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US LGBTQI+ Special Envoy Cancels Indonesia Visit

3 December 2022 00:08 WIB

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - United States Special Envoy to Advance the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex (LGBTQI+) Persons Jessica Stern has cancelled her initial plan to visit Indonesia next week. This was confirmed by US Ambassador for Indonesia Sung Kim.

The Ambassador, however, said that the bilateral dialogue regarding the discrimination against LGBTQIA+ can be continued in the future, a dialogue, that Kim asserts is “fundamental to democracy.”

After discussions with our counterparts in the Indonesian government, we have decided to cancel Special Envoy Stern’s visit to Indonesia,” Kim wrote in an email to Tempo on Friday, December 2, 2022. 

As previously reported, the United States Department of State announced that Jessica Stern initially planned to visit Indonesia in early December with visits to other ASEAN countries in Vietnam and the Philippines too. 

However, Stern's visit was strongly rejected by one of Indonesia’s Muslim organizations Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI). Tempo also asked the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministry regarding this issue and was answered with an analogy implying cultural differences. 

Ambassador Kim in his email to Tempo added that “One of the reasons the United States and Indonesia have such a strong relationship is that we both uphold values such as democracy, human rights, diversity, and tolerance. Those values should apply to every member of society, including LGBTQI+ persons.”

DANIEL AHMAD

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