STATEMENT BY DR. N. HASSAN WIRAJUDA MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS REPUBLIC OF
INDONESIA AT THE 59TH SESSION OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
New York, 27 September 2004
I am pleased to congratulate you on your election as President of the 59th UN
General Assembly. May I also pay tribute to your predecessor, H.E. Mr. Julian
Robert Hunte of St. Lucia, for ably presiding over our deliberations during the
previous General Assembly.
Even as I speak, a magnificent transformation is being completed on
the other side of the globe-in my country. Many of us in Indonesia waited all
our lives to witness this historic event: our people finally rising to take
their destiny into their own hands.
Exactly a week ago, some 125 million men and women trooped to the polling
stations and chose the President and Vice President who would govern in the
name of 230 million Indonesians. This was the third national political
exercise that we had to carry out-not just once but three times-in a period of
six months, the previous two being the parliamentary election and the first
round of the presidential election. All of them were peaceful, fair and
Each of them was an enormous operation covering some 6,000 islands in an
archipelago with an expanse as wide as Europe, involving millions of election
workers attending to some 575,000 polling stations.
As we coped with the massive logistical requirements of this
undertaking, we were extended support and assistance by the United Nations and
friendly countries. We are grateful for this.
It will be some time before the official results of the vote are
in. But whoever will emerge as the new national leaders of Indonesia will have
a clear and strong mandate from the people-not from the elite, not from the
party bosses, nor from power brokers and vested interests-but from the people.
This is the climax of a transition from authoritarian rule to a
full-fledged democracy, a process that began six years ago in the crucible of
the Asian crisis, which devastated our economy and mangled our sociopolitical
system. We have thus become the full-fledged democracy that the Founding
Fathers of our Republic have long ago envisioned.
This need for political reform is also felt by other nations. The
Emir of Qatar, as Chairman of the G-77 told this Assembly last week, "Political
reform and the people's participation in decision-making are no longer an
option but a necessity."
Hence, we are proud of this democracy of ours. It is the
fulfillment of a universal human aspiration, and yet it is unique to us. It
sprang from our native soil, a true child of our culture. It was not imposed
from outside, at gunpoint.
And it put to rest the debate on whether Islam and democracy can ever mix.
As the country with the largest Muslim population, Indonesia has proven that
Islam can be a bastion of democracy and social justice. Indeed, our deep sense
of spirituality inspired our people to resoundingly reject money politics,
corruption, terrorism and all forms of extremism. It was also our beacon
And reform has worked for us. Although the Asian crisis instantly doubled the
number of Indonesians living below the poverty line, we have since been able to
reduce the poverty rate to its pre-crisis level. We did this by shifting from
a government-driven poverty-reduction strategy to one of community empowerment.
The effort required a funding of more than US$1 billion, making it one of the
largest such programmes in the world.
Through fiscal controls that dramatically lowered inflation, we
stabilized prices of essential goods. Through social safety net programmes, we
helped the poor weather the crisis. By doing this, we denied the terrorists
what could have been a dangerous mass base.
Since then, consumer confidence has led our economic growth. With political
fears allayed and investor confidence boosted, we look forward to growth of 4.8
percent this year, 5.5 percent next year. We can now wage a stronger battle
Consolidating our efforts to promote the rule of law, greater respect for human
rights and effective regional autonomy as the main pillars of our reform, we
are confident that we can overcome threats to our national unity and
security-including communal violence, separatism and terrorism.
We continue to strengthen our relations with all our neighbours. We have made
a fresh start with Timor Leste and we are building a strong relationship. We
look forward to a future of bilateral peace, friendship and cooperation.
This does not mean that we have solved all our problems. We still have to make
democracy work for us some more and to keep it working. This is what 230
million Indonesians devoutly wish, and they deserve no less than this.
Moreover, no democracy is safe without assurance of a democratic environment at
the global level. That environment cannot be created by unilateral action, no
matter how mighty and well intended.
At the global level, democracy can be promoted only by democratic means-through
multilateral institutions like the United Nations. If, as its detractors say,
the UN is not an effective tool of collective security and development, this is
only because it has been denied the support that it deserves from its strongest
and most influential members.
But we need the UN to give legitimacy to the necessary use of force in the
cause of collective security. And even the wealthiest nations in the world
cannot bear all the cost of global security. The privilege and the burden of
decision-making must be shared by all.
