Jakarta. Amnesty International says the police have killed dozens of suspects in a crackdown on petty crime ahead of the Asian Games, hosted by Jakarta and Palembang, South Sumatra, between Aug. 18 and Sept. 2.
"In the months leading up to the Asian Games, the authorities promised to improve security for all. Instead, we have seen the police shooting and killing dozens of people across the country with almost zero accountability for the deaths," Usman Hamid, executive director of Amnesty International Indonesia, said in a statement on Friday (17/08).
The Jakarta Police launched a month-long public safety operation named "Cipta Kondisi" in early July to curb crime ahead of the international multisport event.
Amnesty International said the police have shot dead at least 77 people across the country between January and August this year. This includes 31 in Jakarta and Palembang.
The human rights group says dozens were shot in the leg and thousands have been arrested during the security operation.
Police have focused their efforts on street criminals, such as pickpockets and thieves, and motorcycle gangs involved in armed robberies.
"Should they resist arrest or pose a threat, I've instructed [officers] to not hesitate to shoot them," National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian previously said in relation to the safety operation, as quoted by BeritaSatu.com.
Usman said the police have established a pattern of "unnecessary and excessive use of force" that revealed a "constant veil of impunity," which he said has tainted the image of country's law enforcement agencies.
"The hosting of an international sporting event must not come at the price of abandoning human rights. The killings must stop and all deaths must be promptly and effectively investigated," he added.
Last month, Human Rights Watch also highlighted a surge in extrajudicial killings by members of the Jakarta Police and called on the government to investigate the matter in a prompt and impartial manner.
"The Asian Games are intended to celebrate human achievement, not provide a pretext for a police 'shoot-to-kill' policy in the name of crime control," Phelim Kine, Human Rights Watch deputy director for Asia, said in a statement on July 18.
Tito said early this month that nearly 300 suspected terrorists had been arrested since a series of terrorist attacks in East Java during May. Several suspects were also shot and killed in police operations to crack down on terrorist networks.
Amnesty International called on the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) and the National Police Commission (Kompolnas) to conduct a thorough, impartial and independent investigation and bring those responsible for the killings to justice.
In addition, the organization urged the authorities and both national and international sports governing bodies to ensure that there are no human rights violations because of the Asian Games.
The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) oversees the Asian Games.