In Summary
  • Updating Indonesia's criminal code, which stretches back to the Dutch colonial era, has been debated for decades.
  • Indonesia's Aceh province already imposes Islamic law, and whipping is a common punishment for a range of offences including gambling, drinking alcohol, and having gay or pre-marital sex.

Jakarta

Indonesia is set to vote on a plan to outlaw gay and pre-marital sex while beefing up its blasphemy laws in a shakeup fuelled by religious conservatism and slammed by rights groups Thursday.

The proposed criminal law overhaul could affect millions in the world's biggest Muslim majority country, including heterosexual couples who might face jail for having sex outside wedlock, or having an affair.

CRIMINAL CODE

But there are also fears it could punish the Southeast Asian nation's small LGBT community as gay marriage is not allowed in Indonesia.

"Indonesia's draft criminal code is disastrous not only for women and religious and gender minorities, but for all Indonesians," said Andreas Harsono, senior Indonesia researcher at Human Rights Watch.

"Lawmakers should remove all the abusive articles before passing the law," he added.

Updating Indonesia's criminal code, which stretches back to the Dutch colonial era, has been debated for decades.

While a push last year fizzled, the mooted changes now appear set to be voted on in parliament before the end of the month -- with strong support from religious groups.

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