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British govt. announces travel bans and asset freezes for human rights violators

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By Sujeeva Nivunhella in London

The British government sounded a stern warning to, what it termed “human rights violators in the world” by announcing travel bans and freezing of assets of 11 Russian, Venezuelan, Gambian and Pakistani politicians and officials, on December 10, which marked International Human Rights Day.

Announcing the sanctions, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said, “Today’s sanctions send a clear message to human rights violators that the UK will hold them to account.

“The UK and our allies are shining a light on the severe and systematic human rights violations perpetrated by those sanctioned today. Globally Britain will stand up for democracy, human rights and the rule of law as a force for good in the world.”

The UK was acting alongside the US which also announced new designations under its human rights regime.

The British government was imposed sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, on three Russian individuals and the Terek Special Rapid Response Unit responsible for torture and other human rights violations against LGBT people in Chechnya.

Sanctions will be imposed on senior security figures in Venezuela responsible for human rights violations in Maduro’s illegitimate regime.

The former President of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh and Ahmad Anwar Khan, the former Senior Superintendent of Police in Malir District in Pakistan are also facing sanctions for “historic human rights violations including extrajudicial killings of protestors and minority groups”.

 

The full list of designations is as follows:

Venezuela

* Rafael Bastardo, Commander of FAES (Special Action Forces) until 2019.

* Remigio Ceballos Ichaso, Head of the Strategic Command Operations of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (CEOFANB)

* Fabio Zavarse Pabon, Commander of the National Guard (GNB).

 

Russian Federation

* Magomed Daudov, Spokesperson/Chairperson of the Parliament of the Chechen Republic.

* Aiub Kataev, Head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation in Argun.

* Apti Alaudinov, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of the Chechen Republic and Major General of the Police.

* Terek Special Rapid Response Unit,

 

The Gambia

* Yahya Abdul Aziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh, former President of The Gambia.

* Yankuba Badjie, former Director-General of the Gambian National Intelligence Agency (NIA).

* Zineb Jammeh, former First Lady of The Gambia

and wife of Yahya Jammeh.

 

Pakistan

* Anwar Ahmad Khan, former Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) in Malir District, Karachi.



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UNDP: Rs 600 bn tax cut a huge mistake

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Director of the Sustainable Finance Hub of the UNDP Marcos Neto has called the decision to do away with a range of taxes here a fundamental mistake committed by Sri Lanka.The comment was made at the Parliament complex during an interactive dialogue on ‘Revenue Generation as a Pathway to Sri Lanka’s Economic Recovery’ on Tuesday (09). It was organised on a request by Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, former Chairman of the Committee on Public Finance to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The Opposition as well as several other parties alleged that the government had lost as much as Rs 600 bn due to the controversial decision to do away with a range of taxes including PAYE, NBT (Nation Building Tax), Withholding tax, Capital Gain tax imposed on the Colombo Stock Exchange, Bank Debit tax and unprecedented reduction of VAT (Value Added Tax). The 15% VAT and the 2% NBT which amounted to 17% imposed on all goods and services were unified and reduced to 8%, effective from the first of December 2019.

The decision was taken at the first Cabinet meeting of the Gotabaya Rajapaksa government on 27 Nov. 2019.Governor of the Central Bank Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe is on record as having said that the powers that be ignored the IMF warning not to do so and also the immediate need to restructure Sri Lanka’s debt (SF)

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Debate on power tariff hike on 29 Aug.

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Party leaders have decided to debate the electricity tariff hikes in parliament on 29 August.The date was fixed for the debate following a request by the main opposition SJB.The debate will be held from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm on 29 August.

Chief Opposition Whip Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella told Parliament on Wednesday (10) that as per the proposed tariff hike the monthly electricity bill of domestic consumers would increase by 75 percent to 125 percent. “This is unbearable. This is like sending the people to an electric chair while they are struggling to make ends meet amidst a massive increase in cost of living.

How does this government expect people would be able to pay such an exorbitant price for electricity? We demand a debate in parliament before this proposed tariff hike is implemented,” Kiriella said.

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British national to be deported

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Department of Immigration and Emigration has ordered Kayleigh Fraser, a British national whose passport has been taken into custody after she posted on social media anti-government protests, for violating her visa conditions, to leave the country by 15 August. The Department has already cancelled her visa.

Earlier this month Immigration and Emigration officials visited Fraser at her home and took her passport into custody. The Department said Fraser had been in Sri Lanka for medical reasons since 2019. She had returned home several times, it said.

The Immigration and Emigration officers told her to visit them within the next seven days.Fraser on 02 August said that a group of immigration officers had visited her and asked for her travel document. She said that officials told her that they would return her passport when she visited the Department of Immigration and Emigration.

Fraser added that she had received an anonymous call asking her to leave Sri Lanka as soon as possible before facing ‘big problems.’ Immigration officials visited her house a few days after the call.

Fraser has shared a number of photographs and videos from the ‘Gota Go Gama’ site. Human Rights groups and activists have accused the Sri Lankan government of using Emergency regulations to harass and arbitrarily detain activists seeking political reform and accountability for the country’s economic crisis.

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