“Our High Commission in London had conveyed our concerns on the participation of some British government officials at the conference,” External Affairs Ministry spokesman Rodney Perera told Colombo Gazette today.British Prime Minister David Cameron had issued a statement ahead of the conference where he called on all parties in Sri Lanka to work together to heal the country. Leader of the British Opposition and Labour Leader Ed Miliband, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey and Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander were also in attendance. Deputy British Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg, Senior Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and former Conservative Party Chairman Baroness Warsi were among those attended the meeting organized by the Global Tamil Forum (GTF). Meanwhile Ed Davey, the British Secretary of State for Energy, in a separate statement, said that following the terrible events of last months of the war in Sri Lanka, Britain hoped that a credible accountability and reconciliation processes would be put in place to enable long-lasting peace to take root on the island.He said the United Nations institutions – including bodies mandated by the Secretary-General, international human rights groups and Channel 4 News have all revealed, and continue to expose, evidence that war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed by both sides during the war.The first ever preview of the ‘No Fire Zone’, the third film in the ‘Sri Lanka Killing Fields’ series, directed by Callum Macrae was also presented and screened by Callum at the conference. (Colombo Gazette) The Sri Lankan government has objected to the clearance given to hold an anti-government meeting at the British parliament premises last week.An External Affairs Ministry spokesman said that the government had also raised objections with the British Foreign office after officials of the British government also attended the meeting. CLICK HERE FOR AUDIO
“Measures should also be taken, at all levels, to ensure that the legitimate exercise of fundamental freedoms by the population will not lead to loss of lives and other serious rights violations,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said today in a news release on the report.The report is based on the findings of the investigation conducted by the human rights team comprising staff of the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) and of the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).According to the report, at least 40 people, including five women and two children, were killed between 15 and 31 December 2016 across several cities of the DRC, among them the capital Kinshasa, as well as Lubumbashi, Boma and Matadi. The victims include 28 individuals who were killed by soldiers of the Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo (FARDC), six by agents of the Police Nationale Congolaise (PNC) and six during joint PNC and FARDC operations. The report also revealed that all but two of the victims were killed by live ammunition. During the same period, at least 147 people were injured by State agents, including 14 women and 18 children, and at least 917 individuals, including 30 women and 95 children, were arrested by defence and security forces.“Such serious incidents are worrisome, particularly in the current context,” said Maman Sambo Sidikou, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in the DRC, citing the need to create an environment conducive to the holding of peaceful elections. The lack of accountability for past human rights violations, including those committed during the demonstrations in Kinshasa on 19 and 20 September 2016, may have encouraged a sense of impunity, and defence and security forces to commit further violations in December 2016. “Once again we see serious human rights violations being committed blatantly and with complete impunity by the security forces, who employed excessive use of force against unarmed demonstrators, in flagrant violation of international human rights law and standards,” said the UN human rights chief, Mr. Zeid. He urged the Government to bring those responsible for such violations to justice and urgently adopt the law on freedom of peaceful protests and the law on human rights defenders.
The number of prosecutions brought for sexual offences has risen to its highest level ever, jumping 22.5 per cent on last year.In total 11,995 defendants were prosecuted in 2015-16 for sexual offences other than rape, up from 9,789 the year before. The figure has steadily increased since 2012, but never as steeply as in the past year.Sexual offences range from non-consensual sexual touching to serious sexual assault.The vast majority of defendants were men, with women accounting for just 2.7 per cent, and of those prosecuted 78 per cent were convicted.The Crown Prosecution Service’s Violence Against Women and Girls report showed that convictions for rape, domestic abuse, sexual offences and child abuse have reached a record level. The use of the internet, social media and other forms of technology to humiliate, control and threaten individuals is risingAlison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecutions Use regions/landmarks to skip ahead to chart.Defendants prosecuted for sexual offencesLong description.No description available.Structure.Chart type: column chart.column series with 2 columns.The chart has 1 X axis displaying categories.The chart has 1 Y axis displaying Values.Chart graphic.Defendants prosecuted for sexual offencesDefendants prosecuted for sexual offences – Highcharts CloudValuesDefendants prosecuted for sexual offencesSeries 12014/20152015/201602k4k6k8k10k12k14kHighchartsChart context menu Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. The Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders said the internet had contributed to the overall rise in cases of offences against women, up nearly 10 per cent to 117,568.Ms Saunders warned of a “growing trend” of offences perpetrated on or through social media.”The use of the internet, social media and other forms of technology to humiliate, control and threaten individuals is rising,” she said.Contributing to the total were 206 revenge pornography prosecutions, after new laws to tackle the crime were introduced in April last year.The offence of disclosing private sexual images without consent carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison. Ms Saunders said the internet had also enabled other offences, with defendants in controlling or coercive cased relying on “tactics such as GPS tracking and monitoring phone or email messages”.The conviction rate for rape cases rose to 57.9 per cent of the 4,643 cases brought.However in recent months the CPS has been criticised for prosecuting cases than have ended in collapse.In May a judge criticised a police officer and the CPS for their handling of accusations of gang rape against four agricultural students, which fell apart just as the trial was due to start. He said they bore responsibility for failing to disclose “game-changing” evidence to the defence teams of the men.At the time, the police force said they and the CPS would review the judge’s comments “to learn the lessons of this case.”CLARIFICATION: This article reports the finding of the VAWG report that the conviction rate for rape rose in the year 2015-16 to 57.9 per cent of prosecutions brought. We wish to clarify that though these cases were initially flagged as rape, CPS data show that the majority were eventually prosecuted in the principal offence category of ‘sexual offences including rape’. A breakdown of outcomes in this category is not available.