UNITED NEWS INTERNATIONAL (UNI) — Bangladeshi officials told Reuters June 7 the death toll for the nation’s anti-drug crackdown has reached 140 with 18,000 arrests.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina authorized the crackdown on May 15 in an effort to stop growing methamphetamine use.

But the high number of deaths in the last three weeks has sparked condemnation from many including the United Nations.

The International Drug Policy Consortium issued a statement saying violent crackdowns are often tools to “win political elections and target unwanted opposition.”

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein called for the killings to stop.

The commissioner said, “Extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and the stigmatization of people who use drugs cannot be the answer.”

Bangladesh’s campaign against drugs is similar to that of the Philippines where police have been accused of killing alleged drug dealers without due process.