New report details 12 years of persecution against LGBT community in Indonesia

KBR – September 25, 2019
12 Dark Years of LGBTI Persecution in Indonesia (KBR)
12 Dark Years of LGBTI Persecution in Indonesia (KBR)

Resky Novianto, Jakarta – Indonesia is still a country which unfriendly to minorities such as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people. An organisation which focuses on the rights of LGBT people, Rainbow Current (Arus Pelangi), has recorded 1,840 cases of persecution against LGBT people between 2006 and 2018.

The report, titled 12 Dark Years of LGBTI Persecution in Indonesia (Catatan Kelam: 12 Tahun Persekusi LGBTI di Indonesia) found that the state has ignored the rights of minority groups.

Rainbow Current researcher and author of the report, Riska Carolina, said that the violence often suffered by LGBTI groups starts from harassment, sexual harassment, arbitrary arrest and detention, torture, murder and discrimination in the form of preventing access to healthcare services, education and use of public facilities.

“The nature of this persecution is complex, it’s not just one act, for example raids, evictions, intimidation, and so forth, it is persecution. But who is it aimed at? It may be aimed at certain groups or identities and the target is their identity”, said Carolina in South Jakarta on Tuesday September 24.

Carolina revealed that the majority of the perpetrators of this persecution is the executive branch of government with a percentage of 20 percent followed by the the legislative at 16 percent, law enforcement officials 6 percent and social figures 8 percent.

“There are even those who say, that it would be better if they (LGBT) are just shot dead, but they don’t think about what the impact of this is on LGBT friends. They don’t understand the power relations, they are leaders who influence the people under them, they aren’t aware of this”, said Carolina.

Former National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) commissioner Muhammad Nurkhoiron revealed that based on the data put together by Rainbow Current’s research, it can be concluded that acts of violence against LGBTI groups are caused by the many discriminatory policies and the support of public figures or politicians for discriminative regulations.

“One of the recommendations [of the report] is asking that the results of this research be followed up in the form of an investigation mandated by Komnas HAM. The party that has the competence to determine whether or not this is persecution or not in the context of human rights law in Indonesia is investigators from Komnas HAM based on Law Number 26/2000”, said Nurkhoiron.

Speaking in the same vein as Nurkhoiron, Women’s Legal Aid Foundation for Justice (LBH APIK) founder Nursyahbani Katjasungkana said that there is still a lot of criminalisation of LGBT. Yet Indonesia adheres to a legal system which clearly protects the rights of all citizens.

“In the final analysis we can estimate that there is a gradual process of criminalising LGBTI groups and its different developments all adhere to the constitution, and the rule of law in Indonesia”, said Katjasungkana.

Katjasungkana said that not all rules based on morality or religious values can be used to assess a criminal act. Moral and religious values are more theological than criminal in nature which endangers the interests or safety of the public.

Leaving aside the problem of discrimination, currently LGBTI groups in Indonesia are also threatened by being criminalised by new laws. Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR) researcher Maidina Rahmawati believes that the Draft Criminal Code (RKUHP) will further criminalise LGBTI groups.

“The [stipulation] on same sex in the formulation of the RKUHP is discriminatory. Why does it have to be [explicitly] cited? Yet if it’s an obscene act then [it should be] anyone committing an obscene act. That’s enough already, there’s no need for same sex [relations] to be criminalised, meaning there is discrimination against certain types of [sexual] orientation in the RKUHP, that’s discriminatory”, said Rahmawati.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Catatan Kelam 12 Tahun Persekusi LGBT di Indonesia”.]