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  • Western countries, businesses facing increased terrorism threat: Aon TerrorismWestern countries, businesses facing increased terrorism threat: Aon - Published 29 May 2015 - Risk levels are rising in Western economies due to the increased terror threat presented by Islamic extremists, according to the Aon Terrorism and Political Violence Map. The map, launched earlier this week, provides insight for business aiming to reduce risk exposures. Top risks for business include increased terrorism threats across developed economies, and a progressively uncertain and dangerous geopolitical environment, where the risk of armed conflict is growing amid changing and unstable regional balances of power. - Risk levels are rising in Western economies due to the increased terror threat presented by Islamic extremists, according to the Aon Terrorism and Political Violence Map. The map — launched earlier this week by Aon Risk Solutions, the global risk management business of Aon plc, in partnership with The Risk Advisory Group — provides insight for business aiming to reduce risk exposures. - Aon notes that nine developed economies (Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, and Norway) are all rated at increased risk. Many of these rises are largely due to increased terrorism threats, most of which stem from the rising influence of Islamic State (IS) as well as the ongoing threat from Al-Qaeda affiliates and supporters. - Top risks for business include increased terrorism threats across developed economies, and a progressively uncertain and dangerous geopolitical environment, where the risk of armed conflict is growing amid changing and unstable regional balances of power. - Scott Bolton, director of Business Development and Network Relations at Aon Risk Solutions, said, “The Aon Terrorism and Political Violence map is a key analytical source which helps our clients understand terrorism risk exposures across the globe. It is interesting that Europe is at significantly greater risk from the rise of the Islamic State. Businesses need to understand how they can mitigate against this risk in affected countries as well as build terrorism insurance programs that align more closely with their exposure.” - The map shows a mixed picture, with a net reduction on country risk ratings worldwide, but with political violence and terrorism risks concentrating and intensifying around a smaller number of countries. The risk rating was reduced in twenty-one countries and increased in just thirteen. The global picture is also one of marked polarity, with clusters of concentrated risk across South Asia (namely Afghanistan and Pakistan), North Africa and the Middle East. - Commenting on the findings, Henry Wilkinson, head of Intelligence & Analysis at The Risk Advisory Group, says: “This data highlights that terrorism and geopolitical uncertainty are risks that businesses cannot ignore — and they are as relevant to developed economies as to emerging markets. In a hyper-connected world faraway problems can affect local threats and political violence can spread rapidly with little warning. However, a high level of risk doesn’t automatically mean that these areas are closed for business. Companies can exploit the opportunities in any market with high quality intelligence and analysis, and a strategy to navigate and manage the risks.” - About the map - Aon says that the Aon Terrorism & Political Violence Map is intended to help businesses understand and calibrate the current risk landscape. The ratings reflect current general risk assessments of political violence risks and draw heavily on empirical data and robust analytical methodologies. Each country is assigned a score — negligible, low, medium, high, or severe — according to its risk of terrorism, civil unrest (including strikes, riots, and civil commotion), and conflict (including rebellion and war). The country’s total score is an aggregate of these variables. - The risk ratings are based on TerrorismTracker data from the previous twelve months, The Risk Advisory Group’s data and intelligence and consultations between experts from The Risk Advisory Group and Aon. - Key findings - 21 countries at reduced risk of terrorism and political violence (Albania, Bangladesh, Barbados, Bhutan, Brazil, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Egypt, Fiji, Guyana, Honduras, Kyrgyzstan, Mauritania, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Panama, Tunisia, and Uzbekistan) - 13 countries at increased risk from terrorism and political violence (Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Lesotho, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, and Ukraine) - South America sees the most positive results, with the risk level falling in seven countries across the region, including Cuba and Honduras which have both seen the first drop in risk of the decade. This reflects counter-terrorism progress and moves to end long running conflicts in Colombia and Peru. No countries in Latin America are rated at increased risk in 2015, highlighting the potential for business investment across the continent. - Elevated geopolitical