PM says development of the country will come at a cost

The Prime Minister said the current Government, since taking office in 2015, has achieved a lot. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says the development of the country will come at a cost.Speaking at an event at the UNP headquarters today, the Prime Minister said that he was held up in traffic today as a result of the construction of the Rajagiriya overhead bridge. He said the public will face similar issues when the country moves forward. He says the Government has provided over 400,000 jobs, given houses, reduced the price of fuel and increased the monthly wage of Government employees. (Colombo Gazette)

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UN experts denounce televised reprisals against human rights defenders in Venezuela

UN Special Rapporteurs on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst, and on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, joined Inter-American human rights experts José de Jesús Orozco, Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, and Edison Lanza, Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression in deploring “what has become a clear pattern to intimidate and defame human rights defenders for merely promoting human rights in their country and for engaging with international and regional human rights bodies.”In a press release the experts drew attention to what they see as systematic targeting of human rights defenders through a weekly TV programme, Con el Mazo Dando, transmitted by the State network, Venezolana de Televisión. In an apparent aim at intimidation, the host, President of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, pitches on-air accusations against rights activists and civil society organisations. The network also publishes personal information on its website.“It’s high time to pull the plug on this shameful and televised harassment of rights activists in Venezuela,” the experts declared. Recalling that United Nations and Inter-American human rights bodies are charged to monitor Venezuela’s implementation of its international and regional human rights obligation, the experts point out that the Government is bound to respect and defend the rights activists’ participation in those proceedings. “Any act to thwart such engagement, be it on- or off-air, directly contravenes international human rights law,” they stressed. The experts called on the Venezuelan authorities to immediately cease the targeting of rights activists, saying: “Human rights defenders and civil society organisations must be able to carry out their human rights work and cooperate freely and safely with international and regional human rights mechanisms without fear of intimidation and reprisals.” read more

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