Indonesia: Letter for the President of Republic of Indonesia


Jakarta, 06 November 2013


Re: Position of Government of Indonesia on the UN General Assembly Draft Resolution on World Conference on Indigenous Peoples/WCIP

Mr. Soesilo Bambang Yudhoyono
President of the Republic of Indonesia

Your Excellency President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono,

Greetings from the Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN)

I am writing to deliver our collective concerns regarding the position of the Government of Indonesia on indigenous peoples at the United Nations and other international forums.

Your Excellency, the 3rd Committee of the United Nations General Assembly is currently discussing the upcoming World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP) to take place at the UN Headquarters in New York on 22-23 September 2014. It has come to our attention that representative of Government of Indonesia had made very discouraging remarks in response to the Outcome Document of Global Indigenous Peoples Preparatory Conference on the WCIP that was held in Alta, Norway on 10-12 June 2013.

With reference to the above, the Government of Indonesia objected to PP2 and OP2 in the attached draft resolution, and suggested that both be deleted. These paragraphs refer to the preparatory process towards the WCIP 2014 particularly the Alta Conference and its Outcome document, respectively.

PP 2:

Reaffirming its resolutions 65/198 of 21 December 2010, 66/142 of 19 December 2011 and its resolution 67/153 of 20 December 2012, as well as its resolution 66/296 of 17 September 2012 on the organization of the high level plenary meeting of the General Assembly, to be known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, to be held on 22 and 23 September 2014, and noting its inclusive preparatory process, as well as the participation of indigenous peoples in the Conference,

OP 2:

Takes note with appreciation of the outcome document of the Global Indigenous Preparatory Conference for the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples held in Alta, Norway from 10 to 12 June 2013, and other proposals made by indigenous peoples, and recommends that the four themes identified in the Alta outcome document be taken into account when considering the specific themes for the round tables and interactive panel for the World Conference, [Based on OP 18 A/HRC/24/L.22] and that the Alta outcome document, as well as other proposals made by indigenous peoples, be taken into account when preparing the outcome document of the World Conference; [Inspired by/based on OP 9 A/RES/66/296] (Norway proposal)

The main reason for Indonesia’s objections appears to originate from the faulty perception that the preparatory process has not been inclusive, and that indigenous peoples from Indonesia did not participate in the process. Twice, the representative noted that indigenous peoples from Indonesia did not participate at the Alta Conference.Your Excellency, the Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara (AMAN) has in fact took part in the Global Indigenous Peoples Conference in Alta and has contributed to the Alta Outcome Document. The three representatives of AMAN to the Alta Conference were Mr. Abdon Nababan, Ms. Rukka Sombolinggi and Ms. Mina Setra.

Your Excellency, This is not the first time that the Government of Indonesia made negative comments concerning Indigenous Peoples. Over the years, representatives of the GOI based in the UN Headquarters in New York and Geneva have been repeatedly denying in different UN meetings and conferences the existence of indigenous peoples in Indonesia. This denial is contrary to legal and policy developments at the national level.

Your Excellency, in a statement commemorating the 2006 International Day for Indigenous Peoples, Your Excellency delivered a public statement that recognized the importance of preparing a national regulatory framework to protect indigenous peoples’ rights. The House of Representatives subsequently prepared a bill on the Recognition and Protection of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights.

Your Excellency, in 2010, AMAN supported the Indonesia – Norway Letter of Intent (LoI) on “cooperation on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation”. We believe that through this LoI, the Indonesian government can partner with indigenous peoples to achieve our mutual aim of realizing more sustainable and equitable resource management and, particularly, forestry policy, in Indonesia. Since then, AMAN has worked to fulfil our part in making this shared commitment and vision a reality for the betterment of the millions of indigenous peoples in Indonesia, for the greater good of our diverse and beautiful nation, and to support a more sustainable global future through effective climate change mitigation. In good faith, AMAN has and continues to participate in meetings and consultations regarding the development of REDD+ planning and implementation.

Your Excellency, under your leadership, Indigenous Peoples in Indonesia have witnessed positive progress in national law and policies relevant to Indigenous Peoples, such as the Law on 27/2007 on Small Island and Coastal Areas; Law No. 32/2009 on the Management and Protection of Environment; and the recent Constitutional Court Ruling No.35/PUU-X/2012.

AMAN has been also engaging with various government institutions through Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) with the National Commission on Human Rights on mainstreaming indigenous peoples rights in policy and regulation; the Ministry of Environment on the identification of indigenous peoples and their traditional knowledge on managing the environment; and with the National Land Agency (BPN) on the recognition of indigenous peoples’ collective rights over their territories through mapping and registration of indigenous peoples territories.

Your Excellency, Indonesia is part of the G77 + China Foreign Ministers that adopted a very progress position on the Alta Document on 26 September 2013, through its annual ministerial declaration1. The position taken by Indonesia in the 3rd committee is thus contrary to the Ministerial Declaration.

Indonesia is fast moving towards becoming a leader in the global community. Our nation is exercising its potential to be a champion of sustainable development with equity, and to pioneer a new development model based on social equity, environmental sustainability, and economic growth. We believe the WCIP 2014 is a great venue and opportunity for the Government of Indonesia to engage and to show many positive achievements at national level such as the landmark Constitutional Court Ruling No 35 and current development of the Indigenous Peoples Law by the parliament.

The next meeting of the 3rd Committee of the UNGA is on Thursday, 7 November 2013. We believe that this is an opportunity for your Excellency to make the position of the GOI consistent with the national efforts of engaging constructively with indigenous peoples by declaring your support to the WCIP and withdraw its reservation to specific provisions in the draft Resolution of the GA to the WCIP as mentioned above. We thereby count on your leadership to take immediate action on this particular matter.

Thank you for your attention and support to indigenous peoples of Indonesia.

Sincerely yours,

Abdon Nababan,

General Secretary, Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara

1Please see OP59 of the ministerial declaration:

Bahasa Indonesia:

Source: AMAN