Indonesia executes six drug convicts, five of them foreigners

Indonesia executes six drug convicts, five of them foreigners
Widodo has pledged to bring reform to Indonesia

Ban appeals to Indonesia to stop death row executions

Ban appeals to Indonesia to stop death row executions
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has pleaded to Indonesia to stop the execution of prisoners on death row for drug crimes. AFP PHOTO

Pope: 'Death penalty represents failure' – no 'humane' way to kill a person

Pope: 'Death penalty represents failure' – no 'humane' way to kill a person
The pope wrote that the principle of legitimate personal defense isn’t adequate justification to execute someone. Photograph: Zuma/Rex

Obama becomes first president to visit US prison (US Justice Systems / Human Rights)

Obama becomes first president to visit US prison   (US Justice Systems / Human Rights)
US President Barack Obama speaks as he tours the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Oklahoma, July 16, 2015 (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

US Death Penalty (Justice Systems / Human Rights)

US Death Penalty (Justice Systems / Human Rights)
Woman who spent 23 years on US death row cleared (Photo: dpa)


"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Indigenous Communities Want Religion Scrubbed From ID Cards

Jakarta Globe, Amir Tejo, November 28, 2012

Dede, a member of the Baduy tribe, sits on a natural root bridge after a long
 barefoot trek in this November 2011 file photo. The Baduy, with their traditional
 faith Sunda Wiwitan, is among Indonesian traditional communities not allowed
 to put their non-mainstream beliefs on ID cards. (JG Photo/Emily Johnson)
Related articles

Surabaya. A coalition of indigenous tribes urged the Indonesian government to omit a citizen’s religion from national identification cards on Wednesday, arguing that an adherence to six officials religions fails recognize their traditional faiths.

More than 700 representatives from 300 traditional communities from across the archipelago voiced their opinion during the closing ceremony of the National Congress of Faiths To One and Only God on Wednesday.

“ID cards only displays six religions, not traditional faiths,” congress chairman A. Latif said.

Indonesia only recognizes six official religions: Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Catholicism and Confucianism. Some of the nation’s traditional indigenous people practice forms of animism that predate the six official religions’ dominance in Indonesia.

But practitioners of traditional religions have to choose one of the official faiths when applying for a national ID card.

“To justly accommodate the beliefs of cultural and traditional faith communities, the religion section must be omitted,” Latif said.

The congress also recommended the government institute moral education classes in the national curriculum and urged lawmakers to pass a law protecting the free practice of traditional faiths.

The Ministry of Education and Culture said it would bring the recommendations to the House of Representatives, but said it could not guarantee any action.

“The government’s authority is limited because it has to coordinate with the House of Representatives, so the government will ask for support from cultural communities,” said Gendro Nur Hadi, director of traditional faith development at the ministry.

Gendro told the assembled people that the government would not turn a blind eye to the nation’s traditional faiths.

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"Perceptions of God" – June 6, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Quantum Teaching, The Fear of God, Near-death Experience, God Becomes Mythology, Worship, Mastery, Intelligent Design, Benevolent CreatorGlobal Unity.... etc.) (Text version)

“.. For centuries you haven't been able to think past that box of what God must be like. So you create a Human-like God with wars in heaven, angel strife, things that would explain the devil, fallen angels, pearly gates, lists of dos and don'ts, and many rules still based on cultures that are centuries old. You create golden streets and even sexual pleasures as rewards for men (of course) - all Human perspective, pasted upon God. I want to tell you that it's a lot different than that. I want to remind you that there are those who have seen it! Why don't you ask somebody who has had what you would call a near-death experience?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

UNESCO Urges Bali to Pass Bylaw Protecting Subak Rice Fields

Jakarta Globe, Made Arya Kencana, November 26, 2012

A tourist walks past a paddy rice field in Jatiluwih, Bali, in May. The Balinese
 traditional irrigation and farming system, also known as Subak, was officially
 named as a UNESCO world heritage site during a meeting of the UN's cultural
agency in Saint Petersburg, Russia. (EPA Photo/Made Nagi)
Related articles

Bali’s terraced “subak” rice fields need to be protected from encroaching development, the United Nation’s cultural agency UNESCO urged on Monday, warning that the world heritage sites faced similar threats as Sumatra's disappearing rain forests.

