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Indonesia slams UN rights commission over planned West Papua visit

CNN Indonesia - June 19, 2018

Natalia Santi, Jakarta – Indonesia's permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Hasan Kleib, has slammed the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (KT HAM) for arranging his own schedule for a visit to Papua without coordinating with the Indonesian government, and then declaring that he has not been given access.

Kleib made the statement in response to a reference about Indonesian by UN High Commissioner Zeid Raad Al-Hussein during his opening statements at a meeting of the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva on Monday June 18.

In his statement, Hussein said that Indonesia's invitation to visit Papua, which was conveyed when he visited Indonesia in last February, had yet to be fulfilled.

In his response to Hussein's remarks at the UN headquarters in Geneva on Tuesday June 19, Kleib confirmed that Indonesia had privately invited Hussein as the UN High Commissioner to visit the provinces of Papua and West Papua.

The invitation for the visit was intended so that Hussein could obtain first hand information about human rights improvements along with various other challenges that exist in Papua.

"In responding to the invitation, the High Commissioner informed us that he would be represented by the UN High Commission for Human Rights Regional Representative Office in Bangkok", said Kleib, who is also Indonesia's former permanent representative to the UN in New York.

According to Kleib however, in following up on the invitation, the KT HAM staff in Bangkok failed to coordinate their planned visit with the authorised parties in Indonesia. This asserted Kleib, was highly regrettable.

"It was most regrettable however, that in their follow up [to the invitation], regional office staff members in Bangkok, instead of coordinating the planned visit with the authorised parties in Indonesia, unilaterally set the date and place for the visit to Papua and West Papua, and then demanded immediate access", explained the former director general of foreign affairs.

Not only did they arrange the visit unilaterally, the KT HAM staff issued information as if a schedule had already been agreed upon, even though they had not yet been granted access by the Indonesian government.

"Disgraceful behaviour such as this not only prevents the government from coordinating with relevant stakeholders, particularly local governments, but also obstructs effective coordination between the government and the representative office in Bangkok", said Kleib.

During the one-and-a-half minute speech, Kleib insisted that the Indonesian government has always honored invitations that it has made and is still committed to inviting Hussein and KT HAM office staff to visit Papua and West Papua.

"But, at the same time, we hope that the High Commissioner can confirm that his staff at the regional office in Bangkok will respect and tightly comply with UN working methods which have already been set out, and respect the principles in relation to agreements with host [country] governments the future", said Kleib, who asserted that the government's invitation to the office of the UN High Commission for Human Rights to visit Papua and West Papua is still open. (nat)

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was Kecam Sikap Staf KT HAM, RI Tetap Undang PBB ke Papua.]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/internasional/20180619191221-134-307313/kecam-sikap-staf-kt-ham-ri-tetap-undang-pbb-ke-papua.

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