Indonesia has backtracked on its decision to reject 75 human rights United Nations’ recommendations and will accept two regarding LGBTI issues.
Indonesia had its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) from fellow members of the UN’s Human Rights Council in May. The UPR the process in which every UN member state has its human rights record reviewed every four years.
Some of the main recommendations given to Indonesia was to improve conditions for LGBTI people, abolish the death penalty and review its blasphemy laws.
In July it was revealed Indonesia planned to reject 75 of those recommendations.
But at a HRC meeting in Geneva on Thursday, Indonesia said it would accept two recommendations regarding LGBTI people.
The government announced it would accept two proposals to ‘take further steps to ensure a safe and enabling environment for all human rights defenders’, including LGBT activists, and a pitch to implement freedom of expression, association, and assembly rights, and give priority to equality and nondiscrimination – including for LGBT people.
LGBTI are controversial
The Deputy Permanent Representative of Indonesia to the United Nations Office at Geneva, Robert Matheus Michale Tene addressed the HRC on Thursday.
He said the Constitution guaranteed the protection of all Indonesians from discrimination and violence.
‘However, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people continued to be a controversial and polarizing issue,’ Tene told the HRC.
Indonesia’s leading LGBTI organization, Arus Pelangi, was represented at the HRC by its chairperson Yuli Rustinawati who delivered a speech.
‘We are very happy Government of Indonesia accepted two recommendations related to LGBTI, we are waiting for their implementation within five years,’ Rustinawati told Gay Star News.
‘But we also very disappointed when the GOI said that LGBTI are a controversial and polarizing issue.
‘The GOI was supposed to accept all recommendations related to LGBT because its all about protection to citizen of Indonesia and its responsibility of the state, the absence of protection and recognizing it will make things more harmful for LGBTI people.’
Men paid the price
Human Rights Watch argued Indonesia had been negligent during its previous UPR in 2012 when it rejected a recommendation from Spain to repeal the local law in Aceh province that criminalizes adult consensual same-sex conduct and prescribes punishment of up to 100 public lashes for offenders.
At the time the Indonesian government claimed the recommendation ‘did not reflect the actual situation in the province’.
But in May, two men in their early 20s had their home raided by vigilantes who filmed them and took them to police. They were charged with homosexuality and sentenced to 85 lashes. They received 83 lashes in front of a jeering crowd.
HRW said the men paid the price for the government’s negligence.
‘Diluted pledges at the UN don’t let them off the hook, though, for abetting a campaign of hate and the officials that support it,’ HRW said in a statement.