Indonesia has received international backlash after revealing plans to legally hinder gender equality and implement the rehabilitation of “deviant” sexual persuasions.
The proposed “Family Resilience Bill” has prompted outrage from human rights organisations and activists as it would outlaw surrogacy and force anyone “suffering” from “sexual deviations” to seek treatment at government-sanctioned rehabilitation centres.
The proposed law defines sexual deviations as “urges to achieve sexual satisfaction through unusual and unreasonable ways” and targets those who engage in sadism, masochism, gay-sex, or incest.
The bill aims to define ‘sexual deviation’ as a form of ‘family crisis’ requiring intervention, and recommends that people undergo “social or psychological rehabilitation”, “spiritual guidance”, or “medical rehabilitation”.
Politicians from four major political parties in the majority-Muslim nation, the Gerindra, PAN, Golkar and the Islam-based PKS parties, are backing the family-oriented bill, as Indonesia shifts towards growing conservatism and hostility towards ‘undesirables’ in society, including the LGBTQI community.
While homosexuality is not illegal in Indonesia, being gay is incredibly taboo with the LGBTQI community receiving little legal protections against discrimination and harassment.
According to a draft of the bill reviewed by Reuters, the definition of ‘family’ is confined to married couples, married couples with children, and single parents. The bill also aims to legally define the roles of a ‘father’ and a ‘mother’ within the home and family unit.
“It’s a very patriarchal bill and it will set back progress in gender equality and women’s rights protection,” Usman Hamid of Amnesty International Indonesia told Reuters.
The bill states that wives must “take care of household-related matters” and “treat the husband and the child well,” as well as seeking a maximum penalty of seven years in prison for surrogacy.
Domestic violence is also not identified as a potential family-crisis, and the word “violence” is seemingly avoided in the bill altogether.
Gender and human rights activist, Tunggal Pawestri noted that the bill would also be harmful to anyone who did not have a marriage certificate.
“What about those who hold traditional beliefs who can’t register their marriages?” she said.
“And also people who can’t afford to register the marriages?”
Indonesian government officials claim that the new bill aims to provide a solution to Indonesia’s perceived moral crisis, with Gerindra MP, Rahayu Saraswati telling the ABC that the legislation will ‘refresh’ the Indonesian legal system.
“We need to see the law from a variety of perspectives,” she said
“What is positive, is that there’s a will to do something different. That can perhaps provide a solution.”
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