Indonesia: Opening of the Bilateral Human Rights Dialogue
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, I am happy to be in Indonesia. It is wonderful to start our three day visit here, and I am looking forward to it. We have an extensive programme, covering business, trade and the environment. Todays human rights dialogue focuses on what makes us human. It is one of the most important topics in the world. Human rights are the base of everything we do.
I am honored to open this years Human Rights Dialogue between Indonesia and Norway. Last year, we celebrated the 10th anniversary of our dialogue, and renewed our commitment to continue our close co-operation in this field.
Every autumn, there is a fundraising event on Norwegian television. On this particular day, the whole country is engaged in fundraising for a humanitarian organization. Businesses and schools, government and local communities are all involved. This year, we raised money for Amnesty International. I remember I saw an interview with 8 year old pupils at a school in our hometown. A girl was asked: What are human rights actually all about? She gave the simple, but genius answer: That every person has the same value and should be treated as such.
I think this goes straight to the heart of why we are gathered here today.
If we are to succeed in promoting peaceful solutions in areas of conflict, we need to emphasize our commitment to common instruments carefully developed by international institutions.
The Universal Declaration on Human Rights dates back to1948. It has been refined through a number of conventions, instruments and special procedures over the years. This comprehensive framework helps us respect, protect and fulfill fundamental freedoms and human rights all based on dignity.
The Human Rights Dialogue has also paved the way for co-operation between Indonesia and Norway on a wide range of other issues - such as health, foreign policy, climate change and trade. Norway highly values the close collaboration with Indonesia on key areas bilaterally and within the framework of the United Nations.
Respect, openness and frankness are valuable aspects of our dialogue also when our views differ. That is also the guarantee for its continued success and progress.
Our partnership through the Human Rights Dialogue represents a unique opportunity to discuss issues of vital importance to both countries such as: How can we work to share experiences and work together to make our democratic systems even stronger? How can we build bridges between nations, cultures and religions in order to ensure protection and human rights for everybody?
Indonesia is perhaps more qualified than most countries to answer this last question. The fact that more than 300 different ethnic groups share one country and different religions are so intertwined in your history and tradition, certainly makes Indonesia a country worth listening to.
I would like to express my high regard for the important work of the expert members of the three working groups in our Human Rights Dialogue. You and your commitment are the backbone of our valuable partnership. I wish you all engaging and constructive meetings.