’s passage of a regulation legitimizing FGM in their concluding comments. The HRC has called on the Indonesian government to repeal the regulation and to “enact a law that prohibits any form of FGM and ensure that it provides adequate penalties that reflect the gravity of this offence.” They went on to urge the government to “make efforts to prevent and eradicate harmful traditional practices including FGM, by strengthening its awareness-raising and education programmes.” (CCPR/C/IDN/CO/1, Advance unedited version)  We hope that the Indonesian government will adhere to the Committee’s recommendations and take immediate steps to protect Indonesian women and girls from this violation of their human rights.

25 JUNE 2013 UPDATE: Indonesia will be coming up for review in July 2013 at the 108th session of the Human Rights Committee which monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) by State parties. Equality Now and our Indonesian partner Kalyanamitra have sent a joint submission to bring the Committee's attention to the ongoing government legitimization of FGM in Indonesia. We continue to call on the government of Indonesia to repeal the 2010 Ministry of Health regulation legitimizing the practice of FGM and to enact and implement comprehensive legislation banning FGM with strong penalties for violators.

Equality Now has just issued an Action calling on the Government of Indonesia to repeal a 2010 Ministry of Health regulation legitimizing the practice of FGM and to enact and implement comprehensive legislation banning FGM.

In November 2010, the Indonesian Ministry of Health passed a regulation [No. 1636/MENKES/PER/XI/2010 regarding “Female Circumcision”] legitimizing the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) and authorizing medical professionals to perform it. Though this “medicalization” of FGM permits a procedure that is harmful to girls and women and represents a violation of the ethical code governing the professional conduct of nurses, midwives and other health care workers, efforts to overturn the legislation have been unsuccessful; human rights groups on the ground fear an increase in FGM due to this regulation.

FGM is a harmful traditional practice that affects up to 140 million women and girls around the world. All forms of the practice violate a range of their human rights, including the right to non-discrimination, to protection from physical and mental violence, to the highest, attainable standard of health, and, in the most extreme cases, to the right to life. FGM also constitutes torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. The World Health Organization (WHO), of which Indonesia is a Member State, has strongly urged health professionals not to practice any form of FGM.

Please join Equality Now and our partner Kalyanamitra in calling on the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Women Empowerment and Child Protection to live up to their domestic and international obligations by:

  • Repealing the 2010 Ministry of Health regulation legitimizing the practice of FGM
  • Enacting and implementing comprehensive legislation banning FGM with strong penalties for violators
  • Conducting public awareness-raising and education campaigns to change cultural perception and beliefs on FGM and acknowledging FGM as a human rights violation with  harmful consequences

Also join us in calling upon the Indonesian Society of Obstetrics & Gynecology, the Indonesian National Nurses Association and the Indonesian Midwives Association to live up to their international obligations as members of the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), the International Council of Nurses (ICN) and the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) by:

  • Publicly condemning FGM in all its forms and its medicalization
  • Ensuring that strong measures are put into place to discipline Association  members  who practice FGM
  • Urging the government to repeal the 2010 regulation, working with them to enact a law banning FGM and promoting a comprehensive strategy and public education against the practice.

Letter to Government Officials

Dr. Nafsiah Mboi, SpA, MPH

Minister, Health Ministry of Indonesia

Linda Amalia Sari, S.IP

Minister, Ministry of Women Empowerment/Child Protection

Dr. Prijo Sidipratomo (Govt Letter cc)

Chairman, Indonesian Medical Association

Letter to Indonesian Medical groups (Ob/Gyns, Nurses and Midwives)

Dr. Nurdadi Saleh

President, Indonesian Society of Obstetrics & Gynecology

Mrs. Dewi Irawati

Indonesian National Nurses Association

Dr. Harni Koesno

President, Indonesian Midwives Association

Dr. Prijo Sidipratomo (Medical Letter cc)

Chairman, Indonesian Medical Association

To learn more about the campaign & for a list of full contact information for the government officials above, see: