Foreign Minister Brende concerned about human rights situation in Aceh

‘I am deeply concerned about the human rights situation in Aceh, particularly the rights of minorities,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende in response to the adoption of a new criminal code in Aceh, an autonomous province of Indonesia.

The provincial parliament in Aceh, Indonesia adopted a new criminal code on 27 September that has serious consequences for human rights in the province. 

The new code criminalises a number of acts that are not punishable under Indonesian law, including same-sex sexual relations. It also permits public caning as punishment. 

‘It is hard for me to see how the new criminal code in Aceh can be compatible with Indonesia’s persistent efforts to improve the human rights situation in the country. Torture and discrimination against minorities are always unacceptable,’ said Foreign Minister Brende. 

Since the peace agreement was signed in 2005, Aceh has enjoyed broad autonomy, and has implemented sharia law to some degree. In practice, sharia law has only applied to Muslims until now, but the new criminal code is to apply to everyone in Aceh, regardless of religion.