UN vote was procedural, not opposed to Responsibility to Protect: Indonesia

Indonesia’s UN vote against a measure on ethnic cleansing and similar war crimes was purely procedural, and does not signal opposition to the project itself, Indonesian officials said Thursday.

Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry said that what Indonesia rejected at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday was not the substantive content of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) concept.

The vote was on a “procedural resolution in which Croatia proposed R2P to be discussed in a separate agenda item,” said Febrian A. Ruddyard, chief of multilateral cooperation at Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry.

“It is more about determining whether this agenda will be used as a fixed agenda or still have to be voted on every year as usual,” he explained. “Indonesia’s current voting position should not be misinterpreted as opposed to R2P.”

R2P is a global political commitment endorsed in 2005 by all UN member states – including Indonesia – to help prevent genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity.

Ruddyard said R2P does not need to be taken up every year, because since 2009 there has been a forum for dozens of debates and reports of the UN secretary-general.

Indonesia and 14 other countries on Tuesday voted against the resolution in question, while 115 countries in favor and 28 countries abstained.

With most countries favoring the resolution, the R2P concept will be included in the UN General Assembly’s annual agenda, with the secretary-general also asked to report on the topic every year.

But Usman Hamid, Amnesty International’s Indonesia director, criticized the country’s vote against the resolution.

He said the vote was related to a resolution on the responsibility to protect victims of crimes against humanity, especially in Palestine, Myanmar, and Syria.

“This attitude shows Indonesia’s lack of commitment in advancing and protecting human rights in the world,” he told Anadolu Agency on Thursday.

Source: Anadolu Agency