REPUBLIC OF INDONESIA: Police arrests and attempts to ‘re-educate’ transgender people must end

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  4. REPUBLIC OF INDONESIA: Police arrests and attempts to ‘re-educate’ transgender people must end
8 Feb 2018
[International Secretariat]
Topic: Sexual Orientation and Sexual Identity

The Indonesian police arrested 12 transgender people in North Aceh on 27 January, while forcefully cutting their hair to “make them masculine” and shutting down beauty salons where they work.

Despite them having committed no crime, Aceh has become an increasingly hostile place for LGBTI people.

What the police has done to them are forms of public shaming and amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, in contravention of Indonesia’s international obligations. This is part of a long-standing pattern of harassing and discriminating against LGBTI people in the region.

The police released all the transgender people on 28 January. The local police chief told media that they detained the transgender people for an “education” program.

“The police’s so-called ‘re-education’ of transgender people is not only humiliating and inhumane, it is also unlawful and a clear breach of their human rights.

“In Aceh, it is not only transgender people who face harassment, intimidation and attacks – all LGBTI people are at serious risk of such treatment. Such attacks must be stopped immediately and authorities must treat all people in Aceh equally before the law. Police are there to protect everyone, not to humiliate them and violate their rights.”


This incident took place just weeks after local people and mass organizations raided a hotel and handed over six transgender people on 17 December 2017 to law enforcement agencies after they received information that a transgender beauty contest was taking place, an act they claimed violated Shari’a law in Aceh.

LGBTI groups also face prosecution in other regions in Indonesia. On 25 May 2017, 141 men were arrested in North Jakarta by local police after attending what police described as a “gay sex party”. The next day the police released 126 men, but charged 10 of them with providing “pornography service” under the law on Pornography.

With the exception of Aceh, consensual same-sex relations are not treated as crimes under the Indonesian Criminal Code. However, in addition to the already hostile environment for LGBTI people in Indonesia, a group of legislators in the House of Representatives have introduced a proposed amendment to the criminal code that would criminalize same-sex relations.

29 January 2018

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