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Sri Lankan leader’s support for Duterte’s drug war alarms rights group

By: - Reporter / @CMarquezINQ
/ 09:08 PM January 18, 2019
Maithripala Sirisena and Rodrigo Duterte

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte give their joint press statement in Malacañan Palace on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. (Photo from an RTVM video)

MANILA, Philippines —The group In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND) has expressed alarm on Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s approval of the war on drugs of the Duterte administration.

iDEFEND Spokesperson Judy Pasimio said the Sri Lankan leader may face “gruesome atrocities” that led to the International Criminal Court’s investigation on drug-related killings in the country.

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“This includes thousands extrajudicial killings, destruction of the rule of law, erosion of law enforcement professionalism, sexual assault, child abuse, corruption and deepened impunity for human rights violations; but most of all it means impoverished orphans and families as a result of the loss of family breadwinners and in most cases, the killing of both parents,” Pasimio said in a statement.

iDEFEND also warned that the “destruction of children’s future may be a trauma that Sri Lankan society may never recover.”

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iDEFEND then appealed to other Asian leaders not to follow the Philippines’ bloody drug war but adopt a “public health approach” to the issue of illegal drugs.

“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,” Pasimio said. /jpv

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