A city in Indonesia is launching a task force to monitor its LGBT community.
Depok has dispatched 200 people, among them social workers, police officers, and religious leaders, in order to "anticipate the spread of LGBT" among youth. There are nearly 2 million people in Depok, which is located south of Indonesia's capital city of Jakarta.
The city's deputy mayor, Muhammad Idris, announced the formation of the task force Monday. "We have created an integrated team to handle LGBT, we will collaborate with police and mass organizations to coach LGBT,” said Idris, according to Kompas.
Homosexuality is not illegal in most of Indonesia. However, in recent months, the country has been escalating crackdowns against its LGBT citizens using other justifications, including its antipornography law. Over 50 people arrested last October at a Jakarta sauna popular with gay men were charged with violating this law.
Idris stressed that the new task force was created on religious, as opposed to legal, grounds. (Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim nation, and has the world's largest population of Muslims.)
“Religion has agreed that LGBT acts are forbidden, so legally we will overcome this problem so that it will not spread,” he said.
Depok is not the only Indonesian city to institute such a task force. The province of West Java launched a similar team last May.
Activists fear these task forces are the result of growing anti-LGBT sentiment in the Southeast Asian nation, whose parliament is considering outlawing homosexuality as well as extramarital sex.
Such proposed amendments to its criminal code "betray strains of intolerance seemingly alien to Indonesian culture that have made inroads here," said Zeid bin Ra'ad Zeid al-Hussein, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, according to The Telegraph.
"The hateful rhetoric against the LGBT community that is being cultivated seemingly for cynical political purposes will only deepen their suffering and create unnecessary divisions," he said.