Greens Senator Janet Rice Condemns ‘Appalling’ LGBTI Abuse In Indonesia


Greens senator Janet Rice has written to the Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop, calling for action against Indonesia for the discrimination of its LGBTI community.

Last weekend, police in the Indonesian province of Aceh conducted raids on beauty salons and detained a number of transgender women, forcibly cutting their hair and making them wear male clothing.

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Senator Rice condemned the “appalling” abuse against the women on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon.

“The Australian government must let our Indonesian neighbours know in no uncertain terms that this is an outrageous violation of human rights and must stop,” she said.

In her letter, posted to Twitter, Senator Rice said Australia had an obligation to “promote and protect human rights” in Indonesia.

“The situation is Aceh province is particularly concerning,” she wrote.

“Recent reports from Aceh outline growing incidents of control, conversion therapy and assault of transgender women in a place where LGBT people are already at heightened risk of harm at the hands of local authorities.

“I also have grave concerns that the Indonesian government intends to change federal law to criminalise sexual activity between two people of the same sex.

“The Indonesian government’s treatment of LGBT people is a violation of these rights.

“I urge you to ensure these concerns are raised with the Indonesian Ambassador in Australia as a matter of urgency.”

Homosexuality is legal in Indonesia, with the exception of the semi-autonomous Aceh province, which has its own Islamic laws.

Last May, Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman spoke out in parliament against Indonesia’s treatment of its LGBTI people, after two men in Aceh who were arrested for being gay were publicly caned.

“Two young men, by virtue of their sexuality alone, were subject to the most appalling treatment by the judicial system in Aceh,” he said at the time.

“Cruel and sickening are the only words to describe the images of those men being caned at a public spectacle.

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“That the operation of Sharia law should allow two people to be so inhumanely treated is not something we can stand by and ignore – and nor should Indonesian authorities.

“What we witnessed this week reflects a broader trend to stigmatise and persecute members of the Indonesian LGBTI community.”

A number of gay parties, gyms and saunas in Indonesia’s major cities have been raided in the last 12 months, and hundreds of Indonesian men arrested.

Human rights activists say the country’s strict anti-pornography laws have been used by authorities to target the LGBTI community.