Indonesia votes against UN resolution on genocide and crimes against humanity

Indonesia and 14 other countries have voted against a UN Resolution on the responsibility to protect and prevent (R2P) genocide, war crimes, ethnic genocide and crimes against humanity during a vote at the United Nations General Assembly on 18 May 2021. One-hundred-fifteen countries supported the resolution while 28 states chose to abstain (see list of shame below, source: UN Watch). The R2P concept represents an international principle and agreement aimed at preventing genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. The Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministry affirmed that Indonesia in principle agrees with the substance of the resolution, but rejects a proposal to establish a new annual agenda for discussing the P2P.

Amnesty International Indonesia (AII) expressed disappointment over Indonesia’s decision to vote against the resolution. "This attitude shows Indonesia's poor commitment to advancing and protecting human rights in the world. Yet Indonesia is a permanent member of the UN Human Rights Council", said AII Executive Director, Usman Hamid, in a press release on 20 May 2021. He added that the decision indirectly reflects the government's lack of commitment to improve the human rights situation domestically, which has also become evident in numerous unresolved cases of gross human rights violations in West Papua and other parts of Indonesia.

Foreign Affairs Ministry Director General for Multilateral Cooperation, Febrian A Ruddyard, declared, Indonesia supports the R2P concept but represents the view that the R2P formulated at the World Summit Outcome in 2005 is still relevant. "We think that rather than making another new (resolution), why not use the old one, why must we make a another new one if the old (agenda resolution) is already working", said Ruddyard. Foreign Affair Ministry spokesperson, Teuku Faizasyah, emphasised that Indonesia's objection was merely related to the establishment of a new annual agenda to discuss the R2P resolution.

According to the paragraphs 138-139 of UN Resolution 60/1 of 2005, the R2P concept contains three pillars. First, state responsibility to protect its people from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. Second, a commitment by the international community to assist countries in pursuing this responsibility. And third, each UN member state is responsible for responding collectively, in a timely manner and firmly when a country fails to provide such protection.

List of Shame, vote on R2P Resolution during UNGA on 18 May 2021 (source: UN Watch)

UN Resolution R2P List-of-Shame