Despite Progress, Gay & Abortion Rights Face Threats in Latin America

Gillian Kane is a senior policy advisor for Ipas, an international women’s reproductive health and rights organisation.

SUVA, Fiji, Dec 7 2017 (IPS) – Cancun, Mexico, of white sand beaches and spring break-style nightlife, was, this past June, the unusual backdrop for a regional gathering on human rights and democracy.

Tour buses accustomed to ferrying sandal-shod tourists to Mayan ruins, instead, transported well-heeled activists and government representatives from their hotels to the Centro de Convenciones.

Parked a few kilometers away, one bus, neon orange and passenger-less, stood out. The so-called “Freedom Bus” was emblazoned with massive letters; “Leave our children alone!” #dontmesswithourchildren.

It was, according to its organizers, designed to get the attention of delegates attending the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS). They wanted attendees to know they were putting themselves on the line to resist all attempts by permissive governments to indoctrinate their children in the immoral principles of “gender ideology.” They were, they insisted, defending their religious and freedom of speech rights.

Never mind that there is no “gender ideology,” much less governments that are forcing children to learn inappropriate material. This bus is just one of many recent direct-action attempts by right-wing organizations to pedal a falsehood that governments, aided by well-endowed liberal foundations, are out to get your children.

The bus provides the arresting visual, but it’s what takes place inside the conference center that should raise our hackles. The concern for the wellbeing of children is a cover; what these organizations want to do is disable efforts to advance protections and rights for girls, women and LGBTI people.

The movement, which defines itself as in opposition to “gender ideology,” is a response to progress made in the last decade advancing human rights for vulnerable populations.

Meanwhile, the decade has also seen an increase in the organizing power and political influence of conservative evangelical churches, especially in Central America, Mexico, and Brazil.

Latin America is the locus for much of the progress on LGBTI and abortion rights, both at the country and regional level. Same-sex marriages are legal in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay.

And significant advances have been made to increase access to legal abortion in Argentina, Chile, Mexico City, Colombia, Bolivia and Uruguay. At the regional level, the OAS has been a champion for LGBTI rights as early as 2008, when it adopted its first resolution condemning violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

By 2011, the OAS had created a dedicated LGBTI Unit at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The progress did not go unchallenged.

Opponents of sexual and reproductive rights and LGBTI rights in Latin America responded to victories directly, through both legislation and litigation. They also responded in more insidious ways.

Last year, in Brazil, ministries promoting equal rights for women and black communities were downgraded when they were folded into the Ministry of Justice, effectively neutralizing the ability of its leadership to negotiate or move forward any progressive policies.

The deliberate dismantling of government infrastructures that protect human rights is not endemic to Brazil. Indeed, it is a dedicated strategy of anti-rights organizations who are working to both coopt and fragment these spaces.

Read the full article from IPS News

Experts release much anticipated expansion of the Yogyakarta Principles

An anticipated set of new principles on international human rights law relating to sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) —released today by a group of 33 international human rights experts—charts a way forward for both the United Nations, governments, and other stakeholders to re-affirm their commitment to universal human rights.

A full list of signatories can be seen here.

The Yogyakarta Principles plus 10 (YP+10) were adopted by the experts following a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland in September 2017. This meeting followed a period of open consultations, led by the International Service for Human Rights and ARC International, the formation of an expert Drafting Committee, who synthesized the feedback, and the establishment of a Secretariat who supported the process. The new principles reflect significant developments both in the field of international human rights law and in the understanding of violations affecting persons of ‘diverse sexual orientations and gender identities’, as well as a recognition of the often-distinct violations affecting persons on grounds of ‘gender expression’ and ‘sex characteristics’.

“The YP+10 introduce new language which arises from rights violations that were occurring at the time of the original YPs and since,” said Mauro Cabral Grinspan of Argentina, who was part of the Drafting Committee “By naming and articulating them across the entire Yogyakarta Principles, we hope to address previous gaps and contribute not only to the eradication of violations, but also the reparation of the damages they cause around the world.”

Cabral Grinspan is the Executive Director of GATE, an international organization working on gender identity, sex characteristics and, more broadly, on bodily diversity issues. He was also a signatory to the original Yogyakarta Principles.