The agency pushed for Bali administration to issue a bylaw preventing the conversion of subak rice paddies for the construction of hotels or other tourism-focused facilities. UNESCO named the island’s subak rice paddies a world heritage site in May.

“We’ve visited four districts whose subak fields have been named a world heritage and asked the district heads to issue a bylaw in line with [UNESCO’s] global guidelines [for world heritage sites],” Arief Rachman, chairman of the Indonesian National Commission for UNESCO, told the Antara News Agency.

The cooperatively managed canal system dates back to the Ninth Century and reflects the philosophical concept Tri Hita Karana, which focuses on bringing together the spirit, human and natural worlds. There are some 303 hectares of subak rice paddies still in existence, according to tourism officials.

“The subak system of democratic and egalitarian farming practices has enabled the Balinese to become the most prolific rice growers in the archipelago despite the challenge of supporting a dense population,” UNESCO explained on its website.

The island’s administration has drafted the conservation bylaw, but is still waiting for public officials to endorse it, Bali Tourism Agency head Ida Bagus Kade Subhiksu said.

Bali’s large tourism industry has taken a toll on the subak rice fields as local residents choose to work in the hotel and restaurant industries instead of farming rice, he said. The farms themselves are being sold off to hotel developers eager to build on new land.

“The number of farmers is also getting low because more residents choose to work at hotels now,” Subhiksu said. “According to a survey we did, many farmers’ children did not want to be farmers when they grow up.”

UNESCO named Sumatra’s rain forests as a world heritage site in 2004, citing the once-lush forests’ biodiversity. But after years of deforestation, the cultural agency was forced to place the forests on its “Danger List.”

“Tropical rainforests in Sumatra are facing a threat to be removed from the world heritage list because of development activities, which have led to forest clearings,” Arief said.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Three Rare Sumatran Tiger Cubs Born at Medan Zoo

Jakarta Globe, November 14, 2012

Three four-week-old cubs sit inside a cage at a zoo in Medan, North Sumatra
on  Wednesday. A critically endangered Sumatran tiger has given birth to three
cubs  at an Indonesian zoo, a veterinarian at the facility said on Wednesday.
(AFP Photo/Atar)
Related articles

Medan. A critically endangered Sumatran tiger has given birth to three cubs at an Indonesian zoo, a veterinarian at the facility said on Wednesday.

“She gave birth naturally, without human intervention. The three cubs are all healthy. Two are male, while we haven’t been able to get close to the other to identify it,” Suci Terawan, a veterinarian at Medan Zoo in North Sumatra, told AFP.

The 13-year-old Sumatran tiger named Manis, or Sweetie in English, gave birth to the cubs on Oct. 18, just over a year after she successfully bore three male cubs, Terawan said.

“This is our latest contribution in conserving the critically endangered species,” he said, adding that the zoo now has six cubs, and one female and two male adults.

Earlier this year, a Sumatran tiger at a zoo on the island’s Jambi province gave birth to three cubs, but only two survived.

Fewer than 400 Sumatran tigers are left in the wild, conservationists say, with several dying each year as a result of traps, poaching and other human intervention.

Agence France-Presse

Sunday, November 11, 2012

To Reform the United Nations, BDF Needs Global Support

Jakarta Globe, Pitan Daslani, November 11, 2012

A more democratic United Nations was on the agenda of the Bali Democracy
 Forum attended by leaders such as Indonesian President Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono,  Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Afghan President Hamid Karzai
 and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (AFP Photo/Sonny Tumbelaka)
Related articles

The issue of reforming the United Nations Security Council loomed large during the two-day Bali Democracy Forum, which was attended by 11 heads of state and government.

