Solidarity And Courage Amidst Increasing Violence Against LGBTIQ Persons In Indonesia

By February 5, 2018 Advocacy, Newsroom, Regional

On 27 January 2018, approximately 10 beauty salons in North Aceh, Indonesia became subject to raids and 12 transgender women were arrested. They were forced to cut and shave their hair, stripped of their clothes, verbally harassed, and subjected to physical and mental therapies in an attempt to make them more “masculine”. On the pretenses of protecting public morals, the women were subjected to cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment and punishment. The raids and arrests were part of the Aceh government’s policy directive on “Eradication of Community Disease” and counter terrorism.

This act of violence is the most recent in a wave of persecution by government and extremist civilian forces against transgender and LGBIQ persons in Indonesia, including last year’s public flogging of two men on charges of committing consensual sexual relations.

We urge the government of Indonesia to uphold its human rights obligations to respect and protect the rights of all persons, including ceasing, stopping and preventing all the violence against LGBTIQ persons in Aceh. We call on the international community to remain vigilant on the matter and condemn the actions of Aceh’s police force. We call on NHRI’s in Indonesia to monitor the human rights situation and undertake on-site inspection of places where the risk of human rights violations is high. We express solidarity to fellow LGBTIQ advocates in Indonesia, continue your bravery in upholding human rights and dignity amidst the brewing violence by extremist groups.


Direct Quotes from Signatories


“Reparative therapies aim to change a person’s gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation is not based on evidence and is no longer considered ethical. Yet, such prosecution is in part the lived reality of transgender people where state laws and sanctions are not put in place to realize human rights-based legal gender recognition. Respect for transgender people’s human rights encompasses the obligation to refrain from doing actions that violate those human rights.” Joe Wong, Program Manager, Asia Pacific Transgender Network (APTN)



“The persecution of 12 transgender women in Aceh, if not challenged and condemned, will send a terror to all LGBTIQ persons in Indonesia. They are not protected by the law and can become a target anytime. We need to resist and prevent such discrimination from spreading to other regions and other countries in Asia.” Manisha Dhakal, Asian Representative, International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA)


“The looming criminalization of LGBTIQ persons in Indonesia coupled with the wave of targeted violence across the country is alarming. If not prevented, this can be a lethal mix that may trigger a crisis. We are afraid that Indonesia may be at risk of committing a crime against humanity.” Ryan Silverio, Regional Coordinator, ASEAN SOGIE Caucus (ASC)


“We urge the Indonesian government to apply the Yogyakarta Principles that outline a set of international principles relating to sexual orientation and gender identity, in particular to address cases of violence against LGBTIQ, including by implementing measures to prevent all forms of violence, by investigating and penalizing such actions, and by undertaking necessary reforms in the justice system.”  – Midnight Poonkasetwattana, Executive Director, APCOM


For further information:

Joe Wong, Asia Pacific Transgender Network

Email: [email protected]


Ryan Silverio, ASEAN SOGIE Caucus

Email: [email protected]


Lieu Anh Vu, ILGA Asia

Email: [email protected]


Midnight Poonkasetwattana, APCOM

Email:  [email protected]



The Bahasa version of the statement can be found here.

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