In January, police in Aceh Province raided five beauty salons – a common workplace for transgender women in Indonesia – and arrested 12 people they assumed to be transgender women.

What the 12 people – 9 transgender women and 3 male beauty clients – were put through next was harrowing.

They were publicly humiliated. They were forced to squat-walk to a nearby park where they were subjected to “punishments” for two hours in front of a gathering crowd.

Their hair was cut off – apparently to make them “manlier”. Orders were shouted at them, and they were slapped, kicked, made to roll on the ground and forced to remove most of their clothes. When one of the women refused an order, a warning shot was fired. They spent the night cold and wet on the police station floor.

All this is happening against a backdrop of growing anti LGBTQI sentiment in Aceh.

The next day, the police invited a religious cleric to give a sermon. He announced that it is fine “to kill transgender or other LGBTQI people”.

Before being released, all 12 individuals were made to sign an “agreement not to act like women” and not to complain about any police misconduct.

All of them remain deeply traumatised, with some of the women having lost their jobs and others being forced to flee because they fear for their safety.

Call on the Indonesian authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice and provide full repatriation and protection to the victims and their families.

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Head of National Police
General Pol. H.M. Tito Karnavian

The Head of National Police Commission
Mr. Wiranto

Cc Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission
Mr. Ahmad Taufan Damanik

Dear General/Minister.

The North Ache Police Forces raids on five beauty salons on 27 January, arresting 12 people believed to be transgender women, has left all the victims deeply traumatised and in fear of their safety.

Before being released without charge they were publicly humiliated, physically abused and threatened – which Amnesty believes amounts to torture.

Please ensure that an independent, impartial and efficient investigation is carried out,  in addition to the internal one the police have committed to, and that the report is made public and that perpetrators are brought to justice.

Please also ensure full reparations to all victims, as well as effective protection to them and their family members from threats to their lives and safety, both from members of the local police and local people.

Indonesia must respect its international human rights obligations and prevent, investigate and eliminate transphobia, gender based violence and criminalisation of individuals due to their gender expression, identity or sexual orientation.

Yours sincerely

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