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Cablegate: Indonesia Passes Anti-Trafficking Bill

VZCZCXRO0013
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #0778 0790829
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 200829Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3908
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0551
RUEHPB/AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY 3323
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 1403
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC

UNCLAS JAKARTA 000778

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

FOR G/TIP,G,INL,DRL,PRM,EAP/RSP
ALSO FOR USAID ANE/SPOTS, AME/SEA, IGAT/WID,DCHA/DG
DEPT OF JUSTICE FOR ICITAP AND OPDAT
DEPT PASS TO DEPT OF LABOR FOR ILAB

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB KCRM KWMN PGOV PHUM PREL ID
SUBJECT: INDONESIA PASSES ANTI-TRAFFICKING BILL

REF: A. JAKARTA 590
B. 06 JAKARTA 13324

1. (U) On March 20, the Indonesian House of Representatives
(DPR) passed a comprehensive anti-trafficking bill during a
morning plenary session. The bill enjoyed the full support
of all ten political factions in the DPR and was ratified
without a vote. Muhaimin Iskandar, the Deputy Chairman of
the DPR and Chairman of the National Awakening Party (PKB),
presided over the plenary session. The Minister for Justice
and Human Rights Minister, Hamid Awaluddin, as well as the
Minister for Women's Empowerment, Meutia Hatta, also attended
the plenary. Both their ministries figured prominently in
the drafting of the law and advocated forcefully for its
speedy passage. The bill will become law either as soon as
the President signs it, or in 30 calendar days, whichever
comes first. The bill's passage represents the culmination
of over two years worth of intense anti-trafficking
collaboration between Post, its NGO partners, and the GOI.

NEVER OVER UNTIL IT'S OVER IN THE DPR
-------------------------------------

2. (SBU) As reported in Ref A, the special parliamentary
committee drafting the anti-trafficking legislation completed
its work in the middle of February and cleared what appeared
to be the last major obstacle to its passage. However,
despite assurances from the Ministry of Women's Empowerment
and key parliamentarians involved with the legislation that
the bill would reach a plenary session on March 20, the
Chairman of the parliamentary body charged with scheduling
legislation for plenary sessions - FX Soekarno - told us as
recently as March 2 that it would not reach plenary on March
20; he offered only that "it should happen this year." In
the wake of this highly discouraging assessment, we
intensified our already extensive bill advocacy efforts. The
Charge d'Affaires and other Mission personnel met with or
talked to the President's office, every ministry involved
with the legislation, the Chairman of the DPR's office, and
other key decision makers. By March 9, FX Soekarno had
reversed course and called us to say the bill would be
considered before a plenary by March 20.

A SOLID, WELL RESPECTED LAW
---------------------------

3. (U) Indonesian and international anti-trafficking NGOs
were actively involved in the drafting of the bill and have
expressed satisfaction with its scope and authority. The
drafters worked assiduously to craft the bill so that law
enforcement officials could easily understand and enforce the
regulations. The special parliamentary committee that
drafted the legislation garnered praise from across the civil
society spectrum for the lengths to which it sought out and
accepted input from anti-trafficking experts. The bill gives
law enforcement personnel the tools and the mandate to combat
all forms of trafficking, including debt bondage and sexual
exploitation.

4. (U) By the standards of Indonesian law making, the TIP
bill moved from start to finish at a respectable clip. The
fact that the administration and dedicated parliamentarians
worked as vigorously as they did to push the trafficking bill
through a notoriously languorous DPR reflects the strong
level of political support that exists for the
anti-trafficking fight.

HEFFERN

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