September 14, 2011

Intervention by the Indonesian Delegation At the 18th Session of the Human Rights Council : Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery and dumping toxic

Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences and the “Special Rapporteur on the adverse effects of movement and dumping of toxic and Dangerous Products and wastes on the enjoyment of human rights”


Madame President,

My delegation thanks the Special Rapporteur for her report focusing on child labour in the artisanal mining and quarrying sectors. The report once again reminds us all of the continuing challenges of child labour globally and how they affect our children and future generations in general.

We are particularly concerned to learn from the report that the combined elements of coercion, fear, restrictions on freedom of movement, and complete dependence on the employer exhibit characteristics which amount to contemporary forms of slavery. This should be a wake-up call for us to make extra efforts to combat child slavery.


Madame President,

Indonesia’s approach to combating child labour is a comprehensive one, which combines both the human rights and labour perspectives. The 1945 Indonesian Constitution and relevant legislation guarantee the protection of all Indonesian children from economic exploitation and any worst forms of child labour that can disrupt their education and endanger their physical and moral well-being.

As a party to the CRC and ILO Convention 182, Indonesia has a number of legislative and institutional mechanisms to combat the worst forms of child labour. Various cooperative measures with donor countries and international organizations, in particular the ILO, have been carried out involving relevant Government and non-government stakeholders throughout the country. These include the conduct of a number of studies on what type of work constitutes the worst forms of child labour in Indonesia, which will be beneficial for concerned government authorities and other stakeholders in order to identify appropriate measures to combat child labour in their respective areas.

The Nine-year Compulsory Education Programme is also instrumental in combating child labour. Its rights-based approach has enabled more children to continue their education and its social protection framework eases the financial burden on parents, thereby facilitating their decision to send their children to school and release them from work.

Indonesia has adopted the National Action Plan for Eliminating the Worst Forms of Child Labour, which enables the relevant ministries to provide technical guidance, conduct workshops and seminars, and plan future research in various Indonesian provinces and regencies/municipalities. In close collaboration with the Indonesian Association of Employers (APINDO), the Indonesian government has disseminated the National Action Plan in 11 provinces.


Madame President,

My delegation wishes to refer to paragraph 58 and footnote number 20 of the report, in which Indonesia is mentioned as one of several countries with cases of mercury exposure among children who work in artisanal gold mines. After carefully studying the reference documents, it is our strong conviction that the cases of mercury exposure were not in fact to be found among children but rather among general mineworkers. In this regard, I would appreciate further clarifications from the Special Rapporteur.

Moving on to the “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the adverse effects of the movement and dumping of toxic and dangerous products and wastes on the enjoyment of human rights” as contained in document A/HRC/18/31, my delegation welcomes the reportand congratulate the SR on the completion of the report.

Indonesia is of the same view with the SR that the time is ripe to give to the impact that the improper management and disposal of medical waste continue to have on the enjoyment of human rights the attention that it deserves. Indonesia also calls on all relevant stakeholders to strengthen their efforts to achieve safe and sustainable management of medical waste.

In this regard, Indonesia as the President of the COP-9 Basel Convention, together with Switzerland, has organized a country-led initiative to discuss, in an informal, dynamic and flexible manner, the variety of views held on a possible way forward to ensure that the transboundary movements of hazardous wastes, especially to developing countries and countries with economies in transition, constituted environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes as required by the Basel Convention.

Based on the work of the country-led initiative, Indonesia would like to highlight the following points for the Council consideration:

  • Firstly, harm to human health and the environment is still being caused throughout the world by inadequate waste management procedures. The international community needs to develop standards and guidelines for environmentally sound management. The Parties to the Basel Convention have undertaken some work on developing a technical guideline on medical waste. Indonesia believes it would be useful if countries use the Basel Convention “Technical Guidelines on the Environmentally Sound Management of Biomedical and Healthcare Wastes” as a starting point.
  • Secondly, many of the the recommendations of the SR’s report ultimately involve initiatives that are best taken at the regional and sub-regional levels. The Basel Convention Regional Centres and the Stockholm Convention Regional Centres are ideally placed to take them forward. These centres play an important role in training, technical assistance and awareness raising and that this role should be strengthened. For this reason, we would like to invite the Council to recognize this, to enhance and support the work of the centres.
  • Thirdly, in many parts of the world there would be severe difficulties in finding the resources necessary to support a drive towards the improved environmentally sound waste management as envisaged in the SR’s report. Thus, capacity building will need to be a priority in any such initiative implementing the draft decision. In this context it is important to recognize that the resources that would be needed include not just financial resources but also expertise, knowledge and technology transfer.

My delegation considers that issues that have been incorporated in the report is very limited. It should be noted that medical wastes only constitute a small portion of hazardous wastes which poses risk to human health and the environment. Therefore Indonesia would urge the HRC to also pay attention to other type of hazardous wastes.

Thank you.

Geneva, 14 September 2011

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