The United States on Tuesday expressed concern over Indonesia’s criminalization of extramarital sex, warning that such a move could hurt investment in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country.
“We are concerned about how these changes could affect the exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Indonesia,” US State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.
“We are also concerned about how the law could affect US citizens visiting and living in Indonesia, as well as the investment climate for US companies,” he added.
Indonesia’s parliament has approved legal amendments banning sex outside of marriage, in a package of changes to the penal code that critics say is a rollback of freedoms in the Asian country.
Human rights groups have protested the amendments, which they say are a blow to civil liberties and a shift towards fundamentalism.
“We tried to do our best to accommodate the important issues and the different opinions that were debated,” Yasonna Laoly, Minister of Justice and Human Rights, told deputies.
“However, it is time to make a historic decision on amendments to the Penal Code and leave behind the colonial Penal Code that we inherited,” he added.