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EU looks into Indonesia's controversial Criminal Code

Jakarta Globe - December 12, 2022

Jayanty Nada Shofa, Jakarta – The European Union said that it was currently looking into the details of the Criminal Code which had drawn mounting criticisms at home and abroad.

The bloc's envoy told reporters that there is still time for Indonesia to listen to the concerns over the newly passed criminal code.

"There are around 600 articles. It would take a little bit of time to study. And also to see the connection and consistency of the law with the international human rights legislations that Indonesia has also subscribed to," EU ambassador to Indonesia Vincent Piket said at a year-end media gathering in Jakarta on Monday.

"For now, we are still in the phase of making up our mind about the details of the [law] that has just been passed last week," he said.

Indonesia has caught flak from countless parties, including the United Nations (UN), for passing the revised criminal code. The UN said in a recent statement that "several articles in the revised Criminal Code contravene Indonesia's international legal obligations with respect to human rights."

According to Piket, the years-long transitional period can give Indonesia time to take into account such concerns.

"Let's not forget the three-year phase-in period before the law enters into force. This means there is still quite some time for the Indonesian government to take away and listen to the concerns that have been expressed," the diplomat said.

"The EU would be very keen to work with the Indonesian government in that connection. We are a stakeholder and a close partner to Indonesia. We have a relationship that is based on shared values on the international human rights conventions that all of us have signed and implemented."

Piket added that the EU would take into consideration its people's interests – be it those residing here in Indonesia or the tourists visiting the country. "We want to make sure there is no undue harm that happens to them," he said.

The envoy revealed the two areas concerned people the most, among others, the civic space. "First [area of concern] is civic space, democratic space, freedom of expression, and equality before the law. Secondly, it is more to do with morality such as the rules on cohabitation, and sexual relations outside marriage. They are more related to the individual rights in this country. So we are looking at these two areas," Piket said.

The revised criminal code which outlaws sex outside marriage has been making headlines across the globe. The law also sparked concerns that it could scare away tourists.

According to Piket, nothing will change during the three-year dissemination period. However, there is no denying that the massive international media coverage of the law could catch the tourists' attention.

"This is very much in the minds of travelers, especially when they make up their minds on where to travel. But let's not rush into conclusions," Piket said.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/eu-looks-into-indonesias-controversial-criminal-cod