Response to the parliamentary question on violence in Surabaya, Indonesia

The European Commission replied to a parliamentary question on hate violence that prevented ILGA Asia’s 4th conference from taking place in Indonesia:

Commissioner Catherine AshtonThe Commission is aware of the forced closure of the fourth Asia regional conference of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) in March 2010 in Surabaya.

In the wake of the incident, the EU Delegation in Jakarta met representatives of two of the organisations involved in the event, Arus Pelangi and GAYa Nusantara, in order to better understand the circumstances in which the conference was abandoned. The EU Delegation made representations subsequently to the Director General (DG) of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights and raised the matter with the newly-elected Chair of the largest Muslim mass-organization in Indonesia, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) recalling inter alia, obligations under the recently signed Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA). The DG of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights had already been active on the case, including through explaining to the police authorities the necessity to protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) activists.

The Commission, through the EU Delegation in Jakarta, will keep in close contact with LGBT civil society organisations in Indonesia on the issue and consider further how this issue might best be raised at the first EU-Indonesia Human Rights Dialogue set to take place on 29 June 2010 in Jakarta. In addition, the local call for project proposals under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights launched in January 2010 in Jakarta indicated that particular attention will be paid to ensure that project proposals reflect broad-based participation, with explicit mainstreaming and monitoring of, inter alia, support for sexual minorities.

Support to human rights defenders is one of the major priorities of the EU external policy in the field of human rights. It considers that discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation is incompatible with the basic principles on which the EU is founded.

The European External Action Service will be guided by these basic principles and will bring together different channels of influence. It should be in a position to provide support in a more effective manner in the Union’s external relations.