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Dede Oetomo
Gay activist Moves to the next Step of Selection

in INDONESIA, 18/04/2012

Gay activist Dede Oetomo has made it to the latest screening phase for members of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM)

Meanwhile, transgender campaigner Yulianus Rettoblaut failed in her second attempt to lead the national rights body.

Selection committee chairman Jimly Asshiddiqie said Friday the committee had received a "strong reaction" from some members of the public regarding the candidacy of both Dede and Yulianus, known as "Mami Yuli."

"Nonetheless, Dede's qualification enabled him to move on to the next stage,"Jimly told the Jakarta Post.

The committee announced on Friday 60 candidates short-listed from the previous 120 candidates to become human rights commissioners. The contenders will undergo further screening processes including psychological tests, interviews and a public dialogue before a final list is submitted to legislature for final approval.

Jimly explained that Dede made it through the next round after the committee screened candidates through an examination of their resumes, health tests, essay writing and a personality test.

"The public's disapproval (of Dede and Yuli) reflects that society is not yet prepared to accept (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT) people. However, the committee must remain unbiased…For political considerations, just leave it to the lawmakers," said JImly, the former Constitutional Court chief.

Dede, founder of human rights group GAYa Nusantara, said he was "very happy' for his success so far, but added he expected "concemdnation" of his candidacy was because "many people still underestimate the LGBT people."

"However, I am ready to promote human rights for all people) with the other commissioners once elected," he said in a text message to the Post.

Separately, Yuli, chairperson of Indonesia Transgender Foum, said that she was "proud" of reaching the third pause of the selection, saying it was already "progress for this country's human rights concerns." "I will support Pak Dede from now on," she said.

The other candidates include activist and land issue researcher Sandra Maniaga, human rights figure I. Sandyawan Sumardi, and former law and human rights director general Hafid Abbas.

Out of the six commissioners who initially applied, there of them made it to the fourth stage, they are Johnny Nelson Simajuntak, Nur Kholis, and Yoseph Adi Psasetyo.

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