The essence of their speeches on this particular topic was to restructure the council, or UNSC, to the extent that it represents “actual realities” of the present-day global constellation so that the world’s most powerful authority is not “undemocratically controlled” only by the five permanent members, often referred to as the “Perm Five.”

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan recognized that the current constellation of the UNSC was the result of a global power imbalance in the aftermath of World War II. Now that this reason is out-dated, he said, it is time for the council to be restructured.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai also spoke about the need to overhaul the UN system and make it more democratic because the current constellation is “no longer suitable” for present-day realities.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono gave a broader perspective on the issue and emphasized the need to democratize the United Nations to the point that it reflects the globe’s potential strengths in all fields. This would include rewriting the criteria for membership to the UNSC.

To do so, the UN Charter must be amended. And that is where huge problems arise. If amending a country’s constitution is a big and very sensitive issue, more so is the proposition to amend the UN Charter.

Where to begin? Who will have the authority to conduct reform? And, the most crucial question is, how to get the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France to agree to relinquish their exclusive veto rights? These states would then no longer enjoy the exclusivity of such rights and be “downgraded” to the level of ordinary, non-permanent members. Reforming the UNSC would mean scrapping exclusive rights and sharing them with the rest of the UNSC members.

What the Bali Democracy Forum leaders had in mind was that if the UNSC could be reformed, it should begin by abolishing the distinction between permanent and non-permanent membership, thereby sharing the exclusive veto right equally among all members as a matter of democratic fairness.

The next step would be to rewrite the criteria for obtaining UNSC membership status.

That should reflect the real strength of the world, from economic to socio-demographic, technological, geo-strategic and soft-power excellence, and not merely based on perception of a country’s military strength, which is how it has been done for nearly seven decades.

Idealistically, that would usher in a more balanced global order in which key decisions on global peace, security, governance and economic policy formulation are made democratically by a reformed UN whose resolutions would no longer be suspected of advancing or siding with the agendas of certain countries.

In step with such endeavors, the UN General Assembly must be given greater authority to establish a “democratic superbody” under its auspices with the mandate to appoint the right people to lead various international agencies such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and all UN organs.

The conduct of the assembly, or UNGA, itself needs to be reformed so that it no longer becomes a forum for adversaries to attack each other, as in the ugly annual shows by warring countries, or those involved in various kinds of undeclared, yet open, war.

Delegates to UNGA should be required to present their best practices so others can learn from and their concerns and propose solutions to global problems affecting their existence.

That way, the UNGA could become an annual forum for obtaining answers and solutions instead of a platform for displaying hegemony, hatred, provocation and enmity. What a wonderful world the final outcome would be! In fact, US President Barack Obama has for some time envisaged such a UN. But for now, these reforms remain in my daydreams after reading the speeches of the Bali Democracy Forum leaders.

The speeches taught me to dream about a new world in which the UN is the peacemaker and problem-solver for its member countries. I was taught by those speeches to smile optimistically at future harmonious international relations, rather than frowning at the current realities.

But after a while, I realized that none of what those leaders were saying about UN reform during the forum was actually new.

Even as early as 1992, when leaders of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) gathered for their 10th summit in Jakarta, they had already issued a joint declaration that aimed to, among other things, reform the UN.

Even before that, Ali Alatas, who served as Indonesia’s foreign minister from 1988 to 1999 and was very well respected for his diplomatic acumen, strove through various international forums to achieve a consensus for reforming the UN.

Alatas — who co-chaired the Paris International Peace Conference on Cambodia with then-French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas and was the spokesman of the Third World Group of 77 for talks with advanced countries — used Asean, the Group of 77, NAM, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and other forums to advance this goal. And yet untilhis death, he had not seen his painstaking efforts come to fruition.

The global power constellation remains undemocratic despite the rhetoric of those self-proclaimed “champions of democracy.” It is a big illusion to expect the Bali Democracy Forum to correct the situation by relying on its own network.

