In a report submitted to the UN Human Right Council last Monday (4th March), the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders Margaret Sekaggya, called on the Irish Government to “Investigate all allegation and reports of intimidation, harassment and surveillance in the context of the Corrib Gas dispute in a prompt and impartial manner”. 
The report stated that evidence that Mrs Sekaggya received indicated “the existence of a pattern of intimidation, harassment, surveillance and criminalization of those peacefully opposing the Corrib Gas project…. The information received seemed to indicate that the policing of the protests had been, in some instances, disproportionate. Moreover, there have also been serious concerns about the lawfulness of certain actions by the private security firm employed by Shell.”
The Special Rapporteur also noted the use of the Public Order Act in a manner which could, in her opinion, “undermine the right to protest”.
Commenting on the report Shell to Sea spokesperson Maura Harrington stated “All reports to date have consistently found failings in the policing of Corrib. We welcome Mrs Sekaggya’s call for an impartial investigation, which we believe can only be satisfied by competent people outside the State”
Shell to Sea spokesperson Terence Conway commented “None of the complaints that have been submitted to the Garda Ombudsman have been properly addressed. This means that Gardaí are still not being held accountable for their actions. We believe that the Garda Ombudsman should be disbanded, and a proper oversight body be established.”
 Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Margaret Sekaggya – Mission to Ireland
 Shell to Sea meet UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders.
With a tweet thanking God and declaring onwards to victory, Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez arrived home from Cuba yesterday, to the delighted of his supporters.
“It’s fabulous news, the best thing possible,” said Chávez ’s cousin, Guillermo Frias. “Venezuela was waiting for him . . . Welcome home! Thank God he’s back!”
Fireworks were set off in some Caracas neighbourhoods as news spread and celebrations began among Chávistas, as his most fervent supporters are known. Government ministers were jubilant with one singing “He’s back, he’s back!” live on state TV.
They asked Chávez ’s euphoric supporters to respect the peace of patients at the military hospital, near a hillside shanty-town. Soldiers guarded the installation, while supporters chanted, “We are Chávez !” and “He’s back, he’s back!” At one point, medical staff asked them to quieten down.
The 58-year-old socialist leader’s homecoming in the middle of the night two months after cancer surgery in Cuba implies some medical improvement – at least enough to handle a flight of several hours.
Chávez could simply be hoping to quieten political tensions and smooth a transition to vice-president Nicolas Maduro, whom he has urged voters to back should he have to stand down and a new presidential election is held.
“We have arrived back in the Venezuelan fatherland. Thanks, my God! Thanks, my beloved people! Here we will continue the treatment,” Chávez tweeted after flying in.