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Australian visit by Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights



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M ED IA RELEASE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ALEXANDER DOWNER

FA91 2 July 1998

AUSTRALIAN VISIT BY INDONESIAN NATIONAL COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS

I today met members of the Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM). Their visit comes at a time of great change and political and economic reform in Indonesia.

The visit is also the first o f the human rights and governance training activities included in the Australian Government's recently announced $2 million institutional strengthening program for Komnas HAM over the next three years.

During their visit, Commission members are having extensive discussions with Australia's Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC). They are also meeting federal parliamentarians, Government officials, jurists, academics and non-govemment organisations.

I had productive discussions with Commission members on a range of human rights issues, including the current situation in East Timor and Irian Jaya, ongoing investigations into the - May riots andinto the number o f disappearances earlier this year in Indonesia.

The Australian Government welcomes the increasingly robust role being played by Komnas HAM throughout Indonesia in relation to investigating allegations of human rights abuse. Since its establishment in 1993, the Commission has built up a credible and solid reputation and trust with the Indonesian people. Given the current atmosphere of reform in Indonesia, the Commission is one of the institutions best placed to contribute usefully to the urgent reform process.

I also take this opportunity to welcome the official launch by President Habibie on 25 June o f Indonesia's National Action Plan on Human Rights. The Australian Government hopes that the Plan will encourage greater domestic adherence to internationally recognised human rights standards, including through ratification of key international human rights instruments.

Komnas HAM is actively involved as a founding member of the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions. The Australian Government has provided significant political and financial support to the Forum, the secretariat of which is based at the HREOC. Komnas HAM will be hosting the next annual meeting of the Forum in September. I look

forward to continued progress in this important area of regional human rights cooperation.

Media inquiries: Ministerial: Innes Willox 02 6277 7500 or 0411 414 695

Departmental: Tony Melville 02 6261 1555

Media releases and sp eech es are available from DFAT via the internet, http://www.dfat.gov.au/