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Indonesia passes law banning extramarital sex for citizens and foreigners alike


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Indonesia's parliament passed a law banning sex outside of marriage for citizens and foreigners alike.

The law, which will take effect in three years upon the adoption of a new criminal code, sentences offenders to one year in prison, while those found cohabiting can face six months, according to the Associated Press, which obtained a copy of the new law code. Sex outside of marriage was already banned, but the punishment was light and almost never enforced. The strict new laws come amid an upsurge in religious conservatism in the world's most populous Muslim country.

The changes were given the go-ahead, despite warnings from business groups that the new criminal code could harm Indonesia's image, the tourist industry and business investment in the county.

Gay marriage is already outlawed in Indonesia, but there are fears that the new rules policing heterosexual relationships may end up having a knock-on effect on the LGBTQ community as well, with less tolerance shown by authorities.

Human-rights groups have slammed the legislation as "morality policing," according to the French press agency AFP, and described it as a calculated crackdown on civil liberties.

Amnesty International Indonesia executive director Usman Hamid told AFP: "We are going backward... repressive laws should have been abolished, but the bill shows that the arguments of scholars abroad are true; that our democracy is indisputably in decline."

Indonesia's changes to its criminal code seems to buck a trend that has seen a general move away from banning affairs across the continent. In 2015, South Korea decriminalized adultery, and India followed suit in 2018.

It is dangerous proposition. Half of people will be criminals by default.
It is not talking into account LGBTQ people and young people cohabiting.
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