Indonesia’s Parliament banned sex outside of marriage
Indonesia has passed a controversial new Criminal Code that includes outlawing sex outside marriage and cohabitation, in changes that critics contend could undermine freedoms in the Southeast Asian nation.
The new regulations, which are applicable to both Indonesians and foreigners, reinstate the prohibition against disparaging the president, government agencies, or Pancasila, Indonesia’s national ideology.
The 1946-era framework, which included elements of Dutch law, hukum adat, and contemporary Indonesian law, has been replaced by the new criminal code, which the parliament unanimously adopted on Tuesday.
“We did our best to take into account the significant issues and varied viewpoints that were discussed. However, Yasonna Laoly, minister of law and human rights, told parliament prior to the vote that it was time for us to make a historic choice regarding the penal code amendment and abandon the colonial criminal code we inherited.
Fears that the proposed code will restrict personal freedoms led to countrywide student-led protests when a full draft was unveiled in September 2019. At least 300 people were harmed during the rioting, which was further stoked by worries that the fight against corruption will be undermined by new regulations.
The entirety of later modifications has not yet been made available.
According to Edward Hiariej, deputy minister of law and human rights, the president must still sign the new legislation. Additionally, it won’t take effect right away because it will take at most three years to go from the previous code to the new one.
According to a draft of the new code obtained by the Associated Press, the crime of insulting a president in office can result in a three-year prison sentence.
“The strictest feasible explanation that distinguishes between insults and criticism,” claimed Hiariej of the government.
Before the law was passed, adultery was the only crime that was prohibited in Indonesia: having sex before marriage.
Parents or kids will be able to report unmarried couples to the police under the new rule if they believe they have had sex; critics have warned this is a step toward moral policing and might be used to persecute LGBTQ people.
According to the rule, having sex before being married and adultery will both result in up to a year in jail or a fine.
Cohabitation will result in a six-month prison sentence or a fine, but only if it is reported to the police by a spouse, child, or parent.
Rights organizations claim the proposals show the country, which has long been praised for its religious tolerance and secularism, is becoming more conservative.
“We are regressing… Repressive laws ought to have been eliminated, but the bill demonstrates that the claims made by researchers outside are accurate and that our democracy is undeniably deteriorating, according to Usman Hamid, director of Amnesty International Indonesia.
If it is believed that the proper procedure was not followed before the criminal code was passed, including seeking pertinent and transparent public participation, the criminal code may be challenged in the Constitutional Court.
The Jobs Creation Law, which was passed in October 2020 and deemed “unconstitutional” a year later, has been contested by labor unions using this strategy. The government has two years to make the necessary changes to the law or risk having it declared permanently invalid.
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