Indonesian caning of gay men strains Australian relationship, says Liberal MP


Kathmandu (Pahichan) May 25 – A Liberal MP says the “cruel and sickening” caning of two gay men in Aceh has cast a cloud over Australia’s relationship with Indonesia.

Australia should not stand by and ignore the inhumane treatment of the men who were caned 85 times under sharia law for having consensual sex, the gay backbencher Trent Zimmerman told parliament on Tuesday.

He was grateful the foreign affairs minister, Julie Bishop, had raised the matter with her Indonesian counterparts but called on others, including the Muslim community in Australia, to take a stand.

“Nothing should absolve the Indonesian government of its obligation to ensure all its citizens are afforded the basic human rights it has agreed to uphold through its international commitments.”

The crossbench senator Derryn Hinch has called for Australia to suspend its foreign aid to Indonesia over the matter.

“I believe Australian aid should be suspended to show our disapproval and disgust,” Hinch said. “I’m disappointed by our government’s silence on this cruelty.”

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