The Asia Africa Conference met in April 1955 in the Gedung Merdeka Building in Bandung West Java Indonesia to discuss a new International Order which was neither communist nor capitalist.
Twenty Nine countries took part in the conference, including Indonesia itself. The countries came from Asia and Africa and of them had experienced colonial rule and occupation by nations such as Netherlands, England, Spain, Portugal and France for many decades, even centuries, beforehand.
Things began to change at the end of World War Two in 1945 when new countries or States were created such as Indonesia and the formation of United Nations.
The objectives of the Conference were
- Consider problems of common interest
- Recognize the urgency of promoting economic development in Asia and Africa
- Encourage economic co-operation
- Achieve a strategy to stablilize commodity trade
- Diversify Export Trade
- Nurture cultural co-operation (cradle of great religions and civilizations)
- Limit development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes
- Expand educational, scientific and technical Institutions
- Support Human rights declared by United nations
- Stamp out Racial Discrimination (Apartheid0 and Discrimination of any kind
- Uphold the basic human right of Dignity
This was to be called the Bandung Spirit and a legacy of the Conference:
- Respect for Human rights
- Respect for national Sovereignty
- Recognition of Indigineous People and All Nations
- No Intervention or Interference in internal affairs of another country
- Right to Defend your country where necessary
- Not to use collective Defence
- Refrain from acts or threats of Aggression
- Settle dispute by Peaceful means
- Promotion of Mutual Interests and Co-operation
- Respect for Justice
One important thing discussed at the conference was that of the basic right for people to study their own language and culture. How appropriate the Conference took place in the Sundanese capital of Bandung!
The 1955 Bandung Conference came one year after events in the Indo-China War in Vietnam which led to principles of co-existence and to the creation of the NonAligned Movement in 1961 which meant that none of the countries who signed to the ‘Bandung Spirit’ took sides in the Cold War between America and Russia.
The real importance of what happened in Bandung is this. Emerging nations can have a voice in world politics and play their part in the World Order.
THE GEDUNG MERDEKA BUILDING
It is in fact an old Dutch Colonial Building and was built in 1902.
It is located on Jalan Asia Afrika which street took its name from the Conference.
Today it houses the Asia Afrika Museum and acts as a record with photographs and documents from that Conference.
The Building is 7,500 square metres