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Indonesia in News

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Indonesia’s military has announced they no longer conduct virginity tests as part of their recruitment processes, but sexual and mental health advocates believe their work is far from finished. The Amazing fact about Berita Indonesia.

Indonesia’s president did little this year to protect human rights while local officials continued to target lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. Here are a few top stories from Indonesia this week:

1. AirAsia reopens non-stop Perth-Jakarta route

Indonesia Airlines (INA) recently unveiled an all-nonstop Perth-Jakarta route, adding 75,000 weekly seats to the market. They will operate four times weekly using Airbus A320 aircraft for this route.

Western Australian travelers and businesses looking to travel between Western Australia and Indonesia now have more options. Additionally, this flight will help build upon Western Australia’s tourism and trade sectors while opening up opportunities for business partnerships.

An Indonesian court upheld a government decision to limit the expansion of an oil palm plantation project on an orangutan-inhabited rainforest island, setting off legal challenges from environmental activists who fear industrial palm oil contributes to deforestation and climate change.

After numerous tourists recently broke local protocols in Bali and got in trouble, authorities are taking measures. Starting this month, they are introducing new rules, which include banning foreigners from wearing bikinis or other skimpy clothing on beaches.

Indonesia’s national flag carrier, Garuda Indonesia, was recently honored with a 5-star rating from London-based global airline rating agency Skytrax, receiving this honor in 2014. Additionally, from today until October 23, Garuda will waive passenger service charge (PSC) on all domestic flights to Singapore available through their official website and sales channels; this offer applies for flights operated by Garuda and its subsidiaries; transit passengers using the Garuda network will also qualify.

2. Human traffickers jailed in Indonesia

Indonesia is a prime target of human trafficking and smuggling of migrants (TIP/SOM), particularly for women and children sold into forced labor or debt bondage. Furthermore, thousands of Indonesians leave unofficial routes for overseas employment every year and often face abuse, accidents, and diseases upon leaving home. Police have begun targeting syndicates that traffic migrant workers; they have successfully rescued some while prosecuting others. Additionally, the government has increased efforts against this human exploitation by creating an anti-trafficking task force within the national police to combat trafficking activities this year.

2007 saw multiple cases involving children, women, and men being trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation. Police joined with the Ministry of Manpower to shut down an illegal workforce company that was aiding in this trafficking activity; police rescued over one hundred victims while arresting staff members on charges of document falsification. Unfortunately, however, child exploitation still occurs frequently.

Widespread social stigma and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people impeded their access to legal sector employment and exposed them more readily to criminal markets and trafficking activities. Many were also forced to work overtime at inferior wages without adequate pay or suffer physical abuse while performing these roles.

Indonesia remains committed to implementing its comprehensive anti-trafficking law; however, local regulations remain restrictive and discriminatory against minority groups. Islamic Sharia law and gender-based rules have been used as tools of discrimination against religious minorities, women, and LGBTI individuals, as well as media freedom threats posed by authorities utilizing their 2008 Anti-Pornography Law, which restricts internet access while targeting news websites; therefore limiting Indonesia’s capacity for fighting crimes committed by organized groups.

3. Indonesian man charged with murder in Perth

Indonesians have been left shaken by the murder of Brigadier Nopryansyah Yosua Hutabarat (known by many as Brigadier J), which has brought into focus corruption within Indonesia and cast doubt upon a police force that has made strides to reform after strongman Suharto’s rule ended.

The tragic death of an Australian tourist in Bali was a stark reminder of the risks involved with international travel, especially to countries with higher risks of terrorism and infectious diseases. Indonesian authorities pledged their best efforts to safeguard tourists visiting their country.

An Australian man could face years in jail after allegedly assaulting an Indonesian woman while staying at Kedin’s Inn hotel in Kuta, Bali. Police claim they became embroiled in a heated fight over money and drugs when she refused to repay him, during which police found numerous gel-blaster weapons hidden within his room.

Social media are an integral part of life in Indonesia, where many have access to the internet, and Facebook is immensely popular. But some have raised concerns over its use as an avenue for spreading false information or hate speech – particularly during the Coronavirus crisis.

Indonesia’s draft criminal code currently under discussion includes a clause that recognizes any “living law,” potentially including hundreds of local laws that discriminate against women, religious minorities, and LGBT people. Civil society groups are mobilizing against this bill; national newspapers in Indonesia have increased coverage and encouraged readers to support these initiatives.

4. Cyclone Ilsa strands fishermen in Australia

Cyclone Ilsa left one Indonesian fisherman stranded for six days on an isolated sand island off Western Australia’s Rowley Shoals last week, as its Category 5 winds tore across a series of coral reefs near Broome and disorientated two fishing vessels: Express one and Putri Jaya which had to turn away to avoid being washed ashore on Bedwell Island 20 miles (32 kilometers) west of Pardoo town.

According to an Australia Maritime Safety Authority statement, Australian authorities identified survivors on Monday. Eleven fishermen from the Express 1 boat had spent six days without food or water on Bedwell Island until ten men from the Putri Jaya boat washed ashore a day later on another part of Bedwell Island, where they saw Australian rescue aircraft searching for them. An official from Australia stated that all survivors appeared “in good condition despite their ordeal,” adding that the country’s consulate would assist in the repatriation process.

Indonesia’s police and military frequently violate fundamental civil and human rights, particularly in Papua and West Papua, where foreign diplomats, international monitors, media representatives, and media freedom are banned. Religious minorities, women, and LGBT individuals are vulnerable to discrimination and abuse by police and military officials in these regions.

The government has taken steps to address these issues, yet progress has been slow. For instance, they have not adopted the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and failed to reform blasphemy laws and toxic regulations that make weaponizing against minority groups easier. The armed forces recently ended virginity tests while other discriminatory laws remain on their books.

5. Separatist gunmen attack Indonesian army troops

Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelagic country, lies along significant sea lanes connecting East Asia, South Asia, and Oceania. Over centuries of interaction with its physical environment has created diverse regional cultures in Indonesia that reflect these interactions.

Indonesian soldiers have been engaged in fierce gun battles with separatist gunmen from the West Papua Liberation Army since 1960 to liberate mineral-rich yet impoverished regions from Indonesian rule. One soldier was killed, while many more were injured.

Bodhi Risby-Jones of Brisbane was charged with attacking and killing a local fisherman in Bali after going on a drunk rampage earlier this month. A video from jail shows his first images as he apologizes for his actions while explaining how they occurred.

He now acknowledges his mistakes and how they affected Indonesian society and his family, which suffered due to rumors about him and their misinformation campaign.

Dutch museums are returning hundreds of cultural artifacts that were taken, often forcibly, from Indonesia and Sri Lanka during colonial rule to these nations during Dutch colonization. The UN Human Rights Office has welcomed the move.

Indonesia continues to use laws against LGBT individuals. On August 1, in Makassar city, police forced a gathering of more than 30 transgender women who had come together in an attempt to promote a sustainable tourism industry to disband immediately.

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