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Indonesia bans sex outside marriage in new criminal code

In Indonesia, the parliament approved a new criminal code that bans sex outside of marriages with a punishment of up to one year in jail. This applies to Indonesians and foreigners alike, and also prohibits cohabitation between unmarried couples.

Photo by Jeremy Bishop from Unsplash.com

Back to the Dark Ages?

In Indonesia, the parliament approved a new criminal code that bans sex outside of marriages with a punishment of up to one year in jail. This applies to Indonesians and foreigners alike, and also prohibits cohabitation between unmarried couples.

Currently, Indonesia bans adultery but not premarital sex. Same-sex sexual engagements are not banned per se, even if frowned upon; though these are explicitly prohibited in two provinces: Aceh, a conservative Muslim province that practices Shariah law, and South Sumatra, a Muslim-majority province.

In an article posted after the news broke, Human Rights Watch’s senior Indonesia researcher Andreas Harsono stated that “in one fell swoop, Indonesia’s human rights situation has taken a drastic turn for the worse, with potentially millions of people in Indonesia subject to criminal prosecution under this deeply flawed law.”

The law also affects members of the LGBTQIA community.

For HRW, “while the crimes of sex or cohabitation outside marriage can only be prosecuted on the complaint of the husband, wife, parents, or children of the accused, it will disproportionately impact women and (LGBTQIA) people who are more likely to be reported by husbands for adultery or by families for relationships they disapprove of.”

Same-sex couples cannot marry in Indonesia, so “this clause also effectively renders all same-sex conduct illegal. This is the first time in Indonesia’s history that adult consensual same-sex conduct has been proscribed by law,” HRW added.

The new criminal code also:

  • bans insulting the president or state institutions
  • spreading views counter to the state ideology
  • staging protests without notification

The code will come into effect after three years to allow for implementing regulations to be drafted.

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