President criticises some human rights lawyers for defending drug criminals
Posted on July 7th, 2024

Courtesy The Daily Mirror

Wellawaya, July 7 (Daily Mirror) – Highlighting that today, drug trafficking poses a greater threat to the nation than terrorism, President Ranil Wickremesinghe said that some human rights lawyers also represent drug-related criminals after their arrest. 

He emphasised the crucial need for collective support to safeguard the country from this menace, especially as it recovers from economic challenges. He stressed that failing to protect future generations from drug abuse could undermine all government efforts to advance the nation.

The President made these remarks at the Uva Provincial Community Police Committee members’ empowerment workshop, held yesterday (06) at the Wellawaya Public Stadium under the theme “A Law-Abiding Country.”

While speaking at the event the President said the government has taken necessary steps to maintain law and order in the country. During 2021-2022, there was a collapse in law and order, with incidents of arson and destruction of houses and properties. Restoring law and order became imperative under these circumstances.

Drug traffickers too were involved in these destructive activities. Therefore, alongside economic development efforts, we focused on controlling drug trafficking. The establishment of community police committees was part of this strategy. Initially, there were doubts about the success of this programme, but today it has proven to be effective.

In many areas, robberies are linked to drug addiction, as individuals steal to finance their drug habits. This situation is unsustainable. Currently, drugs from Afghanistan are entering our country and are also being trafficked to neighbouring countries like Pakistan and India via sea routes. Consequently, we are mobilizing the Navy to address this issue. Regional cooperation is crucial, and neighbouring countries have collectively committed to finding a solution to combat drug trafficking.

We have initiated this programme in rural areas concurrently with general law enforcement, placing particular emphasis on combating drug trafficking. Our future generation is imperiled by this illicit trade, necessitating our collective cooperation. I urge everyone to collaborate closely with the police on this critical issue. Religious places, including village temples, have been assigned a specific responsibility in this matter. Additionally, schools need to pay special attention as some students bring drugs into school premises.

Therefore, I call upon these committees to rigorously enforce anti-drug laws and uphold law and order in our country. I have reluctantly had to resort to legal measures against certain individuals, but current laws are inadequate. We need new legislation; while Singapore enforces the death penalty for drug traffickers, we seek custodial solutions without going to such extremes.

After the arrest of these individuals, some lawyers who advocate for human rights have come forward in their defence. This raises questions for me. I believe that drug trafficking is a violation of human rights, but they argue that selling drugs is not a human rights violation, while arresting drug dealers is a human rights violation. Therefore, it is essential for the parliament to clarify our stance on this issue,” the President said.

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