Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

22 May 2011

Indonesian government must repeal caning bylaws in Aceh

Indonesian government must repeal caning bylaws in Aceh

 

The Indonesian government must end the use of caning as a form of punishment and repeal the laws that allow it in Aceh province, Amnesty International said today after at least 21 people were publicly caned since 12 May.   

In Langsa city, 14 men were caned outside the Darul Falah mosque on 19 May, following the caning of seven men a week earlier. 

All 21 were found to have violated an Aceh bylaw (qanun) prohibiting gambling and were given six lashes each as hundreds of people looked on. 

“It seems that Aceh’s authorities are increasingly resorting to public caning in violation of international law,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director.  

“Victims of caning experience pain, fear and humiliation, and caning can cause long-term or permanent injuries. The Indonesian government must act to stop these punishments, which constitute cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and often amount to torture.”

According to media reports, at least 16 men and women were also caned in Aceh in 2010.

In addition to the Aceh bylaws providing for caning, the Aceh Criminal Code (Qanun Hukum Jinayat) passed by the Aceh parliament in 2009 provides for stoning to death for adultery and caning of up to 100 lashes for homosexuality. 

This code has not yet been implemented, in part because of intense criticism at local, national, and international levels.

Amnesty International called on the Indonesian central government to review all such bylaws and local regulations to ensure that they conform with international and Indonesian human rights law and standards. 

“Indonesia’s decentralization process and regional autonomy were supposed to be about empowering local populations, and should not come at the expense of their human rights,” said Sam Zarifi. 

Aceh’s provincial legislature passed a series of bylaws governing the implementation of Shari’a law after the enactment of the province’s Special Autonomy Law in 2001. Caning was introduced as a punishment carried out by Islamic courts for offences also including adultery, consumption of alcohol, unmarried adult couples who are alone in isolation (khalwat) and for any Muslim found eating, drinking or selling food during sunlight hours in the fasting month of Ramadan. 

Caning punishments violate the UN Convention against Torture, which Indonesia ratified in 1998. The Committee against Torture has also raised concerns that people detained under Aceh’s bylaws are not afforded their basic legal rights, including the right to legal counsel, and are apparently presumed to be guilty.

Read More

Indonesia must repeal "cruel" new stoning and caning law (News story, 17 September 2009)

Country

Indonesia 

Region

Asia And The Pacific 

Issue

Torture And Ill-treatment 
Trials And Legal Systems 

@amnestyonline on twitter

News

18 September 2014

Nigeria’s police and military routinely torture women, men, and children – some as young as 12 – using a wide range of methods including beatings, shootings and rape... Read more »

25 September 2014

El Salvador has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world. Abortion is totally banned in all circumstances and harsh prison sentences befall those accused of... Read more »

30 September 2014

Fiji authorities must urgently investigate allegations that a man was severely beaten by army officers after he had sent a series of angry text messages to Prime Minister Frank... Read more »

30 September 2014

A year on from the Lampedusa shipwrecks, which claimed more than 500 lives, a new report highlights how the shameful inaction of EU countries has contributed to the deaths of... Read more »

29 September 2014

Iranian authorities have today confirmed that a woman convicted of killing a man whom she said tried to sexually abuse her will be hanged tomorrow morning at a prison... Read more »