UN Human Rights Office ‘concerned’ by floggings, arrests of gay men in Indonesia

Indonesian police guard men arrested in a recent raid during a press conference at a police station in Jakarta on May 22, 2017. Indonesian police have detained 141 men who were allegedly holding a gay party at a sauna, an official said on May 22, the latest sign of a backlash against homosexuals in the Muslim-majority country. / AFP PHOTO / FERNANDO (Photo credit should read FERNANDO/AFP/Getty Images)

The United Nations human rights office has said it is ‘concerned’ by the arrests and floggings of men perceived to be gay.

141 men were arrested in a sauna on Sunday 21 May in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta.

Despite homosexuality not being illegal federally, if private, consenting and non-commercial, the most recent arrests are under Islamic law in the Aceh region of the country.

Indonesian man awaits sentencing

Speaking in Geneva on Friday, UN human rights office spokesman said that it is “concerned by the recent persecution, arbitrary arrest, detention and ill-treatment of men perceived to be gay.”

He added that “consensual relations between adults of the same sex should not be criminalised.”

Earlier this week, the police chief in the country’s most populous province announced that a taskforce would be brought in to crack down on “secret parties” by LGBT people.

The West Java police chief Anton Charliyan said on Tuesday that the plan had been brought in following the caning of two gay men and arrests of hundreds during a raid on a gay club in Jakarta.

Charliyan said at a press conference in Bandung, the West Javan capital that LGBT people suffer a “disease of the body and soul”.

The province has a population of 47 million people.

The police chief also urged members of the public to report any activities seen involving LGBT+ people.

Amnesty International earlier this week urged Indonesia to stop the caning and arrests of LGBT people.

Anti-LGBT discrimination is said to be costing Indonesia as much as $12 billion every year, according to a recent study.

The losses are a result of barriers to employment, education, healthcare, as well as “physical, psychological, sexual, economic and cultural violence” suffered by LGBT citizens.

France has been urged by human rights groups to put pressure on Indonesia to do more to protect the rights of LGBT+ people.

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