Army to remain on alert

He paid tribute to all those who have so far sacrificed in numerous ways to elevate the Army standards and stressed on the importance of marching forward as a fully-fledged professional Army in the future too. “Our Army that inherits a proud history has faced a multitude of different challenges during its journey for defence of the country’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and unitary status. Defeating maniac passion for terrorism and restoring law and order, we, as one and only Army in the world to do so, stunned everyone through the biggest ever humanitarian operation hitherto carried out in the world in order to salvage hostages,” he said. “In the same vein, I must underline that Sri Lanka Army is all the time alert to any kind of challenges that would prop up against the country and is ready to work for the best interest of the country,” the Army Commander said. (Colombo Gazette) The army will remain on alert despite being involved in development work following the end of the war, Army Commander Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya said today.He said this while speaking to the troops at the 63rd Anniversary of the army today. He said that army efforts and contribution in promoting reconciliation and goodwill while simultaneously energetically committed to the revival of country’s development in spheres like engineering, infrastructure building, mega technical and agricultural projects, particularly in the North and East, have received accolades from the international community, too and such commendations should be noted.The Army Chief said that he intends to promote the image of the Army to suit international standards as a professional organization, and steps have already been taken to found more and more new Army training schools while elevating standards of the existing ones with modern techniques and facilities. read more

Egypt UN cites worrying escalation in harassment of civil society rights defenders

The call comes after at least 50 men in civilian clothes, who were later identified as police and security officers, raided the Cairo office of the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights on Wednesday.According to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), six members of the non-governmental organization (NGO) were arrested and allegedly beaten, and three laptops, files and documents were seized.“The raiding of a human rights NGO and the arrest of six of its members in Cairo on Wednesday night marks a worrying escalation in the harassment and intimidation of civil society in Egypt,” Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for OHCHR, told reporters in Geneva.She said that five of the individuals arrested were released after some nine hours in custody, during which time they were reportedly mistreated. One prominent human rights defender, Mohamed Adel Fahmi, a member of the April 6th movement, remains in detention, his whereabouts unknown.“We call on Egyptian authorities to immediately release all individuals who have been detained in relation to their work as human rights defenders,” said Ms. Shamdasani. “Intimidation of political opponents, activists and human rights defenders for peaceful exercise of their fundamental rights to freedom of expression and association must be halted.“An independent and impartial investigation needs to be conducted into the raid on the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights,” she added.Egypt has been undergoing a democratic transition following the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak two years ago in the wake of mass protests. This past July, renewed protests, in which dozens of people were killed and wounded, led to the Egyptian military deposing President Mohamed Morsy. The Constitution was then suspended and an interim government set up. read more