Indonesian president delays sex laws after outrage

indonesia president joko widodo human rights watch
Photo: YouTube

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has delayed a vote on hundreds of draconian new laws – including one banning gay sex – after worldwide outrage.

The Indonesian government is proposing an extensive overhaul of the country’s criminal code. Human rights groups blasted the planned laws as “disastrous” for not only LGBTIQ people but the wider Indonesian public.


But on Friday, Widodo bowed to the pressure, delaying the bill’s passage to allow, he said, for further review.

“I have ordered the law and human rights minister to convey this decision to parliament, to delay the confirmation of the criminal code bill,” he said.

Human rights groups warned several of the hundreds of planned law changes could be used to target LGBTIQ people.

One would make consensual sex between unmarried adults in the Muslim-majority country a crime. Another would prohibit unmarried couples from living together.

The laws don’t mention same-sex conduct but with no same-sex marriage in Indonesia gay relationships would be effectively illegal.

Australia updates travel advice for tourists

Before Widodo’s delay, the Australian government updated its travel advice warning of the possible future changes to Indonesia’s Criminal Code.

The Smart Traveller website states the laws would only come into effect two years after the government passes the legislation.

“A large number of laws may change. These will also apply to foreign residents and visitors, including tourists,” it reads.

The advice says this includes the law prohibiting “adultery or sex outside of marriage, encompassing all same-sex sexual relations.”

But charges would only proceed after a complaint by a spouse, child or parent, the advice states.

Proposed Indonesian laws ‘disastrous’

Human Rights Watch’s Andreas Harsono earlier slammed the raft of new laws for also violating the rights of women, religious minorities and freedom of speech.

“Indonesia’s draft criminal code is disastrous not only for women and religious and gender minorities, but for all Indonesians,” Harsono said.


Harsono said the Indonesian parliament should “substantially revise the proposed new criminal code to meet international human rights standards.”

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