Indonesia wants to criminalize sex and premarital cohabitation for citizens and tourists

According to government officials, Indonesia is on track to ban sex and cohabitation outside of marriage with penalties of up to a year in prison.

The new penal code, which would apply to both citizens and foreigners, is expected to be passed on December 15 or as early as this week, officials said Reuters.

Under the law, those who have sex before marriage can face up to a year in prison, while those cohabiting outside of marriage face up to six months behind bars.

Under the new laws, parents of single people who have sex can report their own children, while reports of adultery can only be filed by a husband or wife.

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The legislation has reportedly been in the works for decades. An earlier draft was due to be passed in 2019 but was met with massive protests in cities across the Muslim-majority country, according to the report BBC.

The Penal Code also contains provisions against insulting the President and state institutions and against statements deviating from Indonesian state ideology. Civil rights groups have sounded the alarm about possible misinterpretations.

“There are very few [sic] 88 articles with far-reaching provisions that could be misused and misinterpreted by both authorities and the public to criminalize those who peacefully express their opinions or exercise their right to peaceful assembly and association,” said Nurina Savitri, Amnesty Campaigns Manager International Indonesia The guard. Among them is a provision criminalizing “unauthorized public demonstrations,” which could be used to ban peaceful gatherings, she said.

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Business groups have also raised concerns about the law’s potential impact on tourism and investment. Bali, for example, has repeatedly established itself as a top travel destination in Germany various advertisements this year.

“For the corporate sector, the implementation of this customary law will create legal uncertainty and prompt investors to reconsider investing in Indonesia,” Shinta Widjaja Sukamdani, deputy chair of the Indonesian Employers’ Confederation, told Reuters. She added that moral clauses would do “more harm than good”.

The new rules appear to take existing laws into account in certain parts of the country, such as Aceh province, which enforces strict Islamic law. Bivitri Susanti, a legal expert at Indonesia’s Jentera School of Law, called the penal code a “major setback” for the nation.

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“The state cannot manage morality. The government’s duty is not to be an arbiter between conservative and liberal Indonesia,” Susanti said.

Featured image above Pixabay

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