December 2010

Indonesia: Local Sharia Laws Violate Rights in Aceh

West Aceh Wilayatul Hisbah (Sharia Police) detained young unmarried man and woman for violating 'seclusion' law

(Jakarta) - Two local Sharia laws in Indonesia's Aceh province violate rights and are often enforced abusively by public officials and even private individuals, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The country's central government and the Aceh provincial government should take steps to repeal the two laws, Human Rights Watch said.

The 89-page report, "," documents the experiences of people accused of violating Sharia laws prohibiting "seclusion" and imposing public dress requirements on Muslims.

Pakistan: Asia Bibi, sentenced to death for blasphemy, may get pardon

The daughters of Asia Bibi posed with an image of their mother outside their residence in Sheikhupura.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A Christian woman who was sentenced to death by a municipal court for blasphemy against Islam could be pardoned by the president in the next few days, a senior government official said Monday.

Asia Bibi, 45, an agricultural worker and mother of five, is the first woman to be sentenced to death for blasphemy, according to human rights groups.

India: Village bans unmarried women from using cell phones

A woman in a Kolkata slum talks on a mobile in India, where the phones have become more affordable.

An Indian village has banned unmarried women from using for fear they will arrange forbidden marriages that are often punished by death, a local official said today.

The Lank village council decided unmarried boys could use mobile phones, but only under parental supervision, said one council member, Satish Tyagi. Local women's rights group criticised the measure as backward and unfair.