|Biographical detail : ||Indonesian diplomat
A former Indonesian foreign minister who represented the country, Ali Alatas was once considered for the top position at the United Nations.
A widely respected Ali Alatas was Indonesia’s highest-ranking diplomat until 1998 when Suharto was swept from power after a wave of pro-democracy mass street protests.
He served his country as ambassador in Bangkok and Washington DC, and twice served ambassador to the UN, in Geneva (1975-78) and in New York (1982-88).
One of the greatest triumphs of Ali Alatas was his engagement with the Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen, (who had been appointed by the invading Vietnamese in 1978) and brokered the historic 1991 peace settlement at the Paris International Conference to end the war with the Khmer Rouge.
Ali Alatas was a UN special envoy tasked with drafting a report on security, development and human rights.
There was international outrage over Indonesia’s handling in East Timor after it invaded and occupied and that resulted into many killings. This may have perhaps cost Ali Alatas the top UN job, for 1990s candidacy.
Ali Alatas was instrumental in seeing that the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) enshrined the value of human rights and democracy in a charter, which came into force soon after his death.
In his book ‘A Voice for a Just Peace’ (2001), a compilation of a selection of his speeches with some commentary Ali Alatas highlights Indonesia’s desire for economic and social justice on a global scale, demanding an end to nuclear testing and the reform of the UN to end superpower domination.
A charismatic and urbane Ali Alatas known affectionately as “Pak Ali” was born in Jakarta. He passed away at a hospital in Singapore a week after having a stroke.