Indonesia’s Deputy Law and Human Rights Minister Edward Omar Sharif Hiariej has made a statement regarding Bali’s so-called ‘bonk ban,’ putting foreign tourists’ minds at ease, and encouraging them to still come to Indonesia.
Indonesia’s parliament recently passed a law approving jail time (of one year) for anyone caught having sex outside of wedlock. Unmarried couples living together can also be flung in prison for six months, according to the new legislation. The new laws, which are set to come into effect in 3 years (but could still face legal challenges), have many tourists worried.
It also has tourism providers worried, with 6.28 million foreign tourists arriving to Bali in 2019 (this number fell off a cliff in 2020, and since 2021 has been steadily increasing). Put simply: tourism is a huge part of the Balinese economy.
Indonesia’s Deputy Law and Human Rights Minister Edward Omar Sharif Hiariej on Monday tried to put those concerns to bed, saying foreigners will not be prosecuted (even if the laws technically apply to everyone).
“I want to emphasise for foreign tourists, please come to Indonesia because you will not be charged with this article,” Mr Hiariej said.
The BBC reports: “While the law would technically apply to locals and foreigners, officials have tried to play down fears of tourists being prosecuted.”
Bali Governor Wayan Koster said: “Bali is Bali as usual, which is comfortable and safe to be visited.”
Koster also said tourists won’t have to prove their marital status when checking into accommodation. Officials have also pointed out that offences against the new law would only be prosecuted if reported by a spouse, parent or child. This makes it highly unlikely foreign tourists will be affected.
Still, the fact people are even talking about it is likely to put at least a little bit of doubt into a lot of people’s minds.