Bali’s strict new sex ban

Indonesia looks set to soon pass amendments to its criminal code that would make extramarital sex and living together outside of marriage in the Southeast Asian country illegal.

Unmarried Australian tourists getting cosy between the sheets won't be exempt either, exposing a swath of visitors to criminal charges including jail time.

The anticipated reforms also impact women's rights, religious minorities and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

"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."

If passed the law will impact the 1 million Australians who visit Indonesia's tourism hot spot Bali each year.

Indonesia, a conservative country of 264 million people, has the world's largest Muslim population.

The 628-article bill was finalised by a parliamentary task force on Sunday, according to HRW.

The non-governmental organisation has fleshed out the articles of greatest concern, including Article 419 that states couples who live together without being legally married could be sentenced to six months in prison.

"A village head could report these couples to the police," HRW said.

Article 417 punishes extramarital sex by up to one year in jail.

This deviates from the current code that states only married couples can be prosecuted for extramarital sex based on police complaints by their spouse or children.

Anyone who shows, offers, broadcasts or promotes contraception to someone under 18 could face a prison term or fine, according to Article 414.

"The bill's provisions censoring information about contraception could set back the progress Indonesia has made in recent years to dramatically reduce maternal deaths," Mr Harsono said.

 

Don’t even think about getting any closer if you’re holidaying in Indonesia unmarried. Picture: iStock
Don’t even think about getting any closer if you’re holidaying in Indonesia unmarried. Picture: iStock

Indonesia's House of Representatives is expected to vote later this month on the bill, which month would replace a Dutch colonial-era set of laws.

HRW is among a coalition of NGOs urging Indonesian President Joko Widodo to delay passing the amendments.


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