Jakarta: Indonesian lawmakers on Tuesday unanimously passed a new criminal code on Tuesday, criminalizing sex outside marriage.
“All have agreed to ratify the (draft changes) into law,” said lawmaker Bambang Wuryanto, who led the parliamentary commission, was quoted as saying by CNN. “The old code belongs to Dutch heritage … and is no longer relevant.”
The US news broadcaster said the new code provides punishments for insulting the president or expressing views counter to the national ideology.
Addressing a presser, Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly said he hoped that Indonesians understood that lawmakers had done everything they could to accommodate “public aspiration.”
Lately said it was not easy for a multicultural and multi-ethnic country to make a criminal code that “accommodates all interests”.
He also invited dissatisfied parties to submit a judicial review to the constitutional court.
Earlier, human rights groups said that the new code would “disproportionately impact women” and further curtail human rights and freedoms in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation.
“What we’re witnessing is a huge setback to Indonesia’s hard-won progress in protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms after the 1998 revolution. This criminal code should have never been passed in the first place,” said Usman Hamid, Executive Director of Amnesty International Indonesia.
Andreas Harsono, Human Rights Watch Indonesia Researcher said the laws are “a setback for already declining religious freedom in Indonesia,” warning that “non-believers could be prosecuted and jailed.”
“The danger of oppressive laws is not that they’ll be broadly applied, it’s that they provide avenue for selective enforcement,” he was quoted as saying by CNN.