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Indonesia summons British ambassador to raise LGBTQ + flag at embassy

Indonesia summoned the British ambassador on Monday to explain the raising of the flag of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people at its embassy and called on foreign missions to respect local “sensitive feelings” following the Conservatives’ reaction.
With the exception of the Sharia-governed province of Aceh, Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country, still has taboos associated with the LGBTQ + community, but homosexuality is not illegal.

The LGBTQ + rainbow flag was hoisted next to the British flag at the country’s embassy in Jakarta on May 17 to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, the embassy said in an Instagram message.


The Alumni Brotherhood 212, an influential conservative Islamic movement, said in a statement that the flag tarnished “Indonesia’s sacred values.”
Foreign Ministry spokesman Teuku Faizas confirmed that British Ambassador Owen Jenkins had been summoned.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reminds foreign representatives to respect the sensitivity of Indonesians on issues related to their culture, religion and beliefs,” he said.
A spokesman for the British embassy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mr Faizas said that although the embassy is a sovereign territory, the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations stipulates that only the country’s flag can be flown.

Participant in the previous International Day Against Homophobia in Indonesia (AAP) .jpg

Gay rights activist demonstrates on the International Day Against Homophobia on Saturday, May 17, 2008, in Jakarta, Indonesia. Source: AAP

According to activists and human rights groups, Indonesia has become less tolerant of its LGBTQ + community as some politicians have voted more in favor of Islam playing a greater role in the state.

A poll conducted in 2020 by the Pew Research Center also found that 80 percent of Indonesians believe that homosexuality “should not be accepted by society”.
Last week, Indonesia’s chief security minister said that the revision of the criminal code, which is being considered by parliament, includes some articles aimed at the LGBTQ + community, and the move was supported by some conservative lawmakers.

His remarks followed a reaction to a popular podcast that this month was forced to cancel an episode in which a gay couple was interviewed.


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