Human Rights Watch (HRW) lambasted the Indonesian government for awarding Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa of a medal of honor given by Indonesian National Police (INP).
On February 14, Wednesday, HRW Deputy Director of Asian Division Phelim Kine said in a statement that the award “dishonors the rule of law” and is a “gross insult” to the victims of the Philippine government’s war on drugs.
The INP awarded its highest award “Bintang Bhayangkara Utama” to Dela Rosa during a grand conferment ceremony at the Indonesian Police Academy headquarters in Jakarta.
During the ceremony, Indonesia’s National Police Chief Gen. Tito Karnavian commended Dela Rosa for being a “rockstar-like inspiration to the Indonesian national police and the Indonesian people on how to fight the war on drugs.”
Kine called the appraisal a “perverse assessment” of a Philippine government official, saying Dela Rosa is “implicated in possible crimes against humanity for inciting and instigating killings linked to the government’s “war on drugs.”
According to HRW, “Dela Rosa has obstructed calls for accountability for those deaths by dismissing requests for independent investigations as “legal harassment” and declaring that such demands “dampens the morale” of police officers.”
He also said that Indonesia’s police chief Karnavian has “expressed fondness for violent extrajudicial approaches to illegal drug use previously.”
Kine also called on Indonesian President Joko Widodo to join calls for a United Nations-led international investigation into the country’s drug war rather than honoring one of its “chief architects.”
The award came two weeks after the PNP returned to the anti-drug operations on January 29 with their new guidelines requiring human rights advocates to join the operations.