In a speech to one of Indonesia's political parties late Friday, Widodo urged law enforcers to crackdown on drug dealers in Indonesia.
"Be firm. Especially to foreign drug dealers who enter the country. If they resist even the slightest, just shoot them," Widodo said.
The Indonesian Narcotics Agency recorded there are 6 million drug users in the archipelago out of its 255 million people, a situation the president labelled "drug emergency".
But Widodo's remarks prompted criticism from human rights activists.
Andreas Harsono, Indonesia's researcher from Human Rights Watch condemned the order.
"A president statement like that can seem like a green light to shoot without the correct procedure," Harsono told AFP Sunday, adding that law enforcers should be cautious and follow the law.
Indonesia imposes a tough punishment for drug trafficking, with smugglers who carry five or more grammes given the death penalty.
In the last two years, it has executed about 18 drug traffickers, including foreigners such as Australian Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, which sparked diplomatic outrage and a call to abolish the death penalty.
Widodo's comments came just a week after Indonesian police shot dead a suspected Taiwanese drug dealer who was caught with one tonne of crystal methamphetamine, but tried to escape.
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