BDF needs to be expanded to include the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France as permanent participants, as well as other regional powers such as Brazil and Mexico to represent South America; South Africa, Egypt and perhaps Nigeria or other strong economies on the African continent; as well as Germany, Canada and OIC members.

Besides, leaving NATO members out of the picture would be counterproductive — if indeed reforming the UNSC is part of the goal that BDF leaders had in mind during their Bali meeting. The time is right because NATO does not have an enemy today to justify its huge weaponry.

Before talking about reforming the UN what BDF must do is strengthen its membership network to represent the actual strength of international constellations so that its aspirations can be supported by those participants that represent the majority of global strength.

But that alone is not enough. How the BDF can amend the UN Charter and reform the UN is a wilderness that has yet to be explored.

Perhaps it will remain in my daydreams for many more years until I give up and acknowledge that this is not simple work that can be solved through a loose forum’s appeals and declarations.

The world needs a new democratic conscience movement to push such strategic issues forward. And it needs great statesmen to make it happen.

The next BDF needs to go a lot further than just a collection of keynote speeches. The forum must attract other centers of power so that they too may lend a helping hand in creating a more balanced global order.

Pitan Daslani is a senior political correspondent at BeritaSatu Media Holdings, of which the Jakarta Globe is a subsidiary. He can be reached at

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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Indonesia, Iran in Agreement on Syria

Jakarta Globe, Made Arya Kencana, November 10, 2012

Indonesia's Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, right, greets Iran's Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad. (AFP Photo/Adek Berry)
Related articles

Nusa Dua, Bali. The leaders of Indonesia and Iran on Friday spoke out against foreign intervention in settling the bloody two-year civil conflict in Syria.

In a statement following a bilateral meeting between Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the Bali Democracy Forum, the two heads of state agreed that the resolution to the conflict should rest with Syrians themselves.

“The two countries agreed that the political process in Syria must rest in the hands of the Syrian people, and the international community should provide room for that,” Yudhoyono said.

Neither leader mentioned the weapons reportedly being supplied to Syria by Iran.

Yudhoyono said the problems in the Middle East, especially the Syrian conflict, dominated the bilateral talks he had with Ahmadinejad.

Yudhoyono added that the two leaders deplored the lack of interest among the international community in helping to bring an end to the conflict in Syria.

“Whatever the country, they should care, but there are no signs that the conflict will end soon,” he said.

Ahmadinejad said the Syrian people needed to be the driving force behind achieving democracy. “Democracy cannot be forced onto them by any other countries,” Ahmadinejad said.

Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was also in Bali to attend the forum, said after a bilateral meeting with Yudhoyono that the violence in Syria should be halted as soon as possible so as to prevent the deaths of more civilians.

“Immediately bring a halt to the bloodshed and the fall of civilian victims,” Erdogan said,

Turkey has watched thousands of refugees flood across the Syrian border and into its territory.

“I ask that this conflict end so that there will not be larger waves of refugees,” Erdogan said.

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Rare Look at Lesbian Issues in Indonesia

Jakarta Globe, Katrin Figge, November 09, 2012     

Related articles

'Tombois and Femmes: Defying Gender
Labels in Indonesia' by Evelyn Blackwood.
In Indonesia, lesbian women, as well as gay men, bisexuals and transgender individuals, often face intolerance and violence from religious fundamentalist groups like the Islamic Defenders Front.

Even though there have been many positive developments in recent years in terms of visibility, many people who belong to the LGBT community still hide their true identity for fear of the social stigma, which comes not only from groups like the FPI, but often from one’s own family, friends and immediate surroundings as well.

A book by Evelyn Blackwood, a professor of cultural anthropology at Purdue University, sheds light on the challenges that lesbian women in Indonesia still face, following extensive research she conducted in West Sumatra.

The book titled “Tombois and Femmes: Defying Gender Labels in Indonesia,” was first published by the University of Hawai’i Press under the title “Falling into the Lesbi World: Desire and Difference in Indonesia.” Blackwood’s book was recently picked up by the Lontar Foundation for a reprint.

