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U.N. Human Rights Chief Condemns Proposal to Outlaw Gay and Premarital Sex

During his three-day visit to Indonesia this week, United Nations human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein criticized the Indonesian parliament’s proposal to criminalize gay and premarital sex, as reported by Reuters

Zeid believes that this proposal is ‘discriminatory’, stating in a news briefing on Wednesday:
“The hateful rhetoric against the LGBT community that is being cultivated seemingly for cynical political purposes will only deepen their suffering and create unnecessary divisions.”

This comes after the Indonesian parliament’s proposed revision of a Dutch colonial-era criminal code, which, if approved, will outlaw gay sex, extramarital sex, and co-habitation outside of marriage.

As of today, apart from the conservative Islamic province of Aceh, Indonesian law does not regulate homosexuality. However, in recent years, the country has experienced a rise in hostility toward the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.

Activists have raised concerns that the proposed rules could violate basic human rights, but top officials, including President Joko Widodo himself, have said that the country’s cultural and religious norms do not support the LGBT movement.

The proposed rules have gained support from the majority of the members of parliament. Very few politicians have stood in protest, for fear of losing the largely conservative voter base for the upcoming legislative and presidential elections next year.

Zeid, who has been in this United Nations post since 2014, said that he raised these issues with President Joko Widodo during his visit, and has urged Indonesia to address past events and other human rights violations occurring in the country, including the use of death penalty.

“There are some dark clouds on the horizon but … I hope the common sense and strong tradition of tolerance of the Indonesian people will prevail over populism and political opportunism,” Zeid said.

Photo courtesy of Voaindonesia.com
For further reading on this proposed law, click here

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