Just.equal call on Australia to speak up about proposed Indonesian laws

Equality advocates are calling on the Australian Government to speak out against moves in Indonesia to criminalise homosexuality.

A proposal before the Indonesian Parliament will see LGBTIQ people sent to “rehabilitation camps”, with the children of those who do not turn themselves in being taken away.

Just.equal spokesperson, Ivan Hinton-Teoh, said Australia should be asking Indonesia President Joko Widodo to express his position on the proposal.

“Less than a fortnight ago, the President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, addressed the Australian Parliament about the importance of freedom and human rights.”

“Australia’s foreign minister should seek clarification on the President’s position regarding the proposed law, and make it clear the Australian Government unequivocally condemns it.”

Mr Hinton-Teoh said the Australian Government has a moral duty and economic interest in defending LGBTIQ equality in the Asia Pacific region.

“It is in Australia’s interest to promote LGBTIQ acceptance in our region because societies that are accepting of LGBTIQ people are more equal, more stable and more prosperous.” Hinton-Teoh said.

A draft “family resilience” bill has been proposed by members of the House of Representatives of Indonesia. The draft law defines homosexuality as a deviance which poses a threat to families, and requires LGBTQ people to report to authorities for rehabilitation, and their families to report LGBTIQ people to agencies handling “family resilience”.

The draft law, seen by Jakarta Post on Wednesday outlines the formation of a state body responsible for “family resilience” which would handle “family crises due to sexual deviation” through spiritual guidance and social, psychological and medical rehabilitation.

LGBTI rights advocates from OutRight Action International say the proposed law is the latest development in an increasingly hostile situation for LGBTQ people; government targeting and vigilante violence against LGBTQ people has steadily intensified over the last 5 years.

Indonesia does not criminalize same-sex relations on a national level, however Sharia law, which outlaws same-sex relations, is in effect in the provinces of Aceh and West Sumatra. The national Pornography Act, which is vaguely worded and thus open to wide interpretation, is widely used to target LGBTQ people, and in 2018 a national law criminalizing same-sex relations was proposed, but has not yet been passed.

OIP Staff

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