Asia / Oceania

International coalition targets Indonesia’s anti-LGBT abuses

Dozens of organizations worldwide have formed a coalition seeking to end persecution of LGBT people in Indonesia. In the following statement, the coalition asks for support from allies worldwide:

International Coalition Calls for Public Support to End Increasing Persecution of LGBT People in Indonesia

A recent protest by members of the Islam Defenders Front, or FPI (Photo courtesy of Jakarta Post)

A recent protest in Indonesia by members of the anti-LGBTI Islam Defenders Front, or FPI (Photo courtesy of Jakarta Post)

The undersigned organisations and individuals (27 in total) support the following statement:

We appeal to the people of Indonesia and our friends and supporters around the world to help protect the rights and health of all Indonesian citizens by supporting efforts to end the growing mistreatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Indonesia.

Our appeal follows several cases of human rights and privacy abuses over the last two months against over 150 men who have been unjustly detained, arrested and/or charged – and in two cases severely punished – simply because they allegedly had sex with other men or facilitated men to have sex with other men. The cases we refer to involve the caning of two young men in Aceh as well as two recent police raids, one at a hotel in Surabaya and another at a leisure establishment in Jakarta.

Our appeal also follows an anti-LGBT campaign over the last 12 months by government officials and conservative community groups in Indonesia which encourages this kind of violence, harassment and state-sponsored discrimination against LGBT people across Indonesia.

Firstly, the mistreatment of the men involves violations of natural justice, privacy and human rights not only in relation to the alleged sexual activity, but also in relation to forced HIV testing and the subsequent dissemination of test results to local media. These violations contravene not only many Indonesian laws but also Indonesia’s commitment to a range of international legal frameworks protecting the rights of individuals as well as members of cultural minorities.

Secondly, these violations threaten the privacy and human rights of all Indonesians. If local police are permitted to target one group of people in this way, then other individuals and groups in Indonesia are also potentially at risk of the same kind of treatment. If the law does not protect everyone, then ultimately it protects no one.

Photo of 2007 protest by trans Indonesians seeking recognition of their human rights. (Photo courtesy of Rappler)

Photo from 2007 protest by trans Indonesians seeking recognition of their human rights. (Photo courtesy of Rappler)

Thirdly, this campaign of persecution is also affecting the provision of HIV prevention, testing and treatment services to gay men and men who have sex with men (MSM). Fear of being targeted by police, other authorities and even neighbours is driving gay and MSM communities underground, making it much harder to deliver information and support to an already vulnerable group of people. This is a public health issue that should concern all Indonesians due to the growing impact that HIV is having on Indonesia’s health system.

Further to this, we note that the Indonesia Health Law (UU No 39 Year 2009) guarantees that implementation of health services shall be carried out with responsibility, safety and quality, and distributed evenly and non-discriminatively to all Indonesian people. In addition, the Indonesian government has a stated plan to cover the whole population with Universal Health Coverage (Jaminan Kesehatan Nasional) by 2019 with the following objectives as stated by Indonesia’s Minister of Health on 28/08/14:

  • To enable people accessing healthcare services without financial hardship
  • To perform cost contained and quality controlled healthcare services.
  • To strengthen healthcare services at primary and referral health facilities
  • To prioritize preventive and promotive measures in rendering healthcare services to reduce prevalence of diseases, lower the numbers of sick-people with efficient healthcare services.

Finally, responding to the plight of others with empathy and benevolence is an essential part of our common humanity. Imagine being subjected to the trauma and humiliation these men have endured, or the discrimination and exclusion that Indonesia’s LGBT community is experiencing, simply for expressing love or a gender identity.

Public caning of a gay couple -- a sharia court's punishment for their homosexual activity -- was carried out May 23 outside a mosque in Banda Aceh, Aceh province, Indonesia. (Photo courtesy of The Washington Post)

Public caning of a gay couple — a sharia court’s punishment for their homosexual activity — was carried out May 23 outside a mosque in Banda Aceh, Aceh province, Indonesia. (Photo courtesy of The Washington Post)

The unwarranted treatment of these men, and the increasingly virulent campaign against Indonesia’s LGBT community, seeks to position LGBT people as ‘outsiders’ and a ‘threat to society’. However, LGBT people are just like everyone else – everyday people and fellow citizens who work hard to create a better life for themselves, their families and their community. As such we appeal to the people of Indonesia and our supporters across the world to join our efforts to ensure these men and all LGBT Indonesians are afforded the legal rights and health services to which they are entitled as citizens, and the compassion and dignity to which they are entitled as human beings.


HOW YOU CAN HELP:

  • Share this statement with family, friends and colleagues to create awareness about this issue.
  • Contact Indonesian government representatives or embassies to protest against the treatment of the men and the campaign against Indonesia’s LGBT community.
  • Donate to GAYa NUSANTARA (www.gayanusantara.or.id) or GWL-INA (www.gwl-ina.or.id) to fund their efforts to protect the rights of these men and to fight LGBT discrimination in Indonesia.
Location of Indonesia (Map courtesy of Geology.com)

Location of Indonesia (Map courtesy of Geology.com)


ISSUED BY:

  • GAYa NUSANTARA – Indonesian LGBT rights organisation
  • GWL-INA – Indonesian organisation working on HIV, health and rights issues for gay men, transgender people and men who have sex with men
  • Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) – national organization representing Australia’s network of HIV-related organisations
  • APCOM – community network advocating on issues which affect HIV, human rights, health and wellbeing in relation to gender and sexual minorities in Asia and the Pacific
  • ARC International – international LGBT advocacy organisation
  • ASEAN SOGIE Caucus – South East Asian community network advocating on issues related to sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression
  • COC – Dutch LGBTI organisation that has special consultative status with the United Nations.
  • Council for Global Equality – US advocacy organisation seeking to US foreign policy that’s inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity
  • Coalition for Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies
  • CODIVA – a national network for the CBOs working for MSM and transgender people throughout Timor Leste
  • EGALE – Canadian LGBTI advocacy organisation
  • Gays Without Borders – international network of LGBT advocacy activists and organisations
  • The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF) – international organisation focused on HIV, health and rights for gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men and transgender people
  • Global Interfaith Network On Sex, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (GIN-SSOGIE)
  • Human Rights Campaign
  • ILGA Asia – Asian chapter of International Lesbian and Gay Association
  • ILGA Oceania – Pacific chapter of International Lesbian and Gay Association
  • International HIV/AIDS Alliance (IHAA)
  • Kaleidoscope Trust – international LGBT advocacy organisation
  • Outright Action International – international LGBT advocacy organisation
  • Réseau Indonésie – cultural exchange association for Indonesian and French actors
  • Samoa Faafafine Association – Samoan transgender and LGB support and advocacy organisation
  • Sosaiete O Faafafine In American Samoa (SOFIAS) – American Samoan transgender and LGB support and advocacy organisation
  • Stonewall UK – UK-based LGBTI advocacy organisation
  • Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Rights (RFSL)
  • Andreas Harsono (Jakarta)
  • Michael Petrelis (San Francisco)
  • Mulyandari Alisyah (Paris)

For more information please contact: Safir Soeparna, APCOM Senior Media and Communication Officer at safirs@apcom.org

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