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Australian support for Indonesia's human rights commission



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M E D IA RELEASE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ALEXANDER DOWNER

A a 1A U S T R A L I A ,^

AA38 17 May 1998

AUSTRALIAN SUPPORT FOR INDONESIA'S HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

I am pleased to announce that the Australian Government will contribute $2 million to

assist Indonesia’s Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) to improve its capacity

to protect and promote human rights.

Australia's package of assistance to Komnas HAM is particularly timely given the

current crisis in Indonesia and the important contribution of this institution.towards

strengthening civil society and the observance of human rights generally. Indonesia is

a country of enduring importance to Australia. It is in Australia's national interest to

have a prosperous and stable Indonesia. Institutional strengthening is crucial to the

continuing process of reform and will provide practical, concrete and realisable

benefits for the Indonesian people.

Komnas HAM plays a crucial role in monitoring the human rights situation in

Indonesia. Since its establishment in 1993, Komnas HAM has become highly

regarded in Indonesia and has achieved positive results in monitoring allegations of

human rights violations and dealing with complaints.

However the ability of Komnas HAM to adequately guard against human rights

violations has been limited by a lack of appropriately trained staff and other

organisational weaknesses. Last September 1997, the Australian Government

commissioned Australia’s Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission to

undertake a mission to Indonesia to identify activities Australia could fund to assist

Komnas HAM to improve its capacity to protect human rights.

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The activities to be funded under this assistance package include:

' - Human rights and governance training for Commission members and trainers; .

- Development of a complaints procedures manual and computerised database;

- A National Seminar on human rights in December 1998;

- Management training; and

- English language training;

The timing of this assistance and in particular the National Seminar, is of special

significance as 1998 is the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal

Declaration of Human Rights, and the 5th anniversary of the establishment of Komnas

HAM.

Australia is also supporting the promotion and protection of human rights in Indonesia

through a number of other initiatives.

In June this year, the Australian Government will fund the visit of five senior Komnas

HAM members, including Secretary-General Baharuddin Lopa, to Australia. This

follows an earlier Australian-funded delegation in July 1997.

The Australian Government, through AusAID is currently providing English language

training to Komnas HAM staff. We are also providing short-term training courses,

through the Specialised Training Project - for government officials, representatives of

non-government organisations and lawyers - in areas such as trade policy, human

rights and intellectual property law.

Media contacts: Innes Willox (Minister’s office) 02 6277 7500 / 0411 414 695 Michelle Hardy (AusAID) 02 6206 4968 or mobile 0417 680 590

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