Statement by Ambassador Sung Kim on the Visit to Indonesia of Special Envoy to Advance the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI+) Persons Jessica Stern
One of the reasons the United States and Indonesia have such a strong relationship is that we both uphold values such as democracy, human rights, diversity, and tolerance. Those values should apply to every member of society, including LGBTQI+ persons.
In every country, dialogue about human rights is crucial. Dialogue, after all, is fundamental to democracy. Advanced democracies oppose hatred, intolerance, and violence against any group of people, and encourage dialogue that reflects the broad diversity of their societies.
While we look forward to continuing our dialogue with religious leaders, government officials, and members of the public on the important topic of ensuring respect for the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons, after discussions with our counterparts in the Indonesian government, we have decided to cancel Special Envoy Stern’s visit to Indonesia. Knowing that around the world LGBTQI+ persons experience disproportionate levels of violence and discrimination, it is important to continue the dialogue and ensure mutual respect for one another, rather than pretending that the issues do not exist. Countries like Indonesia and the U.S. can learn from one another about how to counter hatred and ensure more prosperous, inclusive societies for all.