The embassy was set on fire for flying an LGBTQ flag in Jakarta, which has been identified as ignoring Indonesia’s “cultural sensitivities”.
Indonesian authorities on Monday summoned Britain’s ambassador to the country to explain the UK embassy’s decision to fly an LGBTQ rainbow flag in Jakarta earlier this month.
The flag was hoisted alongside Union Jack on May 17 to commemorate the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. Pictures of the two flags were shared on the embassy’s Instagram account, along with a lengthy post in support of sexual minorities and LGBTQ rights.
Has been considered as a step “Extremely sensitive” A statement issued by the Indonesian Foreign Ministry, which called on the UK embassy, as well as all foreign representatives, to respect the country’s religious, social and cultural customs and beliefs. The ministry said it had expressed its frustration and protest to the British ambassador, who is expected to report the matter to the government in London.
Homosexuality is clearly not a crime in Indonesia, except in the provinces of Aceh and South Sumatra, which comply with Sharia law. However, in a nation inhabited by the world’s largest Muslim population, there are no laws to protect LGBTQ people and do not allow same-sex marriage, both of which are considered taboo.
Lately, however, human rights activists have claimed that the Indonesian authorities are trying to suppress sexual freedom, with plans to amend the Criminal Code to include clauses in parliament that could affect the LGBTQ community.
In addition, Human Dignity Trust, an international LGBTQ rights organization based in London, claims that LGBTQ people in Indonesia are increasingly being targeted under other laws, such as anti-pornography laws, even though homosexuality is not banned at the federal level.
The agency said there were ongoing crackdowns on people identified as LGBTQs in the country and that such people were often detained as a result of frequent raids by gay or transgender communities.
Indonesia is not the only Southeast Asian country to protest foreign government support for LGBTQ rights. Singapore last year warned the United States against interfering in its domestic social and political affairs after the US embassy held a webinar with a local non-profit group to promote LGBTQ rights in the country.
Singapore’s foreign ministry has insisted that the United States has no right to intervene in the matter “How sexual orientation should be addressed in public policy.”
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