Championing Women's Voices: Empowering Co-Creation to Foster a Human Rights-Friendly and Inclusive Approach in Addressing HIV in Indonesia

March 18, 2024

In South Tangerang, Rose (a pseudonym) illustrates the challenges faced by Indonesian key populations and People Living with HIV (PLHIV) in obtaining National Identity cards, navigating discriminatory regulations and actions. Governmental practices inadvertently marginalize these communities, as registration officers often request excessive personal data or exhibit prejudiced conduct. How can we dismantle this barrier and ensure equitable access to essential documentation while protecting the rights and dignity of all?

Key population in South Tangerang Office of Population and Civil Registration

Key population in South Tangerang Office of Population and Civil Registration, empowered by CSSHR Program to establish her own National Identity card.

While Indonesia has made significant strides in combating HIV/AIDS, a significant disparity exists for women living with it. People living with HIV (PLHIV) in Indonesia are at high risk of violence and abuse, with a 2023 report by the Indonesian Positive Women's Association (IPPI) revealing a resurgence of gender-based violence specifically targeting young women with HIV. This report underscores a harsh reality: many women, already facing the physical and emotional challenges of HIV, must also navigate a social landscape rife with stigma, discrimination, and violence.

Reflecting on the International Women's Day, it is crucial to acknowledge the additional burdens faced by women living with HIV (WLHIV) and recommit to ensuring their well-being and upholding their fundamental human rights. Women living with HIV (WLHIV) face discrimination and violence, where dismantling the social barriers could help to foster a more inclusive fundamental rights of all individuals, regardless of their HIV status.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Indonesia AIDS Coalition (IAC) have joined forces to advance the end of AIDS by 2030 through co-creation and a human rights-based approach. A national dialogue held on the 6th of December 2023 in Jakarta marks the collaboration to strengthen a gender-friendly ecosystem with a human rights-based approach, particularly in facilitating access to healthcare and obtaining identity cards including Women Living with HIV (WLHIV).

This national dialogue provides a platform for key stakeholders, including Community-Based Organizations (CBOs), government agencies, and citizens, to discuss and promote co-creation to enhance access to public services while eliminating stigma and discrimination. As a joint sponsor with the UN Joint Team on AIDS, UNAIDS, UN Women, and UNDP commit to enhancing HIV/AIDS programs in Indonesia that promote human rights and gender equality. Community participation in monitoring public services is crucial to providing feedback to the national and local governments on the quality and accessibility of public services.

“The Indonesian government is committed to enhancing a human-rights-centered approach within PLHIV communities. Through this Co-Creation initiative, our goal is to foster a supportive environment that facilitates access to essential human needs, including healthcare and obtaining identification cards for all,” affirmed Endang Lukitosari, Head of the HIV Working Team, Directorate of Communicable Disease Prevention and Control, Ministry of Health.

Agus Soetianto, National Technical Officer, UNDP Indonesia, emphasized the paramount importance of addressing equality and accessibility. “Empowering women through equal rights is one of the keys to sustainable development. Full participation from women will unlock talents and perspectives, strengthening societies. UNDP will support national and local governments in crafting and enacting policies that prioritize gender equality and women's empowerment.”

Co-creation, emphasizing collaborative and inclusive problem-solving, ensures active stakeholder engagement, contributing diverse perspectives, expertise, and resources to formulate effective strategies, implement programs, and monitor their success. According to the IPPI Annual Report 2021-2022, 72 WLHIV in Indonesia experienced psychological trauma, while 49 sustained physical injuries, 23 faced financial hardship, and 15 grappled with sexual health problems. The application of a human rights-based approach recognizes the inherent dignity and equality of all individuals, highlighting principles such as non-discrimination and the protection of basic rights. This dual framework not only addresses immediate health challenges but also confronts underlying structural inequalities and stigma, fostering sustainable and equitable solutions.

Jaclyn Kaunang, Project Coordinator, Indonesia AIDS Coalition, expressed IAC’s commitment to the initiative. She stated, “The concept of 'Let Communities Take the Lead' is derived from years of experience in handling HIV. We need to make a breakthrough. Co-creation and the involvement of all parties have been the driving force behind activities that have been ongoing for years. Presently, it receives reinforcement through the endorsement of the Indonesian government, as it is integrated into the national health transformation to enhance collaboration at the grassroots level of the community.”

Edited by Enggi Dewanti