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India, Indonesia finds common cause against UN Human Rights Commissioner

India, Indonesia finds common cause against UN Human Rights CommissionerIndia and Indonesia have separately slammed but found a common cause against the office of the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. This development that comes close on the heels of Al Hussein’s report on alleged human rights violations in Kashmir and ahead of a potentially similar report on Indonesia’s Papua province.

Indonesia, the country with the world’s largest Muslim population and a supporter of India’s position on Kashmir in the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), has expressed its displeasure with Al Hussein’s office for scheduling visits to Papua province for monitoring human rights situation without coordinating with the local government. It said that this was tantamount to violation of sovereignty of a UN member state.

Indonesia has consistently opposed strong statements by the OIC against India on Kashmir. During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the country last month, India and Indonesia had decided to launch deradicalisation initiatives.

On Monday, Indonesia’s permanent representative to the UN, Hasan Kleib, denounced the office of Al Hussein for failing to coordinate Al Hussein’s trip to Papua province with the Indonesian government and then declaring that he was not provided access. On Tuesday, India’s representative to the UN termed Al Hussein’s report on Kashmir an attempt to legitimise terrorism in the Valley.

Kleib’s statement came in response to Al Hussein’s references to Indonesia in his statement in Geneva. In his statement, Al Hussein said that Indonesia’s invitation to him to visit Papua, which was delivered when he had visited Indonesia in February, had yet to be fulfilled.

In response, the Indonesian representative said that Indonesia had invited Al Hussein as high commissioner to visit Papua and West Papua provinces. The invitation was intended to provide him first-hand information on sustainable human rights improvement as well as challenges in the regions, he said.

However, Kleib said that Al Hussein’s office did not coordinate his planned visit with the authorities in Indonesia and unilaterally arranged dates and places to visit in Papua and West Papua while demanding immediate access and later alleged that he was denied access by the Indonesian government.

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