22 Jun 2018

Jakarta reprimands UN human rights office over Papua

5:49 am on 22 June 2018

Indonesia has criticised the office of the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights over plans for a visit to Papua.

This follows comments made by the Commissioner, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, at the latest meeting of the Human Rights Council.

Delegates speaks prior to the opening of a session of the Human Rights Council on the Palestinian territories situation on March 23, 2015 in Geneva.

A meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. Photo: AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI

Mr Al Hussein said he was concerned that an Indonesian government invitation to visit Papua, extended when he was in Jakarta in February, had not yet been honoured.

In response, Indonesia's permanent representative at the UN, Hasan Kleib, has reprimanded the Commissioner's office for being obstructive, and demanding immediate access to Papua.

He said the Commissioner informed Indonesia that he would be represented for the visit by his organisation's regional office in Bangkok.

But Mr Kleib said it's "deeply regrettable" that instead of coordinating the planned visit with the Indonesian authorities, the Bangkok office unilaterally set dates and areas to visit in Papua and West Papua provinces.

Jayapura, Papua

Jayapura, Papua Photo: Supplied

According to him, Indonesia always honours its invitations.

He said the Commissioner's office had misleadingly acted as if there was an already mutually agreed visit schedule and that Indonesia's government had not yet given them the access.

"Such deplorable conducts have not only restricted the Government from having ample time to coordinate with relevant stakeholders, particularly the local governments, but also obstructed the effective coordination between the Government and the Regional Office in Bangkok," Mr Kleib said.

"My Government has indeed invited him personally to visit the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua to have a first-hand information on the ongoing improvements of human rights as well as the existing challenges."

JAKARTA, INDONESIA - OCTOBER 21, 2014: Aerial view of Istiqlal Mosque. It is the largest mosque in Southeast Asia.

JAKARTA, INDONESIA - OCTOBER 21, 2014: Aerial view of Istiqlal Mosque. It is the largest mosque in Southeast Asia. Photo: Copyright: saiko3p / 123RF Stock Photo

The Indonesian official reassured the High Commissioner that Jakarta remained committed to extending its standing invitation for him or his office to visit Papua region.

"But, at the same time, we wish to request the High Commissioner to ensure that his staffs at Regional Office in Bangkok will honour and strictly abide by the established working method of the UN, and respect the principles of consent of the host Government in its future engagement."

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