The Jakarta Post
Indonesia-Dutch cooperation in the fight against drugs remains firm despite bitterness caused by the execution of Dutch citizens, some of them convicted on drug-trafficking charges, the Foreign Ministry has stated.
'Despite differences of opinion between the Indonesian and Dutch governments over the death sentences imposed on large-scale drug trafficking criminals, we maintain mutual respect in line with the customs and manners of international community relations,' the ministry said as quoted by Antara in Jakarta on Wednesday.
The two nations' continued good relationship seems borne out by a jointly organized satellite event themed 'Harm Reduction: A Global Response' on the sidelines of the 58th meeting of the UN Commission on Narcotics in Vienna on Tuesday.
During the event, Indonesia, Kenya and Ukraine promoted the implementation of harm reduction and control of HIV/AIDS among drug addicts.
'The prevalence of HIV/AIDS among drug addicts is increasing. Harm-reduction programs are one way to control the spread of HIV/AIDS,' said Edo Agustian, coordinator of the Brotherhood for Indonesian Drugs Users (PKNI).
International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Ukraine executive director Andrey Klepikov and Fatma Jeneby of the Muslim Education and Welfare Association (MEWA) in Kenya shared similar concerns.
Representatives of civil societies explained the increases in the number of people affected by HIV/AIDS in the three countries, with most cases resulting from drug abuse.
Citing Health Ministry official data, Edo said the number of HIV/AIDS patients in Indonesia increased to around 640,000 in 2013 from 186,000 in 2009.
To deal with the situation, he said, PKNI had conducted various harm-reduction activities involving the government, drug users and society.
Harm reduction is an effort to reduce the deleterious impacts on injecting drug users. The program, which started in Indonesia in 2007, is a rehabilitative measure to control HIV/AIDS, which mostly affects injecting drug users. (ebf)(+++)