Statement by the Indonesian Delegation at the 21st Session of the Human Rights Council Agenda Item 3 (Environment)

September 17, 2012 Human Rights and Humanitarian Issues

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Statement by the Indonesian Delegation

at the 21st Session of the Human Rights Council

Agenda Item 3

Interactive Dialogue with Special Rapporteur on the Implications for Human Rights of the Environmentally Sound Management and Disposal of Hazardous Substances and Waste and the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery

Geneva, 13 September 2012


Madame President,

Indonesia welcomes the two reports presented here today by the Special Rapporteur on the Implications for Human Rights of the Environmentally Sound Management and Disposal of Hazardous Waste, Mr. Calin Georgescu, and the Special Rapporteur on the Contemporary Forms of Slavery, Ms. Gunara Shahinian, and thank them for their in-depth report.

On the issue of the hazardous impact of mercury, Indonesia has been active in the development of a legally-binding instrument on mercury and we hope that it shall be finalized in 2013, in line with the planned timeline.

Indonesia is of the view that the issue of extractive industries, particularly related to small-scale economies, is a multi-dimensional matter, which requires a holistic and integrated approach.

In Indonesia, artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) are very important to the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of people in rural areas.  Mindful of the hazard posed by mercury often used by such mining, the Government works through various channels to raise the awareness on the need to reduce the use of hazardous chemicals in the ASGM and, when possible, introduce an alternative livelihood.

The Government is also working on the development of a national strategy to govern methods or phases towards the control, storage and eventual abolition of mercury in Indonesia.  In cooperation with the Government of the United States, NGOs and private sectors, the Government has undertaken the Development of National and Regional Approaches to Environmentally Sound Management of Mercury in Southeast Asia.

Madam President,

It is of common knowledge that the mercury used in small-scale extractive industries is at times contained in the hazardous waste illegally obtained from abroad.

In this regard, Indonesia notes that the report of the Special Rapporteur has not sufficiently touched upon the impact of illegal movements of hazardous wastes from developed countries to the health of people in the developing countries.  The waste trade ban regime under the Basel Convention has received a landmark push forward with the historic decision of COP10 of the Basel Convention in 2011, promoted resolutely by Indonesia and Switzerland. We strongly believe that the entrance into force of the amendment of the Basel Convention, which fully bans the export of hazardous wastes from OECD countries to non-OECD countries, made possible by further ratifications to this amendment, would significantly reduce health threats in developing countries.

Madame President,

On the issue of contemporary forms of slavery, Indonesia shares the determination of the Special rapporteur as well as other delegations, in putting an end to the practice of modern day slavery. Servile marriage, the thematic issue taken up by the Special Rapporteur, reduces the spouse, mostly wives and children, to a commodity whose certain rights are stripped in entering such practice. Indonesia concurs with the Special Rapporteur that servile marriage should be approached comprehensively so to ensure the prevention of servile marriage and support the victims.

In Indonesia, article 28B of the 1945 Constitution guarantees the right of any person to form a family and to continue their family line through a legitimate marriage. Furthermore, the Government guarantees the right of all, particularly women, to wed and form a family according to his/her will and without any force.

Under article 2 (2) Law No. 1 of 1974 states that any marriage shall be registered according to current applicable law. This practice is aimed to provide legal certainty and guarantee of the implementation of rights and responsibilities of husband and wife in a family, including the guarantee of the rights of women and children in the family.

In addition, to provide protection of women’s rights in a marriage, Indonesia has enacted Presidential Instruction No. 1 of 1991 which outlines that (1): marriage is based on the agreement between bride and groom. Article 17 (2) further states that if the marriage does not obtain agreement from both sides, the marriage shall not proceed.

In order to ensure the protection of children’s rights pertaining to under-age marriage, the Indonesian child protection law states that children are those under the age of 18.

Madame President,

While our delegation shares the sentiment of all delegations with regard to the specific theme chosen by the SR today, we hope that in the next report, the Special Rapporteur could further deliberate on the issue of protection of migrant workers. We strongly believe that the migrant workers are particularly vulnerable to various forms of contemporary forms of slavery and therefore deserve full attention from the international community. We look forward to a comprehensive report on the developing issues pertaining to migrant workers and contemporary forms of slavery.

Thank you.