North Aceh government bans women from going out alone at night

Merdeka – July 11, 2019
Wilayatul Hisbah arrest women found out alone at night in Aceh (Antara)
Wilayatul Hisbah arrest women found out alone at night in Aceh (Antara)

Afif – The North Aceh regency government has banned women and under age children from going out at night or roaming the streets during school hours without being accompanied by a mahram (husband or male family member) or their parents.

The appeal was issued at a joint goodwill meeting of 28 social organisations following midday prayers at the Agung Baiturrahim Lhoksukon Mosque on Wednesday July 10.

Attending the event was North Aceh regent H Muhammad Thaib, an official from the Regional Leadership Coordinating Forum (Forkopimda), ulama (Islamic clerics), Achenese Islamic boarding school leaders (dayah), public figures and ormas (mass or social organisation) leaders.

There were two points made in the declaration, namely that children under the age of 17 are not allowed on the streets at night and during school hours without being accompanied by their parents or guardians.

Second, women are not allowed to go out at night without being accompanied by their husband or a mahram.

Thaib is convinced that this call will be fully supported by the public. The appeal it is based on mutual concerns about the future of North Acehnese children, particularly related to the drug trade which is becoming of increasing concern in Aceh, especially in North Aceh.

“In North Aceh there are already many indications of social diseases and what is of most concern is drugs. This needs our mutual and serious attention”, he said.

According to Thaib, the North Aceh regency government together with the local Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) has already drafted a regulation on discipline for school age children, especially at night.

The regulation in the form of a qanun (bylaw) began being drafted in 2016 and has already been sent to the Aceh provincial government for study and verification, although this process has not yet been completed.

In 2014, said Thaib, the government also enacted a bylaw in the form of Regent Regulation (perbub) Number 33/2014 on Reinforcing Syariat Islam (Islamic law), which among other things covered policies requiring primary school children continuing on to junior high school to be able to read the Koran.

The regulation was enacted so that school age children will be diligent in their studies rather than enjoying themselves roaming the streets or hanging out at coffee shops at night.

Thaib took the opportunity to express his hope that the perbubs that have already been issued are monitored and controlled at all layers of society, particularly in the case of perbubs related to social life, respecting the Islamic religious community and local values and wisdom.

“We want these values of local wisdom to be revived and maintained in North Acehnese society”, he said.

In relation to the declaration on controlling children roaming the streets at night, Thaib said that hopefully this duty will prioritise officials from the Wilayatul Hisbah (WH, Islamic religious police) and the Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) officials, not police or TNI (Indonesian military) units. Moreover, the North Aceh regency government has already deployed 10 WH and Satpol PP officials at each sub-district.

Thaib hopes furthermore that the qanun on children roaming the streets at night can be realised soon.

“The qanun must be enacted soon, lest there are more school children roaming around outside after 10 pm, if there are we will punish them by giving them counseling and guidance at mosques, dayah, Islamic boarding schools, then return them to their parents”, said Thaib in closing.

Previously, the Banda Aceh municipal government when it was still led by Illiza Sa’aduddin Djamal also issued a similar policy banning women from going out at night or frequenting coffee shops without their mahram.

The woman mayor of Banda Aceh also issued a regulation on working hours for women which banned women employed at night from working later than 11 pm. (fik)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Pemkab Aceh Utara Larang Perempuan dan Anak-Anak Keluar Malam”.]