ASEAN parliamentarians urge Indonesia not to criminalise homosexuality

ASEAN parliamentarians for Human Rights have publicly urged Indonesia’s parliament not to criminalize homosexuality.

The Indonesian parliament is currently debating a proposal to amend the country’s criminal code, the changes would make homosexuality illegal in Indonesia and also criminalise all sex outside of matrimony.

During the debate last week one Indonesian MP argued in favour of changing the laws and suggested the people found to be having gay sex should be executed.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand. Indonesia is a founding member.

The collective of regional lawmakers called on members of the Indonesian Parliament to reject the amendments. APHR Board Member Teddy Baguilat, a member of the House of Representatives of the Philippines, said the proposals were extremely worrying.

“These amendments are a blatant violation of all Indonesians’ right to privacy and their fundamental liberties. It is extremely worrying that private affairs between two consenting, law-abiding adults could very soon be opened to government interference and scrutiny,” Baguilat said.

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

Concern was also raised about the ongoing targetting of LGBTI people within Indonesia, as police continue to raid gay venues, meeting places and in some cases people’s homes.

“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.

Australian Greens senator Janet Rice also recently raised concern about the proposed laws and targeting of LGBTI people.

Senator Rice wrote to Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop urging her to look into the issue and see what Australia could do to protect the human rights of LGBTI people in Indonesia.

Last week the Indonesian Health Ministry announced it would be reclassifying homosexuality as a mental disorder. The move puts the country out of step with established research.

The World Health Organisation removed homosexuality from it’s list of mental disorders in 1990. While the American Psychiatric Association removed the classification 45 years ago in 1973.

OIP Staff

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