tensions in parts of Eastern Europe and Eurasia contributed to two increased risk scores in the region — Ukraine and Estonia. Russia’s military manoeuvers and increase in military spending mean that the potential for further armed conflict in the area is no longer unthinkable, yet the overall outlook in the rest of the region is moderately positive, including in Central Asia with three reduced risk ratings. - Sub-Saharan Africa is home to the most countries at high risk (sixteen), with discontent over government and socioeconomic problems driving civil unrest and conflict, creating a ‘triangle of risk’ stretching between Nigeria, Somalia and Libya. However, by contrast, Southern Africa stands out as a sub-region of relative stability. There is a similar picture across the Middle East, with a wide gap in risk between the stable, wealthier Gulf states and the Levant, Yemen and Bahrain. - More Stories: - Leave a comment - Register for your own account so you may participate in comment discussion. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to abide by our Comment Guidelines, our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Use. Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief. Names are displayed with all comments. Learn more about Joining our Web Community...
  • Peace, security, development and human rights as foundation of fair and stable society 28 May 2015 - New York— Strengthening rule of Law and human rights protects fragile States and translates aspirations for peace and justice to reality, UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said today at the close of a UN Development Programme (UNDP) meeting on strengthening rule of law in crisis-affected and fragile situations. - “Peace, security, development and human rights are foundation of fair and stable society,” Eliasson told attendees at the event, which is held every year. - The forum ended with a strong call of support for rule of law and human rights as a means to achieving sustainable peace and development. Permanent Representatives from UN Member States and participants from crisis countries agreed on a need to strengthen judicial systems as well as rule of law based on human rights. - “By working to strengthen the rule of law in some of the most difficult environments in the world, we are striving to help countries to recover from conflict and violence, and to establish peace which is underpinned and reinforced by sustainable development,” said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark. “We recognize the rule of law to be uniquely central to all three pillars of the UN’s mandate – human rights, peace and security, and development.” - “The building of legitimate justice and security systems is a slow and difficult process but already there have been good examples of UN joint programme and the Global Focal Point Structure in crisis and fragile countries,” stated Hervé Ladsous, UN Under-Secretary-General, Department for Peacekeeping Operations. - Since 2012 UNDP has provided rule of law assistance has been responsible for providing rule of law assistance across the UN system, when the “Global Focal Point (GFP)” structure was established. - The GFP structure, a joint undertaking between the UN’s Department for Peacekeeping Operations and UNDP that encompasses the police, justice and corrections sectors, allows a quicker and more effective response to rule of law needs in post-conflict and other crisis situations. - Magdy Martínez-Solimán, UNDP’s Assistant Administrator and Director of the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support presented UNDP’s 2014 Annual Report - Strengthening the Rule of Law in Crisis Affected and Fragile Situations. - Ongoing discussions on the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), set to be agreed upon by UN Member States in September, continue to highlight a strong link between good governance, rule of law and development, especially by the formulation of Goal 16 proposed by the Open Working Group. Many have advocated for these elements to be high on the agenda as the international community moves into a new era of global development, and their importance is reflected in a proposed standalone goal to “promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective and inclusive institutions at all levels.” - The important interrelation between inequality, human rights abuses, fragility, political accountability and conflict also lies at the heart of the “Human Rights Up Front” initiative launched by the UN Secretary-General in 2013, and demonstrates the UN System’s continued commitment to human rights in the context of rule of law, justice and security. - The two-day meeting was also an opportunity to highlight some of UNDP’s achievements on the ground in coordination role across the UN system. Sessions were attended by ministerial representatives from countries supported by UNDP such as the Central African Republic (CAR), Jordan and Tunisia, representatives of Permanent Missions, development and foreign ministries, technical specialists, Global Focal Point partners and UN entities (DPKO, OHCHR, UNODC and UN Women), think tanks and established experts in the rule of law field (Clingendael Institute, Folke Bernadotte Academy, US Institute for Peace and ZIF (German Center for International Peace Operations). - Contact Information - Sangita Khadka, Communications Specialist, UNDP Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, email: sangita.khadka@undp.org Tel: +1 212 906 5043..
