Ban on access to Facebook lifted with immediate effect

The Government had earlier taken steps to lift the temporarily restrictions imposed on WhatsApp and Viber. Meanwhile the President’s Media Division said that the Government had taken steps to restrict access to social media tools temporarily during the last few days, in order to curtail the attempts to spread communal violence across the country, misusing the social media in a manner detrimental to the national harmony. The ban on access to Facebook in Sri Lanka has been lifted with immediate effect.President Maithripala Sirisena instructed the telecommunications regulator to lift the ban following talks held today between the Government and officials from Facebook. “In a context where the impact that could be made by social media to expeditiously increase violent actions based on racism and religious extremism has been internationally proven, Sri Lanka was able to control the rapid spread of violence by temporarily imposing restriction on social media as an action to ensure the national and public safety of Sri Lanka,” the statement said.However, the President has stressed on the importance of a guided mechanism to prevent the attempts to disturb the livelihoods of people through spreading  ethnic-hatred and racism and damaging the image of an individual through false allegations. (Colombo Gazette) read more

Terrorisms various forms discussed at UN General Assembly

Nepal’s Foreign Minister, Jung Bahadur Singh, said his country, itself a victim of terrorism, firmly supported the war against that scourge. “The so-called Maoist terrorists in Nepal have been taking innocent lives, abducting children to work as child soldiers, and destroying private homes, schools, and vital infrastructure.” In response, the Government had launched a campaign to protect the country’s people and property. Discussing international security concerns, he called UN regional centres for peace and disarmament “an important tool for building confidence,” and welcomed the fact that Nepal had been chosen to host one such centre. “It is however deeply troubling that the Centre is yet to move to Kathmandu, despite our full commitment to meet all those obligations that other hosts have done,” he said, urging the UN to relocate the Centre immediately.Rwanda’s Foreign Minister, André Bumaya, said the Armée de Libération du Rwanda (ALIR), comprised of elements of the former armed forces and Interahamwe militia, remained a threat. Members of that terrorist group attempted to organize themselves in political groups under various labels. The UN and its Members must take measures to crack down on all those responsible for the Rwanda genocide and bring them to justice. The UN should also condemn countries that provided support for ALIR. He appealed for efforts to make the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda more effective. He also called for support to the Lusaka and Pretoria accords which were designed to promote peace in the Great Lakes region of Africa. For its part, Rwanda had begun withdrawing its troops from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in accordance with the provision of the Pretoria accord.Royal Highness Prince Saud Al-Faisal of Saudi Arabia condemned unequivocally those who committed the 11 September attacks, and said it had been “overwhelmingly painful” for Saudi Arabia to see a number of its young people commit a grave offence. Saudi Arabia was working unstintingly to combat terrorism. The fight against terrorism must be waged without bias, he said, and must target State-supported terrorism. It would also be necessary to pay attention to the political, economic and social conditions which formed the breeding ground for extremism. The cycle of violence in the Middle East would not end unless the Palestinian people were able to realize their inalienable rights. Israel had ignored its obligations under international agreements, and the Palestinians were now facing a human catastrophe. The world must work to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people and chart a course for peace. On the issue of Iraq, he welcomed Baghdad’s intention to allow the return of weapons inspectors. Now those pledges must be implemented, while the Security Council must work to help the suffering Iraqi people.The Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan, Abdulaziz Kamilov, welcomed the UN’s response to terrorism, especially the establishment of the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee. As early as 1999, Uzbekistan had urged the creation of such a panel, and the country was a party to all 12 international anti-terrorism treaties. The 11 September attacks had served to call attention to the situation in Afghanistan, which had vastly improved in the intervening year, he said, while cautioning that there could be no room for complacency, as certain factions retained “huge masses of weapons” which must be confiscated. The lack of resources to promote recovery in Afghanistan could serve to foster unrest, which could be exploited by those seeking a return to war. Compounding the problem, drug trafficking persisted in Afghanistan. Central Asian countries had to block huge amounts of drugs from Afghanistan at their borders, he said, calling for a broad and concrete solution to the problem through the UN.María Eugenia Brizuela de Ávila, the Foreign Minister of El Salvador, said her country was marking the tenth anniversary of the peace agreements which ended the armed conflict and paved the way for a new future. The democratic process was being strengthened and advanced thanks to the strong desire of the country’s people to build a freer society. In the economic and social realm, El Salvador had achieved much progress because the Government had promoted economic freedom as the basis for development. Investments had been made in education, housing, health and basic services in order to improve the quality of life of the country’s people. Voicing gratitude to the international community, especially the UN, she said El Salvador was now enjoying the benefits of peace. She also pledged to work for regional economic integration across the Americas.The Assembly was also addressed by Lassana Traore, Foreign Minister of Mali, Fathulla Jameel, Foreign Minister of the Maldives and Irakli Menagarishvili, Foreign Minister of Georgia. Ali Abdi Farah, Foreign Minister of Djibouti, Youssouf Ouédraogo, Foreign Minister of Burkina Faso, Agba Otikpo Mezode, Foreign Minister of the Central African Republic, also spoke in the Assembly’s debate. read more