The Yogyakarta Principles plus 10 supplement the original 29 Yogyakarta Principles and set out nine Additional Principles covering a range of rights dealing with information and communication technologies, poverty, and cultural diversity, to name a few. There are also 111 Additional State Obligations, a number of which have arisen over the past decade with regards to the original 29 Principles, including in areas such as torture, asylum, privacy and health and the protection of human rights defenders.

“It is unacceptable that LGBTI people still face discrimination, including in health care settings, leading to detrimental impact on the realization of their right to health,” said Dainius Pūras of Lithuania.  “Discrimination on the grounds of SOGIESC needs to be addressed globally, in the spirit of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, ensuring there is no-one left behind. YP+10 is a very important step in this direction.”

Pūras is the UN Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and is a professor of child psychiatry and public mental health at Vilnius University, Lithuania.

The principles call for action from states, UN bodies and agencies, national human rights institutions, mass media, non-governmental organizations, professional organizations, and others. They have been endorsed by UN independent experts, members of treaty bodies, judges, academics, parliamentarians, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and others, including the UN’s first Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, Vitit Muntarbhorn of Thailand.

“The Additional Principles launched today, along with the original 29 principles, articulate basic political, social and economic rights enshrined in international law, yet many in our communities have yet to actually exercise and enjoy these rights due to discrimination,” said Sanji Mmasenono Monageng of Botswana. “We implore the international community to pledge its commitment to protect human rights for all, especially those governments that continue to allow and even promote discrimination towards LGBTI persons.”

Monageng is a judge of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, and former chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. She was also a signatory to the original Yogyakarta Principles.

The Yogyakarta Principles plus 10 reflect some of the key issues and developments relating to the specific forms of rights violations experienced by persons on grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics. They respond to well-documented patterns of abuse, ranging from discrimination in the workplace to violence and torture, and are an affirmation of existing international legal standards.

“The YP+10 released today will help civil society and other stakeholders hold governments accountable for fulfilling their obligations under international human rights law,” said Julia Ehrt of Germany, who was part of the Drafting Committee. “In the context of violence against LBGTI persons, this accountability includes protection, support for victims, investigation of crime, and holding perpetrators to account, along with tackling structural violence.”

Ehrt is the Executive Director of Transgender Europe (TGEU). In 2009, TGEU started Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM), a pioneering project in the collecting, monitoring, and analyzing of reports of murdered trans people worldwide.

For more information on the Yogyakarta Principles plus 10, and to download your copy, please consult the Yogyakarta Principles website. Currently, the online version is in English. French, Spanish and Chinese versions will follow in the coming weeks, while Arabic and Russian versions will be rolled out in the early part of 2018.

There are numerous regional and global launch activities and seminars/webinars being planned in the coming months, including one on December 13, 2017 in Geneva. In addition, there will be two upcoming webinars offered on January 16, 2018 and February 15, 2018. More details can be found using the following links: January16th and February 15th

Via ARC International

“They are coming for your children” – the rise of CitizenGo

The right-wing campaigning platform CitizenGo has coordinated mass online petitions – and offline actions. Its reach is growing, alarming human rights advocates.

This month, tourists and beachgoers in Spain will be treated to the sight of a bright orange plane, flying overhead, declaring its opposition to a proposed law against discrimination based on sexual orientation. Among other things, the bill would see businesses and organisations fined for non-compliance. It has been backed by the left-wing Podemos party and activists for LGBT rights.

The controversial stunt is the latest offline action from CitizenGo, an online hub for conservative campaigners that launched in 2010. It is known for coordinating large-scale e-petitions, including against transgender rights and abortion, and has been described as the right-wing counterpart to sites like and

At the US thinktank Political Research Associates, LGBT and gender researcher Cole Parke said the growth of groups like CitizenGo contrasts with the beliefs of some “progressive activists…that the opposition is an aging and increasingly irrelevant minority”. Parke said: “the right’s online savviness (and expanding political power) suggests that this is not at all the case”.

“They have self-consciously modelled themselves on, or other petition sites,” activist and human rights lawyer Naureen Shameem told me. She works for the Association of Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) and is monitoring the backlash against sexual and reproductive rights, and growing “anti-rights” activism at the UN in particular.

