INDONESIAN LGBTI – PROTECTION VISA
The Penal Code does not criminalise gay identity or same-sex intercourse in Indonesia. Some local laws criminalise same-sex activity, including in South Sumatra provincial laws and the cities of Pariaman and Palembang municipal laws.
Gay sex is punishable with up to 100 strokes in Aceh, a punishment that was meted out for the first time in May 2017 when two men accused of being caught in bed together were lashed 83 times each.
On 13 July 2018 two men received 87 strokes each for charges of same-sex intercourse.
Indonesia does not recognise sexual orientation or gender identity as grounds for protection in its anti-discrimination framework.
Pornography laws have been used to prosecute gay men engaging in consensual sex. That law contains provisions that identify gay sex as ‘deviant’, and carries penalties for offences of up to 15 years in prison.
Since 2016 an increasing number of incidents have been reported where police, or vigilantes who later report to police, have invaded private spaces including homes, hotel rooms and private clubs looking for LGBTI people. Victims have been paraded naked in public and identified in the media on some occasions, and as a result may have lost their jobs.
In 2017 Human Rights Watch reported that police apprehended 300 people for their presumed sexual orientation or gender identity. This included the arrest of 141 gay or bisexual men in one raid in May 2017 of a gym and sauna in Jakarta.
LGBTI people who are charged with these offences have difficulty in accessing legal representation due to discrimination by lawyers and judges.
In October 2018, two men were arrested for hosting an online social media page to connect LGBTI people and charged for spreading immorality under the Electronic Transactions and Information Law. The charge can incur a prison term of up to six years and maximum fine of IDR 1 billion/AUD 100,000.
LGBTI people generally avoid interaction with police where possible, as they believe police to be more likely to harass or blame LGBTI victims of crime than they are to provide access to justice. International observers have reported cases where police have colluded with Islamist organisations in harassing the LGBTI community. Officials often ignore formal complaints from LGBTI victims in assault cases, particularly if the suspect has police connections.
A 2013 study by the Pew Research Center found 93 per cent of Indonesians surveyed believed society should reject homosexuality.
Considerable social pressure pushes gay men and lesbians to enter into heterosexual marriages, and many lesbians are reportedly victim to ‘corrective rapes’. Family violence against LGBTI individuals is reportedly common.
Families and officials have subjected LGBTI people to ‘therapy’ intended to convert them to heterosexuality including, in some cases, after arrest. Psychologists in Indonesia are divided on whether or not LGBTI identities are a mental illness. In the past, LGBTI people have been enrolled in government disability programmes.
LGBTI INDONESIANS “WELL-FOUNDED FEAR OF PERSECUTION”
If you have a well-founded fear of persecution due to your gender identity or sexual orientation in Indonesia, you may be eligible for a Protection visa (subclass 866).
The first requirement states that you must fear persecution for at least one of five reasons specified in the Act:
- Membership of a particular social group (PSG)
- Political Opinion
LGBTI persons in Indonesia form a particular social group (PSG) within the meaning of the Refugee Convention because they share an innate characteristic or a common background that cannot be changed, or share a characteristic or belief that is so fundamental to their identity or conscience that they should not be forced to renounce it, and have a distinct identity which is perceived as being different by the surrounding society.
Although LGBTI persons in Indonesia form a PSG, establishing such membership may not be sufficient to be recognised as a refugee.
Our Immigration Lawyers can help you with your Onshore Protection Visa. Most of our LGBTI protection visa clients are international students and tourists who fear to return to their home country and would like to stay in Australia permanently. We have a proven success record in assisting nationals of Indonesia.
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