There have been articles and discussions about women's rights, women's oppressions in Islamic countries. I would like to put forward here some discriminatory regulation and practices in Indonesia. Indonesia is not Islamic country but it seems that the laws get more and more similar to those countries.
The treatment from the government of Indonesia towards mix marriages has always been discriminatory to women, among others are:
- Women with foreign husbands could not sponsor their husbands to get a permanent residency here while men with foreign wives automatically can sponsor them to live here and get permanent residency. The results are now when they want to live with their wives in Indonesia they have to apply for so called 'Social & Cultural Visit Visa'. No, you are not mistaken, when the husbands want to meet their Indonesian wives, the visits are considered social or cultural!! This visa is valid only for 2 months and can be extended every month after that until total of 6 months period. So if they want to live longer here, they have to get out of the country and apply for the same visa again. The cost of this visa is approximately US$100 and another US$10 for each of the extensions, including the fee for the agent who would take care of this annoying and ridiculous regulation. My husband who travel a lot and come to Indonesia often but sometimes only one month or 6 weeks does not want to be bother with applying this kind of visa. He prefers to just come to Indonesia and apply for visa-on-arrival facility where he has to pay US$25 each time he enters this country. He said that in Indonesia he does not have any rights at all as he comes always as a visitor.
- Children from Indonesian women who married foreign husbands will have the fathers' citizenship while children from Indonesian men who married foreign wives automatically have Indonesian citizenship. According to existing laws, an Indonesian wife who gave birth to a child from her marriage to foreign husband has to report to the authorities soon after the baby is born. Failure to report this could mean a fine or even deportation of the baby. The children are considered foreigners by Indonesian law and they have to get sponsors to be able to live in this country. This means that these children need to have the above 'social & cultural visit' visas as well. Consequently, at the latest of every 6 months period, the mothers and their children have to go abroad to apply for their visas. How absurd is this law?
- When these mix marriages disintegrate and the couples want to have divorces, Indonesian wives will just lose the custody of their children as according to Indonesian law they belong to their fathers!
Oh, and I actually forget one very important thing here: Indonesian Muslim women can not marry non-Muslim men in the country and be recognized by the State. Actually, this is not only for Muslims as Indonesian law only allows marriages of same religion. Isn't marriage a basic human right? Aren't we allow to choose whomever we want to get married to regardless his religion and nationality? Indonesia actually already ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women more than 2 decades ago, but as we can see from the above mentioned practices that it has been so meaningless! I don't know how the Indonesian state can get away with continuing to have these practices without being sanctioned? I think who has benefited from these practices is pretty obvious, but the bill is still being paid by the Indonesian women.