November 25, 2019 / 1:05 PM / 12 days ago

Indonesia attorney general's office condemned for barring LGBT recruits

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia’s human rights commission condemned on Monday the attorney general’s office for barring LGBT people from applying for posts it did not want people with what it called “sexual orientation deviations”.

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, has seen growing state and public hostility towards the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

The AGO’s website listed criteria for applicants and said they could not have “physical or mental disorders, including sexual orientation deviations and behavioral deviations”.

“We just want the normal ones,” said Mukri, a spokesman at the attorney general’s office, who uses one name.

“All religions still prohibit that kind of act,” he said, adding that candidates who intended to become prosecutors needed to be tough and professional.

The agency also said applicants should not be colour blind, or have tattoos or piercings and put limits on their weight.

Indonesia’s 74 ministries and state agencies, alongside 467 local administrations, started hiring for new civil servant candidates this month.

The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) said the restrictions were a violation of human rights.

“Everyone should be able to do their jobs without paying mind to their sexual orientations or gender identities,” Beka Ulung Hapsara of Komnas HAM, said in a statement.

Homosexuality is not a crime in Indonesia, except in the ultra-conservative Islamic province of Aceh, but some religious groups have called for it to be banned. Many members of the LGBT community are not open about their sexual orientation.

In September, Arus Pelangi, an LGBT advocacy group, reported more than 1,800 cases of persecution of gay Indonesians happening between 2006 and 2017.

Police have taken high-profile actions against gay clubs and parties in the last few years including detaining scores during raids on gay saunas in Jakarta.

In May, a police brigadier filed a legal complaint after he said he was fired in Central Java for being gay.

An Indonesian city in West Sumatra also approved a bylaw last year to fine gay and transgender people up to 1 million rupiah ($70) for behaviour that could “disturb public order” or be considered immoral.

Reporting by Stanley Widianto and Agustinus Beo da Costa; Editing by Ed Davies and Angus MacSwan

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