• Indonesian police officers clashed with activists during a rally in support of LGBT people on February 23, 2016 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. (Barcroft Media dia / Barcroft Media via Getty Images))Source: Barcroft Media dia / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
Human Rights Watch has strongly condemned the targeting of the LGBT+ community in Indonesia.
Michaela Morgan

8 Sep 2017 - 10:07 AM  UPDATED 8 Sep 2017 - 10:07 AM

Twelve women in Indonesia have been arrested after police raided a house in Kampung Benteng, Cigombong over the weekend. 

The raid was conducted after locals reported seeing “immoral activities” at the residence with local reports saying the women were dressed in “tomboy clothing” and had short haircuts. 

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has condemned the arrests, saying the government should be protecting the LGBT+ community instead of targeting them. 

Indonesian authorities are attempting to hide gay floggings
Aceh province has been punishing same-sex relations with public canings.

“What’s most offensive about this incident is that police and government officials steamrolled privacy rights and rule of law to appease the bigotry of a few neighbours,” said Andreas Harsono, senior Indonesia researcher at Human Rights Watch. 

“Evicting these women based on prejudiced assumptions of their sexual identity threatens the privacy of all Indonesians and has no place in a country whose motto is ‘unity in diversity.’”

Homosexuality is not illegal in Indonesia but there have been “at least four raids on LGBT people in private settings in 2017 alone,” HRW reports. 

Threats, violence, hope: what it’s like to be a gay activist in Indonesia
Once focused on increasing education and advocacy, the increasing attacks on LGBT+ people in Indonesia have forced activists to shift their energy to protecting those under attack and minimising the extent of attacks.

“Police raids on private gatherings of LGBT people foster dangerous anti-gay hysteria at a time when the government should instead be stepping up to protect this marginalised minority,” Harsono continued. 

“It has been nearly a year since President Jokowi pledged his support to the LGBT community, but his failure to take action has allowed raids like this to continue unabated.” 

HRW recently reported that authorities in Aceh were flogging gay people in private after the international condemned the public punishments that were previously being carried out.