Trans Day of Remembrance: Focus on Indonesia

“The killings of transgender people, involving Indonesian law enforcement are poorly or never investigated. More often they are put into the freezer by the state, and left unresolved.”

Grace Poore, IGLHRC, Regional Coordinator, Asia and Pacific Islands

Indonesian waria (transgender) activist Elly Susana was killed in 2007. To date, there has been no justice for her. Elly Susana’s story is told in Courage Unfolds, a video produced by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission to reveal the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBT people in Asia and their efforts to fight for equality, safety and decriminalization. Elly Susana’s death, which occurred during an alleged raid by public order officers (Saptol PP), was widely covered by media.

In January 2010, Arus Pelangi, a national advocacy organization for LGBT human rights, attempted yet again to revive the investigation into Elly’s death. They asked the Indonesia National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) to convene all parties involved in the case, including Satpol PP. Although Satpol PP is implicated in Elly’s death, they chose not to come to the Komnas HAM meeting. According to King Oey of Arus Pelangi, “Their official position has always been that they did not raid any place on that particular date.”

Central Jakarta police in whose jurisdiction the case falls have also failed in their duty to investigate Elly’s death with any seriousness.

King Oey says, “They sent a low ranking officer to the meeting convened by Komnas HAM. And he said that the police cannot proceed if witnesses don’t come forward although Arus Pelangi already brought forward three witnesses who provided testimonies about the raid by the public order officers that led to Elly’s death.”

Despite significant obstacles, Indonesian LGBT activists persist in their concern for the human rights of Trans people. In 2011, Komnas Perempuan (Indonesian National Commission of Women) finally recognized waria as female. In observance of Transgender Day of Remembrance, LGBT activists in Indonesia will hold a photo exhibit on violence against trans people.

Trans Day of Remembrance: Africa · Indonesia · Latin America · Turkey