Indonesia makes sex before marriage illegal

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Indonesia will make sex before marriage illegal for everyone, including tourists, in a sweeping draconian draft law. In a draft code from the country’s government, strict penalties will also be introduced for abortion, “black magic”, insulting the president and cohabitation before marriage.

The sweeping and restrictive draft law is set to be passed by the country’s parliament by December 15, with sex before marriage to see a punishment of a year in prison.

Edward Omar Sharif Hiariej, Indonesia’s deputy justice minister, said: “We’re proud to have a criminal code that’s in line with Indonesian values.”

Bambang Wuryanto, a politician involved in the bills drafting, added that it could be endorsed next week.

However, Andreas Harsono, from Human Rights Watch slammed the new bill, calling it a sign of a “dark era” for the country.

Mr Harsono told The Telegraph: “I cannot imagine the damages that this draft will create in Indonesia with many of these toxic articles.

“From criminalising extra-marital sex to selling contraception to teenagers. It will be a dark era for the millions of people in Indonesia.”

The human rights advocate noted that Indonesia does not recognise same-sex marriage, meaning the law would mean that “all LGBT relationships will be categorised as a crime”.

Shinta Widjaja Sukamdani, deputy chairperson of Indonesia’s employers’ association, also warned the morality clauses would “do more harm than good”, in particular for businesses in tourism and hospitality sectors.

According to Statistics Indonesia, foreign tourists arrivals in the country leapt 364.31 percent year on year in October 2022.

Tourism revenues in Indonesia increased to $2,413.75 million (£1,962.39 million) in the third quarter of 2022 from $1,626.32 million (£1,322.21 million) in the second quarter.

However, these figures are well below those recorded before the Covid-19 pandemic, with $4,481.34 million (£3,643.36 million) recorded in the first quarter of 2020.

Ms Sukamdani added: “For the business sector, the implementation of this customary law shall create legal uncertainty and make investors re-consider investing in Indonesia.”

Other parts of the draft bill, seen by Reuters, hold insulting the president, a charge that can only be reported by the president, carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison.

A previous draft of the code was set to be passed in 2019 but sparked nationwide protests.

The deputy justice minister dismissed the criticism, saying the final version of the draft would ensure that regional laws adhered to national legislation, and the new code would not threaten democratic freedoms.

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