ASEAN Lawmakers Decry Indonesia's 'Rising Tide of Intolerance'
The Indonesian governmentâs failure to address growing intolerance for religious minorities and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community has drawn renewed criticism from Southeast Asian lawmakers.
The ASEAN Parliamenta rians for Human Rights (APHR), a nongovernmental grouping of current and former elected representatives from Association of Southeast Asian Nations member countries, warned this week that a ârising tide of intoleranceâ against those vulnerable minorities âthreatens Indonesiaâs democratic success.â The organization called on the Indonesian government âto put human rights at the center of efforts to address religious hatred and vigilantism.â
The APHRâs criticism comes at a time when religious minorities are at heightened risk from discriminatory regulations that hinder their right to religious freedom. Those laws include the 1965 blasphemy law, which punishes deviations from the central tenets of Indonesiaâs six officially recognized religions â" Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism â" with up to five years in prison. Recent targets of the blasphemy law include three former leaders of the Gafatar religious community follow ing the violent forced eviction of more than 7,000 members of the group from farms on Kalimantan island in 2016, as well as former Jakarta Governor Basuki âAhokâ Purnama, who a court sentenced to a two-year prison term for blasphemy in May 2017 because of a reference he made to a Quranic verse in September 2016.
The APHRâs concerns about âvigilantismâ point to increasing incidents over the past two years in which Indonesian police have openly collaborated with militant Islamists to unlawfully target LGBT people. Last year, the police arrested more than 300 LGBT people in raids of private gay clubs, lesbian-owned houses, and other private venues across Indonesia. Meanwhile, Indonesiaâs parliament is deliberating a new criminal code, the current draft of which would criminalize consensual sex between two unmarried persons, effectively making all same-sex relations illegal.
The APHR joins a growing chorus of international concern, including that of United Nati ons member states, about the Indonesian governmentâs failure to address increasing threats to vulnerable minorities. Until President Joko âJokowiâ Widodo recognizes Indonesiaâs obligation to protect the rights of all minorities, their safety will be at risk.Source: Google News | Berita 24 English