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Two LGBT rights activists could join Indonesian human rights commission

Transexual and gay rights activists pass first round of selection for Indonesian human rights commission
Dede Oetomo, Indonesian gay rights activist, is through the first round of selection for the national human rights commission

The head of a transgender forum Yulianus Rettoblaut and gay rights activist Dede Oetomo are both through the first round of selection for Komnas HAM, Indonesia's National Commission on Human Rights.

The committee that are overseeing the selection process announced that 257 people out of 363 who applied had passed the administration test. Rettoblaut and Oetomo now have to pass a profile assessment, public recommendation, psychological, health and essay writing tests to become one of the 15 people who will serve on the human rights commission from 2012 to 2017.

Rettoblaut is head of the Communication Forum of Indonesia Transgender and holds a law degree. When she submitted her application for the commission, she said: 'Human rights cases implicating transgendered people have never been resolved. I hope that I can fill the position to solve those problems.'

Oetomo is an academic with a PhD from Cornell University in New York. He founded Lambda Indonesia later renamed Gaya Nusantara, the first LGBT rights organization in the country in 1981 and has stood, unsuccessfully, as a candidate in local elections.

A public recommendation on the 14 March will whittle the list down to 30, after which Indonesia’s House of Representatives will decided on the final 15 to begin their five-year term after the current Komnas HAM ends in August.

Earlier this month The Jakarta Post reported that Komnas HAM selection committee chief Jimly Asshiddiqie said the will not judge candidates on their sexual orientation. ‘We won’t put someone’s sexual orientation into consideration. The most important thing is that they are qualified to be Komnas HAM commissioners,’ he said.

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