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LGBTI Indonesians scared of government’s new app, report it to Google

LGBTI Indonesians scared of government’s new app, report it to Google

Indonesia heresy app Smart Pakem (Photo: Google)

A new government ‘heresy’ app in Indonesia has troubled the LGBTI community.

Smart Pakem, developed by the Jakarta prosecutor’s office, allows everyday Indonesians to report complaints of ‘deviant beliefs’.

It features a list of supposedly heretical organizations including their addresses and the names of their leaders.What’s more, the prosecutor may pursue charges under Indonesia’s archaic blasphemy laws.

More than 1,000 people have now downloaded Smart Pakem. Google lists it under the ‘education’ section of its app store.

Queer Indonesians told Gay Star News they were worried this app could be the lethal tool in rising religious intolerance and oppression of the LGBTI community. They also called on Google to remove the app.

Indonesia’s Blasphemy Law punishes deviations from the tenets of Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism. Importantly, courts punish those found guilty with up to five years in prison.

Homosexuality and being transgender is legal in Indonesia. But, rising Islamic fundamentalism has led to a crackdown on the community.

Since 2016, authorities have been using blasphemy, pornography and public nuisance laws to arrest LGBTI Indonesians. What’s more, local administrations have also been introducing their own legislation to target the population.

The LGBTI crackdown has also intensified in the run up to elections next year.

Dangerous combination

Ayu Bagaoesoekawatie, a gender-fluid individual based in central Java, said community members had reported the app to Google.

Dina Listiorini, who is researching the LGBTI crackdown at the University of Indonesia, said the app was ‘dangerous’.

She told Gay Star News it gave people the potential to report any ‘LGBT communities and organizations, or any minority organizations they don’t like’.

Listiorini said the app may have been developed as Indonesia was afraid of terrorism. ‘But, I don’t think this is a smart action to handle it’, she said.

The app is a dangerous combination of the archaic blasphemy law and new technology, according to Andreas Harsono of Human Rights Watch.

He told Al Jazeera Google would now have to navigate between ‘Indonesia’s blasphemy law and the United Nations’ regulations to revoke that toxic law’.