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Everything You Need to Know About Indonesia's Proposed Bill That Criminalises Extra-Marital Sex

The law, if passed, would be a gross violation of human rights standards.

Jashodhara Mukherjee | News18.com

Updated:September 25, 2019, 2:17 PM IST
Everything You Need to Know About Indonesia's Proposed Bill That Criminalises Extra-Marital Sex
Image : Twitter

On Tuesday, thousands of students across Indonesia protested against a bill that criminalises extra-marital sex and gay sex, even as lawmakers met to decide the fate of the highly controversial criminal code which has polarised Indonesians.

The proposed bill was supposed to be discussed on Tuesday but President Joko Widodo has now postponed it to Friday, in order to give lawmakers more time to ponder over the new laws.

But what is it about the new law that has led to such widespread outrage?

According to reports, these are the major highlights of the proposed bill:

What does the law include? 

Pre-marital sex, or sex before marriage, would be considered a criminal offence and those found guilty would be eligible for a prison sentence up to one year.

  1. Insulting or saying derogatory things about the president, religion or even the national flag or anthem would be considered illegal.
  2. Abortion, outside of rape and medical emergencies, will be illegal and offenders would be eligible for a four year prison term.
  3. A prison term for black magic would also be introduced.
  4. Living together out of wedlock would also be punishable by a six month prison term.
  5. There is also a provision in the proposed bill which bans broadcasting or promotion of contraception methods to minors.

Why are Indonesians protesting? 

Stone pelting. Water cannons. Tear gas. Tuesday's protests took an ugly turn in Jakarta and other parts of Indonesia as students took to the streets to raise their against a voice that they deemed unfair. Some students even climbed up the gates of the Parliament and demanded to speak to parliament speaker Bambang Soesatyo."My crotch doesn't belong to the government," one of the banners read.

As a Twitter user wrote, this criminal code is a breach of basic human rights, freedom of speech, right to health care, abortion rights and so on. According to Human Rights Watch, the law, if passed, would be a gross violation of human rights standards.

Another major factor that must be taken into consideration is the proposed law's impact on tourism.

According to reports, over 1.2 million Australians visit Bali every year. Not every couple that visits Indonesia might be married. Some might be dating and Bali IS a popular destination for romantic getaways. Experts say that that unmarried sex between tourists would also be considered illegal, and they might be penalised. Is that not a violation of basic rights?

Given that thousands of Indonesians consider the bill an impingement of their basic freedom, several online petitions have been circulated which call for solidarity


Some even took to social media to raise their concerns:

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