Human Rights Watch urges the government to halt execution plans

Global rights organisation Human Rights Watch today urged the government to halt plans to resume executions and restore its de facto 43-year moratorium on the use of the death penalty.

President Maithripala Sirisena last week said he has ordered the execution of four drug offenders, claiming it would end increasing addiction problems in the country.

Asia director of Human Rights Watch Brad Adams said Sri Lanka’s plan to resume the use of the death penalty is a major setback for human rights in the country.

The death penalty has not been carried out in Sri Lanka since 1976. Currently, 1,299 prisoners – 1,215 men and 84 women – are on Sri Lanka’s death row after having been convicted for capital offenses, including 48 people convicted for drug crimes.

The United Nations General Assembly has also continually called on countries to establish a moratorium on the death penalty, progressively restrict the practice, and reduce the offenses for which it might be imposed – all with a view toward its eventual elimination.

Human Rights Watch said it opposes capital punishment in all countries and in all circumstances because of its inherent cruelty.

Adams said, “The death penalty is a cruel practice that has no place in modern society for combating drug crimes or any other offense, Sri Lanka should work toward upholding its human rights pledges and immediately rescind the execution orders.”

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