Share your views on Indonesia’s new laws criminalising sex outside marriage

We’d like to hear from people living in or who are planning to visit Indonesia what their views are on the country’s new controversial legislation outlawing extramarital sex

Indonesia, the world’s third-largest democracy, has approved legislation that outlaws sex outside marriage as one of several sweeping changes to the country’s criminal code.

The new code, which will apply to Indonesians and visiting foreigners alike and has prompted alarm from human rights campaigners, will also prohibit cohabitation between unmarried couples.

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Indonesia passes legislation banning sex outside marriage

Rights groups say amended criminal code underscores shift towards fundamentalism

Indonesia’s parliament has overhauled the country’s criminal code to outlaw sex outside marriage and curtail free speech, in a dramatic setback to freedoms in the world’s third-largest democracy.

Passed with support from all political parties, the draconian legislation has shocked not only rights activists but also the country’s booming tourism sector, which relies on a stream of visitors to its tropical islands.

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New Zealand woman takes Chinese media site to human rights tribunal over ban

Auckland woman says she was banned from popular Chinese-language media forum SkyKiwi for posting political content

A woman is taking New Zealand’s biggest Chinese-language media site to a human rights review tribunal after she claims she was banned from its online message board for posting political content.

May Moncur migrated from China 20 years ago and is a permanent resident of New Zealand. The Auckland employment advocate has used the New Zealand-based media company SkyKiwi for more than 15 years, regularly posting links about migrant exploitation or offering employment advice on its most popular message board, “FML”.

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Indonesia set to make sex outside marriage punishable by jail

MPs expected to pass new criminal code that will also make insulting the president a crime

Indonesia’s parliament is expected to pass a new criminal code this month that would criminalise sex outside marriage and outlaw insults against the president or state institutions, prompting alarm from human rights campaigners.

The deputy justice minister, Edward Omar Sharif Hiariej, said in an interview with Reuters that the new criminal code was expected to be passed on 15 December. “We’re proud to have a criminal code that’s in line with Indonesian values,” he said.

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Hong Kong withholds British lawyer’s visa, delaying Jimmy Lai trial

Hong Kong’s immigration department withheld Timothy Owen KC’s application for an extension of his work visa on Thursday

Hong Kong has temporarily blocked a top British human rights lawyer from representing jailed pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai, in a trial stymied by delays and calls for an intervention from Beijing.

British King’s Counsel Timothy Owen was set to represent Lai, the founder of the now-defunct Apple Daily, who has been in jail on protest-related offences since his high-profile arrest in 2020.

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Doha fashion Fridays: migrant workers show off their style – a photo essay

Blue boilersuits symbolise their low-wage jobs, but an Instagram account celebrates the culture and individuality of Qatar’s workers in their leisure time

Every day Bisho Sahani would start his work shift at 5am, constructing roads for hours in Qatar’s ferocious summer heat. And every night when he returned to his labour camp, he would get out his phone and make TikTok videos for his 60,000 followers.

Most of his videos are songs and poems about love, romance and the trials of life, but among them are stories of the hardships he faced in Qatar. “I wanted to show that foreign land is the land of trouble … Nepal is always better for us,” says Sahani, who is now back in his home country.

Images from Bisho Sahani’s TikTok account, where he posts videos about his life in Qatar. Photos: Bisho Sahani

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Major funds exposed to companies allegedly engaged in Uyghur repression in China

Report finds stock indexes provided by MSCI include companies using forced labour or constructing surveillance state in Xinjiang

Many of the world’s largest asset managers and state pension funds are passively investing in companies that have allegedly engaged in the repression of Uyghur Muslims in China, according to a new report.

The report, by UK-based group Hong Kong Watch and the Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice at Sheffield Hallam University, found that three major stock indexes provided by MSCI include at least 13 companies that have allegedly used forced labour or been involved in the construction of the surveillance state in China’s Xinjiang region.

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Greek court acquits activists who hung banner at Acropolis in China protest

Landmark decision described as ‘huge victory for freedom of expression and right to peaceful protest in Europe’

Activists who were accused of attempting to “pollute, damage and distort” the Acropolis after they hung a banner from the Athenian monument in protest against China’s policies in Tibet have been acquitted by a Greek court.

