Subject: Habibie says self-determination must not threaten unity of sovereign nation
Date: Tue, 1 Dec 1998 16:46:47 GMT
From: hops <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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Habibie says self-determination must not threaten unity of sovereign nation
JAKARTA, Dec 1 (AFP) - Indonesian President Habibie said Tuesday the right of indigenous peoples to self-determination was not applicable if it threatened the unity and integrity of a sovereign nation.
"The right of self-determination, as stated in the 1993 Vienna Declaration, can not be used by certain groups to cause the collapse of national unity and integrity of a sovereign country that repects human rights," Habibie said at the opening of a national human rights workshop here.
In his speech Habibie also called on participants of the three-day workshop to give "extra attention" to the issue of rights of indigenous people and "internal" self-determination in a way that would "prevent misunderstanding."
He said it would be "very wise" for the workshop to discuss the issue of indigenous peoples and to link it with Indonesia's draft bills on district autonomy, the distribution of national resources, and a just and equitable economy, currently being debated at the parliament.
Habibie did not cite a particular region.
Mounting calls for a referendum on self-determination have been aired in the former Portuguese colony of East Timor where resistance groups have been fighting for independence since the territory was invaded by Indonesia in 1975 and annexed the following year.
The United Nations and most states continue to see Lisbon as the official administrator of East Timor.
Habibie's government has rejected any referendum for East Timor, offering instead a wide-ranging autonomy.
The autonomy offer is currently being discussed between Indonesia and Portugal under the auspices of the UN secretary general.
Organized by the Indonesian Foreign Ministry and the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, the annual three-day workshop, the fourth so far, also marked the 50th anniversary of the universal declaration of human rights.
Speakers at the workshop attended by some 150 delegates, including policy- makers, human rights lawyers, specialists and observers, included a number of foreign dignitaries and prominent Indonesian human rights figures.
It is expected to enhance the knowledge of all those involved in the debate on human rights in Indonesia, the organisers have said.
TAPOL, the Indonesia Human Rights Campaign, 8 Hop Gardens London WC2N 4EH Tel: 171 497 5355 Fax: 171 4975313 Email: email@example.com Defending the rights of the victims of oppression in Indonesia, East Timor, West Papua and Aceh, 1973-1998
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