Criminalisation of Homosexuality in Indonesia: The Role of the Constitution and Civil Society
20 Pages Posted: 19 Nov 2019
Date Written: November 17, 2019
Indonesia is widely regarded as a moderate Muslim country, yet over the past decade sharia-supporting Muslim groups have gained broad, popular support. LGBT people are among those groups who have faced growing intolerance. In this article I discuss the factors behind Indonesia’s creeping criminalisation of homosexuality. From late 2015 onwards, homophobic hate speech and attacks were launched, not only by conservative Muslim groups but also by Indonesian authorities. I discuss this campaign in the context of the national and international legal situation, focusing on constitutional interpretation, the promulgation of homophobic regional regulations and the role of major civil society actors, notably MUI (Majelis Ulama Indonesia, Indonesian Council of Religious Scholars) and AILA (Aliansi Cinta Keluarga, Family Love Alliance). The ongoing discussions in the legislature on the revisions of the Criminal Code will also be examined. I argue that the intermingling of religious authority, political power and conservative religious groups is undermining Indonesia’s democratic constitutional framework and the rights and freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution.
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