Indonesia’s Aceh Province Introduces Curfew Banning Women From Work, Entertainment Venues After 11PM

The capital of Indonesia’s Aceh province has banned women from working or attending entertainment venues late at night, legally requiring them to be home by 11:00pm, Banda Aceh’s mayor says.

Internet cafes, tourist sites, sports facilities and entertainment venues have been instructed to refuse service to women after 11:00pm unless they are accompanied by a husband or male family member.

The directive, which came into effect on June 4, will also bar women from working in such businesses after the cut-off time, in a bid to protect them from sexual harassment.

“Our aim is to provide protection to female employees, especially those who work in area such as cafes, restaurants, internet cafes and tourist attractions,” Banda Aceh mayor Illiza Sa’aduddin Djamal said.

“Women in Aceh are vulnerable to sexual harassment so we want to protect them from untoward incidents.”

The new measures also ban children from being unaccompanied in public places after 10:00pm.

Businesses that insist on making their female employees work beyond the curfew risk losing their licence, while women who break the rules would be reprimanded.

“They will be asked to go home and be given a warning,” Illiza Sa’aduddin Djamal said.

Women in certain professions, like nursing, are exempt from the curfew, she said.

Aceh is the only Indonesian province that implements Islamic law and makes homosexuality, gambling and drinking alcohol punishable by caning. It also reprimands women for wearing form-fitting clothing.

The chief of Indonesia’s national commission for violence against women said the measure would only restrict women’s freedom and threaten their livelihoods.

“The government should stop meddling in women’s affairs,” said Azriana, who like many Indonesians goes by only one name.

“If the intention of the Aceh government is to provide protection for women, it must instead educate the public and men to respect women or provide security at the nightspots.”

The decision comes just a month after unmarried men and women were banned from riding together on a motorbike in one of Aceh’s districts.

Indonesia has the world’s biggest Muslim population, but the vast majority practise a moderate form of the faith.



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