Women activists and transsexuals commemorate IWD in Aceh

Detik.com – March 8, 2007
International Women's Day commemoration in Aceh (Aceh Monitor)
International Women's Day commemoration in Aceh (Aceh Monitor)

Nur Raihan, Banda Aceh – Hundreds of Acehnese women’s activists held a march from the Baiturrahman Great Mosque in the provincial capital of Banda Aceh to the offices of the Aceh Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) on March 8. The action was organised to commemorate International Women’s day. In addition to the women activists, scores of transsexuals were also involved in the march.

Upon arriving at the DPRD on Jl. Tengku Daud Beureueh, they held speeches calling on the new Acehnese government to increase the involvement of women in the process of rehabilitation, reconstruction and reconciliation in Aceh.

They also called for an evaluation of the understanding and application of Islamic law that they said was not gender sensitive and opposed the application of Islamic law for the discriminative practices those in power.

Their other demand was to call on the legislative and the executive to involve women in the process of planning, formulation, deliberation, ratification and evaluation of Qanun (by-laws) in Aceh. In addition to this they called on the new Aceh government and all layers of society to immediately end violence against women.

Transsexuals demand rights

It was not just women activists but also transsexuals – the majority of whom work in beauty salons in Banda Aceh – who were demanding their rights be fulfilled and respected.

Idar, a transsexual who manages a beauty salon, called on the new Acehnese government to respect their profession. “We are workers. So don’t raid [our establishments] and accuse us of all sorts of things. We are seeking lawful employment”, said Idar during a speech in front of members of the Aceh DPRD.

Over the last few days, the Banda Aceh municipal government has indeed been vigorously conducting raids on a number of beauty salons in Banda Aceh. “We also have the right to live and work. So, please respect us”, said Idar. (ray/nrl)

[Translated by James Balowski.]