Hassan Wirajuda and Jonas Gahr Støre, the two ministers of foreign affairs from Indonesia and Norway, has formally opened the 8th annual Human Rights Dialogue meeting in Oslo. The two countries have had the human rights cooperation since 2002.
In his opening remarks Minister Støre expressed that Norway greatly values the longstanding cooperation with Indonesia on human rights. Despite the differences between the two countries, he described the Human Rights Dialogue as a mutual opportunity for learning. “Norway benefits from this dialogue, we learn from it and we hope that we can contribute to learning for Indonesia as well”, the Minister said in his speech to the two countries’ delegates.
He also emphasised that without tolerance and freedom of expression there can be no democracy, and without true democracy such tolerance and freedom will have difficulties surviving. Explaining why Norway is such a keen advocate for freedom of expression, he explained that without it there can be no true communication and – thus – no true understanding. On the possibility for the world to handle critical issues such as racism, disarmament and non-proliferation, climate change, and poverty, he claimed that the only possibility is to come together and seek common ground.
“Principled dialogue is the only way forward. The alternative is “monologue”. That will take us nowhere. This is the basis for our bilateral human rights dialogues with China, Vietnam and Indonesia”, he concluded.