Activists decry Sri Lankan president’s praise for Duterte’s drugs war
Human rights groups expressed alarm at Sri Lanka’s leader on Friday for praising Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and his bloody war on drugs as an “example to the whole world”.
Despite international condemnation of a crackdown that has killed thousands of Filipinos, visiting Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena told Duterte during a banquet this week that he wanted to “follow your footsteps to control this hazard”.
Carlos Conde, Philippines researcher for the New York-based Human Rights Watch, said Duterte’s campaign was “a human rights calamity that no country in the world should even try to emulate”.
“No ‘drug war’ that treated the drug problem purely from a crime perspective has ever succeeded,” he said. “What they have wrought are untold suffering and the further destruction of the rule of law and the diminution of human rights”.
The Philippine government has consistently refuted that and said the crackdown, which started in July 2016, was being administered lawfully.
On Friday, presidential spokesman, Salvador Panelo, said any allegations of state-sponsored killings were “pure hogwash”.
Police say they have since killed at least 5,000 suspected drug dealers, although activists say the number could be far higher and they dispute official accounts that the killings were all in self-defense.
More than 200 people in Bangladesh have been killed by police in a similar campaign. [nL4N1WO398]
International drug smugglers have increasingly turned to Sri Lanka as a transit hub in Asia, authorities there have said.
Predominantly Buddhist Sri Lanka voted in favor of a U.N. resolution for a moratorium on the death penalty in 2015, but Sirisena said last year he wanted convicted traffickers caught arranging drugs deals from jail to be executed.
Philippines human rights group iDefend said that if Sirisena was serious about following Duterte’s lead, he should be ready to face scrutiny by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague, which has started a preliminary examination into alleged crimes against humanity by Duterte.
“We warn Asian leaders not to emulate the Philippine model but adopt a humane, evidence-based public health approach to the drugs issue through a rights-based governance that strengthens, not erodes democratic institutions,” iDefend spokesman Judy Pasimio said.
A spokesman for Sirisena did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
- Seven Police Narcotics Bureau officers arrested over death of vocational trainer in custody June 9, 2023
- Sectoral Oversight Committee on National Security recommends not to privatise Sri Lanka Telecom June 9, 2023
- Sarath Fonseka resigns from Sectoral Oversight Committee on National Security June 9, 2023
- Sri Lanka must protect the right to freedom of expression June 9, 2023
- Five-year-old child found dead with cut injuries from a construction site in Mulleriyawa June 9, 2023
There should be an agressive policy towards drug control. This is a menace and the profits generated funds terrorism and has amonumental affect on society as a whole from the schools to the temple and politics. The only way to deal with this problem is summary executions regardless of what outsiders think of it. This should apply to the whole spectrum in our society without exception this to include politicans and police.
If gangster at will can kill then the police ought to be given licence to do for the country cannot depend on a corrupt judiciary to invoke the rule of law for they are not as learned as they claim and less honorable for they masquerade as been honorable!
I am amazed at the comments by the NY based HRW “No country in the world should try to emulate action taken by the President of Philippines” and the HR group iDefend threatening the SL President “he should be ready to face scrutiny by the ICC” These people are all worried and so concerned about the HR’s of drug dealers and drug barons and criminals – What about the HR’s of the general public and particularly the young people of SL whose lives are wrecked by the use of drugs ?? The drug problem is not a mere issue, it has become a huge problem in SL and the President is right to be concerned and to consider the death penalty as a deterrent. The abysmal failure of the humane and public health approach as recommended by the HR groups to the issue of drug trafficking in the west should be noted. A humane and public health approach should certainly be applied on the drug users. This problem should be carefully examined by a commission appointed by the President with legal, medical and drug enforcement and related expert input and expertise from eastern countries such as Malaysia who have had success.