The LGBTQI advocacy group, just.equal is urging the Australian Government to speak out against Indonesia’s recent moves to criminalise homosexuality.
Indonesia has received international backlash after revealing plans to legally hinder gender equality and implement the rehabilitation of “deviant” sexual persuasions.
The proposed “Family Resilience Bill” has prompted outrage from human rights organisations and activists as it would outlaw surrogacy and force anyone “suffering” from “sexual deviations” to seek treatment at government-sanctioned rehabilitation centres.
The proposed bill would also see the children of those who do not turn themselves in being taken away indefinitely.
Just.equal spokesperson, Ivan Hinton-Teoh, said that as Australia has a moral responsibility to condemn Indonesia’s actions, as the two nations are currently reinvigorating a lucrative free trade agreement and attempting to reinstate a ‘friendly’ relationship.
“Less than a fortnight ago, the President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, addressed the Australian Parliament about the importance of freedom and human rights,” he said.
“Australia’s foreign minister should seek clarification on the President’s position regarding the proposed law, and make it clear the Australian Government unequivocally condemns it.”
Hinton-Teoh also noted that the Australian Government has not only a moral but also an economic interest in defending LGBTIQ equality in the Oceanic and the Asia Pacific region.
“It is in Australia’s interest to promote LGBTIQ acceptance in our region because societies that are accepting of LGBTIQ people are more equal, more stable and more prosperous.”
Earlier in February, Indonesian President, Joko Widodo visited Australia with the hopes of improving trade relations between the two nations by signing the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA).
The agreement allows 99 per cent of Australian exports to enter Indonesia tariff-free, as well as allowing Australians to own majority stakes of certain Indonesian businesses, and allowing Australian universities to open campuses in Indonesia.
As part of his visit, Widodo addressed a joint sitting of the Australian Parliament, making him the second Indonesian leader in history to do so.
Widodo called for both nations to join forces on combatting identity politics, fostering greater tolerance, ending terrorism and improving human rights.
“We must continue to advocate the values of democracy, human rights, stop intolerance, stop xenophobia, stop radicalism and stop terrorism,” he said.
“Identity politics is a trap to democracy, a threat to adversity and a threat to tolerance.
“These threats will become more actual exploitation for short-term political interests, resulting in hatred, fear and even social conflict.
“These democratic and diverse countries, we must work hard, side by side together, to defend the values of democracy, tolerance and adversity and to look at the clash of civilisation.”
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