Aceh Laws violates Human Rights

The aceh province of Indonesia has adopted the sharia based criminal laws. The Human Rights Watch reported that these laws violate basic  human freedom and are being abused by the enforcers. These law apply on gambling to relationships between opposite sexes. Aceh enjoys autonomy in Indonesia since 2000.

The laws impose strict dress code. It prohibits two unlrelated men and women from being together. The Human Rights Watch said that these are being abused by the enforcers. Those rich and with contacts are being spared while the common people are suffering.

“These two laws deny people’s right to make their own decisions about who they meet and what they wear,” said Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

“The laws, and their selective enforcement, are an invitation to abuse,” she said.

The group has urged the local and the central government to repeal these strict laws.

Aceh is the only province in Indonesia explicitly authorized by national law to adopt legislation derived from Islam.

Sharia police have interpreted the “seclusion” law to prohibit merely sitting and talking in a “quiet” space with a member of the opposite sex to whom one is not married or related, regardless of whether there is evidence of intimacy, the group said.

It said serious abuses included aggressive interrogation, conditioning the release of suspects upon their agreement to marry, and in one case, the rape of a woman by sharia police while in detention.

Sharia police officials told Human Rights Watch that they sometimes force women and girls to submit to virginity exams as part of the investigation, the report said.

“Sharia police too often investigate alleged infringements unprofessionally or abusively and then demand inappropriate, and ultimately illegal, resolutions like trying to force couples to marry,” Pearson said.

Women were the overwhelming majority of those reprimanded by the sharia police under the law requiring Islamic attire, the report said.

Aceh emerged from decades of conflict in 2005 when the Indonesian government and the separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM) signed a peace pact.

The pact was spurred by the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which killed about 170,000 people in Aceh alone.

Critics among the Acehnese have expressed concern about Islamic regulations that focus on morality and said that not all Islamic scholars agreed with the aspects of sharia in force in Aceh.

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