CSBR hosts Project CARE: A regional program on holistic well-being & the sustainability of queer, trans and intersex activism in Asia
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In February 2018, CSBR launched Project CARE: Continuous and Responsive Empowerment through well-being initiatives for LGBTI human rights defenders in SSEA–a regional program in partnership with Asia Pacific Trans Network (APTN), ASEAN SOGI Caucus (ASC), …

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CSBR: President Widodo & Indonesian Govt. Must Uphold Constitutional Rights of Indonesian Citizens

Submitted by on March 12, 2016 – 9:01 amNo Comment


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President Joko Widodo & the Indonesian Government Must Uphold the Constitutional Rights of Indonesian Citizens

 

The Coalition for Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies (CSBR) is gravely concerned about the on-going attacks against the civil, political and human rights of Indonesian citizens of diverse gender identities and sexual orientations.

What began in January 2016 with a spiteful comment from the Minister of Research, Technology and Higher education that LGBTIQ people ‘corrupted the morals of the nation’, has turned into an almost two-month long series of attacks and an increasingly hostile climate spreading across different cities and provinces in Indonesia.[1]

As a Coalition of over 30 civil society organizations and academic institutions working to uphold sexual and bodily rights in Muslim societies, CSBR urges President Joko Widodo to unequivocally come out in support of Indonesia’s LGBTIQ citizens, to uphold democratic rights and ensure protection from discrimination and harassment, and to call for an end to the hateful and discriminatory rhetoric being propagated by government officials.

To this end, President Joko Widodo and the Indonesian government must take all measures to protect the constitutional rights[2] of Indonesian citizens, including:

  • the right to education and the right to participate in and benefit from social, cultural and scientific life (Art. 28C(1));
  • the right to collective struggle for rights (Art. 28C(2));
  • the rights to equal recognition, guarantees, protection and fair treatment under the law (Art. 28D(1) and 28I(1));
  • the rights to freedom of thought, conscience, expression, opinion, assembly and association (Art. 28E);
  • the right to be free from discriminative treatment based upon any grounds whatsoever and the right to protection from such discriminative treatment (Art. 28I(2)).

As a member of the United Nations, and as a state party to the ICCPR and the ICESCR, the Indonesian government also has a duty to ensure non-discrimination, academic freedom, and access to education, to enable citizens to make informed decisions and autonomous choices on all matters relating to themselves, including their beliefs, opinions, and identities.

CSBR applauds the strong leadership demonstrated by KOMNAS-HAM, Indonesia’s independent National Human Rights Commission, which has consistently applied clear, rational and informed juridical reasoning to highlight the unconstitutionality of attempts to restrict the rights of all those who would seek to engage in public discussions, support services, and advocacy for rights, protection and education on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.[3]

 

Background & Further Details:

In January 2016, the Minister of Research, Technology and Higher Education called to ban a Support Group and Resource Centre on Sexuality Studies (SGRC) that offered LGBTIQ-friendly counselling services to students on Indonesian university campuses. His statement set off a chain reaction of spiteful attacks by militant groups, the police, and other government officials against civil society and LGBTIQ individuals.

Since January, numerous government officials have made hateful statements against the LGBTI community. This includes:

  • Legislator and Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) politician Nasir Djamil stating that “The LGBT community should not be allowed to grow or be given room to conduct its activities. Even more serious is those LGBT members who go into universities with scientific studies, or hold discussion groups”;[4] in contravention of Articles 28D(1) and 28D(2) which upholds the rights to education and participation in technology, arts, and culture, and the collective struggle for rights.
  • Culture and Primary Education Minister Anies Baswedan telling parents and teachers “that LGBT people were deviant and a danger to adolescents”,[5] and the National Broadcasting Commission banning content on TV and radio that ‘normalizes’ being LGBTIQ, in the name of ‘protecting children and adolescents’.[6] Such rhetoric ignores the Constitutional rights of LGBTIQ children to protection from violence and discrimination (Art. 28B(2)).
  • Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform Minister Yuddy Chrisnandi, who stated that “Of course it is inappropriate for civil servants to be [homosexual]”, despite Art. 28D(3) guaranteeing “Every citizen shall have the right to obtain equal opportunities in government”.
  • Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu labelling the LGBTIQ movement a ‘proxy war’ that is a greater threat to national security than nuclear weapons;[7]
  • Indonesia’s Communications and Information Ministry has proposed and begun drafting a bill that will ban websites that ‘promote LGBT propaganda’ that could “damage national security, identity, culture and the faith of Indonesians.” [8]

The proliferation of fear-mongering and hateful rhetoric has also emboldened vigilante and militant groups to harass civil society and succeed in shutting down LGBTIQ events and spaces:

  • On 4 February, a militant group harassed participants at an event on access to justice for LGBTIQ people in Jakarta, and had the police shut the event down;[9]
  • On 23 February, the police turned against LGBTI advocates at a public demonstration in Yogykarta who were rallying to counter an anti-LGBTIQ demonstration;[10],[11]
  • On 24 February, the Al Fatah Pesantren Waria, a longstanding community supported religious boarding school for waria (transgender) students, was closed in Yogyakarta.[12]

 

These are but a few of the many statements and incidences that have been reported on in mainstream media in recent months, and they highlight a clear lack of political will to uphold the rule of law or ensure access to justice.

As Vera da Costa, an activist from long standing Indonesian LGBT organization GAYa NUSANTARA shared with us,

“The space for LGBTIQ people to exercise their rights to freedom of assembly and association in Indonesia is now very limited. The security of individuals and organizations is in jeopardy; we are being threatened and there is no protection from the government. Meanwhile the media sensationalizes the news in a negative fashion, so that the public is increasingly misinterpreting what is at stake here. We want the President to intervene and take action to protect us as citizens, because it is the government officials of his cabinet that are attacking us in the first place.”

The Coalition for Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies is deeply concerned for the security and safety of our friends and allies who are organizing and living within such a climate of fear and insecurity, with no protection or recourse from the judicial or legal systems in place.

We join Indonesian civil society’s call and urge President Joko Widodo to take immediate action to end the harassment and to uphold the civil, political and human rights of Indonesia’s LGBTIQ citizens.


12 March 2016


For more information, please contact CSBR: coordinator@csbronline.org, and GAYa NUSANTARA: gayanusantara@gmail.com.

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[1] Further details below.

[2] http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—ed_protect/—protrav/—ilo_aids/documents/legaldocument/wcms_174556.pdf

[3] http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/02/05/komnas-ham-slams-vilification-lgbt-officials.html

[4] http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/01/25/lgbt-not-welcome-university-minister.html

[5] http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/02/13/luhut-defends-lgbt-groups.html

[6] http://www.kpi.go.id/index.php/lihat-terkini/38-dalam-negeri/33218-kpi-larang-promosi-lgbt-di-tv-dan-radio

[7] http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2016/02/23/055747534/Minister-LGBT-Movement-More-Dangerous-than-Nuclear-Warfare

[8] http://www.curvemag.com/News/Indonesia-Sees-Rising-Discrimination-Against-LGBT-Community-1008/

[9] https://www.hrw.org/tet/node/286749

[10] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gu66JLcEv8I

[11] http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/02/24/police-ban-rally-held-lgbt-supporters.html

[12] http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/02/26/yogyakarta-transgender-islamic-boarding-school-shut-down.html

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