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Indonesia is planning a fresh a wave of hate against its LGBTI population

Indonesia is planning a fresh a wave of hate against its LGBTI population

An anti-LGBTI vigilante group (Photo: Human Rights Watch)

Indonesia’s LGBTI community is facing a fresh wave of intimidation and arrests, Human Rights Watch warned Tuesday (30 October).

The rights groups said it had reviewed anti-LGBTI policy proposals throughout October in West Java. It is the latest wave of anti-LGBT actions in the Muslim-majority country.

Potential policies include forming official lists of allegedly LGBTI individuals, according to HRW.

Officials also proposed teaching falsehoods about LGBTI people in schools and subjecting LGBTI people to ‘conversion therapy’ to alter sexual orientation or gender identity. Censoring LGBTI-related speech to counter the ‘LGBTI threat’, was also proposed.

‘Indonesian officials at all levels need to protect LGBT people from violence and discrimination’ said Andreas Harsono, Indonesia researcher at HRW.

The rights group on Tuesday sent a letter to Governor Ridwan Kamil of West Java province, urging him to protect LGBTI rights.

‘West Java’s governor, Ridwan Kamil, should unambiguously support the basic rights of all Indonesians, including LGBT people’ said Harsono.

On 18 October, police arrested a gay couple in Batununggal, West Java for running an LGBTI Facebook page.

HRW warned of ‘disturbing pattern of targeting people in private homes because of their suspected sexual orientation’.

Indonesia’s LGBTI crackdown

Gay sex is not illegal in Indonesia. But, since early 2016, ‘government-driven moral panic’ over the LGBTI community has engulfed the nation, according to HRW.

In the last three years, government officials have called for criminalizing gay sex and censoring LGBTI content in the media. They have also suggested ‘curing’ LGBTI individuals.

What’s more, police have raided saunas, nightclubs, hotels, and private homes.

In 2017, Indonesia charged more than 300 LGBTI people under the country’s vague ‘pornography’ laws.

Militant Islamists often conduct ‘vigilante’ raids. Police have failed to halt this.

Significantly, criminalizing the LGBTI Indonesians is hampering the country’s battle of its HIV epidemic.

Nearly 25 per cent of men who have sex with men in Indonesia are HIV positive, according to UNAIDS.

Anti-LGBTI rhetoric and discrimination prevent access to prevention and treatment services. Furthermore, police tactics of using condoms as evidence discourage safe sex practices.

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