‘Bali tourism will not be affected by the new penal code’, said Indonesian official

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Jakarta/Hong Kong (CNN) — Indonesia’s controversial sex law will not affect foreign tourists visiting Bali, officials confirmed in a statement released Monday.

“Based on the provisions of Indonesia’s new penal code, tourists visiting or living in Bali will not need to worry,” Bali governor Wayan Koster said, adding that there would be “no check on marriage status.” employees at tourist accommodation establishments such as hotels and villas”. , guest house or spa, or inspection by government officials or community groups.”

Like most of the major tourist hotspots in the world, Bali suffered massive economic turmoil during the Covid-19 pandemic. International tourists have returned to the popular resort island as the pandemic subsides, but industry players previously told CNN that the country’s new penal code could prevent foreigners from visiting and damage the country’s global reputation.
Indonesian lawmakers on Tuesday added controversial new laws to their colonial-era penal code, raised global concern about rights and privacy in this Southeast Asian country.

Wayan is addressing public questions about how the sex and marriage laws introduced into the new law will affect international travelers.

“Bali is (work) as usual – comfortable and safe to visit,” he said. “We look forward to welcoming visitors with Balinese hospitality and advise all parties not to make misleading statements about Indonesia’s penal code that could disrupt Bali tourism,” he added. .

His words also followed an official explanation from government spokesman Albert Aries last week, who said foreign investors and tourists “do not have to worry” about the repression of the law. France. “People’s privacy is still guaranteed by law so there’s really nothing to worry about,” he said.

“The new Penal Code has also never specified further administrative requirements for business entities in the tourism sector to ask anyone about their marital status.”

Officials previously said that the new law – banning adultery, premarital cohabitation and apostasy – would also apply to foreign residents and tourists.

It can be said that tourists in Bali will not be affected by the new law. But for hundreds of millions of Indonesians, the reality remains unsettling.

Rebekah Moore, a professor at Northeastern University and co-founder of the Bersama Project, said: “For decades now, Indonesia has earned a reputation as a pluralistic democracy, with very little ethnic, religious, or ethnic conflict. ethnic or political, due to its size and cultural diversity”. , an Indonesian arts and culture non-profit organization.

Many groups such as activists, journalists, religious minorities and members of the gay community are still at risk and will be harmed by this new law, Moore added.

“The terms can affect any Indonesian who exercises the right to freedom of speech,” she said. “I have seen with my own eyes what happens when extremists (in Indonesia) are encouraged by the political and media currents, and at the same time I am deeply concerned for gay friends, social activism and the others.”

Top image: Canggu, a coastal village in Bali. Credit: Agung Parameswara/Getty Images


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