Subject: AN: President: RI serious about settling right violations in E Timor

May 13 00:56

President: RI serious about settling right violations in E Timor

Nusa Dua, Bali (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said here Friday the government was very serious in its efforts to settle the human rights violations that happened in East Timor in the past.

"We are very serious in our desire to solve the problems that happened in East Timor in the past fairly and proportionally. Therefore, do not think that Indonesia does not seriously respect human rights," the President told newsmen after holding a meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on the sidelines of the eight developing countries (D-8) summit.

Yudhoyono made the remark to comment on Indonesia`s election as a member of the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday.

East Timor was once an Indonesian province which seceded in 1999.

Pro-Jakarta militia which the United Nations has said were recruited and directed by the Indonesian military, went on an arson and killing spree before and after East Timorese voted for independence in a UN-sponsored ballot in August 1999.

The President said further that the inclusion of Indonesia in the UN body would of course push the government to continue to make reforms by upholding democracy, law and respect for human rights.

"We have noted that our respect for human rights in the country is improving and will be upgraded in accordance with the 1945 Constitution and existing regulations," he said.

The inclusion, he added, was also expected to silence countries or international organizations that always linked human rights issues in Indonesia with the violations that happened in East Timor in the past.

Indonesia was elected in the first round after obtaining 165 of 191 votes of the UN members and competing with 63 countries for the body`s 47 seats.

Seats were distributed in the first round of voting for four of five regional groups.

Asia`s 13 seats were awarded to Bahrain, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Sri Lanka.

Earlier Indonesia was elected one of 47 members of the UN Human Rights Council - a new body under the UN General Assembly which resultion was approved on March 15.(*)

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