H.E. R.M. Marty M. Natalegawa
Permanent Representative of the Republic of Indonesia
to the United Nations
on Agenda Item 64 (b,c):
‘Promotion and Protection of Human Rights’
New York, 30 October 2008
This year marks a distinctive milestone in the promotion and protection of human rights, namely, the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Therefore, at the outset, we would like to start by paying tribute to the Declaration and its significant contributions to all humankind.
It has been the source of inspiration and a basis for subsequent progress at all levels in the field of human rights.
It has become a common standard of achievement for every nation in the realization of all human rights for all.
In our own national context, the Declaration, together with other major international human rights covenants and instruments, has served as the underlying principles in our efforts to strengthen of our democracy.
Therefore, Mr. Chairman, the anniversary should be optimized by the international community as a moment for reflection and for reaffirming our collective commitment to the fulfillment of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in a unifying spirit for international cooperation.
We need to reaffirm that all human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and inter-related, hence must be treated in a fair and equal manner, on the same footing, and with the same emphasis.
We need to reaffirm that everyone, regardless of his or her individual particularities, is entitled for the fulfillment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.
We need to reaffirm our commitment to pursue the path of genuine dialogue and cooperation in the promotion and protection of human rights. Real progress can only be achieved through engagement.
As one of the initial and on-going members of the Human Rights Council, Indonesia is pleased to note the significant progress achieved by the Council in a relatively short period of time.
The institution-building package which was adopted last year by the General Assembly is being put into practice.
The review of the Special Procedures has been taking place in a frank and productive manner, based on objective assessment on the merits and constructive contribution that each procedure can provide to the international community.
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) constitutes one of the most significant and promising innovations for the promotion and protection of human rights, not only in the context of the Council itself, but for the international community as a whole.
Through the UPR, for the first time, the human rights records for all States will be subject to regular reviews through a common mechanism.
As one of the countries firstly reviewed under the UPR, Indonesia is pleased that the outcome reflects the significant progress that Indonesia has achieved in the field of human rights and democracy. We are also heartened with the degree of constructive frankness during the UPR in discussing the challenges ahead, acknowledging that in any State, there are always rooms for improvement.
In short, Mr. Chairman, the Human Rights Council is yet to be fully operational in full accordance with its founding General Assembly resolution, but it is working in a progressive, determined, and promising manner.
We therefore believe it is timely for the Third Committee to pay a greater attention on the division of labour between the Third Committee and the Council.
The Third Committee needs to focus on policy-oriented discussion, to provide strategic policy recommendations to the General Assembly, which will guide the international community, including the Human Rights Council, in further enhancing the promotion and protection of all human rights.
In this context, country-based review is the purview of the Human Rights Council, through its established mechanisms.
Allow me to also take this opportunity to update the Third Committee on recent measures that Indonesia has taken in further enhancing the promotion and protection of human rights for all Indonesians.
We fully recognise our characteristic as a diverse and pluralistic nation, and are proud of our diversity. We have been fostering a vibrant environment for civil society, including those engaged in defending human rights. In the framework of our highly decentralized system of governance, we recognize that effective fulfillment of all human rights for all Indonesians requires an effective and integrated program, taking into account of different challenges in different regions.
Towards this direction, and for the purpose of effective implementation of our national human rights plan of action, it has become a national commitment to establish a network of effective human rights societies in 476 cities across the country. 436 of these societies are now fully operational, with their own local committees.
These human rights societies have also been instrumental in our effort to formulate and implement the national action plan.
We recognize, therefore, that building up the capacity of these local committees is imperative. This is a crucial area and challenges we are currently dealing with. Part of these challenges is to boost the capacity of the legal bureaus of the local governments to better guarantee the compliance of local regulations with the ratified human rights instruments.
Every element of our National Action Plan on Human Rights is designed to promote a culture of respect for human rights, both at public institutions and general public. We believe that such a culture will help foster social justice, prosperity and the welfare of all Indonesians.
National effort to achieve full-fledged democracy and fundamental freedoms in Indonesia continues to be strengthened. Among the most recent actions taken towards this direction is the enactment of the Freedom of Public Information Law on 4 April 2008 and the new Anti-Racial Discrimination Law on 27 October 2008. We have withdrawn our reservations on the Convention on the Rights of the Child. We are also strengthening our effort to ratify the Optional Protocol of the Convention against Torture by 2009.
At the regional level, Indonesia has been taking an instrumental role in the process to establish an ASEAN human rights body, as contained in article 14 of the ASEAN Charter. The ASEAN Charter has been ratified by all ASEAN States, and the ASEAN human rights body will be the first of its kind in the broader Asian region. We believe this is a positive step that needs to be strengthened further.
At the international level, we have been promoting a series of human rights dialogue with a number of countries. We continue to cooperate with the United Nations human rights special procedures, including to welcome their country visits on the basis of our own national needs and priorities.
To conclude, Indonesia’s commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights is unwavering. We are proud of what we have achieved so far, and will continue to step up our collective endeavours with the international community in the promotion and protection of all human rights for all.
It is in this spirit that Indonesia will be launching the Bali Democracy Forum this December. This is not an exclusive forum among democracies but an inclusive and open forum of Asia to share their experiences and best practices in fostering democracy.
I thank you.
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations, New York
325 East 38th Street, New York, NY, 10016, USA
Tel: 1.212.972.8333, Fax: 1.212.972.9780 - www.indonesiamission-ny.org