JAKARTA (DPA) — The capital of Indonesia's devoutly Muslim province of Aceh has imposed restrictions on women working after 11 pm to prevent other crimes.
Women who work in places such as sports and entertainment centres as well as tourism spots should go home by 11 pm, under a directive that took effect on June 4, Banda Aceh mayor Illiza Sa'aduddin Djamal said.
Children and women are advised not to be in such places after 10 pm unless they are accompanied by male relatives, she said.
"Women in Aceh are vulnerable to sexual harassment so we want to protect them from untoward incidents," Illiza said.
A recent study by a parenting and children foundation, Kita dan Buah Hati, cases of sexual harassment were higher in Aceh than in any other province in Indonesia.
Employers could lose business licences if they flout the directive, but there will be no punishment for women who break the curfew, she said.
"They will be asked to go home and be given a warning," she said.
Women in some professions such as nurses and midwives are exempted from the curfew, she said.
Sharia law has been in force in Aceh since the early 2000s as part of Jakarta's attempts to pacify demands for independence.
Drinking, gambling and mixing with the opposite sex while unmarried are punishable by public caning.
In 2005, the government and separatist rebels of the Free Aceh Movement signed a peace deal ending decades of armed conflict, which claimed an estimated 15,000 lives.