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A report on Indonesia banning sex outside marriage

An article on The Government of Indonesia banning sex outside marriage

Indonesia has been a popular tourist attraction for decades now. Picturesque monuments, giant volcanoes and long sandy beaches. It is a tourist's Paradise. The country has been a tourist hub, with almost 16 million tourists in 2019 alone. The POF course pandemic had an impact on the tourism industry. Still, the tourist industry was set to achieve marvellous pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2025, as per the official tourism ministry.

However, the plan seems to go south this winter because of a new criminal law passed by the Indonesian Parliament. 

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What is the criminal code:

On the 6th of December this year, the Indonesian Government shocked the world when it passed the law to ban sex outside marriage in the entire country. The law will apply to all unmarried couples, foreigners residing in the country/visiting the country and married couples who do not own marriage certificates. Furthermore, the law prevents cohabitation of unmarried couples and apostasy and forbids citizens from insulting the president and opposing the Government's ideology.

When will the law be implemented?

The law will take three years to implement and draft policies under the law.

What is the punishment:

Any individual/ couple found guilty of indulging in any activity refrained by the law shall be liable to Jail Time. Moreover, the period of punishment will be six months to even a year. 

People found guilty of insulting the president could be imprisoned for three years and, because of spreading "fake news" in the country, could end up being punished for six years.

Who can file the complaint?

Moreover, the complaint can be filed by Children, spouses, parents or the related families of offenders only, Albert Aries, a spokesperson for Indonesia's justice minister, said. He added that the move had been undertaken to limit the intervention of society in private matters and protect Indonesian Values.

The impact:

Young citizens have widely opposed the decision, and massive protests have been seen in Jakarta. New criminal law is a complete violation of human rights, and the law will also shrink the tourism industry, which at present contributes to 5% of the total GDP of the nation.

Preventing people from expressing their opinions against the Government has made people fear losing their civic freedoms. "This is problematic", says one of the protesters. 

Why the law:

The question in your mind might be: What is the need for this law, and why has it been implemented in the first place?

To understand this, there are two aspects. 

Aspect -1: Nation with the highest Muslim Population

To understand the first one, let us briefly examine the country's population. The country has a population of over 27 Cr, among which almost 231 Million Are Muslim (people who follow the Islam Religion), making it the highest Muslim Populated country in the world. Moreover, 87% of the nation's population is Muslim, making it a Muslim-majority nation.

The paradox:

The nation is the third-largest democracy in the world. Democracy is the system of Government that offers ultimate authority to its citizens. The right to choose its leaders and fully established human rights laws are a few of the many qualities of democratic nations. However, In Indonesia, the case is a little twisted. 

The Muslim population dominates Indonesia, and in Islam, it is prohibited to have sex outside marriage, adultery, and consume alcohol. Religion is rigid in its practices and prohibits people from practising any "unethical" activities stated by religion. However, the nation is also home to Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism. And here is the problem, in a democratic nation, the laws are not formed as per religious preferences and practices but instead formed considering all of its population. Additionally, the law poses a serious threat to the human rights of the Indonesian people.

Citra Referendum, a lawyer from Indonesia's Legal Aid Institute, describes the criminal code as the "death of democracy".When inquired about criticism, Indonesia's law minister Yasonna Laoly said, "it is tough to draft rules that accommodate the interests of everyone."

Aspect-2: Is law a Dutch heritage:

The criminal code of law has been "waiting for 59 years," Edward Omar Sharif, Deputy Minister for Law and Human Rights, said. The nation has been drafting and redrafting its criminal code for over half millennia since its independence from Japan on 17th August 1945. However, Japan ruled Indonesia from 1942-45 when japan gained control of the Dutch East Indies after WW2. Before that, the Dutch colonised the nation, and their culture and traditions influenced modern-day Indonesia. It explains the gravitation of law towards the Dutch. But "the old code belongs to Dutch heritage ... and is no longer relevant now," Bambang Wuryanto, head of the parliamentary commission in charge of revising the code, told lawmakers.

What has been done in the past:

On the same grounds, in 2019, the Government refrained married men from having an extramarital affair. Moreover, gambling is prohibited nationwide, and there are no public casinos. 

Furthermore, the consumption of alcohol is also completely banned in one of its states named, Aceh, since 2014. Muslim-majority country has passed the law in light of increasing conservatism in the nation. 

The country has been carefully analyzing the needs and demands of its citizens. However, this time, it is very likely the law will be opposed in court. Activists and rights groups have claimed that the nation is on its way to becoming fundamentalist rather than secularist, which is the basis of any democracy.

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