H.E. Makmur Widodo, Permanent Representative to the UN
"Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism"
United Nations General Assembly
New York, New York
October 3, 2001

Mr. President,

My delegation deems the convening of the General Assembly to be both timely and appropriate given the tragic sequence of events, on 11th September, in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania. And, even almost three weeks later, today, the enormity and gravity of that carnage is still unfolding. Indonesia, together with the rest of the international community, was shocked to hear that a great number of innocent peoples of many nationalities lost their lives and were wounded.

Let me therefore take this opportunity to reiterate once again my Government’s and the Indonesian people’s deepest sympathies to the Government and people of the United States and to the countries directly affected, especially to the bereaved families, in their hour of grief. For acts of terrorism such as these can never be justified regardless of their objectives when it concerns the sanctity of human life and runs counter to the basic tenets of all cultures and religious faiths.

Mr. President,

Indonesia has in the past condemned all acts of terrorism in line with its consistent position that such indiscriminate violence can never be allowed to subjugate the rule of law. As we are well aware, the scourge of terrorism is by no means a new form of illegal action. From the dawn of history, terrorism has afflicted many nations and societies, severely impacting on their economic and social development. In our contemporary world with all its complexities, it has become an intolerable menace endangering peace, stability and harmonious co-existence among States. Consequently, there is an urgent need to mount a universal response within a framework of concerted cooperation to rid our societies of this dangerous phenomenon.

The solemnity of the current deliberations reflects our profound concern that acts of terrorism with its horrendous toll in human lives and material devastation are tearing at the very fabric of civilized societies. This is incompatible with the proclamations of the United Nations Charter. Indeed they constitute the very raison d’etre of this Organization namely: peace, development and the rule of law; freedom, justice and independence for all peoples; human rights, democratic values, good governance and tolerance; understanding and cooperation among members of the international community regardless of race, religion or creed. These are the goals that all nations strive for and are committed to foster.

As stated by President Megawati Soekarnoputri, the recent tragedies underline the importance of international cooperation in eradicating terrorism anywhere in the world for which Indonesia stands ready to cooperate. It is in this context that the United Nations, as the only multilateral organization with universal membership is uniquely placed to advance global efforts and to take the necessary and effective measures in combating this alarming increase of terrorist activities. It can constitute the only appropriate forum to accord legitimacy in undertaking resolute action needed to eradicate this phenomenon. Our approach should however be based on justice and fairness rather than coercion and prejudice. We should guard against hasty decisions which may prove to be counter-productive. As this is a global problem requiring a global response, the United Nations can also bridge disparities of views and thereby, harmonize efforts in a spirit of cooperation and partnership.

Simultaneously, it is important to underscore that terrorism is simply indiscriminate acts of violence aimed towards the civilized world and attempts to depict it as a conflict between the West and the Islamic world is patently misleading and absolutely wrong. For Islam is a religion of peace that neither teaches nor condones violence. Indonesia has itself experienced acts of terrorism emanating from separatists and extremist movements. This is incompatible with our cherished objectives of national unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Indonesian nation.

In the past, there has been strong evidence that the source of threats and acts of terrorism, have emanated not only from within the borders of a country but also, are cross border in nature. Hence, national efforts alone will not suffice unless accompanied by regional endeavors. This is the principal reason why President Megawati Soekarnoputri recently visited neighboring ASEAN countries to strengthen a regional approach. Such an approach has become crucial to eliminating international terrorism which has often found to have close links to other transnational crimes, such as illicit trade of small arms and light weapons, money laundering and the trafficking of illegal aliens.

In the same vein, Mr. President, Indonesia considers international cooperation an imperative necessity. This should include, exchange of information, training of personnel in transnational crimes with the view to augmenting capacity and institution building and formulating legal mechanisms and instruments. At the present time, my Government is in the process of building upon or has already established such forms of cooperation with a number of countries. In this regard, Indonesia fully associates itself with the endeavors of the Non-Aligned Movement, as contained in the Durban Declaration of 1998, which underlined the need to adopt a collective position in accordance with the principles of international law as well as respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States. Moreover, Indonesia is of the view that it is incumbent upon the Sixth Committee to include discussions on a comprehensive convention on international terrorism, on the basis of a draft submitted by India.

Mr. President,

It is pertinent to recall that both the General Assembly and the Security Council, adopted resolutions on 13 September 2001 that among others called on member States to redouble their efforts to prevent and suppress terrorist acts including by increasing cooperation and by bringing to justice the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of the recent attacks. Furthermore, on 28 September 2001, the Security Council in its resolution that decided inter alia for all States to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorist acts by taking certain measures, including freezing without delay funds and other assets to commit terrorism as well as acceding to relevant conventions such as the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.

My delegation would also like to recall that it was only last year, the Millennium Declaration urged the member States to take concrete action against international terrorism and to accede as soon as possible to all relevant conventions. Indonesia, on its part, is already in the process of ratifying relevant treaties. On 24 September 2001, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia signed the 1999 International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.

In conclusion, Mr. President, as we are painfully aware, terrorism has taken a deadly and unconscionable toll and threatens to undermine regional peace, global security and sustainable development. We are therefore duty-bound to eradicate this scourge once and forever. My delegation remains hopeful that together with multilateral, regional and other cooperative efforts, including the participation of civil society, we will make significant contributions in rendering our world a safer and more secure place.

Thank you, Mr. President.