Indonesia’s parliament has approved a new criminal code that bans anyone in the country from having extramarital sex and restricts political freedoms. Sex outside marriage will carry a jail term of up to a year under the new laws, which take effect in three years.
The raft of changes come after a rise in religious conservatism in the Muslim-majority country.
Critics see the laws as a “disaster” for human rights, and a potential blow to tourism and investment.
Several groups of mainly young people protested against the legislation outside parliament in Jakarta this week. It’s expected the new laws will be challenged in court.
They apply equally to locals and to foreigners living in Indonesia, or visiting holiday destinations such as Bali. Under the laws unmarried couples caught having sex can be jailed for up to a year.
They are also banned from living together – an act for which people could be jailed for up to six months. Adultery will also be an offence for which people can be jailed.
Many businesses had also been opposed to the legislation, saying it discouraged visitors and investment. But lawmakers have celebrated overhauling laws dating back to Dutch colonial rule.