(Bloomberg) -- Indonesian President Joko Widodo urged lawmakers to delay a sweeping reform of the nation’s penal code widely criticized as a violation of minority, transgender and women’s rights.
The parliament was scheduled next week to ratify extensive changes to the criminal code that sought to clamp down on abortions, sex outside of marriage, dissent and freedom of speech, while making same sex relations illegal.
Jokowi, as the president is known, said several parts of the bill required further deliberation, while its passage shouldn’t be made by the current members of parliament whose term ends by the end of this month.
“I have also ordered the law and human rights minister to seek inputs again from various society groups to perfect the revision,” Jokowi said in a televised address on Friday.
The passage of the bill would have come only a week after Indonesia passed a revision of the anti-corruption law that anti-graft watchdog and rights groups said hinders the country’s ability to go after criminals.
Human Rights Watch has said the draft penal code being considered as “disastrous” for the country’s human rights situation and the proposals have drawn condemnation from groups of students and lawyers.
“This is the crown jewel of the Shariah campaign in Indonesia,” Andreas Harsono, senior Indonesia researcher at Human Rights Watch, said before Jokowi’s appeal to delay changes. “It is creating panic.”
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