Jakarta – Amnesty International is urging the Depok municipal government to immediately revoke a call for raids on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) groups in Depok city. Amnesty International Indonesia Director Usman Hamid says the move to conduct raids on LGBT groups is ruthless, inhuman and demeans their dignity as human beings.
"Under national as well as international law, raids of this kind reflect acts that are ruthless, inhuman and demean their dignity as human beings", said Hamid in a written press release on Wednesday January 14.
According to Hamid, there is nothing wrong with same-sex relationships. Because of this therefore, he believes that the planned raids by the Depok government smack of prejudice and hatred.
Usman is also urging the central government to immediately revoke all regulations that discriminate and criminalise gender minority groups or groups with certain sexual orientations. The Draft Criminal Code (RKUHP), according to Hamid, should also be able to prevent such regulations.
Hamid asserted that there are many government officials who often crack down on and shame people just because they have same-sex relationships. Government officials, continued Hamid, usually use regulations related to public order to harass LGBT people.
"The authorities have repeatedly cracked down on and shamed their own citizens just because they are deemed to have same-sex relationships", said Hamid.
The Depok government's plan to conduct raids on LGBT groups was triggered by the cases of sexual violence committed by Indonesian national and former Depok resident Reynhard Sinaga in Manchester, England.
Sinaga was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment by a British court. The Sinaga case was even referred to as the worst rape case in the criminal history of the country.
In order that a similar thing does not happen in Depok, Depok Mayor Muhammad Idris has instructed his subordinates to actively deal with the problem of sexual crimes.
Idris also plans to establish an LGBT crisis centre and conduct raids to contain the sexual behaviour of LGBT groups.
The move by Idris has attracted criticism, particularly from the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM). Komnas HAM's Human Rights Advancement Sub-Commission Coordinator Beka Ulung Hapsara believes that the move is an act of discrimination. He is asking that Idris immediately revoke the appeal for raids on LGBT groups.
"Komnas HAM is asking the Depok City government to revoke the appeal", said Hapsara in a written press release on Monday January 13.
Hapsara hopes that policies which are discriminative, demean dignity and human values and create the potential for persecution and other illegal acts not exist anywhere in the country.
Amnesty International revealed that this is not the first time that there have been such raids on gender minority groups. Over the last few years, said Hamid, LGBT communities in Indonesia have often faced discrimination by government officials and the number of cases continues to rise.
Amnesty International has recorded a number of incidents of persecution against LGBT groups in Indonesia.
In November 2018, Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) officials in Padang, West Sumatra, arrested 10 women who were accused of having same-sex relationships after one of them uploaded a photograph of themselves kissing and embracing another women on social media.
In the same year in Lampung, South Sumatra, local Satpol PP conducted raids at a beach and arrested three people who they suspected of being transgender women (waria) in an operation which they claimed was to "create security and safeguard public order" in the city.
In October 2018, West Java regional police arrested two men because they maintained a social media group called "Facebook Gay Bandung Indonesia" or GBI, which had a membership of 4,093 people. (thr/wis)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Amnesty International: Razia LGBT di Depok Tak Manusiawi".]