Foreign Minister Urges UN Human Rights Council to Unite in Strengthening Human Rights on the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi stated that the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights must be a momentum to strengthen the commitment to upholding human rights during the 52nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland on February 27, 2023. 

The session coincided with the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

“(The Council) must not allow attention to the world’s human rights conditions to be divided,” said the Foreign Minister in a press release published by the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

Although the Declaration continues to inspire transformation towards a more just, equal, and inclusive world, Retno said that close cooperation is needed to realize this.

"The question now is what will we do? Will we be silent and indifferent? Or...are we going to work hard together...and do better?" Retno added.

To that end, the Foreign Minister suggested three things that need to be the focus of cooperation to strengthen human rights.

First, taking real action for humanity.

Wars and conflicts must be ended because they only make humanity suffer. 

Therefore, peaceful solutions must be promoted, including in Palestine, Afghanistan, Myanmar, and Ukraine. 

"We must not turn a blind eye to the suffering of our brothers and sisters in Palestine. The incident in Huwara shows that the human rights and humanitarian situation in Palestine is getting worse," Retno said. 

Retno also said that the rights of women and girls should not be ignored, including in Afghanistan. Regarding Myanmar, as Chair of ASEAN, Indonesia will continue to communicate with all relevant parties to encourage an inclusive national dialogue. 

Second, increasing efforts to prevent human rights violations.

The Foreign Minister said that strengthening the prevention aspect will contribute to stronger protection for human rights. 

Therefore, the state has the responsibility to ensure affirmative policies, equal access to opportunities and resources, and mechanisms for victims to seek justice. In this regard, the Human Rights Council can contribute through national capacity building and capacity building facilitation. 

The Minister also underlined the importance of acknowledging past mistakes and human rights violations to prevent repeating them in the future. Indonesia is committed to rehabilitating victims, without setting aside legal settlements.  

"This year President Joko Widodo has acknowledged and regretted 12 incidents of past human rights violations," said the Foreign Minister.

The Foreign Minister also emphasized that the courage to acknowledge is crucial for better respect for human rights. And Indonesia has that courage. 

Third, strengthening human rights architecture.

The UN Human Rights Council must adapt to the latest human rights challenges and continue to improve itself.

"Impartiality, transparency, and dialogue must be the main spirit of the Human Rights Council. We must continue to protect the Human Rights Council from politicization and its use as a tool for geopolitical rivalry," the Foreign Minister said.

Recriminations and double standards will not lead to solutions. For this reason, the unity of the Human Rights Council must be promoted, instead of an us vs them mentality.

In the region, Indonesia continues to strengthen human rights mechanisms. As ASEAN Chair, Indonesia will strengthen the mandate of the ASEAN Human Rights Commission, and the ASEAN Commission for the Protection of Women and Children, and institutionalize regional human rights dialogue. 

Indonesia’s Candidature food the Human Rights Council

Reaffirming Indonesia's commitment to upholding human rights, the Indonesian Foreign Minister conveyed Indonesia's candidature as a Member of the UN Human Rights Council for the period 2024-2026 with the theme "Inclusive Partnership for Humanity." The Foreign Minister asked for support from countries for Indonesia's candidature.

During the visit to Geneva, the Minister also held bilateral meetings with several countries/parties, namely Norway, Belgium, Switzerland, Palestine, Finland, France, Maldives, Iran, and the High Commissioner for Human Rights. 

In addition to discussing the issue of Indonesia's candidature as a member of the Human Rights Council, the bilateral meetings also discussed trade and investment issues, Indonesia's chairmanship of ASEAN, a follow-up to the G20 agreement, as well as issues of common concern such as Myanmar, Afghanistan, and Palestine.

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