Indonesian women march against public kissing bill

Women marched in this predominantly Muslim nation Wednesday to protest an anti-pornography bill that could impose jail terms for kissing in public, baring legs or shoulders, and nudity in art.

"This is just another form of discrimination," Mariana, who goes by only one name, told the crowd of 150 women as they wound through the streets of the Indonesian capital as part of International Women's Day celebrations. "We have to stand up against this kind of oppression."

Indonesia has a secular government, and most of the country's 190 million Muslims practice a less austere form of the faith than many Islamic nations in the Middle East and South Asia.

But a handful of Muslim-based political parties, supported by hard-line Islamic groups, are pushing for the passage of an anti-pornography law as necessary to prevent the country's moral decay.

The bill, which was originally drafted in 1999, is now being reviewed by a special parliamentary committee.

In addition to forbidding pornography, it calls for prison terms of up to 10 years and fines of up to US$100,000 ( Ђ 83,672) for kissing in public, exposure of a woman's "sensual" body parts and the display of "erotic" artworks.

Though lawmakers say some of the more controversial articles could still be revised, women groups and other liberal-minded Indonesians argue the existing bill would be a serious blow for human rights and artistic freedoms.

But Balkan Kaplale, chairman of the committee that is reviewing the legislation, said Indonesia is in the midst of a moral crisis and hinted that the 2004 tsunami, and successive landslides and earthquakes were a warning from God, reports the AP.


Subscribe to Pravda.Ru Telegram channel, Facebook, RSS!

Author`s name Editorial Team