Major general Burhan Dahlan has started a campaign to have LGBTQ+ people removed from Indonesia’s military in the country’s latest incident of hostility towards the community. He told local news source Kumparan: “I’ve submitted around 20 reports to the court regarding same-sex relations between soldiers, military doctors and middle-ranking officers.” He also referred to being LGBTQ+ as a ‘deviant habit’ that would ‘prevent soldiers from carrying out tasks properly’ and asked military judicial judges to remove queer people from the ranks. One corporal has already been dismissed this month for “disobeying command” after it was found he was having consensual relations with another man.
Amnesty International Indonesia’s executive director Usman Hamid referred to the campaign against LGBTQ+ soldiers as unjust and said, “no-one should be persecuted based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation.” Although same-sex relations are not illegal in the country, authorities have launched periodic crackdowns against the LGBTQ+ community since 2016 involving attacks and raids.
Hamid continued: “The Indonesian Government needs to send an unequivocal message that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity will not be tolerated, including in the military. State institutions should be leading by example, not undermining its own commitments to human rights Indonesia has to repeal this archaic and discriminatory provision in the criminal code and other regulations. The government must reform when it comes to the rights of LGBTQ+ people.”