Amnesty International have claimed that Indonesian police have shot dead more than 70 people in the lead-up to the country’s hosting of the 2018 Asian Games here, criticising what it describes as an "unnecessary and excessive use of force".
The human rights organisation allege that, between January and August this year, at least 77 people have been gunned down across the country, including 31 in the Games host cities of greater Jakarta and South Sumatra.
Many of these killings occurred during police operations explicitly devised to prepare the cities for hosting the multi-sport event scheduled to begin tomorrow with the Opening Ceremony at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium.
"In the months leading up to the Asian Games, the authorities promised to improve security for all," Usman Hamid, Amnesty International Indonesia’s executive director, said.
"Instead, we have seen the police shooting and killing dozens of people across the country with almost zero accountability for the deaths.
"These shocking figures reveal a clear pattern of unnecessary and excessive use of force by the police, and a constant veil of impunity that taints public security institutions.
"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."
Amnesty International claim killings peaked from July 3 to 12, when 11 people in greater Jakarta and three in South Sumatra were shot dead by the police as part of a "public safety" operation to prepare the two cities for hosting the Games.
In Jakarta, in addition to those killed, a further 41 people were shot in the legs, while more than 700 of 5,000 people arrested were charged with a criminal offence.
Shortly before the operation - known as "Cipta Kondisi", which translates as public safety operation - high-ranking police officials publicly announced that their personnel would take "firm actions", including shooting on-sight anyone who resisted arrest or attacked police officers.
Despite criticism, it is claimed the Indonesian National Police chief reaffirmed the policy on July 30, warning "if they fight the officers during the arrest then have no doubt, just shoot them".
The police justified the killings in Jakarta amid growing public concern about increasing incidents of violent crimes being committed in the city.
These refer to people carrying sharp weapons or guns who use motorbikes to rob and attack people.
The overall number of people killed in Indonesia’s streets accused of having committed petty crimes this year represents a 64 per cent increase on the same period for 2017.
"The police are clearly exercising a 'shoot first and ask questions later' policy," Hamid added.
"The National Commission on Human Rights and National Police Commission must promptly launch a thorough, impartial and independent investigation into the killings and bring everyone suspected of criminal responsibility before justice, including those in the chain of command."
Amnesty International is also calling on the Indonesian authorities, as well as national and international sports governing bodies, to take all appropriate measures to ensure that human rights violations do not take place as a consequence of hosting the Asian Games, and that staging this major sporting event does not contribute to exacerbating existing abuses.
"Under international human rights law, Indonesia is legally obliged to respect and protect everyone’s right to life at all times, and has a duty to carry out prompt, thorough and effective investigations into suspected violations of the right to life," a statement from the organisation read.
Authorities have also been targeting suspected terrorists with almost 40 having been arrested in the West Java region as of early this month.