Bogor. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo was given a chance to join a session with 11 other leaders including newly-elected German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in a virtual Summit for Democracy hosted by US President Joe Biden on Thursday evening Jakarta time.
Jokowi was the first guest to speak in the interactive dialogue session of the two-day summit that brings together more than 100 leaders.
“The president told the session that the summit coincides with the Bali Democracy Forum that has been held every year for the last 14 years,” Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said in a news conference from the Bogor Palace in West Java, where the president followed the summit.
The Biden-led summit seeks to revitalize democracy around the world and promote an inclusive and sustainable world, she said.
"Meanwhile, the Bali Democracy Forum reflects Indonesia’s commitment to promoting democracy and human rights at the regional and global levels. The president underlines that our commitment towards democracy goes beyond the border”, she said.
Indonesia believes that democracy is a universal value but it should not undermine the unique political aspiration in diverse global societies – the so-called homegrown democracy, Retno quoted the president as having told the session.
“Indonesia has championed the establishment of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights and initiated the resumption of human rights dialog after a nine-year hiatus,” she said.
Under the Indonesian initiative, the ASEAN has engaged diplomatic approaches with the Myanmar military and reached a five-point consensus including the immediate cessation of violence; dialogue among all parties concerned for a peaceful solution; the appointment of a special ASEAN envoy to mediate the dialogue process; humanitarian assistance; and access for the special envoy and delegation to meet with all parties concerned in Myanmar.
“The president also said that Indonesia will continue contributing to women’s empowerment in Afghanistan for the advantage and prosperity of the Afghan people,” Retno said.
The interactive session was also attended by the leaders of South Korea, Costa Rica, Uruguay, the Netherlands, India, Cabo Verde, Iraq, Italy, Nepal, and the world’s newest country Barbados, she added.
Jokowi will participate again on the second day of the Summit by delivering a pre-recorded speech together with all participants.
According to the US State Department, the virtual summit “is the largest gathering of its kind”.
“More than half of the UN member states will gather virtually, democracies of all shapes and sizes, established and emerging, bringing together the rich diversity, creativity, and problem-solving that the world needs right now to ensure democracies deliver for their people,” said Uzra Zeya, Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights.
On a separate occasion, US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken delivered recorded remarks to the 14th annual Bali Democracy Forum.
Blinken highlighted the importance of supporting free and independent media, advancing technology for democratic renewal, fighting corruption, defending free and fair elections, and bolstering democratic reformers – especially women, girls, and other marginalized community members.
“Our Summit for Democracy will call for a Year of Action to renew democracy worldwide. Together with the efforts of the Bali Democracy Forum, we hope that we will see measurable progress soon in that quest – in the Indo-Pacific region and everywhere,” Blinken said.
“United States will work alongside any country that’s willing to defend the free and open rules-based order that makes stability and growth possible, and that facilitates countries coming together to address global threats,” he added.
Blinken is scheduled to visit Indonesia next week and will meet with senior Indonesian officials to discuss ways to expand and deepen the partnership, according to the US Embassy in Jakarta.
US Ambassador to Indonesia Sung Y. Kim said democracy is also the core of American contribution to the global Covid-19 pandemic responses.
“Democracy is an opportunity for us to not only combat authoritarianism, counter corruption, and advance human rights, but also to ensure that those values are at the core of our efforts to build back better from the pandemic,” Kim said.
“The United States has committed to providing over one billion vaccines, with no political strings attached, focusing on low and lower-middle income countries around the globe.”