UN rights expert deeply concerned about reprisals against those she met on

“There is one word that has hung heavily on my mind during this visit – reprisals,” the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, said in a press statement wrapping up her 9 to 21 January mission to the country. She said she is deeply concerned about those with whom she met and spoke, “those critical of the Government, those defending and advocating for the rights of others, and those who expressed their thoughts and opinions which did not conform to the narrative of those in the position of power.” Moreover, she noted the increasing use of section 66 (d) of the Telecommunications Law against many, “merely for speaking their minds.” “It is particularly alarming to learn that the security forces’ counter operations in the villages of Maungdaw north in Rakhine state have reportedly been resumed following a brief lull, with raids conducted in several villages including nearby the villages I visited,” Ms. Lee stressed.There are further allegations of arbitrary arrests and detention in relation to these latest reported raids.The expert was especially dismayed to note that during the visit, feelings of optimism and hope had appeared to be fading among the country’s ordinary people – just one year after nationwide elation over the last general elections.The Special Rapporteur regretted that due to security reasons, she was only allowed to go to Myitkyina, and not Laiza and Hpakant in Kachin, stating that the situation “at the northern borders is deteriorating.” “Those in Kachin state tell me that the situation is now worse than at any point in the past few years. Whilst I was not able to travel to the areas most severely affected, the situation is now such that even in Myitkyina, the capital of the state and home to over 300,000 people, residents are afraid – and now stay home after dark,” the UN expert explained.In visiting a hard labour camp in Mon state, Ms. Lee was concerned over prisoners’ living conditions, pointing to the use of shackles as a form of additional punishment and the lack of transparency regarding their transfer to the hard labour camp. Without an individual complaint system in prisons she was “struck by the fear of those prisoners who were afraid of what would happen to them after speaking to me.” A report from the visit will be presented in March to the UN Human Rights Council.Special Rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work. read more

Back from injury Jacob Bosiokovic coming up big for Ohio State baseball

OSU Jacob Bosiokovic (17) throws the ball during a game against Oregon on May 11, 2013. Credit: Courtesy of Jay LaPrete and OSUPractice makes perfect. That is the oldest cliché in sports for those who aspire to great accomplishments, such as becoming a hitting behemoth like the American League MVP Josh Donaldson.Jacob Bosiokovic, a redshirt junior outfielder for Ohio State, watched Donaldson and the Blue Jays throughout last season and postseason, modeling his swing after Donaldson’s signature leg kick. Often standing in front of a mirror doing his best to replicate the violent motion, Bosiokovic spent his offseason making minor adjustments to his swing in order to become a force in the Buckeye lineup come late February.After being a productive everyday player his freshman year in 2013 by batting .273 and knocking in 33 runs with four home runs during 55 starts, the Delaware, Ohio, product’s output tapered off a bit in 2014, as he batted .268 and hit only one home run with 26 runs batted in. His playing time became inconsistent, too, and due to injury he started only 43 games.In July 2014, Bosiokovic underwent successful Tommy John surgery and attempted to come back in February 2015 for the season. After starting in three games and appearing in five, OSU coach Greg Beals elected to shut down the two-time Ohio high school player of the year for his true junior season and employ a medical redshirt.Losing seven of its last nine games and barely missing an NCAA Regional berth to end the 2015 season, OSU players dejectedly watched the NCAA tournament from their homes. Bosiokovic said he vividly remembers being in recovery and not having the chance to contribute to his team down the stretch.“It just made me realize how much I miss playing … not just baseball but outside baseball, being around all the guys,” Bosiokovic said. “It just made me really appreciate the time I have here because you never know when it will be gone.”Hardly into March, the 2016 edition of the OSU baseball team already has had its fair share of storylines including newcomers, players of the week and nail-biting finishes. The Buckeyes are 5-2-1 to start the season with one Top 25 win and two walk-off or extra-inning victories. Back in the starting lineup, Bosiokovic has been one of the top headlines thus far.OSU redshirt junior outfielder Jacob Bosiokovic (17) during the baseball team’s photo day on Sept. 30 at Bill Davis Stadium. Credit: Courtesy of OSUIn the second game of the season versus Niagara, the game was tied at 7 when Niagara pitcher Matt McCuen walked Troy Montgomery — arguably OSU’s best hitter — to get to Bosiokovic. The moment for walk-off glory was staring him in the face just 60 feet, six inches away — a moment he had been waiting for for more than a year. The redshirt junior knew the metaphorical clock in the timeless game of America’s pastime had struck midnight.Bosiokovic hit a towering fly ball so close to the left field line that it seemed as if he was doing his best Carlton Fisk impression by waving the ball fair while trotting down the first base line. The sparse crowd erupted as Bosiokovic circled the bases on a three-run, walk-off home run that clanked off the foul pole and gave the Buckeyes the victory.“I wasn’t even trying to hit a home run, I was trying to do my job, just get a good swing on a ball,” Bosiokovic said. “For me to be the person, it’s fun just running around the bases and you round third and all the boys are right there. That’s something I haven’t experienced here, and it’s really cool.”In the first week of action, Bosiokovic was 7-for-17 at the plate, scoring seven times, racking up eight RBIs and launching three home runs while picking up Big Ten and national player of the week honors. He became the Buckeyes’ first national player of the week since 2009.Because Bosiokovic was injured for almost two years, Beals said the player’s early success this season is huge for his confidence.“To get out of the gates like he did is a great sign, huge for his confidence, huge for the team to have him do what he’s doing because you have Montgomery and (Ronnie) Dawson as the keynote guys in the lineup, to have another guy in the lineup producing also makes us dangerous,” Beals said.In the Coastal Carolina Tournament this past weekend, Bosiokovic was a late-inning hero for the Buckeyes once again with a two-run home run against Liberty in the bottom of the eighth inning, lifting OSU from a 4-3 deficit to a 5-4 victory.Bosiokovic is currently tied for ninth in the country and leads the Big Ten in home runs with four, and he is tied for first in the conference in RBIs, with 10.As a reminder from a year ago when he would have given nearly anything to be on the field dressed in Scarlet and Grey, Bosiokovic wrote a message inside the bill of his cap that reads, “Do your job and trust it.”Growing up about 30 miles from campus, the product of Rutherford B. Hayes High School learned the hard way to cherish every moment he has left playing on a diamond.“I think that kind of helped me mentally, just going at everything 100 percent,” Bosiokovic said. “I’m trying to take the full advantage of the time I have here.”Bosiokovic and the Buckeyes are set to resume action over the weekend with three games in the Snowbird Classic in Port Charlotte, Florida. read more