“My first research project was in West Sumatra, which resulted in my first book, ‘Webs of Power: Women, Kin and Community in a Sumatran Village’ [2000], a study of the matrilineal Minangkabau,” Blackwood said. “So I was already very familiar with the area of West Sumatra and the cultural context. Much of my research over time has focused on sexuality, female masculinities and transgender identities. So it was an easy jump for me to take my interest in those topics and apply them to West Sumatra.”

With the help of a local research associate, Blackwood was able to make contact with “tombois” in Padang — a term which derives from the English word tomboy and refers to the masculine partner in a same-sex relationship — and their girlfriends, or “femmes,” the feminine counterpart.

However, it was not easy, especially when taking into account the fact that West Sumatra is a region with a reputation of being devoutly Islamic.

“Because I was open about my sexual identity as a lesbian, they felt pretty comfortable talking to me,” Blackwood said. “Their fear was of course that they would be exposed to their family or neighbors. So I have been very careful to maintain their privacy.”

Interviews were mostly conducted in Blackwood’s hotel room to guarantee that her sources could talk openly.

The book is not only a much needed contribution to raise awareness and understanding of LGBT issues, but the author also understands to put the stories of the women in a larger cultural context. At the same time, Blackwood’s main aim seems to be to provide information in order to increase the visibility of lesbian women in Indonesia. She doesn’t use a judgmental tone, but rather states facts and brings to paper what others have told her.

“The tombois and femmes I knew lived quiet lives with their families and kept their relationships hidden,” Blackwood said. “I don’t think that has changed. But even with that, tombois and their girlfriends are finding ways to have meaningful and long-term relationships. The LGBT activist groups in major cities are doing a great job creating visibility for LGBT. The more people know about them, hopefully the more accepting the larger society will become.”

Blackwood hopes that through the publication of her book in Indonesia, she will help people understand sexuality and gender in a broader sense, by showing how cultural factors have defined the terms.

“It argues against fixed sexual identities, by which I mean that identity labels are just that, labels,” Blackwood explained. “How people live those labels depend on cultural, religious, and political influences, as well as their access to the global flow of ideas circulating on the internet.”

Blackwood added that the Ardhanary Institute, a Jakarta-based center for lesbian, bisexual, and transgender research, publications and advocacy, was in the process of working on an anthology which will include the first chapter of her book, translated into Indonesian. The anthology is scheduled to be published by the end of this year.

“I think their efforts will make a much stronger impact because it will reach non-English-speaking Indonesians,” she said.

Blackwood is currently working on her latest project in the United States where she is developing a research topic to look at the history of lesbians in San Francisco from the 1970s to today.

While Blackwood sporadically keeps in touch with some of the women she has written about in her book, the personal impact of the research has stayed with her. “I haven’t forgotten any of their stories and can only hope that they continue to be happy in their lives and their relationships,” she said.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sukarno, Hatta Officially Named National Heroes

Jakarta Globe, November 07, 2012

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, right, led a ceremony on Wednesday
at the presidential palace in Jakarta during which Indonesia’s founding fathers, 

Sukarno  and Muhammad Hatta, were named national heroes. (Photo courtesy
Related articles 

Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta, Indonesia’s founding fathers, were officially recognized as national heroes during a ceremony at the presidential palace in Jakarta on Wednesday morning.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono pinned medals on Sukarno’s eldest son, Guntur Sukarnoputra, and Hatta’s daughter, Meutia Hatta, who represented the two honorees during a ceremony that lasted for half an hour.

“Bung Karno and Bung Hatta were two sons of the nation whose ideas and thoughts have become foundations for the nation,” Yudhoyono said in a speech after he issued the medals.

Although both Sukarno and Hatta have always been recognized as the founding fathers of Indonesia, they were never conferred with the title of national heroes, mostly because past political elites deemed the two had historical baggage.

Sukarno was accused of leaning toward the far-left during his time in power and granting political advantages for the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) and its leaders.

