31/12/2000

Acceptance speech – Munir

Human rights in the sense of human solidarity has created a new universal and equal language going beyond racial, gender, ethnic or religious boundaries. That is why we consider it a doorway to dialogue...

Madam Speaker, Your Excellencies,  Distinguished Guests, and Friends.

First of all, I would like to say thank you very much for the great honour you have given me and for the chance to be here among such special people.

Coming from a country with so many problems, which sometimes appears to be destroying itself, to be present with you seems like a precious moment for me. Here I feel I can enjoy very warm solidarity, which is given not only to me but to all those struggling for justice and human dignity in Indonesia and the rest of the world.

Distinguished friends,

We already know the world has moved on in very different ways from those imagined by American intellectuals such as Francis Fukuyama and Samuel Huntington. The real facts of human development have shown us that after the collapse of Communism, Capitalism has itself proved too weak and fragile to face the new challenges confronting humanity.

The new crises of civilisation in many parts of the world today – for example, Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Africa- cannot be resolved by talk of ‘the end of history’ or ‘the clash of civilisations’. Capitalism may have overthrown Communism, but to be true it was also Capitalism that established or propped up many authoritarian regimes around the world. In fact, the current crises have proved that Capitalism in the post-communist era is too ‘lazy’ to re-establish the conditions necessary for justice and equality.

However, we are fortunate that the real human world is not determined purely by super-ideologies. Humanity evolves in a variety of ways. Today, thanks to a whole range of human rights and solidarity struggles around the world, some of the worst effects of war, social conflict and poverty have been alleviated. Human rights have become a focus for concrete efforts to solve these problems.

Furthermore, it is also human rights in the sense of human solidarity that has created a new universal and equal language going beyond racial, gender, ethnic or religious boundaries. That is why we consider it a doorway to dialogue for people of all socio-cultural groups and all ideologies.

Friends and colleagues, I have several major reasons for stressing these points of view. It is our particular experience in our daily struggle that has led us to this view of human rights. In  conditions where society had been divided and alienated, the victims had many barriers to overcome and often blamed each other. But the language of human rights facilitated the process of reconciliation between them and enabled their voice to be heard by the whole of society. This single language is very important to keep them all united.

Finally, in the future, by retracing the steps of Willy Brandt, we all need to consider the possibilities of a united world based on the sense of humanity and solidarity. Crimes committed by a nation-state or in the name of progress and development will be reduced only if we are able to recognise ourselves as part of other humans’ destiny.

That is why I would like to end my remarks by asking  you to remember in your hearts – to be present in your hearts with the people of Palestine, the people of West Papua and Aceh, and all those most wrongfully deprived of their human rights.

Thank you.




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