Under the new laws, which apply to both citizens and foreign visitors, sex outside of marriage would be punishable by up to a year in prison. Cohabitation by an unmarried couple is also banned, and adultery is now also an imprisonable offence.
However, the law has been watered down compared with earlier drafts, restricting the ability to report an offence to certain people, such as a spouse, parent or child of the couple.
The new criminal code is due to come into effect in three years. It includes a number of other dubious laws, including bans on ‘insulting the president or state institutions, blasphemy, protesting without notification and spreading views deemed to run counter to Indonesia's secular state ideology’.
Religious laws have also been tightened, including for apostasy – the renunciation of a religion. It will also now be illegal to persuade someone to be a non-believer.
An attempt to pass a previous draft of the criminal code was made in 2019, but was delayed due to nationwide protests.
Indonesia is a popular tourist destination – in particular, its southern province of Bali, which hosted 6.3 million international visitors in 2019 and is considered a popular ‘party hotspot’ for young travellers. The laws could put travellers at risk, and create a drag on Indonesia’s tourism industry at a time when it is still recovering post-pandemic.