Parts of new Indonesian criminal code seem 'incompatible' with rights: UN

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Dec 08 2022 07:38 PM

LGBT and woman's rights activists hold a banner during a protest against the draft of the country’s new criminal code outside the parliament building in Jakarta, on February 12, 2018. Mast Irham, EPA-EFE/file

JAKARTA — Parts of Indonesia's revised criminal code appear "incompatible" with fundamental freedoms and human rights, the United Nations said Thursday.

The sweeping overhaul includes a ban on sex outside marriage and the cohabitation of unmarried couples, which activists have said are a major threat to the LGBTQ community's rights in Indonesia.

There are also updates to offenses related to blasphemy -- already a crime in Muslim-majority Indonesia -- while journalists could face punishment for publishing news "that could incite unrest".

The UN "notes with concern the adoption of certain provisions in the revised Criminal Code that appear to be incompatible with fundamental freedoms and human rights," its office in Indonesia said in a statement.

"Some articles have the potential to criminalize journalistic work and impinge upon press freedom," it added.

"Others would discriminate against, or have a discriminatory impact on, women, girls, boys and sexual minorities... and exacerbate gender-based violence, and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity."

Others risk "violating the rights to freedom of religion or belief, and could legitimize negative social attitudes towards members of minority religions or belief and lead to acts of violence against them".

The reforms will make it riskier for same-sex couples to live together openly in a country where they already face widespread discrimination and anti-LGBTQ regulations, according to activists.

The UN statement also flagged provisions that could lead to violence against religious minorities.

It followed an expression of concern by the United States about the impact of the new criminal code on human rights and freedoms in Indonesia.

The revised code, which still needs to be approved by President Joko Widodo, will come into force after three years.

© Agence France-Presse

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