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Report of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, A/HRC/13/40/Add.1, 16 February 2010

II. Summary of cases transmitted and replies received

J. Indonesia

2. Urgent appeal sent on 2 October 2009 jointly with the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, and the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions

Allegations transmitted to the Government

114. The Special Rapporteurs brought to the attention of the Government information they had received regarding the adoption of the new Islamic Criminal Code (Qanun Jinayah) in Aceh. On 14 September 2009, the Aceh Legislative Council adopted a new

Islamic Criminal Code which imposes severe sentences for consensual extra-marital sexual relations, rape, homosexuality, alcohol consumption and gambling. Among other sanctions, the Code imposes the punishment of stoning to death for adultery; 100 cane lashes for sexual intercourse outside marriage; between 100 and 300 cane lashes or imprisonment for rape; and 100 lashes for homosexuality. In addition, the new Code legalizes marital rape.

Response from the Government dated 23 December 2009

116. In its response dated 23 December 2009, the Government indicated that the Province of Aceh is given a special status under law no. 18 of 2001, which incorporated a special system of autonomy. In the preamble of this law, special status is granted to Aceh for its distinct contribution to the formation of the Indonesian nation, as much as for Aceh’s unique historical and cultural background, as well as its religious, moral and social values which had been preserved from generation to generation. The special status of Aceh as an autonomous region was expressed through four specific areas over which it had sole decisional power: religious issues, customs, education and the role of the Ulema in the local policy-making process. This special status was further reinforced through law no. 11 of 2006 on the Governing of Aceh.

Observations of the Special Rapporteur

123. The Special Rapporteur is grateful that the Government of Indonesia replied to the joint urgent appeal of 2 October 2009. She would like to refer to General Assembly resolution 63/181, in which the Assembly urges States “to ensure that no one within their jurisdiction is deprived of the right to life, liberty or security of person because of religion or belief and that no one is subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, or arbitrary arrest or detention on that account and to bring to justice all perpetrators of violations of these rights” (para. 9 b). The Special Rapporteur also recalls that the General Assembly in the same resolution urges States “to step up their efforts to eliminate intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief, […] devoting particular attention to practices that violate the human rights of women and discriminate against women” (para. 12 a). Furthermore, the General Assembly invites all actors to address “situations of violence and discrimination that affect many women as well as other individuals on the grounds or in the name of religion or belief or in accordance with cultural and traditional practices” (para. 16 b). Moreover, the Human Rights Committee in its general comment no. 22 emphasizes that “[i]f a set of beliefs is treated as official ideology in constitutions, statutes, proclamations of ruling parties, etc., or in actual practice, this shall not result in any impairment of the freedoms under article 18 or any other rights recognized under the Covenant nor in any discrimination against persons who do not accept the official ideology or who oppose it”.

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