Nur Yasmin, Jakarta – Indonesia restated the progress it has made on human rights, especially in dealing with the security situation in Papua, during a meeting at the United Nations Office at Geneva on Wednesday.
Hasan Kleib, Indonesia's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, said the country had been implementing the National Action Plan on Human Rights since 1998.
He conceded that the country faced human rights challenges due to its large population and ethnic and religious diversity.
"Not only realizing the challenges, but the government, as mandated by the constitution, continues to overcome the challenges, including through cooperating with other countries and global institutions," the ambassador said, as quoted in a statement on Friday.
Kleib faced various questions on Twitter about limitations on freedom of speech in Papua, recent racial animosity toward Papuan people that led to unrest, and an independence referendum.
He said Indonesia's 1945 Constitution guaranteed Papuan people the right to assemble, voice their aspirations and call for a referendum.
The ambassador said the security forces managed to restore calm in Papua and West Papua through nonviolent means. He added that a referendum, approved by the UN General Assembly in Resolution No. 2504, had taken place in Papua in 1969, and that was final and binding.
Indonesian representatives approached the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva last week to clarify "distorted information" on the unrest in the country's two easternmost provinces.
National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian last week said Benny Wenda, chairman of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, planned to raise the issue of independence during a meeting of the UN General Assembly on Sept. 24. He had also requested the delegations of some countries to raise the issue.
Kleib said Indonesia had an innovative "human rights city" policy, which, as defined in guidelines published in 2018, is "a city where its government and inhabitants are morally and legally governed by the principles of human rights."
He was speaking during a debate held to select members of the UN Human Rights Council for 2020-2022. Indonesia is one of 16 countries vying for a seat. The UN General Assembly will announce the final decision in New York on Oct. 16.