Also speaking at the event, Us Secretary of State John Kerry said that the world has seen important democratic gains in such countries as Tunisia, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and Burma, though in each there are challenges that still need to be overcome. The collective result of these measures has led to the silencing of independent voices, a growing impoverishment of political discourse, and diminishing avenues for peaceful expression and change. (Colombo Gazette) “But we are working closely with each of those countries in efforts to help meet those challenges,” Kerry said. The United States will be encouraging reconciliation and justice in Sri Lanka in keeping with the joint resolution the Government co-sponsored with the US at the UN Human Rights Council, US Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Tom Malinowski said.He said this after releasing the 2015 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices compiled by the US State Department. The 2015 Reports highlight the intensified global crackdown by an increasing number of states on members of civil society.Government efforts to stifle civil society were achieved through overt or direct means including through harassment, intimidation, detention, and restrictions on their ability to operate; through the implementation of overly broad counterterrorism or national security laws to control the freedom to assemble and to suppress dissent; and through more nuanced yet burdensome bureaucratic procedures such as the passage of NGO legislation that restricts the operating space for human rights organizations.