Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has announced that the government will resume execution of prisoners from this year, bringing to end a 43-year stay on executions, reports said. Those sentenced to death for drug violations will be hanged in the next two months, he said on Wednesday.

Sirisena said the Welikada prison in Colombo has become a hotbed for the drug trade in the country, Daily Mirror reported. “A decision had been taken to transfer all prisoners to the Angunakolapalassea Prison,” he added.

The president urged rights organisations not to challenge the order. “I request human rights organisations not to object to the move to implement the death penalty as it is done to control the drug menace and underworld activities in Sri Lanka,” The Guardian quoted him as saying.

Although 1,299 prisoners have been sentenced to death since 1976, the government has not conducted executed them. The development follows Sirisena’s public praise of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s violent crackdown on the drug trade.