Non-profit advocacy group Human Rights Watch (HRW) has written a letter to French President Francois Hollande, urging him to address Indonesia’s “persistent human rights problems” during his upcoming trip to Jakarta.
President Hollande will be the first French president to visit Indonesia in over 30 years and activists are hoping he’ll use the opportunity to stand up for LGBT+ rights.
“France should ensure that its pursuit of deeper economic ties with Indonesia does not come at the price of silence on human rights,” said Bénédicte Jeannerod, France director at HRW.
“Hollande should affirm that promoting and protecting people’s rights is critically important for any country strengthening its engagement with France.”
HRW says that Indonesian President Joko (Jokowi) Widodo has “failed” to address human rights abuses in the country.
“Beginning in January 2016, high-ranking Indonesian officials made a series of vitriolic anti-LGBT pronouncements, giving rise to increased threats, intimidation, and violence against LGBT activists and individuals, primarily by Islamist militants.
“Jokowi has failed to adequately address the discriminatory statements and policies issued by senior government and military officials that have fuelled abuses toward the country’s LGBT population."
The group has urged Hollande to: "Publicly condemn all major incidents of anti-LGBT violence and harassment that occur in Indonesia, acknowledge the scope and gravity of the problem, and commit to taking steps to end these abuses."
President Hollande Is expected to bring investment agreements worth $US2.6 billion to strengthen economic ties between France and Indonesia.