September 20, 2019 22:25:00
The Indonesian Government had been planning to bring forward a vote on a new national criminal code as early as next week. Among other things, it would make it illegal to criticise the president, have sex outside of marriage, sell contraceptives and take away a women’s rights to choose an abortion.
Earlier, the Australian Government updated its travel advice for Indonesia, warning tourists they could be jailed for having sex outside of marriage if proposed laws are passed — with charges only proceeding if there is a complaint from a spouse, parent or child.
Tourism may be affected
Aaron Connelly, who leads the Southeast Asian Politics and Foreign Policy program at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said tourism would “certainly be affected” if the bill was passed as originally planned.
“European diplomatic missions in Jakarta have argued to legislators that its provisions, particularly against extramarital sex, will require that they update their travel notices and lead to a flood of bad press,” he told the ABC.
Gus Agung, head of Bali’s Tourism Board, told the ABC the views of the regional government in Bali “are not always aligned with Jakarta”.
“The Hindu culture accepts everyone who comes to Bali to enjoy the island. The influence of hardline clerics in Jakarta has no effect in Bali,” he said.
But Dr Lindsey questioned that sentiment.
‘Disastrous for all Indonesians’
Human rights groups had criticised the proposal, which includes jail time and stiff penalties, saying millions of Indonesian could be affected.
“Indonesia‘s draft criminal code is disastrous not only for women and religious and gender minorities, but for all Indonesians,” Andreas Harsono, senior Indonesia researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.
Under the proposed laws, unmarried couples who live together as a husband and wife could be jailed for six months or face a maximum fine of 10 million rupiah ($1,046), which is three months’ salary for many Indonesians.
There would also be a maximum four-year prison term for women who have an abortion, applicable if there was no medical emergency or rape involved.
The code further introduces fines for some people who promote contraception, and a six-month prison term for unauthorised discussion of “tools of abortion”.
Insulting the government and state institutions also carries a prison term.
September 20, 2019 17:26:31
Contact Tasha Wibawa