  • Helen Clark: Remarks at the UNDP Annual Meeting on the Rule of Law in Crisis and Fragile Situations 28 May 2015 - UNDP is very happy to host this Annual Meeting on Rule of Law in Crisis and Fragile Settings once again. - I welcome our guests: - Mr. Mohamed Salah Ben Aïssa, Minister of Justice of Tunisia; - Mr. Aristide Sokambi, Minister of Justice of Central African Republic; - and Mr. Bassam Talhouni, Minister of Justice of Jordan. - I thank our guests for being with us today to tell us about your dedicated efforts to advance the rule of law, justice, security and respect for human rights in your respective countries. We look forward to learning about your experiences and initiatives, and to discussing how the international community, including the UN, can most effectively support your efforts. - I also welcome the Ambassadors, delegations, and colleagues who have joined us today. Your participation signals the importance you place on the rule of law, justice, and basic human security in development, and your commitment to advancing the work of the UN to help countries in these areas. I thank you for your support and partnership. - I am pleased to be here with Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary General and Head of the Department for Peacekeeping Operations. Hervé and I are together at this annual meeting to underline the good collaboration of our two entities and their determination to work together as the UN Global Focal Point on police, justice, and corrections. Our aim is to improve continually the effectiveness of co-ordinated UN-wide support for the rule of law in crisis and post-conflict contexts. - By working to strengthen the rule of law in some of the most difficult environments in the world, we are striving to help countries to recover from conflict and violence, and to establish peace which is underpinned and reinforced by sustainable development. We recognize the rule of law to be uniquely central to all three pillars of the UN’s mandate – human rights, peace and security, and development. - This year, the world has the opportunity to advance on all three pillars. I see 2015 as a “once in a generation” opportunity for world leaders to agree on a transformational and sustainable development agenda. We need good outcomes across the Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa, the Special Summit on Sustainable Development, and the Paris COP21 on climate change. The Sendai outcome in March on disaster risk reduction is also part of the equation. - The outcomes of three “peace reviews”, on peace operations, peacebuilding, and women in peace and security, will also help guide Member States’ decisions and actions to ensure that the UN’s response to conflict is “fit for purpose”. - The successful implementation of all the 2015 outcomes will depend, in part, on efforts to strengthen and enforce the rule of law. The Global Focal Point arrangement on rule of law was established to maximize the support the UN system could provide countries in crisis or which are fragile environments. - UNDP, alongside DPKO, and working with OHCHR, UN Women and UNODC, among others, shares responsibility for making sure that UN rule of law assistance is coherent, co-ordinated, flexible, and successful in overcoming the varied and frequent challenges inherent to our work in these contexts. - I am pleased to share here a few of the highlights of our work last year, and refer to what we have learned along the way. - Rule of law achievements in 2014: Context and highlights - 2014 saw both new and old threats to peace and development. - The Ebola crisis in West Africa and the impact of the Islamic State organization in several countries were among the major threats. Violent extremism targeting civilians intensified in a number of countries. Some conflicts carried on, causing even more harm to countries which were already severely damaged – from Syria to South Sudan. - High levels of armed violence in some countries continue to undermine economic and social development. In others, the need to bring justice and redress to victims of violence and conflict remain high development priorities. We must continue to scale up our support for countries to uphold the rule of law and human rights, and to provide justice and security for citizens. - Service provision and capable institutions. - Peaceful and resilient societies are built on institutions which can provide quality services to all, including excluded and/or victimized groups. In many countries in crisis, establishing or re-building such institutions can help lock in a positive social contract. Political support from the government and elites is essential for success. - In Central African Republic, the long-standing absence of the rule of law continues to blight peoples’ lives and the country’s development