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New law in Indonesia offers hope in 'sexual violence emergency'

Omitted clauses on rape, abortion stir concern over protections for victims

Speaker of the House Puan Maharani shows satisfaction after Indonesia's parliament passed a bill to tackle sexual violence, in Jakarta, on April 12.   © Antara Foto/Reuters

JAKARTA -- Rights activists cheered the passage on Tuesday of a new law in Indonesia on sexual crimes, as a string of high-profile cases has gripped the nation. Enactment of the law follows six years of delays caused by objections from conservative Muslim groups.

But a last-minute decision by the government and lawmakers to remove clauses on rape and abortion is fueling concern for victims of sexual violence, whose protection had been the main purpose of the law.

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