REPORTS that Indonesia is beefing up its security forces and increasing firepower to adopt the Philippines’ war on drugs have riled rights activists who say the republic should not support such a “bloody policy”.
Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) deputy director for Asia Phelim Kine said instead of calling on security forces to emulate the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drug campaign, Indonesia’s national anti-narcotics agency (BNN) chief Budi Waseso should express condemnation for it.
He said: “(Budi) Waseso should publicly decry the Philippines’ ‘war on drugs’ for what it truly is: a brutal, unlawful assault on the rule of law and universal human rights protections that has targeted some of the country’s poorest, most marginalized citizens.”
Kine pointed out that since Duterte came to power, more than 2,000 people have been killed over suspicion of their involvement in the drug trade.
He noted that although the Philippine police force has publicly confirmed that some of these drug suspects were killed when they resisted arrest and shot at them, some were slain by other groups.
“Police statistics attribute another 1,067 killings of alleged drug dealers and users in the past two months to unknown gunmen,” Kine said.
He said that when Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo meets with Duterte this week, the former should openly reject his Filipino counterpart’s “appalling” solution to his country’s drug problem.
Jokowi, Kine added, should “emphasize the obligation of police and other security forces to respect everyone’s basic human rights”.
Duterte is slated to meet Jokowi this week after the ASEAN Summit concludes in Laos. Discussions during the meetings in Indonesia are expected to revolve around efforts to tackle the drugs trade in the region.
Duterte, who won his presidency in May this year on the anti-narcotics platform, has so far ignored condemnation from rights groups and leaders both from within and outside the Philippines, and has pressed on with his campaign.
A Reuters report yesterday quoted Budi as saying Tuesday that Indonesia was adding weapons, investigators, technology and sniffer dogs to boost its enforcement.
Responding to a question by a reporter, Budi said the drug menace in Indonesia was as bad as the Philippines and that the war on narcotics in Indonesia could be similar to the neighbouring country.
“Yes I believe so. It can happen because (the drugs problem) in Indonesia is as bad as in the Philippines,” he was quoted as saying.
“The life of a dealer is meaningless because (he) carries out mass murder. How can we respect that?”
Meanwhile, Indonesian police have also acknowledged that many of those in the force are involved in the country’s drug trade, some as users and others and dealers.
A report by Coconuts Indonesia quoted Commissioner Irianto of the national police’s internal affairs division as saying that some 118 officers have been tested positive for drug use this year.
“Of the 118, five are dealers and 113 are users,” he said in the report quoting an article by CNN Indonesia.