• Indonesian police parade the 14 men arrested at hotel sex party under anti-pornography laws in Surabaya. (Juni Kriswanto/AFP/Getty Images.)Source: Juni Kriswanto/AFP/Getty Images.
Human Rights Watch have released a statement denouncing the treatment of the men, stating that the police continue to violate the rights and privacy of LGBTQI people in Indonesia.
By
Chloe Sargeant

8 May 2017 - 1:27 PM  UPDATED 8 May 2017 - 1:27 PM

An anti-LGBTQI Indonesian police raid last month led to the detention and forced HIV testing of 14 men, and human rights activists say the laws and actions of police violate the rights and privacy of LGBTQIA people.

Police were reportedly tipped off by neighbours, and carried out a midnight raid on a private party of 14 gay men, who were in two hotel rooms in Surabaya. Police detained the entire group, and confiscated condoms, mobile phones, and a flash drive that allegedly contained homosexual pornographic videos.

The next day, police informed media that all 14 men were made to undergo testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and five had tested HIV positive. 

Police also told media that eight of the men were detained on Law on Pornography charges, and two of the men are being charged with organising the 'sex party' event and providing pornography.

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Indonesia's Law on Pornography specifically prohibits sexual parties, and the usage and distribution of homosexual pornography. Homosexual sex is included under the umbrella term "deviant sexual acts", which also covers sex with corpses, sex with animals, oral sex, and anal sex.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) have released a statement denouncing the treatment of the men, and stating that the police continue to violate the rights and privacy of LGBTQI people in Indonesia.

Phelim Line, deputy Asia director of HRW, said in a statement, "Indonesian police are again violating the basic rights of LGBT people by invading their privacy. The Surabaya raid subjected these gay men to traumatic humiliation, puts two at risk of long prison terms, and threatens the privacy rights of all Indonesians."

HRW's story on the matter says that forced HIV testing goes against the ethical and human rights principles of privacy, autonomy and informed consent, as well as the World Health Organisation's guidelines on consent for HIV testing: "Mandatory, compulsory or coercive HIV testing is never appropriate."

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The raid in Surabaya comes in the wake of major anti-LGBTQI sentiment from government officials and politicians throughout 2016, which led to growing harassment and violence against LGBTQI Indonesians. Despite President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo defending Indonesia's LGBTQI people in October last year, this latest raid shows that authorities continue to target the community.

Last month, police in the Aceh province - which upholds sharia law - arrested two men for having consensual sex in the privacy of their own home. They now face a public flogging sentence, which violates international prohibitions against torture. The United Nations Human Rights Council's International Convenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) states that "it is undisputed that adult consensual sexual activity in private is covered by the concept of ‘privacy'."

Late in 2016, Indonesia also moved to block Grindr and a number of other gay dating apps.

Kine called for President Jokowi to "make good on his commitments to protect privacy rights" and end the government's support for police raids on LGBTQI people: "So long as the government permits police raids on private gatherings under a discriminatory law, it will fail to curb anti-LGBT harassment and intimidation."