A 1967 decree of the Provisional People’s Consultative Assembly (MPRS) that stripped Sukarno of his presidential post claimed that “there have been indications that President Sukarno has adopted a policy that indirectly benefits the G-30-s/PKI movement and protects the key figures [of the movement].”

However, former Constitutional Court chief Jimly Asshiddiqie argued that the PKI scandals had clouded Sukarno and Hatta’s legacy as founders of the nation and proposed in July that the two should be named national heroes.

The Title and Honor Council finally accepted the proposal, although the chief, Djoko Suyanto, refused to explain why.

“The [award medals] will be handed over to the families of Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta,” Djoko, also the coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, told shortly before the ceremony.

The ceremony is part of the celebration of Indonesia’s Heroes Day, celebrated every Nov. 10.

Sukarno’s eldest daughter and fifth president of Indonesia, Megawati Sukarnoputri, was seen in attendance. She has hardly stepped foot in the presidential palace since Yudhoyono, a former coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs in her cabinet, assumed the presidency in 2004.

Antara, JG

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

World Leaders Bound for Forum in Bali

Jakarta Globe, Made Arya Kencana, November 06, 2012

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be attending the Bali Democracy
Forum in Nusa Dua later this week. (AFP Photo)

Related articles

Denpasar. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is among 12 heads of government coming to Nusa Dua later this week for the two-day Bali Democracy Forum.

Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry said that leaders from Afghanistan, Australia, Brunei, China, East Timor, Iran, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Yemen had confirmed their attendance at the event.

“The Asean secretary general will also be present,” Siti Nugraha Mauludiah, the ministry’s technical cooperation director, told reporters in Denpasar on Monday.

The ministry said that the annual forum on Thursday and Friday would also be attended by 27 ministers.

“The number of ministers could increase, given that each head of state may bring along several ministers,” Siti said.

So far, 1,246 participants from 73 countries have confirmed their attendance. Countries not sending heads of government or ministers will be represented by appointed observers.

Siti said that the BDF would be opened by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, with representatives from Australia and South Korea acting as co-chairs.

Ten heads of government will speak on democracy on the first day, while the agenda for the second day will be filled with discussions across three sessions.

Discussions in the first session will center on security and peace, the second session on human rights and the third session on economic development.

Several heads of government are also scheduled to hold bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the conference. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak will deliver a keynote speech at the conference.

During the address, Lee plans to stress the importance of democracy as a universal value of humankind and underscore the need to promote democracy for the sake of international peace, safety and prosperity, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported.

On the sidelines, Lee will meet with Yudhoyono to discuss ways to deepen relations between the two countries to mark the 40th anniversary of their diplomatic relations, the Foreign Ministry said.

Trade volume between South Korea and Indonesia has more than doubled in the past five years, to $30.7 billion in 2011. Preliminary talks on a bilateral free trade deal have also taken place.

After the summit, Yudhoyono plans to award Lee with Indonesia’s highest state medal, Bintang Republik Indonesia Adipurna (Star of the Republic of Indonesia), in recognition for his contribution to relations between the two countries.

Ahmadinejad’s participation in the BDF comes after several years in which Iran has been represented by ministers.

Meanwhile, police and military have started to intensify security in Bali.

“Security points start from Bali’s entrance points,” Maj. Gen. Wisnu Bawa Tenaya, the head of Bali’s military command, said on Monday.

Wisnu said that security would be most intense in the Nusa Dua area, including around the meeting venue and hotels where the participants are staying.

Also protected will be roads to the meeting venue and strategic points such as the airport, waterways and tourism sites.

Security forces have deployed rubber boats, armored cars, helicopters and battleships as part of security measures.

Bali Police community director Putu Gde Suastawa said 1,400 personnel would be deployed to secure the event.

“We will also be assisted by pecalang [traditional village security officers] who will control security in their respective villages,” he said.

The BDF was an Indonesian government initiative first held in 2008 with the aim of developing democracy in the Asia Pacific. The forum seeks to promote regional and international cooperation in the development of peace and democracy through dialogue and the sharing of experiences.

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