Open Letter by INPUD: to President Joko Widodo-President of the Republic of Indonesia
9 February 2015
Dear President Widodo,
We, the undersigned, write this open letter in request that you do not carry out the planned executions of those currently held on death row charged with drug-related offences in Indonesia, both Indonesian nationals, and foreign citizens. The death penalty is the ultimate denial of an individual’s human rights, and we urge you to focus on the human rights and health of those charged, and not on punitive policies that only exacerbate costs and harms.
On the 18th January 2015, six people who had been convicted of drug charges were executed in Indonesia, despite numerous pleas that the executions be called off. In addition to an Indonesian national, those killed included citizens of Brazil, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Vietnam and Malawi. International condemnation of these executions has been swift, and three of the states whose citizens were executed removed their ambassadors from Indonesia.
We stress that what you have referred to as ‘shock therapy’ as a means with which to deter drug trafficking categorically fails to work: such policies have demonstrably failed in their aim to decrease drug use the world over, and as noted in an open letter recently sent to you that was signed by in excess of 30 civil society organisations in Indonesia, these policies have failed to decrease drug use or drug trafficking in Indonesia.
Criminalisation and the death penalty, far from decreasing drug use and drug-related harm, drive people who use drugs into the margins of society, distancing them from harm reduction interventions, from healthcare and service provision, and significantly worsening their health and social exclusion. Indeed, those who are convicted of trafficking drugs in Indonesia are often incredibly marginalised and vulnerable to exploitation, manipulation, and coercion. In short, the incarceration and execution of people who use drugs most harm the most vulnerable in society and are incompatible with a prioritisation of human rights and of health.
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