петък, 3 декември 2010 г.

Group Calls on Indonesia to Overturn Shariah Laws

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Human Rights Watch urged Indonesia on Wednesday to overturn Shariah laws in the conservative province of Aceh, saying the application of the legal code of Islam has resulted in widespread rights abuses.
The New York-based group said in a report that laws policing morality had resulted in violence and sexual abuse by the province’s Shariah police, known as the Wilayatul Hisbah, and by vigilante members of the public.
The laws run against “Indonesia’s own national laws and the constitution” and place Indonesia “in violation of its international human rights obligations, in particular the right to free expression, religious freedom, free association and privacy,” said Elaine Pearson, the deputy director of Human Rights Watch in Asia.
In particular, the group took issue with laws banning “khalwat,” or association between single or unrelated members of the opposite sex, as well as strict Islamic dress codes.
Enforcement of the khalwat law frequently results in detention of up to 24 hours in which men and women found together are often forced to marry and women are compelled to undergo invasive virginity tests, the report said. More than 800 people, including children, were detained last year under the khalwat law, which also carries punishments of caning and fines.
In one case this year, two members of the Wilayatul Hisbah were convicted in the rape of a 19-year-old woman who was arrested while riding on a motorbike with her boyfriend on a secluded road.
The group also said that more than 2,600 people were stopped last year under a law prohibiting un-Islamic dress. Although the wording of the law applies to both men and women, in practice it overwhelmingly singles out women, as well as the poor, the report said.
Shariah law in Aceh has also caused a rise in brutal vigilante justice by the public, with authorities routinely turning a blind eye to mob violence, it said.
Human Rights Watch called on the governor of Aceh, Irwandi Yusuf, to press the legislature to repeal the laws and urged the central government to file an appeal in Indonesia’s Supreme Court on the grounds that they violate the country’s nonsectarian constitution. Mr. Yusuf and his deputy, Muhammad Nazar, could not be reached for comment.
Shariah laws began to be applied in Aceh, a staunchly Islamic province, in 2001 as part of government attempts to end three decades of conflict between Jakarta and the separatist Free Aceh Movement. It is the only region of Indonesia to officially embrace Shariah, although some districts have implemented Islamic-inspired ordinances.
A stricter Shariah code that includes death by stoning for adulterers was passed by legislators last year but the governor has refused to sign it.
Syafruddin, a deputy chief of Aceh’s Wilayatul Hisbah, dismissed the Human Rights Watch report’s allegations of widespread abuse as inaccurate.
“In the law we need to talk about evidence. Who did it? What’s their name? When did the cases happen?” he said. “They don’t have anything concrete.”
Allegations that officers discriminated against women when enforcing Islamic dress codes were also wrong, he argued.

source: NYT

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