30 September 2010

Free Women condemn attack by Islamic Defenders Front against Q! Film Festival

Perempuan Mahardhika (Free Women) National Network Statement - September 28, 2010

The attacks by the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) against the two-week International Q! Film Festival which opened in Jakarta on September 24 is a violation of basic human rights and threatens democracy in Indonesia.

Since the process of reformasi or political reform that began in 1998, the upholding of democracy in Indonesia has continued to be pushed back. The right to organise, freedom of expression and opinion and the freedom of worship are increasingly coming under threat from reactionary civilian militia groups acting in the name of "eradicating immorality".

Restrictions on the freedom of sexual orientation in society through the construction of the normalisation of heterosexuality have explicitly emasculated the rights of the lesbian, homosexual, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, which are a part of society whose rights must be acknowledged.

Repression by the reactionary civilian militia, and particularly that carried out by the FPI against the Q! Film Festival in Jakarta represents a serious threat to democracy in Indonesia. The Indonesian government under President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vice President Boediono has failed to safeguard the democratic process in Indonesia. To this day, there has not been a single government policy declaring its support for the LGBT community, and through its inaction the government has given its approval to the repressive actions carried out by the FPI against LGBT people. The government's disregard of the violent acts by the FPI implicitly legitimises the reactionary civilian militia to continue to tarnish Indonesia's democracy.

The statement by Information and Communication Minister Tifatul Sembiring from the Islamic-based Justice and Prosperity Party (PKS) following the attacks against the Q! Film Festival, in which he refusing to support the festival and explicitly stating that it is an artistic and cultural event that is not in line with Islamic principles and social ethics was a cowardly act that has contributed to the widespread violence committed by the reactionary civilian militia.

Because of this therefore, we condemn in the strongest possible terms all forms of violence committed by the government and the reactionary civilian militia that threaten the LGBT community and state the following:

1. We condemn the repressive acts committed by the FPI against the Q! Film Festival;

2. We condemn the government (Yudhoyono and the political elite) for failing to provide protection to LGBT people and allowing the FPI's violent acts to continue;

3. The statement by the Communications and Information Minister is that of a cowardly government discharging its responsibility for upholding democracy in Indonesia;

4. We call on the democratic movement to join together to fight all threats against Indonesia's democracy;

5. We call on the women's movement and individual women to unite as a force and fight all forms of discrimination;

6. We demand an acknowledgement of LGBT people's rights.

Women leave the home
Build a women's organisation and movement
Fight patriarchy and capitalism for equality and prosperity

Perempuan Mahardhika (Free Women) National Committee
Jakarta, September 28, 2010


Dian Novita 




With this letter, we the Q-Munity Foundation for Equality in Indonesia as the organizers of the Q! Film Festival along with various organizations and cultural centers, are stating our position and that we are continuing the events of the Q! Film Festival until the end with support from: Goethe-Institut, Centre Culturel Francais, Erasmus Huis, Jakarta Arts Council (Kineforum), Japan Foundation, KONTRAS, Arus Pelangi, Gaya Nusantara, Komnas HAM, Komnas Perempuan, Jurnal Perempuan, Kartini Asia Network, Perempuan Mahardika, Institut Ungu, Ardhanary Institute, Institut Pelangi Perempuan, GWL - INA, Institute for Defense Security and Peace Studies (IDSPS), Ratna Sarumpaet Crisis Center, Human Rights Watch New York, and Berlin Film Festival.

1. That Q! Film Festival is an arts festival that presents information and works of art from all over the world on the subject of human diversity.

2. That this festival is part of our offering to the public to increase awareness on Human Rights, specifically from the perspective of gender and sexuality within human identity.

3. That this festival is held by volunteers of various ages, economic backgrounds, religions, sexual identities and is built on the awareness to preserve tolerance between various types of people.

4. That this festival is a real effort to raise public awareness on the subject of health through free of charge health facilities.

5. That this festival serves as a forum for discussion and the exchange of cultural ideas for anyone interested in themes and ideas behind the festival.

6. That if there are parties who disagree with the ideas behind the festival, we urge them to state their opinions through a discussion forum or by holding a forum like a festival or something similar that allows for the exchange of ideas without fear of coercion.

Q! Film Festival that has been held for the past 9 years has achieved recognition from international festivals and has become part of the "Teddy On Tour" program of the Berlin Film Festival which is considered one of the largest and most respected festivals in the world. Q! Film Festival has also been chosen as "24 examples of great initiatives from all around the world focusing on LGBT human rights at local, national, regional/international level" from Danish Institute of Human Rights (DIHR).


Q-Munity Foundation for Equality in Indonesia

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