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Know about Indonesia’s new sex laws

Know about Indonesia's new sex laws

The Indonesian government has banned extramarital sex in a new penal code that was recently introduced. The new rules prohibit sex outside marriage for nationals and foreigners. The laws that will come into effect in three years will make sex outside marriage illegal and expose offenders to a prison sentence of up to a year.

The new law has received mixed reactions and raises several questions, including concern over its applicability to tourists going on vacation to the popular Indonesian holiday destination Bali.

What are the new rules about sex outside of marriage?

Indonesia’s new laws effectively ban all kinds of sex outside of marriage. Adultery is already banned in the country, but with this latest revision, unmarried couples caught committing the crime will be punished with up to a year in jail. Cohabitation between unmarried couples will also be prohibited by the new penal code.

The world’s largest Muslim-majority country, Indonesia, has seen a rise in religious conservatism in recent years. Strict Islamic laws already apply in some parts of the country, including the semi-autonomous province of Aceh, where alcohol and gambling are banned. Public floggings also take place in the region for various crimes, including homosexuality and adultery.

The changes to the penal code have not only alarmed human rights advocates, who have warned of their potential to stifle individual freedoms, but also travel industry representatives, who have expressed concern about their possible effect on tourism.

What does the penal code say?

According to the new penal code, extramarital sex will be punishable by one year in prison.

Unmarried couples living together will in turn face up to six months in prison.

The spokesman for the team in charge of this law at the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, Albert Aries, defended the amendments and assured that these new rules would protect the institution of marriage.

He also noted that acts of pre- and extramarital sex could only be reported by a spouse, parent, or child, which limits the scope of the review.

For human rights groups, this legislation marks a check on morality and a turn towards fundamentalism in a country long praised for its religious tolerance, whose constitution upholds secularism.

Calming nerves, the governor of the island of Bali has said the new sex ban does not put tourists at risk. Bali Governor Wayan Koster has said travelers “shouldn’t worry” about the changes due to Indonesia’s new penal code.

Bali’s governor said the penal code’s provisions on the prohibition of extramarital sex have been amended to be less stringent in order to provide a “better guarantee” of everyone’s privacy and comfort.

A nightmare for many Indonesians

The law passed by the Indonesian Parliament may or may not affect tourists and the Indonesian economy, but it will fully impact the lives of the locals. Phil Robertson, deputy director for Asia at Human Rights Watch, wrote on Twitter that the country “proposes to move down the path of disaster and violation of rights by criminalizing sexual relations outside of marriage.

This scandalous proposal for a Penal Code violates the norms of international privacy rights and will seriously harm the country. The most criticized clause of the law is the one that stipulates up to one year in prison for having sex outside of marriage and in any of its forms. For couples living together without being married, up to six months in prison. Indonesia, where adultery is prohibited but premarital relations are not, is one of the countries with the largest Muslim population in the world.


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