Asia / Faith and religion

In Indonesia, ongoing threats to LGBTI human rights

The human rights of LGBTI Indonesians remain under threat from police, politicians and religious leaders, despite activists’ protests.

Police in Jakarta disrupted a closed workshop on access to justice for members of the LGBTI community.

Dr. Muhammad Nasir, Indonesia's minister of research, technology and higher education. (Photo courtesy of Universitas Ubudiyah Indonesia)

LGBTI people are entitled to equality before the law, “but that does not mean that the state legitimizes the LGBT status,” says Dr. Muhammad Nasir, Indonesia’s minister of research, technology and higher education. (Photo courtesy of Universitas Ubudiyah Indonesia)

Muhammad Nasir, Indonesia’s Minister of Research, Technology, and Higher Education, said that LGBT students should be banned if they ‘engage in disgraceful behavior like making love or showing affection.’

The Islam Defenders Front allegedly posted homophobic banners in the capital of Indonesia’s West Java province. Mayor RidwanKamil reprimanded the Muslim group for its provocative actions, but countrywide the anti-LGBTI crackdown intensified.

The country’s top Muslim clerical body, the  Indonesian Ulema Council, encouraged the government to make same-sex sexual acts and the promotion of LGBT activities illegal, the Associated Press reported.

In response to that statement, an interfaith forum took a less extreme, but still misguided, position. It issued a joint statement in which, The Jakarta Post reports, “they concluded that a peaceful approach was the only way to deal with members of the LGBT community before they could turn to faith to be cured.”

Jusuf Kalla, Indonesia's vice president: UN should not fund LGBT groups. (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Jusuf Kalla, Indonesia’s vice president: UN should not fund LGBT groups. (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

In addition, the country’s vice president urged the UN Development Program to deny funding to LGBTI programs in Indonesia.

The crackdown did not spare the worlds of social media and traditional media. The government asked instant messaging apps to remove LGBT-themed stickers and emojis, announced (and later dropped) plans to block access to Tumblr (and to 477 more websites) unless it “agrees to block pornography and LGBT content from being accessed in Indonesia.” The country’s broadcasting regulators also banned programs portraying LGBT lives as “normal.”

Human Rights Watch called on Indonesia’s government on Feb. 12 to defend the rights of LGBT people and publicly condemn officials’ grossly discriminatory remarks. Similarly, Indonesia’s National Human Rights Commission condemned officials’ anti-LGBT statements and urged law enforcement agencies to protect LGBT people from violence by community groups.

Most of the news items in this recap were excerpted with slight modifications from two published round-ups of the world’s LGBTI-related news– UNAIDS’s Equal Eyes and ILGA’s LGBulleTIn.

One thought on “In Indonesia, ongoing threats to LGBTI human rights

  1. Pingback: 2016 in review: a year of anti-LGBT violence, repression | 76 CRIMES

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