CitizenGo has been on AWID’s radar for some time, as Arsuaga also sits on the board of a group called the World Congress of Families which organises large-scale regional and international conferences to create alliances between “pro-family” groups.

Shameem says these organisations “often speak and try to appropriate the language of human rights to their own ends.” She adds: “the focus of what they do is power orientated. A manipulation of religious arguments to increase power and undermine the universality of rights”

Increasingly conservative and religious right groups are appealing to what they call “parental rights” in their attempts to strengthen their “hierarchical and traditional concept of the family,” according to a report written by Shameem and published earlier this year by the new Observatory on the Universality of Rights.

In numerous countries CitizenGo has linked up with other like-minded organisations including grassroots and community-level “pro-family” groups. “They have become much more active at a regional level,” adds Shameem.

Read the full text from openDemocracy.

The World Congress of Families: A prime example of today’s anti-rights lobby

On Thursday 25 May 2017, ultra-conservative activists and policy-makers will come together in Budapest, Hungary for the 11th international World Congress of Families (WCF) under the title “Building Family-Friendly Nations: Making Families Great Again”.

As the biggest annual meeting of the right, the organizers have stated their hopes that this year’s WCF will “help launch a new global pro-family alliance of countries dedicated to defending marriage, the family and the sanctity of human life.

Throughout the four days (25-28 May) delegates from the clergy, civil society, the business world, and politics will build relationships and learn from each other’s tactics for achieving regressive change – all under the auspices of the Prime Minister of Hungary.

While extremely troubling, the WCF is not an exceptional event.  In fact, it can be seen as an archetypal example of much broader trends.  A new report released this week, documents the rise in numbers, increased coordination, and increasingly strategic approaches of anti-rights actors operating in international spaces, and the significant impact they have made so far.

Behind the Research

In 2016 a group of organizations and activists, including AWID, launched a collaborative project called the Observatory on the Universality of Rights – OURs, for short.

The project stemmed in part from a strategy meeting on religious fundamentalisms held by AWID in 2013, during which a number of participants raised concerns about the effects of ultra-conservative groups on our human rights, and shared the work they were doing already to resist.

A clear trend was visible: These anti-rights actors, both state and non-state, were working more concertedly than ever to undermine a core concept of human rights: their universality.

Universality is a cornerstone of international human rights law.  It encapsulates that we are all equally entitled to our human rights simply by being human – whatever our nationality, place of residence, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, language, sexuality, or any other status.

The OURs initiative decided to undertake a comprehensive study of the forces working to undermine universality, the impact they have had so far, and ultimately what this might mean for people’s lives.

© | Flickr | WCF 2012

What did we find?

1. A large and complex anti-rights lobby

The research revealed an unprecedented level of engagement by anti-rights actors in international human rights spaces today.   Following an initial foray in the UN arena during the Beijing and Cairo conferences in the 1990s, these ultra-conservative actors have been increasingly targeting the international policy arena.

One of the most notable trends found is the tendency towards strategic alliances. The report maps a complex and evolving anti-rights lobby at the UN, with older forms of affiliation, based on religion or institution, giving way to pragmatic organizing according to shared goals.

2. An evolving repertoire of strategies

A striking finding of the research is that ultra-conservative actors – despite all their rigidity when it comes to worldview – very much move with the times when it comes to strategy.

Where anti-rights actors may have previously been explicit in their religious or “moral” motivations, they now often appeal to supposedly intellectual or “social science” arguments.  What is more, when certain human rights bodies prove difficult to infiltrate or influence, anti-rights groups find new points of entry.

Across all the strategies of these actors, some key trends are visible:

  • Learning from the organizing strategies of feminists and other progressives.
  • Adapting successful national-level tactics for the international sphere.
  • Moving from an emphasis on symbolic protest against the human rights system, to becoming subversive system “insiders”.

3. Expert “double-speak”

The report paints a picture of the myriad creative discourses anti-rights actors use to undermine the universality of rights.  In several cases, these actors take a legitimate concern or struggle and appropriate it for their agenda.

