Thursday, December 7, 2017


Jakarta, Dec 7 , 2017 (Antara) - The Bali Democracy Forum (BDF), initiated by Indonesia in 2008, is an annual, inclusive, and open intergovernmental forum on the development of democracy in the Asia Pacific region.
        BDF is aimed to promote and foster regional and international cooperation in the field of peace and democracy through dialogue based on sharing experiences and best practices that adhere to the principle of equality, mutual respect and understanding, with the participating countries sharing its ownership.
        Indonesia believes that democracy is a key element in the promotion of peace and stability in the region. Many nations in the region accept that universality of democratic values, such as respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and a shared adherence to these values, should help consolidate peace, stability and prosperity in the region.
         After a decade of the forum's existence, Indonesia has chosen "Does Democracy Deliver?" as the theme of the 10th BDF held in Serpong, Banten, on Dec 7 and 8, 2017, in order to find out whether democracy has been successfully implemented.
         BDF is usually held in Indonesia's famous resort island of Bali, but the current forum has been moved to Banten Province, because of the ongoing eruptions of Mount Agung, which forced temporary closure of I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar last week.
         Indonesian Vice President M. Jusuf Kalla officially opened the 10th BDF, in which 103 delegations from 96 countries and seven international organizations are participating, on Dec 7.  
  Among the participants are Nauru President Baron Divavesi Waqa, 14 ministers, and 11 deputy ministers, while the rest include director generals and other senior officials.

       Democracy is dynamic and in line with the respective conditions, he noted in his keynote address.
       Kalla highlighted the role of democracy as a tool to provide prosperity to the people, stimulate people's creativity, encourage an equitable economic growth, and promote tolerance.
         He also shared Indonesia's experience in adhering to democracy that contributes to the improvement of public services and promotes tolerance, supremacy of the law, and good governance.
        Since it was held for the first time in 2008, the BDF has been beneficial, as various views on democracy were presented by the participating countries, according to Kalla.
         The forum is not always held in Bali but also in other countries, such as the previous one organized in Tunis, Tunisia, on October 2, 2017, he remarked.
          During the ongoing BDF in Banten, Tunisian Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui delivered a report on the implementation of The Tunis Chapter of BDF aimed at mainstreaming democracy in Africa.
         Speaking on a video message, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has lauded the holding of the 10th Bali Democracy Forum that has promoted the values of democracy since its establishment 10 years ago.
        "This forum has enabled dialog among nations in order to reject conflicts. Inclusive democracy, openness, and dialog are the keys to ensuring sustainable peace and development," Guterres noted.
           He remarked that the BDF had assisted growing and developing democratic countries by sharing best practices that boost the people's representatives, encourage free general elections, strengthen civil society and women's roles, as well as promote the right to be involved in the government based on legal regulations.
         Cecep Herawan, director general for information of public diplomacy, explained that the ongoing BDF differs from those held earlier, as it includes a Bali Democracy Students Conference (BDSC) and a panel discussion among delegates.
          Maryna Kyrylchuk from Ukraine on behalf of youth participants in the BDSC presented the outcome titled "Voice of the Youth: from Campus to Democracy" in the closing session
   Meanwhile, Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno LP Marsudi wore a keffiyeh, a white and black traditional Arab headdress, as a symbol of the Palestinian struggle, while addressing the opening ceremony of the BDF conference.
           She wore the Palestinian scarf as a form of support and commitment of Indonesia to the Palestinian people. 
    "I am standing here wearing the Palestinian scarf to show the strong commitment of Indonesia and its people, who will always stand with the people of Palestine for their rights. Indonesia will always stand with Palestine," she remarked.
        She strongly condemned the U.S.' recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, replacing Tel Aviv.
            "We condemn this recognition. Democracy means respecting international laws. Thus, the recognition disrespects various resolutions of the UN Security Council," she pointed out.
          Marsudi also expressed regret that the US, as an advanced democratic nation, has taken a step that jeopardizes peace and has potential to worsen instability in the Middle East Region.
          "As a democratic nation, the US should know what democracy means," she stated.
          Last year, Indonesia hosted the Ninth BDF, themed "Religion, Democracy and Tolerance," in Bali. ***2***

(T.F001/A/BESSR/A/Yosep) 07-12-2017

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