Twelve women have been evicted from their home in the conservative Indonesian province of West Java amid renewed fears of crackdown on sexual diversity.
The group had been renting a shared house in the village of Tugu Jaya, where their cohabitation and “unfeminine” appearance had unsettled conservatives.
Responding to a complaint from religious leaders and an Islamic youth group that the women’s living arrangements was “against the teaching of Islam”, police raided the women’s home last Saturday, giving them three days notice to leave.
According to interviews conducted by Human Rights Watch, authorities provided no legal justification for the raid and forcible eviction.
“What’s most offensive about this incident is that police and government officials steamrollered privacy rights and rule of law to appease the bigotry of a few neighbours,” Andreas Harsono, an Indonesia researcher at Human Rights Watch said in a statement.
“Evicting these women based on prejudiced assumptions of their sexual identity,” he continued, “threatens the privacy of all Indonesians and has no place in a country whose motto is ‘unity in diversity.”
Noting the physical appearance of the women, one village official that preferred to remain anonymous told Human Rights Watch: “It’s not acceptable to have female couples living together. Some have short hair, acting as the males. Some have long hair, acting as the females. It’s against sharia [Islamic law]. It’s obscene.”Read more via the Guardian