Planned Punishment for Extramarital Sex in Bali: That's what tourists need to know
Created: 12/26/2022, 2:35 p.m
By: Maximilian Kettenbach
Bali is considered a dream travel destination for many couples: the ban on having sex outside of marriage in Indonesia therefore caused horror.
© Alessandro Biascioli/PantherMedia
In Indonesia, sex outside of marriage will be banned by law and punishable by up to a year in prison.
So what does this mean for vacationers?
Jakarta – Before the corona pandemic, six million holidaymakers visited Bali every year, thousands of them came from Germany.
The numbers have plummeted and now a new law in Indonesia is causing a stir.
Despite protests and criticism, the parliament in the Southeast Asian island state approved a draft law in early December that would make sex outside of marriage punishable by up to a year in prison.
Human rights activists had previously urged the House of Representatives not to pass the new rules because they violate civil rights in the largest Islamic country in the world.
But they lost the fight.
The new legislation is scheduled to come into force in 2025.
So far, sex outside of marriage and homosexual relationships have not been considered criminal offenses in Indonesia, but both have long been considered taboo in the conservative country.
Only in the province of Aceh on the north-western tip of the island of Sumatra is the Islamic Sharia legal system implemented.
Sex outside of marriage is punished with up to 100 strokes of the cane.
Planned ban on extramarital sex in Bali - classification for vacationers
"Indonesia wants to embark on the path of abusive catastrophe by criminalizing extramarital sex," Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director of human rights organization Human Rights Watch, warned on Twitter.
It's not just sex between unmarried people that is banned: according to the law, couples are no longer allowed to live together before marriage.
Violators face six months imprisonment.
However, the police can only start an investigation if a family member files a complaint.
This point is seen as a compromise between Liberals and Conservatives in Parliament.
Tourists on the holiday island of Bali, for example, should therefore hardly be affected by the law.
False accusations are punishable by a fine of up to ten million rupiah (around 600 euros), which is about two months' average salary in Indonesia.
"All of this reduces the risk of tourists being sued," says Dr.
Ken Satiawan, expert on Indonesian law at the Asia Institute of the University of Melbourne, the
She fears the recent changes could hit the LGBTQ community in particular.
In Indonesia, marriage is only between a man and a woman, gay marriage is illegal.
"In addition to the regulations on sex outside of marriage, cohabitation is also prohibited, so gay couples who live together in Indonesia can also be arrested," says Satiawan.
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Law changes en masse – lèse majesté will soon be a punishable offense for holidaymakers in Bali
The global negative headlines are hitting the tourism sector.
The Indonesian Tourist Board said the new law was completely "counterproductive" at a time when tourism was slowly recovering from the pandemic.
The US ambassador in Jakarta, Sung Kim, expects a "negative impact on the investment climate".
Scott Slattery, of Australian travel company My World Concierge, is not concerned about the excitement.
"If the law comes into force at all in three years, I believe that both the Indonesian government and the tourist boards and Australian tour operators will launch a major advertising campaign to indicate that the regulation will not be enforced against tourists." Bali's party capital Kuta and Seminyak apply
as the Mallorca of the Australians.
However, other changes in the law could also put a damper on tourism.
For example, freedom of religion is to be restricted in the country, which is often referred to as a “pious democracy”.
All citizens must belong to one of the five recognized religions.
And Indonesian lawmakers may also want to criminalize insulting the president and ministers.
"They are very broad and vaguely worded," says Dr.
That is the real danger of these laws.
"Therefore, they can be applied to anyone - including foreigners."