Democracy, Human Rights, and Islamic Family Law in Post-Soeharto Indonesia

Mark Cammack, Adriaan Bedner, and Stijn van Huis

Abstract: This article examines the developments in Indonesian family law in the aftermath of the political transition that occurred in 1998. Its focus is on the position of the Islamic courts and the role of the women’s movement as a driver of reform. Combining literature on gender, Islam, and the state in Indonesia with new material such as divorce rates, cases of the Constitutional Court, and law reform initiatives, the authors argue that the family law reform processes already underway before 1998 have not changed much and have continued to lead to more state control of Islamic family law. Yet, even though the reforms since 1998 have not directly targeted family law, they have unleashed processes of liberalization, democratization and decentralization that have emboldened Indonesian women in the exercise of their rights and have invigorated debates over further reform.

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