A good example is the way that anti-imperialist discourse is used by both ultra-conservative states and civil society organizations. This narrative revolves around the idea that national governments are being unjustly targeted by UN bodies, or by other states acting through the UN.

Of course, there is much to be said about the instances in which national governments are bullied by other states and by international institutions.

However, we documented the ways this discourse is co-opted to cast a powerful institution – the state – as the victim, in order to justify national exceptions to universal human rights standards. Tellingly, many of those who employ this discourse are in fact global North-based organizations.

Another striking finding is the trend towards co-opting the very language of human rights, women’s rights, and even the notion of “universal” itself.

To give just one example, conservative players have attempted to construct a new category of “parental rights”, which has no support in existing human rights standards.

While sounding something like a genuine area of human rights, this dangerous framework in fact works to twist the rights protections children have, as articulated in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to support the rights of parents to control their children and limit their rights and autonomy.

4. The impact on our rights is grave… but there is hope

Anti-rights actors have already had a substantive impact on our human rights framework, especially rights related to gender and sexuality.

Take the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), for example.  Precisely when addressing women’s human rights is of urgent importance, the very space dedicated to this has become extremely harder and harder to make advances in. Our energy is taken up trying to hold the ground against conservative backlash – sometimes even on agreements made 20 years ago!

At the Human Rights Council (HRC), in between progressive gains, we have increasingly witnessed ultra-conservative states aggressively negotiating out positive language and introducing hostile amendments to resolutions.

In a whole range of spaces beyond these two examples, the presence of regressive actors is being keenly felt.  However, we should not see this as a done deal.  

First of all, we should remember that these advances have, at least in part, been a response to the gains of feminism and other progressive movements – a backlash that indicates the extent of our power.

We can also take courage from the many times when anti-rights actors’ attempts were unsuccessful due to the strong efforts of progressive activists.

From the limited amount of regressive language conservative actors managed to insert into Agenda 2030, to the repeated fruitless attempts to block the new mandate of the Independent Expert on sexual orientation and gender identity, to the strong provisions on sexual and reproductive rights and health in the 2016 HRC resolution on discrimination against women – these regressive agendas can and will be thwarted.

Understanding the attacks, to strengthen our rights

This research was founded on the belief that to counter the advance of our “opponents” in human rights spaces we must have an intimate knowledge of the ways they operate. As the first report to come out of OURs, we have focussed most of our attention on the threat itself.

One might wonder if this detailed look at anti-rights efforts risks over-emphasis on the negative aspects of the picture. Our hope is that this first report will act as a strong foundation for building awareness and action in this area.  As we go on, the plan is to build upon these findings, including by documenting the important gains feminists and other progressive actors have made in recent years.

There are many progressive activists doing remarkable and sustained work on our rights related to gender and sexuality – we are many, and we are strong.  Our hope for this research is that it will provide the knowledge to make our collective struggle more strategic, more proactive, and ultimately more effective.

Let’s work together to defend the universality of rights!

Add your voice and apply to become an institutional member. Get in touch to learn more

Seventeen Years of Tracking the World Congress of Families

Today, the World Congress of Families is one of the major driving forces behind the U.S. Religious Right’s global export of homophobia and sexism.

The Political Research Association first reported on the World Congress of Families (WCF) in 2000, noting its role within the coalition of Christian Right groups that was beginning to emerge as a well-organized and influential force at the United Nations. Writing for The Public Eye, Jennifer Butler observed that the Christian Right had “discovered the power of organizing in the international arena,” and was working to “delay and where possible derail progressive change that might be obtained through UN conferences and treaties.”

In the years following the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo and the 1995 World Conference on Women in Beijing—the outcomes of which were hailed by progressive feminists as major victories for gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights—Butler reported that “Conservative Catholics, Mormons, Conservative Evangelicals and to a much smaller degree, Muslims and Jews, are developing institutional structures, political rhetoric and mobilized networks to bring their ‘family values’ message to the UN and the world.” She credited WCF with playing a key role in solidifying the group’s platform and collaboration.

