Jakarta (The Jakarta Post/ANN) - The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has praised the Indonesian government's efforts to promote human rights, Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said.
Marty who spoke to The Jakarta Post from Geneva soon after he had delivered the Indonesian government's report on human rights, said that escalating violence against religious minority groups had done little to tarnish the good image of the country and had not reduced the support of the UN's human rights body for the ongoing democratic process within Indonesia.
"We are surprised by the strong support the Indonesian government has received for its efforts to promote and protect human rights. At the same time, there is also a recognition for Indonesia's role in and beyond the region in promoting human rights. This is something that we should appreciate," Marty said.
Marty delivered the country's human rights record during the UNHRC's quadrennial Universal Period Review (UPR) on Wednesday.
Marty added that the UNHRC had acknowledged specific incidents of violence against religious minorities, such as members of the Ahmadiyah sect and the Indonesian Christian Church (GKI) Yasmin, but the body maintained that these incidents would not change the image of Indonesia as a pluralist country.
"The UNHRC's member countries considered the incidents as challenges, yet still saw Indonesia as an open, tolerant and democratic society," said Marty.
Marty said the UNHRC had also come up with several recommendations, including a mandate for the government to continue human rights training and education for members of the Indonesian Military (TNI) and the National Police.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights announced on its website that Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan and Botswana had been chosen to make official recommendations for the Indonesian government to carry out within the next four years.
Responding to Marty's remarks, GKI Yasmin said that the government should first live up to the statement by allowing its members to hold regular Sunday services in the now sealed off church building.
"It's time for the government to prove what it said before the UN's human rights summit," GKI Yasmin spokesperson Bona Sigalingging said.