Racism and discrimination have no room in a pluralistic democratic state of Indonesia
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian delegation exercised its Right of Reply in response to Vanuatu's statement politicizing the Papua issue at a general debate of the 42nd UN Human Rights Council Session on September 17, 2019.

The right was exercised to respond to a statement made by the Vanuatu delegation on behalf of Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands, according to a written statement issued by the Indonesian Permanent Representative in Geneva and received by Antara here on Thursday.

In response to the human rights issue in Papua brought up by Vanuatu, the Indonesian delegation highlighted a favorable message from some leaders of the Pacific Islands countries on the recognition of Indonesia's sovereignty over Papua as stated in a Communiqué of the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) Summit in August 2019.

"Racism and discrimination have no room in a pluralistic democratic state of Indonesia. As one of the largest democracies in the world, Indonesia will continue to guarantee freedom of expression and public rally in a peaceful manner," the Indonesian delegation further reiterated at the meeting.

Moreover, the Government of Indonesia has taken requisite steps to handle cases of alleged racism and discrimination against Papuan students in Malang and Surabaya, including through law enforcement and reconciliatory approaches.

The government also deplored the alleged racist act and will continue to adopt measures to tackle the situation, including through education and effective public dissemination.

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Moreover, the Government of Indonesia has and will continue to take steps to safeguard the rights and freedom of all Indonesians, including those in Papua.

The government has facilitated the freedom of expression to be exercised peacefully. It was mirrored in the decision to end the temporary restriction on internet access as of September 4, 2019.

The Internet restrictions were applied on the basis of the legislation to strike a balance between freedom of expression and the public interest.

Speaking in connection with the planned visit of the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights, the Indonesian permanent representative in Geneva reiterated that during the earlier visit of UN High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein to Indonesia in February 2018, the Government of Indonesia had extended an open invitation to the commissioner to visit Papua to directly witness the extent of development in Papua along with all the challenges.

Owing to the tight schedule of Al Hussein, he delegated the planned visit to Papua to the Regional Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Bangkok.

The Government of Indonesia and representatives of OHCHR in Bangkok are in the midst of further coordination over the planned visit to Papua in line with the arrangement that was decided upon.

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Reporter: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
Copyright © ANTARA 2019