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HRW urges Sri Lanka not to end moratorium on death penalty

Human Rights Watch yesterday urged the Sri Lankan government not to end the country's unofficial moratorium on the death penalty, as pledged by the president, Maithripala Sirisena. 

Responding to Sirisena's statement this week that a date had been set for the death penalty to came back into force. 

Imposing the death penalty for drug offenses would violate Sri Lanka’s international human rights obligations, Human Rights Watch said in a statement. 

The group's South Asia director, Meenakshi Ganguly, said, “There is no reason to bring the death penalty back to Sri Lanka after a four-decade moratorium."

“President Sirisena’s decision to restore the death penalty because he was inspired by the Philippine’s murderous ‘drug war’ may be the worst possible justification and would violate international law.”

“The Sri Lankan government should publicly recommit to its moratorium on the use of the death penalty with a view to permanently abolishing the practice,” Ganguly added. “Executions, whether imposed by a judge or carried out unlawfully by the police, are not the way to address drug offenses.”