Firstly, I would like to express my appreciation of the initiative to organize this convening. It is a timely endeavor, one that calls upon us to look up from our daily routines and reflect on our journey. Thank you for including me in this conversation. My contribution to our discussion will reflect the specific nature of my engagement with the law and lawmaking. Firstly, I am not a lawyer. I am trained in the social sciences and have spent most of my energy growing movements in the fields of women’s rights, human rights, social justice and progressive Islam. In this context, I have been engaged with efforts to reform the law in a time of political transition through a national mechanism for women’s human rights in Indonesia; to use law as a tool of change through a regional network on women, law and development in Asia Pacific; and, to report on discrimination against women in law and practice through a mandate from the UN Human Rights Council. Before discussing the specific questions for this convening, another set of questions needs our attention. They speak to our particular historical moment today. I’d like us to begin with a sober acknowledgement of this age of uncertainty. A Japanese historian, Takashi Shiraishi, wrote a book in 1990 describing a period during my country’s colonial past, in the early decades of the 1900s, when a new consciousness was spreading, which eventually led to nationalist struggle for a sovereign Nation-State that is now Indonesia.
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