9,000 books on Child Protection Law based on Islam launched in Indonesia's Aceh
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia 27 August 2009 – The publication of 9,000 books on Child Protection Qanun, a local government regulation based on the canonical laws on Islam, was launched today to ensure officials, academics, social workers and the public provide a protective environment for children in Indonesia’s Aceh province.
Aceh was given special privileges to issue its own local laws as part of its special autonomy status. The provincial parliament approved the Qanun last December marking a historic milestone by putting the rights of children at the forefront of legal obligation, moral imperative and development priority. The publication will help to spread awareness of the Qanun.
UNICEF has supported the drafting of the Qanun and funded the publication of this bi-lingual book, which will be distributed widely to all related provincial and district departments, academics, non-governmental organizations, social workers, orphanages, Islamic boarding schools and public schools. UNICEF's programmes expanded in Aceh after the 2004 tsunami struck. The disaster paved the way for the Qanun, as some 2,853 children who lost one or two parents because of the tsunami needed legal protection on foster care. In addition, thousands of children also lost their parents during 30 years of separatist conflict, which ended after a peace agreement was reached in 2006.
”This Qanun is a reflection of our commitment to the best child protection principles as mandated by the Convention on the Rights of the Child,” said Irwandi Yusuf, the Governor of Aceh.
The four principles of the Convention are covered in the Qanun: non-discrimination, best interests of the child, the right to live, grow and develop, and the right to participate. The Qanun is based on the national law and provides the legal protection of children from exploitation, violence and abuse, children in emergencies and in conflict with the law, as well as children who are neglected by their families.
“This Qanun is proof of turning a tragedy into an opportunity and building back better with not just brick and mortar, but with legal basis and laws to protect children,” said UNICEF Indonesia Country Representative, Angela Kearney. “The challenge, now, is how to turn this legal framework into supporting bylaws and policies, so it can be implemented to create sustainable environment to protect the children of Aceh."
A part of the Qanun centers on the childcare within the family and the institution that emphasizes the importance of supervision in the guardianship for Muslim children, which has its own customs and norms. The Qanun underlines the commitment not to inflict physical and psychological harm in the teaching of religious values. It also highlights the importance of developing a referral system, protection and services for people affected by violence in an integrated system, which is free of charge. In addition, it also calls for an independent supervisory body, such as the Provincial Child Protection Commission, as an extension of the national level commission. UNICEF is also assisting the development of further technical regulations and advocacy to ensure the implementation of the Qanun with Women Empowerment and Child Protection Bureau and Aceh’s Social Affairs office.
For more information, please contact Zubedy Koteng, Child Protectin Specialist, 681360523474, or Melna Saraswati, Communication Officer, 62 8126990506 or Lely Djuhari, Communication Specialist, 62 811 802 338.