Following calls by the Mayor of Depok, West Java, for the municipal police (Satpol PP) to conduct routine raids against LGBTI people in rented housing facilities, Amnesty International Indonesia’s Executive Director Usman Hamid said:
“This latest vicious campaign against LGBTI people must stop. Same-sex relations are protected under international law and there can be no justification for these hateful raids. Criminalisation of homosexuality is discriminatory and violates the rights to private and family life, freedom of expression, and the freedom of assembly and association.”
“Authorities in Indonesia repeatedly launch humiliating crackdowns on suspected same-sex activity, and misuse laws against loitering or public nuisance to harass and arrest LGBTI people.
“The Indonesian government should also repeal all laws that criminalize specific gender identities and expressions.”
On 10 January the Mayor of Depok, Mohammad Idris, asked authorities including Satpol PP to sweep rented residencies (including rented houses, apartments, and dorms) in order to stop what he called ‘immoral’ acts.
He labelled his campaign a ‘prevention toward the spread of LGBTI’ in his city. Idris said he made the call in the wake of global media interest in the case of Reynhard Sinaga, a serial sexual abuser from Indonesia who was convicted of his crimes in Manchester, UK, earlier this month.
In the past few years, LGBTI communities in Indonesia have faced increasing crackdowns from the authorities. In November 2018, Satpol PP in Padang, West Sumatra, arrested ten women accused of same-sex relations after one of them posted a photo of her kissing and hugging another woman on Facebook.
In the neighboring province of Lampung, also in 2018, local Satpol PP raided a beach and arrested three people whom they suspected of being transgender women in an operation said to “provide safety and maintain public order” in the city.
In October 2018, the West Java Police arrested two men for administering a Facebook group called “Facebook Gay Bandung Indonesia” or GBI, which has a total of 4,093 members.