LGBT rights under ‘unprecedented attack’ in Indonesia

Jakarta, Aug 11 (IANS) The LGBT community in Indonesia has come under “unprecedented attack” since the beginning of the year owing to discriminatory laws, homophobic speeches and repression in the country, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday.

“The rights of Indonesian sexual and gender minorities have come under unprecedented attack in 2016,” says the 56-page report, titled ‘These Political Games Ruin Our Lives: Indonesia’s LGBT Community Under Threat’.

It adds that although Indonesia has never had laws to safeguard the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, same-sex behaviour was not criminalised either, EFE news reported.

“Beginning in January 2016, however, a series of anti-LGBT public comments by government officials grew into a cascade of threats and vitriol against LGBT Indonesians by state commissions, militant Islamists, and mainstream religious organisations,” the report added.

The situation is particularly alarming in Aceh region in the Sumatra Island, which is governed by Islamic Sharia law.

The report said rising intolerance in Indonesia, discriminatory local laws, homophobic rhetoric have led to an increased “persecution” of LGBT people.

The report also reminds the Indonesian government that in 2012, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights published a guide of some of the core legal obligations of states in protecting the human rights of LGBT people, including freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.

The report recommends that Indonesian President Joko Widodo should publicly condemn any act of violence against the LGBT community and order officials to refrain from making any discriminatory statements against the community in public.

–IANS

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