The time has come for the Government of Indonesia to State a Firm Position and Actions to End all Forms of Violence and Discriminations
Against LGBT People in Indonesia
Press Release of Forum LGBTIQ Indonesia
12 July 2013
Yesterday, the evaluation process of Indonesia’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) has concluded.
We express our greatest gratitude and respect for our allies and supporters who gave endless time and energy to support us going through this small step of our still long battle for recognition of LGBT rights in Indonesia.
We acknowledge hard works of members of the HRC who raised issues related to freedom of expressions of LGBT people and people with diverse sexual orientation, gender identities, and gender expressions (SOGIE), such as questioning on the existence of specific measures for protection of LGBT people, the pornography law and existence of other discriminatory laws (including bylaws), the status of the gender equality law, access to legal aid and justice particularly in Aceh Province, and protection of our events and activities. We also appreciate recognition of members of the HRC towards LGBT rights and their continuous encouragement to the Government of Indonesia to improve the current national civil-political rights situation in accordance to the ICCPR and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Despite all that, we must express our regret, grief and sorrow as we witnessed our Government decided to remain silence in responding to direct questions related to respect, protection and fulfillment of LGBT rights in Indonesia. We also regret responses from the Government that is not factual and not in line with the covenant itself nor the fundamental principles of human rights.
However, we are proud to announce that, through our close monitoring of Indonesia’s UPR and ICCPR process since 2012, we noted some important points stated by the Government of Indonesia, therefore we still believe that; as the general awareness on the rights of LGBT people and people with diverse sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression in Indonesia has improved; our dream of the rainbow utopia nation that highly values the principles of ‘unity in diversity’ will eventually come true.
Through this press release, we present our clear statement on behalf of the LGBT civil society in Indonesia along with our demands for the Government of Indonesia in order to respect, to protect, and to fulfill our rights as Citizens of Indonesia.
- LGBT civil society movements in Indonesia had grown significantly since it was first established in 1969 with civil society organizations presence in at least 25 provinces in Indonesia, and all are united under a national platform, Forum LGBTIQ Indonesia.
- Issues on rights of LGBT people was first raised by the UN during Indonesia’s UPR in 2012, however, the Government of Indonesia denied the casuistic evidence on human rights violations presented by LGBT people in Indonesia.
- For ICCPR 2013, LGBT organizations in Indonesia worked together to produce an independent report based on documentation of cases of violence and discriminations of LGBT people in Indonesia, which resulted in a specific questioning by the UN Human Rights Committee on the existence of legislative and administrative measures related to protection against discrimination on the ground of sex and sexual orientation, also questioning on the process to amend the 2008 Pornography Law and local legislations that prohibit and criminalize consensual same-sex sexual activity (Article 5).
- The response from the GOI (dated 28 June 2013 with no further response during ICCPR assembly) argued based on evidence that does not explicitly address LGBT people, which are the 1945 Constitution (Article 35) and Law 39/1999 on Human Rights (Article 2). On the other hand, the GOI shared position and draft or existing policies related to other group (ie. race, nationality, chinese people, and women), this is a clear evidence that the GOI does not have a clear stand point in recognition of the existence of LGBT people in Indonesia, therefore, we demand for formal affirmation from the GOI to recognize LGBT and people with diverse sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression (SOGIE) as integral part of the Indonesian community, which therefore enjoys equal rights as guaranteed in the Constitution.
