LGBT ‘taskforce’ in Indonesian city adds to fears of gay rights crackdown

The atmosphere for LGBT people in Indonesia has been growing increasingly hostile, as this protest held earlier this month in Aceh’s provincial capital, Banda Aceh, shows Credit: Anfara Foto/Reuters The Indonesian city of Depok has announced it will set up a “taskforce” to curb the activities of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, raising fears of a fresh crackdown on sexual minorities in the world’s most populous Muslim nation. Muhammad Idris, deputy mayor of Depok, a satellite city of the capital, Jakarta, announced the plan on Monday, specifying that the 200-strong force, including police officers, social service workers and religious leaders, would “anticipate the spread of LGBT” among young people. The move comes amid a nationwide crackdown on sexual minorities and increasing reports of the harassment of members of the LGBT community, including a high profile raid last October on a “gay spa” in Jakarta, during which 51 men were arrested. Earlier this month, United Nations human rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, criticised proposals in Indonesia’s parliament to criminalise gay sex and extramarital sex. Legislators are currently debating revisions to a Dutch colonial-era criminal code, including proposals to outlaw sex outside marriage, same-sex relations, and co-habitation, all of […]