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    Sunday, 16 September 2018

    Foreign journalists freed from Venezuela detention

    Two British journalists and an Argentine were freed  eight hours after being detained by the Venezuelan military, the national press union (SNTP) said.
     Argentine Laura Saravia along with British nationals Barney Green and Dan Rivers were released after being held incommunicado, the SNTP said on Twitter.
    They were detained "as they left the country" after having been in "Venezuela for three days reporting on tourism," the union said earlier.
    Three people hired as security by the journalists were arrested on Wednesday, it said.
    Several foreign journalists have been deported by Venezuelan authorities in recent years for working in the country without the required permits.
    Venezuela has attracted a great number of foreign journalists looking to report on its economic and political crises during four years of recession under President Nicolas Maduro.
    Citizens face shortages of basic necessities such as food and medicines and failing public services such as water, electricity and transport.
    It has resulted in 1.6 million Venezuelans fleeing the country since 2015, according to the United Nations.
    Organizations such as SNTP have accused Maduro's government of violating press freedom through the closure of media outlets, censorship and the restriction of paper deliveries, which are monopolized by authorities.
    For his part, Maduro has accused international media organizations of being mouthpieces for a United States-backed campaign involving the opposition to overthrow him.
    The commission should be tasked to suggest precautionary measures to be adopted by coal mines to prevent accidents in future, they suggested.
    They submitted that dying in a coal mine was one of the worst deaths imaginable. They highlighted the need for a better workplace protection to coal miners than currently being given.
    The petitioners highlighted at least 45 incidents of painful death of 318 coal miners in Balochistan from 2010 to 2018 and submitted that fatalities in the coal mining sector in Pakistan were becoming far too common. Thus there is a dire need for better labour protections, it said.
    Just in the first eight months of 2018, at least 50 miners have died in Balochistan and in the last one month of August, 17 coal miners perished in two separate incidents. Likewise, 15 miners died on Aug 12 due to an explosion in a coal mine in Sanjdi area of Balochistan. Similarly, on Sept 2, two labourers suffocated to death in Machh in Kachhi district of Balochistan.
    The petition has been sent not only to Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar but also to other judges of the Supreme Court.
    The petitioners also asked the court to seek reports from the mines and mineral development secretary and director general, respectively, chief inspector of mines and commissioner of the mines labour welfare in Balochistan.
    They stated that the report should also explain how many times inspections to mines have been carried out by the chief inspectors, mines, in the province in the last eight years. The inquiry reports must also include as to how many inspected mines had been found to be compliant with the health and safety requirements mandated by the relevant mining laws and that how many persons had been prosecuted under the Mining Act for failing to take safety measures in the period 2010 to 2018.
    The petitioners also asked the court to assign responsibility and liability to persons, including government officials, as well as departments, for failing to protect workers/employees of coal mines and failing to ensure that all due precautions were taken to prevent accidents due to criminal negligence or for not performing their statutory duties.
    They also asked the court to assign responsibility and liability of mine owners, agents or managers for failing to take necessary measures for ensuring safety of miners.
    The petitioners asked the court to direct the mines director general to file a report indicating the number of licences that had been cancelled under Rule 57 read with Rule 31(1)(b) of the Balochistan Mineral Rules 2002. The petitioners also asked implementation of the Balochistan Mineral Rules 2002 in letter and spirit and cancel the licences of leaseholders who had failed to discharge their obligations under such rules.
    The Supreme Court should also initiate and pursue criminal proceedings against the responsible and liable persons and order the provincial governments to constitute inquiry courts of competent persons under Section 21 of the Mines Act in all the cases of “accidental explosion, ignition, outbreak of fire or irruption of water or other accidents” that have occurred in the period between 2010 and 2018 in which 318 labourers have died.
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