CNN Indonesia is set to pass a highly controversial new penal code that would criminalize consensual sex outside of marriage and effectively outlaw same-sex relations , in a move human rights groups have criticized as a violation of basic freedoms. Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what's happening in the world as it unfolds.
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The Indonesian government has tried to arrest these trends through national programmes to tackle poverty, increase access to primary education and health services, law enforcement, and various efforts to enhance public awareness, including reproductive health education. Notably, in September , the Indonesian parliament revised its Marriage Act to increase the legal age a girl can marry from 16 previously to 19 — same as that for boys. Despite these efforts, social norms in the country, which has a large rural and conservative population, are still ruefully inadequate in addressing the prevalence of child marriage and sexual violence. Toxic social norms have been widely acknowledged to be a leading cause behind the high numbers of child marriage, violence against children and unwanted pregnancy. These have gone hand in hand with increasing religious piety and conservatism, as norms regulate the way young people understand sexuality. Conservative groups have also employed religious rituals as a means of preventing youth from engaging in pre-marital sexual activities. For example, popular conservative groups Indonesia Tanpa Pacaran Indonesia Without Dating , promotes early marriage in urging Indonesians to protect themselves from the sin of adultery. The movement also often highlights the risks of dating, and has unsuccessfully tried to advocate the Indonesian Ulema Council to issue a legal pronouncement of dating as haram forbidden in Islam. So what can be done to counter these social norms?
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Traditionally, they have met with customers in entertainment venues or special prostitution complexes, or lokalisasi localization. However, recently internet forums and Facebook have been used to facilitate prostitute- client relations. In recent years, child sex tourism has become an issue at the resort islands of Batam and Bali.
The new criminal code is due to be adopted in the next week after parliament and the government agreed a final draft on Wednesday, four parliamentarians told Reuters. Lawmakers told Reuters that the new penal code, which would replace a Dutch colonial-era set of laws, was a long overdue expression of Indonesian independence and religiosity. A prosecution can proceed if a village chief, who heads the lowest tier of government, files a complaint with police, and parents or children of the accused do not object. Parents, children and spouses can also lodge a complaint. It noted a study indicating that 40 per cent of Indonesian adolescents engaged in pre-marital sexual activity. A maximum one-year prison term also can be applied to a person who has sex with someone who is not their spouse and a close family member lodges a complaint. The law also impacts homosexuals as gay marriage is not recognized in Indonesia. The new laws will also apply to foreigners. There would also be a maximum four-year prison term for women who have an abortion, applicable if there was no medical emergency or rape involved.