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Sri Lanka to set up 50 ‘rehabilitation centres’ in North-East

(Sri Lankan security forces conduct a search in Colombo as part of 'Yukthiya') 

Sri Lanka’s Inspector General of Police Deshabandu Tennakoon announced that the controversial military-backed anti-narcotic crackdown ‘Operation Yukthiya’ would see “rehabilitation centres” opened across the island - including at least 50 in the North-East.

Speaking at an event in Colombo this month, Tennakoon told the audience that two police stations in Colombo had already been turned into “rehabilitation centres”. 

“We will have many more of these rehabilitation centres which includes 50 in the North-East,” he added.

He told the audience that individuals who are arrested with narcotics will be sent to these centres, where they will be detained for at least 14 days.

“I urge the clergy and Buddhist monks to assist in conducting religious programs so that these individuals will return to society as responsible and rehabilitated individuals,” he continued.

The anti-narcotic crackdown has come under severe criticism for its high-handed approach to apprehending individuals through undue force. The issue has been further compounded by suspects being sent to prisons which are already overcrowded and reports of torture.

Tens of thousands have been arrested since the operation commenced last year in Decemberm drawing condemnation from the United Nations human rights chief.

“We are very concerned that authorities in Sri Lanka are adopting a heavily security-based response to the country’s drugs problem," read a statement issued by Volker Turk, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights earlier this year.

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