Indonesia

Indonesia’s Constitutional Court ruled 8 to 1 Monday that a controversial 45-year-old law banning religious blasphemy was constitutional. The law allows the attorney general’s office to ban religious groups that “distort” or “misrepresent” official faiths and calls for up to five years in prison for anyone found guilty of heresy. The law also limits the number of officially recognized religions to six: Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Confucianism. [This in spite of the fact that prior to Monday's ruling, plaintiffs were confident that a judicial review to contest the law would be successful*.] 

The 4th ILGA ASIA conference was to take place in Surabaya, Indonesia from the 26th to the 28th of March 2010, however, due to unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances, the conference had to be cut short. ILGA is the only worldwide federation campaigning for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) rights and was established in 1978. The aim of ILGA is to work for the equality of LGBTI people and their liberation from all forms of discrimination. It seeks to achieve this aim through the worldwide cooperation and mutual support of its members. Update on: Indonesia: LGBT Activism Under Attack in Surabaya

La 4ème Conférence d’ILGA-Asie qui devait se tenir à Surabaya en Indonésie entre le 26 et le 28 mars a malheureusement due être écourtée à la suite de déplorables incidents. ILGA est la seule fédération internationale à faire campagne pour les droits des lesbiennes, gays, bisexuel(le)s, transsexuel(le)s et intersexué(e)s (LGBTI). Créée en 1978, elle œuvre à obtenir l’égalité pour les personnes LGBTI et l’arrêt de toute forme de discriminations. La coopération internationale et le soutien mutuel de tous les membres doivent permettre à ILGA d’atteindre ces objectifs.

Grace Poore and Ging Cristobal, staff members of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) were in Surabaya, Indonesia for the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) Asia conference scheduled to begin in the East Java capital on March 26 and run through March 29, 2010.

The Constitutional Court on Thursday ruled to maintain the controversial 2008 Anti-Pornography Law, but failed to put an end to a debate that has divided the nation for years. “The postulations of the applicants have no legal base,” Mahfud MD, the chief of the Constitutional Court, said on Thursday in the 405-page ruling. The decision comes more than a year after the court began hearing three judicial review requests filed by 47 applicants ranging from representatives of youth groups and churches to housewives, women’s activists and legal aid foundations.

Indonesia's constitutional court has upheld a controversial anti-pornography law, disappointing activists and cultural groups who had challenged it.  The court said that the law's definition of pornography was clear and did not violate the constitution. The law was passed in 2008 and heavily backed by Islamic parties who helped to draft it. But it was opposed by minority groups who say it goes against Indonesia's tradition of diversity and pluralism. The anti-pornography law was passed with an overwhelming majority in the Indonesian parliament. But it has been seen by minority groups as a step towards strict Islamic law, stifling religious and artistic freedom. Update on: Indonesia: Anti-Pornography Law Raises Fears for Minorities

The recent arrest of six people in Indonesia over a nightclub show is raising concerns among minority groups and secularists about a new anti-pornography law. In late 2008, Indonesia's parliament passed a broad law aimed at stamping out what many politicians saw as an epidemic of pornography. Pushed by Islamic conservatives, the law outlawed anything - from books to paintings to some bodily movements - considered capable of raising feelings of lust.

Southeast Asia Muslim human rights advocates express concerns on the growth of politicized Islam in the ASEAN region and makes recommendations to ASEAN leaders at the 15th ASEAN Summit. A regional meeting of Southeast Asian human rights advocates was held in Jakarta on 16-17 October 2009 to examine how certain interpretations of Sharia laws are affecting the rights of the women in Muslim contexts in the region and undermining secularism and democratic institutions in such countries as Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines.

The following, and attached, are recommendations from the Regional Meeting held in Jakarta, 16-17 October 2009. Islam in Southeast Asia has long been recognized as humane, tolerant, diverse, plural, metropolitan, progressive, and empowering of women. It is thus a matter of urgent concern that the rapid growth of Islamic extremism is now changing the landscape in Southeast Asia, with serious consequences for all living in the region, as well as for the rest of the world. Leaders of ASEAN member states are urged to be cognizant of this regressive trend, which will have serious impacts not only on women’s rights, human rights, but also on the stability and development of the region as a whole. The conservative and monolithic values that underlie this trend are intolerant of the diversity that characterizes Southeast Asia. Such extremist attitudes result in acts that marginalize women and also use terrorist tactics to eliminate diversity.

The Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) international solidarity network and the Global Campaign to Stop Killing and Stoning Women (SKSW Campaign) are gravely concerned to learn of a set of regressive new laws introduced in Aceh, Indonesia on 14 September 2009. Indonesia's province of Aceh has passed a new law that imposes severe sentences for consensual extra-marital sexual relations, rape, homosexuality, alcohol consumption and gambling. Previously, Aceh's partially-adopted Sharia law enforced dress codes and mandatory prayers. "This law is a preventive measure for Acehnese people so that they will avoid moral degradation," said Moharriyadia, a spokesman for the Prosperous Justice Party.
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