Usman Hamid, Executive Director of Amnesty International Indonesia, responded to the deaths of at least 130 people after a stampede at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, East Java on October 1:
“We offer our deepest condolences to the families of the victims. No one should lose their life at a football game.”
“We call on the authorities to conduct a swift, thorough and independent investigation into the use of tear gas in the stadium and to ensure that those who committed violations are brought to justice and not just internal or administrative sanctions. ”
“We also urge police to review policies on the use of tear gas and other ‘less lethal weapons’ to ensure such a heartbreaking tragedy never happens again.”
“This loss of life cannot go unanswered. The police themselves have said the deaths occurred after police used tear gas on the crowd, which prompted a stampede at the stadium exits.”
This loss of life cannot go unanswered. Police themselves have said the deaths came after police used tear gas on the crowd, prompting a stampede at the stadium exits.
Usman Hamid, Executive Director of Amnesty International Indonesia
“Tear gas should only be used to disperse crowds when there has been widespread violence and other methods have failed. People must be warned that tear gas will be used and allowed to spread.”
“Tear gas should also never be fired in enclosed spaces. FIFA’s stadium security guidelines also prohibit the carrying or use of crowd control gas by stewards or pitchside police.”
On the night of October 1, 2022, after a football match between Arema and Persebaya at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, East Java ended in Arema’s defeat, dozens of Arema supporters rushed onto the field and attacked players and police officers. Police fired tear gas into the stands to disperse the crowd.
East Java Police Chief Insp. Gen. Nico Afinta told the press that the tear gas prompted supporters to head for an exit. “There was a crowd and because of that crowd, people got smothered,” Nico said.
At the time of writing, at least 130 people have been reported dead, including two police officers. At least 180 others were injured.
The UN Human Rights Committee clarifies in its General Comment 37 that law enforcement regulations on the use of force must be strictly observed in all cases. The use of tear gas is only proportionate where widespread violence is concerned and only where other methods of dispersing a gathering have failed or would fail.
The type of equipment used to break up a meeting must be carefully considered and used only where necessary, proportionate and lawful. Police and security equipment – like tear gas, often referred to as “less lethal” weapons – can cause serious injury and even death.
The use of force directly impacts the right to life, which is protected by Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Indonesia is committed as a State party. The use of force is therefore subject to strong human rights safeguards, as set out in the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials (1979) and the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials (1990). The use of force by law enforcement officers in Indonesia is further regulated by the Indonesian Police Chief’s Order on the Use of Force in Policing Operations (No. 1/2009).
While Amnesty International recognizes that law enforcement officers often work in complex environments in the performance of their duties, they must ensure full respect for the right to life and safety of all individuals, including those suspected of a crime.