- We highly disagree upon statement presented in Article 41 that argued on the existence of bylaws that does not prohibit and criminalize consensual same-sex sexual activity but rather to combat prostitution including same-sex prostitution, and Article 40, on the still existence of the Pornography Law. These laws are discriminatory and criminalize homosexuality as it involves ruling on the sexual techniques (ie. such as sodomy, oral sex, anal sex, etc.) and the sexual orientation and gender identities (ie. Lesbian, Homosexual, etc.). We also appreciate GOI recognition on existence of bylaws that are in contradiction with national laws and human rights principles and norms as undesired by product of the implementation of sub-national autonomy, and clearly stated that those bylaws are considered legally invalid (Article 12 & 13), therefore, in recognition with the three (3) existing review mechanism, we demand the GOI to annul all policies that regulates on morality (including Pornography Law and all laws associated to Prevention, Prosecution, and Suppression of Immoral Acts), as it is against the fundamentals of human rights freedom to expressions and freedom of choice and we demand the GOI to prioritize bylaws and national laws that discriminate and criminalize homosexuality and LGBT people such as (but not limited to):
- Pornography Law, which clearly stated oral sex, anal sex, lesbian, and homosexual as deviate acts,
- Bylaw (Perda) Kota Padang Panjang No. 9/2010 on amendments of the Perda No. 3/2004 on Prevention, Suppression, and Prosecution of Immoral Acts which stated that “every one is prohibited to engage in homosexual and lesbian acts; and to offer themselves to others to engage in homosexual or lesbian relationship with or without pay” (Article 5). The law also defines punishment (Fine and Jail Time) for people who engage on those acts,
- Perda Kab. Padang Pariaman No. 2/2004 on Prevention, Prosecution, and Suppression of Immoral Acts, which state that “prostitute are man or women who conduct sexual acts with opposite or same-sex for the purpose of sexual pleasure and material benefits”,
- Perda Kabupaten Sawahlunto/Sijunjung No. 19/2006 on Prevention and Control of Immoral Acts that stated “adultery as sexual relations outside of marriage that are performed by men and women or same-sex based on consensual love”, and
- Perda Kabuapten Banjar No. 10/2007 on Social Order, which stated that “Prostitutes are any men or women who receive merit for their service, both in a form of cash or other or any forms of personal pleasure, or all of their works, in cash or otherwise or as a form of personal enjoyment as part or all of his work, who had normal or abnormal sexual acts with different people who are in the same or opposite sex to their own”.
- Apart from that, we also present evidence on the existence of laws that limit access of LGBT people to a rights to a family, including: the Government Regulation (PP) No. 54/2007 on Child Adoption that disqualified same-sex couple as Candidates for Foster Parents, and the Marriage Law No. 1/1974 that only recognizes marriage only as a relationship between a man and a woman. In principle we highly disagree on the patriarchal concept that is highly embedded on the existing Marriage law, therefore, we demand the GOI to assure on the fulfillment of the access of the LGBT people in Indonesia to a rights to a family that shall be ruled on the ground of equality and fairness.
- Finally, we appreciate existing support from the National Human Rights Institution and the National Commission on Violence Against Women, and therefore, we demand NHRI to follow up these recommendation as a strategy to assure the fulfillment and recognition of the rights of LGBT people in Indonesia:
- Repeal all laws that directly and indirectly discriminate and criminalize sexual orientation and gender identities (SOGI); recognize LGBT rights as human rights; harmonize national laws, policies and practices with the Yogyakarta Principles; and mainstream SOGI & Human Rights concept in all Government institution through capacity building and SOGI inclusive policies,
- Establish national level mechanisms to include the promotion of the equal rights of all people regardless of SOGI with the active engagement of the LGBT community including assurance on inclusion of SOGI in the National Human Rights Plan (RAN HAM) and the National Education System; and
- Depathologize SOGI and promote psycho-social well being of people in diverse SOGIE in accordance with the World Health Organization (WHO) standards, and ensure equal access to health and social services through public dialogue and campaign that engage LGBT community in Indonesia.
“LGBTI rights are Human Rights” (UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon)
“Every person has the right to the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, without discrimination” (Indonesia’s 1945 Constitution/ UUD 1945)
We exist, we are discriminated, and many of us were violated by many forms of violence and discriminations just for being who we are…
Indonesia should not remain silent in dealing with this situation
Delivered on behalf of the Forum LGBTIQ Indonesia
In Solidarity and Diversity
National Coordinator of Forum LGBTIQ Indonesia
Chairperson of Arus Pelangi Federation
Rafael da Costa
Chairperson of GAYa Nusantara
 The term LGBT represents broad arrays of gender identities including, but not limited to, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Intersex, and Queer.