In the latest outburst by the Islamic Defenders Front, dozens of hard-liners charged into a civil rights training session for transsexuals held by the National Commission for Human Rights at a hotel in Depok on Friday. Police were unable to do much when the members of the group, known as the FPI, burst into a room at the Bumi Wijaya Hotel in Depok where the training session was being held, panicking about 25 transsexuals present.
FPI’s Depok chapter head Idrus Al-Ghodri said the training should be halted because “it is equal to recognizing the transsexual community.” Idrus added that his organization also believed the organizers had not asked the permission from local community leaders, the Depok city authority and the police. But the head of the Depok Police’s detective unit, Comr. Ade Rahmat, said that the FPI members had come in the erroneous belief that it was a drag queen contest.
“They thought it was a contest such as those held in Thailand,” Ade said. He said that the event was a seminar to educate transsexuals about their civil rights. “The notice that we received was for a seminar, not a drag queen contest,” he said. The disruption lasted just 15 minutes before the FPI members, in long white tunics and white skull caps, left after negotiations with the police Ade said. He added that the event had been planned to be capped by a contest to elect a transsexual ambassador of human rights.
“The selection of the human rights ambassador was planned for today and the participants are
wearing kebayas , not swim suits,” Ade said, referring to the national dress – a long sleeved shirt and a batik sarong. There were no injuries in the incident but some glass had been broken, he said. Budi Satrio, the head of the Indonesian Transsexuals’ Communication Forum (FKWI), confirmed that the meeting had only been held to provide education.“We were learning about national and international human rights, about what we should do if we experiencing rights violations,” Budi said.
Budi added that they had also invited members of the House Commission IX for health and the Directorate General for Human Rights to sit as judges at the peak event. “It is officially a positive thing for us, unfortunately, they (FPI) don’t respect that.” Budi vowed to continue with the training as planned. He said that the Depok Police had assigned several officers to safeguard the seminar.(Reuters/IM)