In a landmark decision described as a victory for human rights defenders globally, a three-member tribunal threw out the charge on Thursday. A public prosecutor had only minutes earlier pressed for a guilty verdict.

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Hong Kong police seize secretary of aid fund for democracy protesters

Sze Ching-wee and other pro-democracy figures had just stood trial over setting up of now-disbanded 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund

The secretary of a disbanded Hong Kong humanitarian fund set up to help people involved in the 2019 anti-government protests has been arrested on national security charges, Hong Kong media has reported.

Sze Ching-wee, the secretary of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund, was seized by national security police at Hong Kong airport on Saturday on the charge of “collusion with foreign or overseas forces to endanger national security”, the public broadcaster RTHK quoted police sources as saying. The charge carries a punishment of between three and 10 years in jail, or in “serious cases” over 10 years’ imprisonment. Police said the 38-year-old was released on bail.

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UK investigation to examine human rights abuses in Kazakhstan

Commission to focus on detention of journalist and political leader Zhanbolat Mamai after nationwide protests

The state of human rights in the vast, mineral-rich central Asian Republic of Kazakhstan, including the continued detention of opposition leaders, is to be formally examined by senior UK parliamentarians including the former director of public prosecutions Lord MacDonald.

He will lead an independent investigation into the detention and treatment of Zhanbolat Mamai, the leader of the unregistered opposition Democratic party in Kazakhstan.

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Failure to investigate UK imports linked to forced Uyghur labour unlawful, court told

World Uyghur Forum brings high court challenge against government agencies over Xinjiang cotton imports

UK government agencies have broken the law by not investigating the importation of cotton products manufactured by forced Uyghur labourers in China, the high court has heard.

The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) is challenging the home secretary, HM Revenue and Customs and the National Crime Agency (NCA), claiming a failure or refusal to investigate imports from Xinjiang, allegedly home to 380 internment camps, was unlawful.

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China using influencers to whitewash human rights abuses, report finds

Social media videos by people from the Uyghur community are part of a sophisticated propaganda campaign, thinktank says

The Chinese Communist party is using social media influencers from troubled regions like Xinjiang, Tibet and Inner Mongolia to whitewash human rights abuses through an increasingly sophisticated propaganda campaign, a report has claimed.

The report published on Thursday by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), described the videos by “frontier influencers” as a growing part of Beijing’s “propaganda arsenal”.

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Tamil refugees on Chagos Islands fear deportation under Rwanda-type plan

UK government lawyers tell asylum seekers they can return to Sri Lanka or be removed to undisclosed country

Tamil refugees seeking asylum from the British-claimed Chagos Islands face being forcibly removed to a third country under Rwanda-style plans drawn up by the UK government.

Government lawyers have told the asylum seekers that if they cannot be returned to Sri Lanka they will instead be removed to another undisclosed country.

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UK accused of letting refugees make dangerous Indian Ocean boat journeys

MoD personnel escorted refugees away from Diego Garcia in boat with no record of having radio or lifesaving equipment, lawyers say

Lawyers have accused the UK of facilitating dangerous onward boat journeys by Tamil refugees who had arrived at the British-claimed territory of Diego Garcia in distress.

Fishing boats that fled Sri Lanka were escorted to the Indian Ocean island after getting into difficulty but the same vessels were later permitted to leave without basic safety equipment, putting passengers – including children – at “grave risk”, lawyers have claimed.

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The most powerful man in China since Mao: Xi Jinping is on the brink of total power

The Communist party will this week confirm Xi as China’s most powerful leader since Mao. What will his extended term of office mean for the country and for its neighbour Taiwan?

This week in Beijing, Xi Jinping will preside over one of his country’s great shows of political theatre and seal a long-planned political triumph, consolidating his power and extending his rule.

The Chinese Communist party is poised to formally hand Xi another five years as party boss, and therefore leader of the country, at a summit that will also move his allies into key roles and elevate the status of his writings on power and government.

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