The South-East Asian nation of Indonesia is being urged to reject proposed moves with to criminalise homosexuality within its borders.
The Indonesian government who is currently in the process of implementing such legislation has found itself facing widespread criticism from other nations, human rights groups, and the United Nations.
Speaking at a press conference in Jakarta, marking the end of an official visit to Indonesia, the United Nations human rights chief, Zeid bin Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein, said he was “greatly concerned” by efforts to pass a bill outlawing homosexuality.
The proposed amendment to the penal code would ban sex outside of marriage and same-sex relations with up to five years in prison.
The bill reportedly has the support of the country’s main political parties and comes amidst heightened religious radicalism against LGBTI people.
“The extremist views playing out in the political arena are deeply worrying, accompanied as they are by rising levels of incitement to discrimination, hatred or violence in various parts of the country, including Aceh,” al-Hussein, who is also the Jordanian crown prince and himself a Muslim, explained.
While Homosexuality is currently legal in most of Indonesia, except the Aceh province, where penalties for gay Muslims include public floggings, the current government seems determined in making such penalties nationwide.
“At a time when it is consolidating its democratic gains, we urge Indonesians to move forward, not backward on human rights and resist attempts to introduce new forms of discrimination in law,” al-Hussein continued.
“LGBTI Indonesians already face increasing stigma, threats, and intimidation. The hateful rhetoric against this community that is being cultivated seemingly for cynical political purposes will only deepen their suffering and create unnecessary divisions.
“If we expect not to be discriminated against on the basis of our religious beliefs, colour, race or gender, if Muslim societies expect others to fight against Islamophobia, we should be prepared to end discrimination at home too.”