The Thai headquarters of the United Nations Development Programme has pledged $ 8 million to an Indonesian NGO that deals with the rights of homosexuals. The vice president and the Islamic authorities demand the immediate suspension of funds: "The LGBT are tolerated as individuals, but not when they make propaganda."
Jakarta (AsiaNews) - A new wave of protests by civil society and by the government has been sparked by the news that the Thai headquarters of the UNDP (UN Development Programme) has decided to donate $ 8 million to an Indonesian NGO for promoting the rights of LGBT persons.
The question of acceptance or not gay people in Indonesian society has been inflamed for a few weeks, and this time the vice president Jusuf Kalla and the highest Islamic authorities have intervened to demand the interruption of funding.
The Bangkok office initiative is part of the project "Being LGBT in Asia", promoted by UNDP since 2014 to reduce inequality, promote the recognition of the rights of homosexual persons in the continent and defend the LGBT community.
Jusuf Kalla has confirmed that donations to the NGO does not come from the Jakarta office of UNDP but from the one in Bangkok: "We asked it to stop the payment," he said following a face-off between the Indonesian office of 'UNDP and the government. The vice president reiterated the position shared by the Government and the majority of civil society, namely, that "homosexuality can be tolerated at an individual level and pertaining to certain persons in society. But it becomes a problem if there are public campaigns that seek to influence other people to adopt this lifestyle. Same-sex marriage - he added - is certainly forbidden and illegal in Indonesia ".
The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), the de facto "moral police," strongly criticized the millions donated to the cause of LGBT, requesting its immediate suspension. According to Tengku Zulkarnain, General Secretary of the MUI, the only consequence of this project will be to destroy the Indonesian civilization and endanger its values.
Saleh Partaonan Daulay, member of parliament’s Commission VII, has spoken on the same line, saying that the presence of LGBT in the country is not welcome and that the funds should be suspended. Indonesia, he said, is not like Thailand or the Philippines, where the presence of homosexuals is tolerated: "Our religion and culture are completely different."
The controversy about homosexuality was reignited by the case of SGRC (Support and Research Group on sexual studies) to which the Minister of Research, Technology and Higher Education, Muhammad Nasir, in recent days denied permission to operate within the University of Indonesia.
Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, Minister of Security, assured that the government "will protect LGBT individuals whatever they are or do, because they are citizens of Indonesia and have rights that must be defended." "I do not agree - he explained - that the LGBT groups should be expelled or destroyed. I wish that we, as a nation, have a dignity. It is not a choice of these people, we do not know what type of families they have behind them" (M.H.)