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Southeast Asian leaders beg Indonesia not to criminalize homosexuality

Written by gaytourism

Members of the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights are urging Indonesia to not criminalize homosexuality. | Photo: APHR

Lawmakers in the Southeast Asian region are not happy about Indonesia’s plans to criminalize homosexuality.

Indonesia’s House of Representatives is currently debating proposed amendments to the criminal code (KUHP). Some of those amendments include criminalizing same-sex relations and premarital sex, and broadening the definition of adultery.

A House Commission made up of multi-partisan Indonesian politicians presented the draft bill to parliament on Monday.

Lawmakers in the influential ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) group said the proposed changes severely violate the rights to privacy and non-discrimination in the country.

APHR is made up of current and former Southeast Asian parliamentarians. They use their positions to prevent discrimination, uphold political freedom, and promote democracy and human rights in the region.

‘These amendments are a blatant violation of all Indonesians’ right to privacy and their fundamental liberties,’ said APHR board member and Filipino MP Teddy Baguilat.

‘It is extremely worrying that private affairs between two consenting, law-abiding adults could very soon be opened to government interference and scrutiny.’

APHR called on Indonesian MPs to reject the amendments.

‘For a country that has rightly considered itself a leader within the ASEAN region on issues of human rights, this would be a clear move in the wrong direction,’ Baguilat said.

‘Indonesia should be protecting the rights of its citizens, rather than exposing them to increased harassment and prosecution.’

Concerns for LGBTI people

APHR MPs expressed concern about the proposed amendments’ implications for LGBT rights in the country.

They were especially concerned about the LGBTI community because of a dramatic rise in hostility against the LGBTI people from militant Islamists, state authorities, and mainstream religious organizations.

A crackdown on the LGBTI community has seen hundreds of men detained at gay parties under the country’s anti-pornography laws.

In West Java, police set up a special taskforce to monitor the LGBTI community. In that same province 12 suspected lesbian were evicted from their homes.

The LGBTI community in Aceh faces a decidedly tougher time than the rest of Indonesia. Last year, two men were caned 82 times after being convicted of being gay and having homosexual relations.

‘If passed, these changes to the Criminal Code will reinforce existing prejudices and discrimination faced by an already vulnerable community in Indonesia, and legitimize ongoing bullying, homophobic violence, and police abuse,’ Baguilat said.

‘It is critical that the House of Representatives rejects these amendments, as currently written, in order to ensure that Indonesia’s status as an open, pluralistic country remains intact.’

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