Indonesia Faces the United Nations on LGBTI Issues

Things have been going backwards for LGBTI Indonesians since last year.

Indonesia faced up to intense scrutiny from its fellow United Nations member states.

This week Indonesia underwent its  3rd cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The UPR is a unique process which involves a periodic review of the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States.

Indonesia was given more than 10 recommendations related to sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI). Argentina, Brazil, Australia, Austria, Spain, Sweden and Czech Republic reviewed Indonesia’s human rights efforts.

Indonesia had claimed to make progress on human rights but made no mention of LGBTI issues.

The UPR representative from Sweden said that, ‘although same-sex sexual relations are not criminalized in Indonesia, there are no national laws specifically protecting LGBTI persons against discrimination.’

‘Discriminatory provisions exists in, for example, the Anti-Pornography Law containing specific discriminatory language against homosexuality, as well as in local laws,’ they said.

The Australian representative said their country, ‘further recommends Indonesia intensify efforts to respect and uphold freedom of expression, assembly, and religion and belief, and to prevent discriminatory on any grounds including sexual orientation and gender identity’.

The ASEAN SOGIE (sexual orientation, gender identity and expression) Caucus highlighted the ongoing violations of human rights for LGBTI people in Indonesia that still occur.

It said there were still various discriminatory laws and regulations in at least 13 provinces used to persecute LGBTI people in the country.

‘Conditions deteriorated further in early 2016 after high-ranking officials issued discriminatory statements condemning LGBTIQ people, fuelling greater hostilities,’ the Caucus said in a statement.

‘Activists in Indonesia have documented at least 142 cases against LGBTIQ people since 2015, ranging from the disbandment of LGBTIQ-related events to threats of violence directed to LGBTIQ individuals or activists.

‘There are also on-going efforts to criminalize homosexuality within the draft of the new criminal code being discussed in the House of Representatives.

‘In addition, the Constitutional Court recently concluded its judicial review of a petition submitted by ‘Aliansi Cinta Keluarga’, which seeks to make same-sex sexual conduct a criminal act. The decision will be released in the 3rd quarter of 2017.’

Recommendations received during the UPR focused on ensuring non-discrimination on the basis of SOGIE.

These included recommendations to repeal established discriminatory laws and to halt attempts to criminalize same-sex relations.