Today, WCF is one of the major driving forces behind the U.S. Religious Right’s global export of homophobia and sexism. From its headquarters in Rockford, Illinois, WCF pursues an international anti-choice, anti-LGBTQ agenda, seeking to promote conservative ideologies that dictate who has rights as “family,” and who doesn’t. Through WCF’s advocacy and strategic support, these ideologies are increasingly being codified into regressive laws and policies all around the world, from the United Nations to the Kremlin.

In the lead up to WCF’s 2015 gathering in Salt Lake City, Utah, PRA co-produced an overview of the group and its key affiliates, along with a glossary of key terms used by the organization’s network of Religious Right accomplices to further thwart pro-LGBTQ and women’s rights initiatives

Read the full article from Political Research Associates.

Culture of Love, a UN Free & Equal campaign

Just ahead of the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia the UN Human Rights Office today launched a new UN Free & Equal mini-campaign that explores the role that culture and tradition play in the lives of lesbian, gay, bi, trans and intersex people around the world.

Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community

Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Culture and tradition are profound parts of our lives. They allow us to come together to mark life’s milestones, and celebrate our heritage and the people we love. For many, they provide a sense of home, of history and identity.

Culture and tradition belong to everyone. Each of us gets to interpret, adapt and practice the beliefs, customs and rituals that are meaningful to us as individuals. These are basic cultural rights – guaranteed to everyone without discrimination.

Sadly, some people see the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bi, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people as a threat to their cultural values. They may try, wrongly, to rationalize violence and discrimination as a way of protecting their beliefs in the name of culture and tradition. No matter how diverse people’s beliefs and values, culture and tradition are not a license to discriminate or an excuse for violence.

Culture and tradition are not fixed: they change over time and are viewed and interpreted differently within societies. There are traditions of hate and repression, just as there are traditions of equality and justice. It’s up to each of us to decide for ourselves which ones to carry on.

UN Free & Equal published three videos as part of the campaign. Tradition, Culture and Family can be watched from the campaign website.

  • In “Tradition”, a young man in Mumbai brings his boyfriend to a family celebration of the Festival of Holi.
  • In “Culture”, a genderqueer youngster in Britain joins their father at a soccer match and basks in the comradery that goes with supporting the local team.
  • In “Family”, Chinese parents shake off their initial hesitation and include their daughter’s same sex partner in their traditional Lunar New Year celebrations.


What is a family? UN Women video

UN Women has published a video titled “What is a family?” to promote the diversity of different forms of families worldwide.

Showing symbols of different families, the video says that “families come in many forms” and “it’s time for policies to recognize their diversity”.

Watch the full video from UN Women’s Twitter Account.

Holding the Line: Reflections from the 61st Commission on the Status of Women

Given the diversity of state positions and civil society organizations present at the CSW in the current era, we always anticipate that the CSW will be a challenging space in which to defend or advance the rights of lesbian, bisexual, trans and intersex  persons (LBTI).

By Erin Aylward

While this year’s CSW saw some important strategies and successes in holding the line, we also witnessed some concerning developments that underscore the very real need for human rights organizations to prevent backsliding on key issues and strategies for NGO-engagement.

Let’s start with the Agreed Conclusions: the “meat and potatoes” of each year’s CSW. Because the Agreed Conclusions are agreed upon by consensus, LBTI rights have yet to ever be explicitly mentioned or acknowledged in this outcome document, and we do not anticipate that this will happen anytime soon. From the perspective of organizations focused on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) issues, then, “success” during the CSW political negotiations is often framed in two ways:

  1. fighting off hostile language – often, though not exclusively put forward by the Russian Federation – on the family, traditional values, and state sovereignty, and
  2. fighting for broad, inclusive language that could be interpreted to include SOGIESC issues, even if they are not explicitly mentioned.

According to these metrics, the final version of the Agreed Conclusions can largely be considered a success.

However, the author is alarmed by three main anti-rights trends at the CSW: pink-washing at the CSW, the shrinking space for civil society actors and the rise of the religious right within the CSW.

Read the full article from ARC International.

Conservatism abets failure to reach consensus on CPD50 resolution – ARROW’s response

The 50th Session of Commission on Population and Development (CPD) on the theme, “Changing Population Age Structures and Sustainable Development”, took place from 3-7 April, 2017 at UN Headquarters in New York. After weeks of strenuous negotiations, the session ended without an outcome document and with a summary of deliberations by the Chair.

