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Statement by

H.E. Mr. Hasan Kleib

Charge d’Affaires a.i.

Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia

to the United Nations

 

Agenda Item 66:

Indigenous Issues

 

New York, 19 October 2009

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

Let me begin by emphasizing that Indonesia attaches great importance to the United Nations deliberations on indigenous issues at the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council, as well as the work of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Special Rapporteur, and the expert mechanism.

 

We continue to value the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.

 

We share the observation of the Special Rapporteur, as contained in his report (document A/64/338), that rather than creating a new set of special rights, the Declaration provides a contextualized elaboration of general human rights principles and rights as they relate to the specific historical, cultural and social circumstances.

 

As we also stated during the adoption of the Declaration by the General Assembly, the Declaration needs to be understood in a holistic manner and in relation to existing international law, in order to ensure its correct interpretation and effective adherence.

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

Indonesia is a country of more than 400 ethnic groups. We cherish our diversity, and value it as a source of strength, a source of inspiration, and a source of knowledge. Our diversity does not segregate us into little silos. On the contrary, it unites us more than ever, even in times of crises. As stipulated in “Pancasila”, the five principles that lay the foundation for our country, we embrace diversity because we understand, first-hand, how diversity enriches our culture, and guides us towards a just and civilized humanity.

 

Since the end of the last decade, Indonesia has engaged in a historic choice to transform itself into a democratic nation. We, regardless of our backgrounds, are committed to the promotion and protection of human rights. There is no single ounce of doubt.

 

We continue to decentralize our political system, enabling local governments and local communities at the grass-roots level to participate in the overall system of governance.  This new political development strategy has yielded tangible results. It has empowered regions and all ethnic groups to address their unique needs and socio-economic challenges.  Their share in the development gains have significantly increased.

 

We also continue to strengthen our human rights mechanism, including through the cooperation between our independent Human Rights Commission and civil society organizations, as also reflected in the aforementioned report of the Special Rapporteur as one of the examples of good practices.

 

We are heartened that the positive and concrete outcomes of our democratization and decentralization policies have been acknowledged by many, including development partners, civil society organizations and the international mass media. It has been said, among others, that our current integrity as a country is a tribute to such policies.

 

But, we are not complacent and our efforts do not stop there.

 

Indonesia will continue to promote and protect the livelihood, cultural heritage, and traditional way of life of all ethnic groups within our territory, as they constitute our identity as a nation.

 

We will continue to contribute to the United Nations work on indigenous issues, including within the framework of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Through close partnership with member States, we are confident that the Forum will continue to bridge the real needs of the real groups of the indigenous peoples and to advance the indigenous issues in the international agenda, while continuing to uphold its solemn responsibility in safeguarding the trust of Member States.

 

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations, New York
325 East 38th Street, New York, NY, 10016, USA
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