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Indonesian Parliamentarians visit CTBTO

A group of members of the Indonesian Parliament visited the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBTO) on 11 May to learn about the ongoing build-up of the verification regime of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). The group included representatives from both government and opposition parties, all of which support Indonesia's ratification of the CTBT.
The group consisted of five parliamentarians, all members of the Indonesian Parliament's Foreign Policy Commission, as well as two officials from the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During the visit, which had been initiated jointly by the Indonesian Permanent Mission to the UN in Vienna and the CTBTO, the group met with Executive Secretary Tibor Tóth and senior staff members and visited the CTBTO's International Data Centre (IDC) as well as a radionuclide monitoring station installed on the rooftop of the organization's headquarters in Vienna.

From left to right: Syahfan Badri SAMPURNO, Theodorus Jakob KOEKERITS, Ambassador I Gusta Agung Wesaka PUJA, CTBTO Executive Secretary Tibor TÓTH, Muhammad NAJIB, Muchamad RUSLAN, Yahya Sacawiria SACAWINATA, Febrian RUDDYARD, Rolliansyah SOEMIRAT

This was the strongest team of parliamentarians that has ever visited the CTBTO and spent a day with us.

Non-discriminatory nature of the CTBT highlighted

Muhammad Najib, member of the Indonesian House of Representatives and head of the delegation, described the group's visit to the CTBTO as fruitful, allowing valuable insights into the impressive functioning of the verification regime. Apart from its obvious benefits for international peace and security, Najib described some of the CTBT's civil and scientific benefits such as the use of monitoring data for tsunami warnings as particularly valuable for his country. Indonesia signed a tsunami warning agreement with the CTBTO in November 2008 (see press release). 

The rooftop radionuclide monitoring station is used for educational and demonstration purposes.

Najib pointed to the necessity of further educating the public in Indonesia and elsewhere on the non-discriminatory character of the CTBT which - as opposed to other elements of the nuclear arms control architecture such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) - confers equal rights and obligations on all its Member States, regardless of status. He underlined Indonesia's determination to work hard to make the dream of a world free of nuclear weapons become a reality.

Seminar hosted by the Austrian Institute for International Affairs

In a seminar organized by the Austrian Institute for International Affairs on 12 May titled “Measuring Progress towards a world free of nuclear weapons: the Indonesian perspective”, diplomats from Chile, France, Japan, Poland, Thailand and the United States expressed their support for Indonesia’s steps towards ratifying the CTBT.
For the [Indonesian Parliament] it is not an issue of whether or not to ratify this international treaty but more about when and how to go about doing it in the best manner possible.

Executive Secretary Tibor Tóth addressed the event as a keynote speaker. He drew a parallel between financial markets and international security which both suffer from a lack of regulation. According to Tóth, prior to the CTBT's opening for signature over 2,000 nuclear tests had been conducted worldwide over a period of five decades, while in the last decade only two tests - "still two too many" had been carried out, Tóth emphasized. Regarding signatures and ratifications of the CTBT, a lack of regulation is apparent in the broader region of Asia. Also, while the United States and Russia have agreed on reductions in deployed nuclear weapons, "in Asia we observe the opposite trend; things are moving in the wrong direction. Again, an absence of regulation", Tóth observed.
The very act of Indonesia coming out in favour of ratification would increase its international reputation.

The U.S. representative underlined that Indonesia's ratification of the Treaty would send "an incredibly powerful signal" to politicians in Washington, D.C. He also acknowledged the remarkable progress achieved in building up the monitoring system, which helps the U.S. administration to argue that "the CTBT can be verified and shall be ratified."
The representative from Thailand informed participants that there is movement towards ratification in Thailand. Existing laws are being revised and new laws are being drafted to clear the ground for the CTBT's implementation after it has been ratified.  A draft bill on ratification will be submitted to parliament in the near future.

Najib advocated Indonesian ratification of the CTBT in an article in the Jakarta Post in January 2011 (click image to read).

The remaining 'dominoes' for the CTBT to enter into force will eventually fall. To that end Indonesia, through ratification of the Treaty, is in a unique position to send a clear message to the world, particularly to other Non-Aligned Movement States and ASEAN countries.

Background on Indonesia and the CTBTO

Indonesia hosts six stations that are part of the International Monitoring System (IMS). All are auxiliary seismic stations that are fully established and certified. Indonesia has also shown strong support for the CTBT by actively participating in the biennial so-called Article XIV-conferences aimed at facilitating the Treaty's entry into force and fully meeting its financial obligations to the CTBTO. Three of the CTBTO's professional staff members, currently numbering around 150, are Indonesian nationals.
Indonesia signed the CTBT on 24 September 1996, the very day the Treaty opened for signature. In May 2010, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa announced Indonesia's intention to ratify the CTBT (read press release). As one of the nine remaining Annex 2 States that must ratify before the Treaty can enter into force, Indonesia's ratification could instill new momentum into the process. The other countries that have yet to ratify are China, Egypt, Iran, Israel and the United States, as well as the non-signatories Democratic People's Republic of Korea, India and Pakistan.
Indonesia is the 2011 chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Read our brochure (PDF) for an overview of the status of ASEAN countries and their commitment to the Treaty for it to enter into force.