Indonesia moves to ban extramarital sex amid rights crackdown

20-Sep-2019 Intellasia | The Telegraph | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Indonesia is poised to update its penal code to impose jail terms or steep fines on anyone having consensual sex outside of marriage.

The legal reforms contain a long list of controversial provisions, including financial penalties for anyone found guilty of insulting the president’s dignity, prison sentences for women who abort outside of medical emergencies, the censoring of contraceptive advice and the expansion of blasphemy laws.

Rights groups have denounced the parliament’s planned legislation as an assault on basic freedoms at a time when fears are growing about the trend towards restrictive religious piety and the spread of conservative Islam in the world’s most populous Muslim country.

The new code, which would replace a Dutch colonial-era set of laws, has taken more than two decades to update but it may be put to the vote as early as next week after a parliamentary taskforce recently finalised the draft.

“Indonesia’s draft criminal code is disastrous not only for women and religious and gender minorities, but for all Indonesians,” said Andreas Harsono, senior Indonesia researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Lawmakers should remove all the abusive articles before passing the law.”

He added: “The bill’s provisions censoring information about contraception could set back the progress Indonesia has made in recent years to dramatically reduce maternal deaths.”

Rights activists have warned that millions could be ensnared, particularly by the new rules on extramarital sex.

Technically these would also apply to foreigners. A similar situation already exists in the popular expatriate and tourist destination of Dubai where unmarried couples are not allowed to share the same roof and foreigners have faced legal problems.

Indonesian couples who live together without being legally married could be sentenced to six months in prison or face a maximum fine of GBP 570, the rough equivalent of three months salary. A prosecution can proceed if a village chief, who heads the lowest tier of government, files a police complaint.

Gay couples would automatically be swept up in the crackdown as same-sex marriage is outlawed, intensifying already sweeping discrimination against the LGBT community.

A coalition of Indonesian civil society organisations has urged Joko Widodo, the country’s president, to delay passing the law.

They argue that it enables discrimination against non-Muslims and minorities and violates the free speech and freedom of association that lie at the heart of democracy. In one example, the spread of Marxist-Leninist teachings can result in a four-year prison sentence.

However, religious groups have welcomed the move. “The state must protect citizens from behavior that is contrary to the supreme precepts of God,” said Nasir Djamil, a politician from the Islam-based Prosperous Justice Party, told Reuters.

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/indonesia-moves-ban-extramarital-sex-092812229.html

 


Category: Indonesia

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