Jokowi Promises War on Drugs for a 'Golden Indonesia'


FEBRUARY 04, 2015

Jakarta. President Joko Widodo opened the 2015 National Coordination Meeting on Drugs on Wednesday promising a renewed commitment to fighting the war on drugs in Indonesia.

The meeting was attended by more than 20 governors and a total of 300 mayors and was titled the "National Movement on Eradicating Drugs to Achieve a Golden Indonesia."

“Indonesia is in a state of emergency regarding drugs," the president said. "All governors, mayors, and regents need to work together to fight drugs together. We should not tolerate drugs.

“Each day, there are 50 people dying from using drugs and in a year, there could be up to 18 thousand people dead,” he added.

The president reiterated his stance that convicted drug traffickers would not be spared from the firing squad, a policy that has drawn unanimous condemnation from human rights groups.

“I have told the presidents and prime ministers of the countries whose citizens are the convicts that there will be no forgiveness for drug-related cases,” Joko said.

Joko continues to prioritize fighting an aggressive battle against criminals involved in the drugs trade, but he has been less keen to take on the tobacco industry, which kills far more Indonesians every year than drugs.

“There are 4.2 million people in rehabilitation centers. That’s a big number. If we can’t be decisive about eradicating drugs, the problem will never be over,” Joko said.

To deal with the growing number of drug users, the National Narcotics Board, or BNN, will increase the capacity of its rehabilitation facilities.

“Drug users need to be treated in rehabilitation centers," BNN head Comr. Gen. Anang Iskandar said. "They will not get better if we put them in jail. We admit that we still lack of rehabilitation centers. That’s why we need everyone in the country to work together with us."

Indonesia was roundly condemned in January when it executed six people convicted of drug-trafficking. The governments of the Netherlands and Brazil both withdrew their ambassadors for consultations after a Dutchman and a Brazilian were killed by firing squad.