In principle, LBH Masyarakat agrees with the stance of police in returning home the son of Henry Yosodiningrat, a Member of Parliament from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle and founder of the anti-drugs NGO Granat, after the child tested positive for drugs. LBH Masyarakat supports drug dependency recovery efforts for any user. On the other hand, LBH Masyarakat also hopes such measures can be applied fairly by police to all other levels of society – not just to celebrities or those who possess political power.
Henry Yosodiningrat has on several occasions openly indicated his support for the imprisonment of people who use drugs. This week’s case, which positions his child as a people who use drugs, should make us collectively understand how important it is to decriminalise the use, possession and purchase of limited amounts of drugs.
It is not at all suitable for the problem of drug use/dependence to be solved through law enforcement. This only drains budgets and fills prisons, while our law enforcement infrastructure is needed for other, far more important matters: the disclosure of corruption cases and the resolution of the Novel Baswedan case, for example.
Data from the Ministry of Law and Human Rights itself shows there are at least 28,123 people who use drugs in prison as of March 2018 – a figure which it turns out does not yet include 12 regional offices who are yet to report people who use drugs who have been erroneously declared “dealers” by the courts.
Henry Yosodiningrat also regularly gives his support to the imprisonment of people who have only recently tried or occasionally use drugs. The frequency of someone’s drug use should not necessarily remove the state’s obligation to fulfill their right to health, either through consultation with a specialist or participation in a rehabilitation program.
It is crucial to keep people who use drugs removed from law enforcement intervention. Decriminalisation means people who use drugs will no longer need to access rehabilitation services in secret and can openly talk about the problem they are experiencing: either to health services, friends or, of course, their parents.
If we want families to also be pillars of support in order to extend the scope of health services for people who use drugs, the government must quickly develop policy supportive of decriminalisation. It is important for Henry Yosodiningrat, Granat, and the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle in particular to say loudly and clearly: we need to support people who use drugs, not punish them.
This is a good moment for us to remember how important it is to remove narcotics-related provisions from the draft revised Criminal Code (RKUHP) which will hinder rehabilitation programs, and revise the Narcotics Act, which contains decriminalisation provisions used to guarantee the fulfillment of the right to health for people who use drugs.
Yohan Misero – LBH Masyarakat Drug Policy Analyst
This press release was translated by Iven Manning.