President Maithripala Sirisena praises Philippines over policy that has led to thousands of extrajudicial killings

Sri Lanka’s president has praised his Philippines counterpart Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal war on drugs, which has taken thousands of lives, calling it an “example to the world”.

In a speech during a visit to the Philippines this week, Maithripala Sirisena said he intended to replicate Duterte’s ruthless approach to tackling illegal drug use.

“The war against crime and drugs carried out by you is an example to the whole world, and personally to me,” said Sirisena. “Drug menace is rampant in my country and I feel that we should follow your footsteps to control this hazard.”

In his own statement, Duterte said that their aligned vision could mean partnering with Sri Lanka in the future to address international drug trafficking.

Duterte’s bloody war on drugs, which has seen police handed unprecedented powers to carry out drug-related raids and arrests, has officially killed more than 5,000 people since 2016, though campaigners allege the real death toll could be up to 20,000. Those who have died have mainly been the urban poor. The international criminal court (ICC) is carrying out a preliminary investigation into whether the extrajudicial killings constitute crimes against humanity.

Duterte has remained unrepentant about the scale of the deaths in the crackdown, saying he would promote police officers who “massacre” drug dealers and describing those killed as “just carcasses to me”.

The speech was not the first time Sirisena has signalled his admiration for Duterte’s war on drugs. In July, Sri Lanka ended its 43-year moratorium on executions to bring back hanging as a punishment for drug dealers, a move the Sri Lankan president said was directly inspired by Duterte’s policy in the Philippines.

Original Source

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