Statement by Indonesian Delegation, Agenda Item 9: at the 13th Session of the HRC

March 23, 2010 Human Rights and Humanitarian Issues

Mr. President,

I would like to thank the panellists for their insightful presentations today. Indonesia aligns itself with the statement made by Pakistan on behalf of the OIC.

From the outset,  we would like to reiterate Indonesia’s staunch commitment to combating all forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance.

As a multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation, Indonesia fully supports and recognizes the supreme importance of the DDPA and the challenges facing its implementation.   As highlighted in both the report and by the panellists, there still remains a need for closer partnerships and international cooperation between government and human rights mechanisms, regional and national organizations to advance progress in combating all forms of discrimination in our societies.

Indonesia noted the report’s recommendation for member states to incorporate anti-discrimination issues into National Action Plans and domestic legislation.  To this end, we would like to highlight Indonesia’s enactment of the Anti- Discrimination Law in 2008 and our significant progress in combating all forms of racial and ethnic intolerance within our multi-cultural society.  This passing of this bill was just one example of the numerous measures taken to harmonize national legislation with human rights norms in line with the pillars of Indonesia’s National Action Plan.

On that note, Mr President, allow me to ask the Chair of the Working Group more about the implementation of the DDPA at a national level.  Given that member states often face their own country-specific challenges, how can the OHCHR and the Working Group effectively assist governments in formulating comprehensive and just legislation which criminalizes all acts of discrimination and racism in their countries?

Mr President,

I turn now to the Ad Hoc Committee on the elaboration of complementary standards and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

Whilst Indonesia fully supports the establishment and the raison d’etre of the Ad Hoc Committee, we also believe that it could play a more influential role in outlining clearly defined and acceptable boundaries governing the discussion and portrayal of religion and religious issues.

We condemn the negative stereotyping and so called “demonization” of any religion and denounce the defamation of religious figures and symbols.  Such behaviour is both abhorrent and unacceptable and can never be justified on the grounds of the right to freedom of expression. Indeed, freedom of expression is a fundamental human right but it also comes with responsibilities.

I would therefore like to ask the Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee about  effective ways in which to reconcile differing opinions relating to freedom of expression and religion. In addition, we would also like to know more about future strategies to enhance and raise greater awareness and respect for the sanctity of religion and the communities who exercise their human right to worship freely without judgement, mockery or insult.

Thank you.

Geneva, 23 March 2010