Mayor or­ders cur­few for women in Aceh cap­i­tal

The China Post - - GUIDE POST -

The cap­i­tal of In­done­sia’s de­vout Aceh prov­ince has im­posed a par­tial cur­few for women that it says will re­duce sex­ual vi­o­lence but which crit­ics say is dis­crim­i­na­tory.

Banda Aceh Mayor Il­liza Sa’adud­din Dja­mal or­dered venues in­clud­ing restau­rants, sport cen­ters, In­ter­net cafes and tourist at­trac­tions to not serve women af­ter 11 p.m. un­less ac­com­pa­nied by their hus­bands or other male fam­ily mem­bers.

The di­rec­tive, dated June 4, also pro­hibits women from work­ing in such es­tab­lish­ments af­ter 11 p.m.

Aceh hews to fun­da­men­tal­ism more so than other ar­eas in the Mus­lim- ma­jor­ity na­tion, and In­done­sia’s secular cen­tral gov­ern­ment granted it the right to im­ple­ment a ver­sion of Shariah law in 2006 as part of a peace deal to end a sep­a­ratist war. A re­li­gious po­lice and court sys­tem have been es­tab­lished and the new re­stric­tions on women are a fur­ther strength­en­ing of Sharia in the prov­ince.

Last year, Aceh law­mak­ers passed a law that pun­ishes gay sex by public can­ing and sub­jects non-Mus­lims to strict in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Sharia. Peo­ple con­victed of gam­bling, adul­tery and drink­ing al­co­hol al­ready face can­ing, as do women wear­ing tight jeans and peo­ple who skip Fri­day prayers.

Ninik Ra­hayu from the In­done­sian In­sti­tute for Em­pow­er­ment of Women and Chil­dren said Tues­day that the di­rec­tive is dis­crim­i­na­tory and con­trary to In­done­sia’s con­sti­tu­tion. She said the pol­icy shows the in­abil­ity of the lo­cal gov­ern­ment to pro­vide ad­e­quate pro­tec­tion for res­i­dents.

The di­rec­tive also pro­hibits chil­dren from be­ing at public places un­ac­com­pa­nied af­ter 10 p.m.

Dja­mal said em­ploy­ing women un­til late at night con­sti­tutes ex­ploita­tion and makes them vul­ner­a­ble to sex­ual ha­rass­ment.

“We have stud­ied the mat­ter thor­oughly and this is in line with the la­bor laws,” Dja­mal said. “Our aim is to pro­tect women em­ploy­ees, es­pe­cially those work­ing at en­ter­tain­ment spots.”

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