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[Joint Statement] Indonesia: International Civil Society must monitor systematic attacks against LGBTIQ+ community

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(Bangkok, 3 August 2023) – The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)—on behalf of the participants of the 2023 ASEAN Human Rights Advocacy Academy and the endorsing organisations—condemns the systematic attacks against the LGBTIQ+ community in Indonesia.

We are in solidarity with the LGBTIQ+ community and all marginalised groups who are fighting  for their rights, equality, and inclusion. We urge the Government of Indonesia to investigate the harassment.

From July 17, FORUM-ASIA, ASEAN SOGIE Caucus, and Arus Pelangi were expected to host the ASEAN Queer Advocacy Week in Jakarta, Indonesia. The event intended to gather LGBTIQ+ activists from the region to increase their capacity to advocate for gender equality and non-discrimination within the ASEAN. In addition, the collaboration envisioned a more safe spaces for Southeast Asian civil society, for more rights-holders to learn about ASEAN, and for activists to be able to freely express views on the ASEAN’s performance regarding the advancement of LGBTIQ+ rights.

The organisers, however, decided to postpone and move the conference outside of Indonesia due to security threats and negative sentiments coming from conservative groups in the country.

In the lead-up to the conference, a series of disinformation campaigns against the LGBTIQ+ community were spread throughout social media, including petitions to cancel the event. Organisers and participants also encountered online harassment, death threats, and doxing even after the event’s cancellation.

Despite the escalation of threats, the Indonesian Government neither publicly condemn the systematic attacks nor did it perform any protection efforts.

“The persistent and deafening silence from the Government of Indonesia shows a lack to zero commitment to protect the rights of people with diverse sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics in the country, who have been marginalised in daily basis,” said Mary Aileen Diez Bacalso, Executive Director of FORUM-ASIA


Targeting of the LGBTIQ+ community

Disinformation campaigns against the LGBTIQ+ community are not new in Indonesia. Such tactics are commonly used as a tool for stirring public opinion and gaining political influence and votes.

In early 2016, several high-profile Indonesian ministers and politicians publicly made derogatory comments against the LGBTIQ+ community. Such comments further spurred homophobia across the country. As a result, activities organised by LGBTIQ+ activists were often raided. Reflecting on the pattern, we are concerned about the safety of the LGBTIQ+ community in Indonesia, especially as politicians may target the community in the lead up to the 2024 general elections.

During its fourth cycle of the Universal Periodic Review, the Government of Indonesia supported five recommendations regarding the protection of the rights of LGBTIQ+ persons. Such recommendations  include the need to ‘ensure that protection against any form of discrimination also extends to discrimination based on religion and belief, HIV/AIDS status, sexual orientation, and gender identity’ as well as  to ‘prevent discrimination on any grounds, including disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and intersex status.’

The cancellation of the ASEAN Queer Advocacy Week due to safety and security issues reveals the failure of the Government of Indonesia as the duty bearer to protect the rights of its people, especially those who are marginalised daily.


Call for Actions

FORUM-ASIA is in solidarity with Indonesia’s LGBTIQ+ community. We urge the government to publicly condemn the systematic attack and stigma against LGBTIQ+ individuals and organisations. The Indonesian Government must guarantee protection for everyone without any discrimination.

As the Chair of ASEAN, the Government of Indonesia should serve as a role model in addressing gender-based discrimination. Likewise, we call on ASEAN and other relevant  stakeholders to create safe spaces for dialogue with marginalised groups, including those who are discriminated on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC).

We also urge the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights to urgently act on this issue and assist the Indonesian Government in the promotion and protection of the rights of marginalised groups. Lastly, we encourage the international community to join us in closely monitoring the situation.

“Civil society in the region and at the international level must put attention and monitor the situation closely, to ensure that the LGBTIQ rights in Indonesia will not be politicised in the upcoming general elections next year,” Mary Aileen Diez Bacalso said.



  1. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
  2. Association of Women for Awareness & Motivation (AWAM) – Pakistan
  3. Awaz Foundation: Centre for Development Services (AwazCDS) – Pakistan
  4. BALAOD Mindanaw – The Philippines
  5. Bir Duino – Kyrgyzstan
    Community Resource Centre – Thailand
  6. Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) – Cambodia
  7. Cambodian League for the Promotion & Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO) – Cambodia
  8. Defense of Human Rights & Public Service Trust – Pakistan
  9. Equality Myanmar
  10. Forum for Dignity Initiatives (FDI) – Pakistan
  11. Human Rights Working Group – Indonesia
  12. Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS) – Indonesia
  13. ELSAM (Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy) – Indonesia
  14. Indonesia Legal Aid Institute (YLBHI) – Indonesia
  15. Indonesia Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI) – Indonesia
  16. Alliance for Independent Journalists (AJI) – Indonesia
  17. Innovation for Change (I4C) East Asia
  18. ALTSEAN Burma
  19. Asia Democracy Network
  20. iDEFEND
  21. Initiative for International Dialogue
  22. Milktea Alliance – Friends of Myanmar
  23. ASEAN SOGIE Caucus
  24. Jagriti Child and Youth Concern Nepal (JCYCN) – Nepal
  25. Karapatan – The Philippines
  26. Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law – Kazakhstan
  27. Law and Society Trust (LST) – Sri Lanka
  28. Madaripur Legal Aid Association (MLAA) – Bangladesh
  29. National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) – Pakistan
  30. People’s Watch – India
  31. Progressive Voice – Myanmar
  32. Public Association “Dignity” – Kazakhstan
  33. Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) – The Philippines
  34. The Awakening – Pakistan
  35. Think Centre – Singapore
  36. Women’s Rehabilitation Centre (WOREC) – Nepal

For media inquiries, please contact: Communication and Media Programme, FORUM-ASIA, [email protected]