Friday, 22 February, 2019

Rights groups decry 'shaming' of transgender people in Indonesia's Aceh province

Transgender Women Had Their Hairs Cut By Indonesia Police Rights groups decry 'shaming' of transgender people in Indonesia's Aceh province
Melinda Barton | 30 January, 2018, 17:36

A group of transgender women had their heads forcibly shaved and were forced to wear men's clothing after several beauty salons were raided Sunday in Indonesia's Aceh province.

MANILA • Tens of thousands of evacuees displaced by the eruption of Mayon volcano in the Philippines are filling up dozens of temporary shelters that are already reeling from overcrowding and poor sanitation.

"Cutting the hair of those arrested to "make them masculine" and forcing them to dress like men are forms of public shaming and amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, in contravention of Indonesia's worldwide obligations", Amnesty global Indonesia's Executive Director Usman Hamid said in a statement published on the group's website.

CNN reports the Indonesian police forced the 12 trans women to do this as a "coaching" method to help them "become men", North Aceh Police Chief Ahmad Untung Surianata told state media.

In some parts of the archipelago, waria are revered as divine people. He denied that it was specifically an anti-LGBT operation.

Beka Ulung Hapsara, Indonesian human rights commissioner, told BBC that the police had acted outside the law.

Rights group Amnesty International said the raid showed Aceh had become "an increasingly hostile place" for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.

Amnesty's Indonesia director Usman Hamid said the police's "re-education" of transgender people was "humiliating and inhumane".

"I also feel worry for the mental and health condition of the transgender people who were arrested", she said.

Under its Islamic-based bylaw called qanun jinayat, Aceh is the only province in Indonesia where consensual same-sex relations are considered a crime.

In May 2017, two young men were caned more than 80 times after being found guilty of having homosexual sex.

Indonesia has seen its authorities implement a crackdown on the LGBT community.

Since 2015 there have been raids on gay saunas, calls for the criminalization of homosexuality and statements made by prominent politicians about the evils of LGBT rights, with one saying it was more risky to Indonesia than "nuclear war".

Last year, the provincial and central governments drew global condemnation after authorities in Aceh tried two young men on charges of engaging in gay sex and then publicly caned them - the first such case in the country.