MOSCOW, September 27 (RIA Novosti) — Lawmakers in Indonesia's conservative Aceh province passed an anti-homosexuality law Saturday making it punishable by 100 lashes, triggering widespread criticism from human rights advocates.
"This law will only add to the climate of homophobia, fear and harassment many in Aceh are already facing," Amnesty International human rights organization stated on its website while requesting the Aceh parliament to repeal or revise the provisions.
"Caning is a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment that is clearly prohibited under international law," the statement said.
King Oey, a prominent Indonesian activist also tried to urge the moderate central government to overturn the law.
"There is no room to talk about this democratically in Aceh because once someone expresses an objection he or she will immediately be branded 'anti-Islam'," Oey said as quoted by the Huffington Post, while the debate on the law was ongoing earlier this week.
"The only way to stop it is on the national level, particularly at the level of the minister of home affairs," he added.
The law must be approved by the home affairs ministry in Jakarta, which was considering overturning the law based on human rights concerns.
But Ramli Sulaiman who headed the commission drafting the bill claimed that Jakarta had allowed them to proceed, according to a report by ABC Australia.
The Aceh Islamic Criminal Code was passed by the 69-member assembly unanimously, making same-sex sexual activity, sex outside marriage and being alone with someone of the opposite sex who is not a marriage partner or relative illegal.
The province of Aceh has been slowly implementing sharia law since gaining a degree of autonomy from Jakarta in 2001, and is the only province in Indonesia to pass the anti-homosexuality law.