Hence, we must empower the UN to serve as the effective tool of multilateralism
that it has always been meant to be. We must reform the United Nations
comprehensively, including the Security Council by making it more democratic in
terms of procedure and representation in order to reflect today's geopolitical
In this regard, it may be recalled that Australia last year proposed the
inclusion of Indonesia as a permanent member on the Council. We appreciate
Australia's position. It has greatly encouraged us.
As the world's third largest pluralistic democracy, the fourth most populous
country, the world's largest Muslim nation, a country of tremendous cultural
diversity and a member with a track record of serving in various peace
initiatives of the UN, Indonesia has an important global constituency on the
Indonesia has served in more than 30 peacekeeping missions,
starting with the very first-in the Middle East in 1957. Today, Indonesian
soldiers and military observers are deployed in peacekeeping missions in Congo,
Sierra Leone, Liberia and Georgia.
As a founding member and active player of the Non-aligned Movement,
G-77, G-15, D-8, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, our commitment
to the promotion of international peace and understanding is self-evident.
Indonesia has made key contributions to the peaceful resolution of conflicts in
its region-notably in Cambodia and southern Philippines. It continues to
actively build peace and stability in the region.
A developing world striving not only for social and economic progress but also
for democratization must have a voice on the Security Council. Moderate Islam
must have a voice on the Council. Indonesia would be that voice.
That voice will insist as we now insist that the fight against terrorism, like
the related fight against poverty, can be won. This is not to deny that
terrorists are still capable of wreaking havoc on our societies. Just two
weeks ago, they struck again in the heart of Jakarta, killing nine innocent
civilians and wounding 150 others.
We in Indonesia condemn this act of inhuman savagery, mourn the loss of
innocent lives, and share the pain and anger of the wounded and the bereaved
families. But we are by no means intimidated. We will bring the perpetrators
to justice as we have always done after every terrorist attack.
And our faith remains firm that the fight against terror can be won. The world
can be made immensely safer. But the global coalition to defeat terrorism must
be inclusive. It must be multilateral and democratic. It must empower the
moderates of the world.
And it must address the root causes of terrorism: the grievances and the
poignant sense of injustice that drive human beings to such depths of despair,
they would carry out the most heinous acts of mass murder and destruction.
It must address grievances due to poverty that is the offshoot of social and
economic inequities, the affronts of tyranny and corruption, and the failure of
states to deliver a standard of living that befits human dignity. They include
grievances due to political oppression, such as the aggression and brutalities
that the Palestinian people continue to suffer in the hands of the occupying
For the coalition that would fight terrorism and poverty to be truly
multilateral and democratic, it must include the regional organizations, which
have been envisioned in the UN Charter as the pillars of global
The UN itself, in extending assistance and services to countries
all over the world, needs support at the regional level. That is why we in the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are striving to develop a robust
partnership with the World Organization.
We are confident that this partnership will prosper, as ASEAN evolves into a
true Community by 2020. As a Security Community, we will assume full
responsibility for our security and political stability. As an Economic and
Sociocultural Community, we will be a stronger force for development and social
integration of the Asia-Pacific region.
Together with our counterparts in two continents, we are building a bridge of
cooperation across the Indian Ocean to form a partnership for development. A
Summit of Asian and African nations will formally establish this strategic
partnership in April 2005.
At the same time, the Summit will pay tribute to a watershed event in the cause
of equitable international relations. Thus, we will observe the Golden Jubilee
of the Asian-African Conference held in Bandung in 1955.
Moreover, ASEAN is networking in all directions: with its counterparts in the
rest of the Asia-Pacific, in Latin America and in Europe. We do envision that
this network of regional organizations, in partnership with the UN, will be the
ultimate form of multilateralism.
That network can also help advance a global democratic agenda. To this, Asia
can make a significant contribution. For today Asia is certainly in the midst
of a democratic flowering.
The series of successful democratic elections in various Asian countries in
recent months has been hailed worldwide as a political miracle that may be of
deeper significance than the short-lived Asian economic miracle a decade ago.
But democracy is never a miracle. Never a gift nor something imposed. It is
always hard earned, often the fruit of many sacrifices. And its ultimate worth
depends entirely upon us the people-whether we have the political maturity, the
wisdom and the courage to make it work and make it endure.
To that end, we in Indonesia are devoutly committed.