Indonesia's Voice in the Midst of UN Reform Pressure

Fajar Nugraha    •    04 Oktober 2015 16:58 WIB
united nations
Indonesia's Voice in the Midst of UN Reform Pressure
Vice President Jusuf Kalla. (Photo: AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY), New York: The General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) was closed on Saturday (10/31/2015) US time. Indonesia brought three main focus on this year's meeting.

Led by Vice President Jusuf Kalla, Indonesia's delegation was also supported with Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, Coordinating Minister of Human and Cultural Development Puan Maharani, Health Minister Nina F. Moeloek and Minister of Women Empowerment Yohana Yembise.

Indonesia's main focus are, among others, for the involvement in peace-keeping force and seeking support in the temporary membership of Indonesia in the UN Security Council of 2019-2020. Aside from that, the refugee migration is among Indonesia's main concern, including Palestinian issue.

"So if it is about peacekeeping, I think Indonesia's role is very obvious, because we are one of the biggest players in terms of peacekeeping," said Minister Retno in the UN Headquarters, New York (9/29/2015). 

Other main fact is that in last July, Indonesia became the host of regional meeting in Asia Pacific. Related to the meeting, VP Jusuf Kalla, in front of the podium of General Assembly, spoke of the result of the regional meeting while at the same time conveyed the commitment of Indonesia's role to be provided for.

"At the beginning of the year, for example, there are 800 composite battalion. Then we will also send three M17 helicopters, as well as utilizing the role of policewomen. So Indonesia is committed in becoming one of the countries having a vital role in peacekeeping business," he continued.

Currently, Indonesia is actively involved in 10 UN Peacekeeping missions: UNIFIL in Lebanon, UNAMID in Darfur, Sudan then UNISFA in Abyei-Sudan and UNMISS in South Sudan. It is added with UNMIL in Liberia, MONUSCO in Congo, as well as MINUSTAH in Haiti, MINUSCA in Central African Republic, MINURSO in West Sahara and MINUSMA in Mali.

Indonesia's contribution, according to the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) per May 31, 2015, is as many as 2,729 personnel, placing Indonesia at the 11th out of 121 Troops/Police Contributing Countries (T/PCCs). The strategic achievements completed by Indonesia in the peacekeeping operations issue is the appointment of May. Gen. Imam Edy Mulyono, as the Force Commander (FC) Mission of UN PKOs in West Sahara (MINURSO).

The appointment conducted by the UN Secretary General was formally conveyed in August 2013 - as it was extended to 2015 - and supported fully by the entire UN Security Council member nations, hopefully strengthen the important role of Indonesia as the "key player" (TCC) at the UN Peacekeeping Corps.

Three main purposes in Indonesia's involvement in the peacekeeping force, are among others:

1. Indonesia will always strengthen and increase its participation in the UN Peacekeeping Mission in accordance to the mandate of the Constitution and the Roadmap Vision of 4,000 Peacekeepers. The increase in Indonesia's contribution in various peacekeeping missions of the UN will also be expanded not only on the military components, but also police and civilians.

2. Indonesia is to underline the importance of three basic principles of UN Peace Keeping Force, which is consent of the parties, impartiality and non-use of force except in self-defense and defense of the mandate. Apart from the development of the mandate which is becoming more complex and multi-dimensional, with several tasks leading to peace enforcement, Indonesia is assured that the respect to these principles are significant to the success of UN PKOs.

3. Indonesia is to convey the importance of consent between the nations related to the development of UN Peacekeeping Force policies, as ensuring that only the collective proposals and approaches agreed on will be legalized.

However, there is an irony behind increasing the participation in the peacekeeping force. It is also admitted by FM Retno Marsudi.

"The increasing contribution of UN peacekeeping force is welcomed well. But on the other side of the coin, it means we have failed in preventing conflicts," said the FM, September 30, 2015.

Refugee problems have also become the attention of Indonesian delegation. When conducting the meeting with UN Secretary General at his office on Friday (10/2/2015) US time, Minister Marsudi provided the explanation with the latest situation on refugees, especially on Rohingya refugees. 

"We convey to the Secretary General, the possibility of time we offer (to house the Rohingya refugees) will increase. We have to be realistic that the situation is completely different. Which is why I will speak to UNCHR and IOM in Indonesia. UNHCR Regional Representative will visit me in discussing this matter," added the first Indonesian female foreign minister. 

Indonesia's ideas on the refugee issue was also placed in the meeting of "Strengthening Cooperation on migration and refugee movements in the perspective of the new development agenda". In that occasion, FM mentioned the main idea in resolving the flow of refugee, remembering Asia and Europe are currently facing the same ordeal.

The first idea coming to attention is to pay attention on the humanity and criminal aspects. Then to strengthen the cooperation between origin, transit and destination countries, as well as international organizations. Another issue is to prevent refugee flow by paying attention on the roots of the problem in the origin country.

The last focus of Indonesian delegation is to seek support for the temporary membership in the UN Security Council. At least 30 bilateral meetings were conducted by the FM to gain support in becoming the temporary member.

"(Response that we received) all positive. Our mission in conducting bilateral with many countries is to seek support for Indonesia's temporary membership in UN Security Council. Thank God the response was all positive," concluded the FM after completing a bilateral meeting, Friday (10/2/2015).

It is interesting to see Indonesia's involvement within this UN General Assembly. The Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon gave his own acknowledgement related to the role of Indonesia in various UN activities.

"I have always appreciated the strong contribution in the UN. We have always assessed importantly the role of Indonesia in the critical global issues, including climate change, nuclear disarmament and also the leadership in developing the Agenda of Sustainable Development Goal (SGD's) 2030," said the Secretary General of the UN in his statement.

Ban underlined the active involvement of Indonesia in the UN Peace Keeping Force by deploying at least 2,000 UN troops all over the world. Aside from that, Ban also highlighted the role of Indonesia as the chairman of ASEAN in 2011, as it held the key role to conduct the finalization and adoption of the Comprehensive Partnership of ASEAN and UN. 

"The relationship between UN and Indonesia is hoped to be strong, and I am assured that both parties will continue the work to promote joint global purposes," concluded the former FM of South Korea.

Other highlights needed to be paid attention is Indonesia's vote in the "High-Level Ministerial Event on Framing the Use of Veto in the Face of Massive Crimes". In the midst of UN Security Council reformation demands, the meeting became very interesting and important. Initiated by France, the meeting proposed the arrangement of veto use by the council's permanent members, such as USA, France, Britain, Russia and China. Despite the vote to erase veto of the P-5 nations are still far, at least the will to arrange the veto use may become other alternatives.

Apart from the main focus mentioned, Palestine has also become the main attention of Indonesian mission in the UN. The full mast of Palestine flag for the first time in September 30, 2015, showed how strong Indonesian support is to Palestine's freedom.

FM Retno Marsudi and the Head of Permanent Representative for the UN, Ambassador Desra Percaya also attended the flag hoisting ceremony. Despite having no huge influence in the membership process of Palestine in the UN, this is still a historical event for Palestine, UN, the world and Indonesia.