Indonesia’s life or death Drug Laws

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On Monday 15 September 2009, the Indonesian Parliament voted in stricter drugs laws as part of the Government's efforts to toughen up their national "War on Drugs".

The law maintains the death penalty for some drug offences and has criminalised drug addiction. Now, Indonesian parents must also be aware that they have committed a crime if they fail to notify the authorities of their drug addicted children.

Furthermore, the entirety of Indonesian society must note that the responsibility for fighting drug trafficking has been given to them, it is no longer for the government to do. The Indonesian government see these changes as an essential move, in order to save the younger generations from drugs.

However these changes have received much criticism from Human Rights groups worldwide. On a national level, The Indonesian Coalition for Drug Policy Reform (ICDPR) have strongly criticised these new stricter laws as they criminalise drug users, contradicting doctors who see them as ill people who can be cured. The death penalty has put an end to the hope of the basic human right of rehabilitation for drug users.

Indonesian drug laws have begun to affect its visitors too. Australians, who make up some of Indonesia's largest tourist figures, seem to the most affected. In 2006, 3 young Australians faced the Indonesian firing squad when they were caught trafficking heroin out of the country. Currently, at least 11 Aussies are awaiting trials for drug use in Indonesian prisons.

It looks like the Indonesian government and its society have a large workload. According to the Indonesian National Narcotics Agency; there are 27000 drug users and nearly 2000 of which are under the age of 19. The government might be better off looking at hard evidence which shows that punitive long prison sentences do not act as a deterrent for drug users. Their money would be better spent educating the population about drugs and on rehabilitating those who have come to harm through drug use, instead of applying laws which enforce a vigilante type justice system and violate human rights with devastating consequences.

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