The decision was made after weeks of informal and formal negotiations and a draft text which was put forward by the Chair. However, there were consistent disagreements on several issues including sexual and reproductive health and rights, families, and comprehensive sexuality education. The draft text emphasised that population and development, gender equality and women’s empowerment, and the promotion and protection of the full enjoyment of all human rights, especially sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights, are essential for sustainable development. It also reaffirmed to strive to provide young people with a nurturing environment for the full realisation of their rights and capabilities and to help member states to benefit the demographic dividend by investing in policies and programmes that ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and quality education.

However, after an exchange between the representatives of multiple regional blocs, including US, there was no consensus on the draft which was withdrawn by the Chair. Instead of a resolution, the session ended with a Chair’s summary.

We express our deep regrets on the lack of an outcome document for the 50th Session of CPD. The International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action (ICPD PoA) remains the most comprehensive negotiated action document on many aspects of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and reproductive rights (RR). At its 20-year review, all governments agreed that the agenda should be continued until it is fully achieved, yet many member states were disputing over references to SRH and RR. These non-negotiable population issues are inalienably people’s rights. And the Commission’s failure to reach agreement on these issues – which should be based solely on scientific evidence – casts a shadow on future success of intergovernmental negotiations. It was also disappointing to note that there were huge gaps between what member states were implementing at national level and what they were advocating for at UN; the country statements were far from the actual realities and programmes and development needs at grassroots level.

We hope subsequent CPD sessions uphold the ICPD PoA and further the agenda by protecting and fulfilling universal access to SRHR, including full range of SRH information and services, access to full range of safe, effective and affordable contraceptive services, safe and legal abortion services, comprehensive sexuality education and youth friendly health services for young people, and gender equality and empowerment of women and girls, SOGI, taking into account the lived realities of people and the emerging population and development priorities.

ARROW is deeply committed to continuing to work towards a just, equal, and equitable world together with member states, UN agencies, and civil society organisations.

ARROW’s response to the absence of an outcome document from the 50th Session of Commission on Population and Development (CPD). See ARROW’s oral statement during the event here.

Indonesia: gay men facing 100 lashes for having sex

The case could become the first time Aceh’s sharia law has been enforced against homosexuality.

Two gay Indonesian men have been arrested and face 100 lashes in a case that is drawing international attention to the enforcement of controversial new Islamic bylaws in the semi-autonomous Aceh province.

Mobile phone footage, showing vigilantes slapping one of the young men as he sits naked on the ground awaiting arrest by local sharia police, has been shared on social media in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country.

The sentence has already been meted out for crimes such as adultery, but it is believed this would be the first time Aceh’s new statutes concerning religion and morality could be enforced against homosexuality.

Aceh is the only region in Indonesia, a plural democracy, which allows local authorities to maintain parallel laws and police forces based on religious interpretations.

The province, sitting on the northern tip of Sumatra island and holding about 2% of Indonesia’s population of 250 million, was granted this special status in 2001 as a compromise with historical separatist movements.

The anti-gay law was passed in 2014 and Human Rights Watch says these new statutes and punishments violate human rights treaties to which Indonesia is a party, and has asked president Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to intervene.

“The agreement which granted Aceh the legitimate right to form its own local bylaws did not allow them to persecute people for their religion or sexuality,” said Andreas Harsono, a researcher with Human Rights Watch in Indonesia. “Across Indonesia today, we are seeing rising discrimination in the name of Islam, including against women and LGBT community”

In October, the moderate Jokowi spoke out against increased abuse directed at LGBT persons in Indonesia, and said police must act to defend them.

“However, Jokowi has not backed up that statement with action,” said a statement issued by Human Rights Watch on 9 April.

The two men, reportedly aged 20 and 24, were caught on 28 March by unknown men who forcibly entered a home. Local bylaws allow this kind of citizen’s arrest and the men are now being held by sharia police.

In the video, one of the men appears distressed and confused. “Brother, please, help me, help me. We are caught.” he says into a mobile phone.

Read the full article from the Guardian.