In a new bill passed to law, Indonesia banned sex for unmarried people to curb extramarital activities
According to the new legislation, which go into force in three years, having sex outside of marriage might result in a prison sentence of up to a year.
The numerous adjustments follow a growth in religious conservatism in the nation with a majority of Muslims.
The regulations are criticised as a “disaster” for human rights and as a possible hindrance to travel and investment.
This week, a number of mostly young people’s groups demonstrated against the law in front of the Jakarta parliament.
It is anticipated that the new legislation would face legal challenges.
Both residents and visitors living in Indonesia or travelling to vacation spots like Bali must abide by them.
According to the legislation, unmarried couples who are found having sex face up to a year in jail.
They are also forbidden from cohabitating, a crime punishable by up to six months in jail.
Adultery is a crime for which persons are subject to incarceration.
Ajeng, a 28-year-old Muslim woman who lives in Depok, West Java, said that because she has been cohabitating with her lover for the past five years, she is now in danger.
According to the new rule, if one of the family members decides to contact the police, both of us might face jail time, she told the Newsmen.
“What if one family member decides to put me in jail because they don’t like me?
“In my opinion, cohabitation and extramarital sex are not illegal.
It is seen as a sin in my religion.
However, I disagree that the criminal law should be founded on a particular faith.”
She said that when the bill was originally brought up in 2019, she participated in the widespread demonstrations.
“For the right to snuggle, I took to the streets,” she read from the sign.
However, the new code of over 600 items was overwhelmingly passed by parliament on Tuesday.
Rights organizations claim that the new rules unfairly harm women, LGBT people, and racial minorities.
Many companies had also opposed the law, claiming that it impeded investment and tourism.
However, politicians have praised the revision of regulations that date back to Dutch colonial control.
Yasonna Laoly, the law minister, addressed the legislature, “It is time for us to make a historical choice on the penal code change and to leave the colonial criminal code we inherited behind.”
Numerous new provisions in the new legislation criminalize immorality and blasphemy while limiting freedom of speech in politics and religion.
Elaine Pearson, the director of Human Rights Watch in Asia, told the Newsmen that it was a “major setback for a country that has attempted to depict itself as a contemporary Muslim democracy.”
According to Andreas Harsano, a researcher for the group located in Jakarta, millions of Indonesian couples do not have marriage licenses, “particularly among Indigenous peoples or Muslims in rural regions” who were hitched in particular religious rituals.
He told the BBC that since living together might result in a prison sentence of up to six months, “these people will technically be breaching the law.”
Research from Gulf states, where comparable regulations regarding sex and relationships exist, further demonstrated that women were penalised and targeted by such morality laws more than males.
The legislation currently has six blasphemy prohibitions, including one for apostasy, which is the rejection of a faith.
For the first time since gaining independence, Indonesia will outlaw persuading people to reject their religion.
Additionally, new defamation laws make it unlawful to disparage the president or state ideology.
However, lawmakers claimed that they had expanded protections for free speech and “public interest” protests.