Indonesian lawmaker warns US: Don’t interfere over LGBT

An Indonesian lawmaker has warned the United States against meddling in his country’s affairs after Washington criticized Jakarta’s treatment of sexual and gender minorities.

Abdul Kharis Almasyhari, a legislator from the Muslim-based Prosperous Justice Party, said Indonesia had its own set of “values and norms,” Detik.com news reported Saturday.

“Every nation has its own way of managing its own affairs,” he was quoted as saying.

“Other countries should not interfere in our domestic affairs, just as we don’t interfere in theirs.”

On Thursday, New York-based Human Rights Watch, in a new report said that lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people (LGBT) in Indonesia had been under unprecedented attack since earlier this year after officials made prejudiced remarks against them.

Commenting on that report, US State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said Washington was monitoring reports of “possible measures in Indonesia that would restrict the freedom of expression for LGBTI individuals in principle and in practice.”

A spokesman for Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Johan Budi, said this week that “all citizens are equal before the law, regardless of their sexual orientation.”

“But if LGBT people seek to influence other people to follow their lifestyles, that is not right and there’s no room for such activity,” he said.

Anti-gay sentiment in Indonesia rose earlier this year after Higher Education Minister Muhammad Nasir banned university groups advocating for sexual and gender minorities.

Since then, officials and conservative religious groups have made statements denouncing pro-LGBT activities.

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