prospects. Supporting local partners to establish the presence of a state with at least a minimal capacity to deliver services is urgent. - In 2014, UNDP worked with MINUSCA and the Peacebuilding Support Office to help strengthen the justice, police, and prisons systems in Bangui. Our efforts led to the re-establishment of the Bangui District Court, the payment of police salaries, and the provision of equipment and vehicles. A joint US$15 million MINUSCA-UNDP-UNWOMEN Rule of Law programme has helped bring access to justice and redress mechanisms to local communities. These initiatives have been designed so that they support women to use the law to protect their interests. - The UN is now supporting efforts to establish a Special Court in CAR to prosecute human rights violations arising from the conflict, as agreed in the recently agreed peace “pact” (“Pacte Républicain” ). - Throughout 2014, many countries found their capacity to deliver services compromised by the displacement of people. According to the Norwegian Refugee Council, by January 2015 there were 38 million people displaced by conflict and violence globally. For the Middle East, the figure is just under eleven million, with Iraq and Syria hosting the majority. That figure represents more than one quarter of the world’s displaced populations. - The Syrian crisis is placing an exceptional stress on justice and security institutions - from the need to maintain positive relations between refugees and host communities, to the burden of coping with a sudden increase in prison population and court cases. Lebanon alone saw a forty per cent increase in court cases since the refugee crisis started. - In such settings, UNDP supports national and local authorities to respond to the needs of communities and vulnerable groups for security and human rights protection. Last year, together with UNAMI, we supported the establishment of Iraq’s first Independent High Commission for Human Rights - UNDP also set up a protection network for Iraqi women, supported by sixteen Family Protection Units and 39 assistance desks. These served 6000 people, more than two-thirds of which were women. - In Pakistan, in 2014, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (“KP”) provincial government finalized an ambitious development plan for peace and prosperity which included a strong focus on the rule of law. Sadly, the appalling bombing of a school in December, leaving more than 130 children dead, demonstrated the persistently high levels of insecurity in KP. Despite this, the Provincial Government and UNDP are undeterred in their efforts to establish the rule of law, justice, and security. - Last year, we jointly delivered legal aid clinics to more than 31,000 citizens in the area, established a police training centre, and equipped police stations and District Public Prosecutor’s offices in the hard-hit Malakand division. These efforts aim to help enhance people’s trust in the state, reduce violence, and help lay the ground for development. - Ensuring women’s security and access to justice - In many crisis and post-crisis contexts, we continue to see high levels of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). This requires a concerted response from the international community. - In Burundi, a woman named Gloriose told UNDP: “Without the help I received from a (male) volunteer at the legal aid clinic, I wouldn’t be alive today.” - Gloriose needed legal aid to deal with a violent husband and family after she refused to leave her home when her husband demanded a divorce. For Gloriose, the UNDP-supported legal aid centre was her only recourse for justice. Using a dispute resolution approach, the Centre also helped her to repair her relationships with her extended family. - In 2014, these clinics aided 4,500 Burundians, half of whom were women. Sadly these services are now impaired by the deteriorating political and security conditions in the country – a situation which requires the full attention of the international community to prevent the crisis from derailing and rolling back hard-won development gains. - In UNDP, we have recognized the needs of women like Gloriose, in our Strategic Plan. We have an explicit focus on preventing and responding to SGBV, and this priority is fully integrated within our rule of law assistance. - Promoting citizen security and countering armed violence - In 2014, large-scale armed violence continued to cause significant damage to economic activity and human development in many countries. - Honduras has one of the highest homicide rates in the world. In 2014, it experienced 68 deaths by homicide per 100,000 people; globally the average is just eight per 100,000. Almost eighty per cent of the homicides were inflicted by firearms. - The World Bank estimates the annual costs of violence in Honduras to be ten per cent of the country’s GDP – or approximately $900 million. To help roll back this scourge, UNDP assisted the government to implement its Integrated Policy on Coexistence and Citizen Security. Since 2012 homicide rates have started to drop. - In Iraq, Libya, and Nigeria - among others, we saw in 2014 how peace, stability and development were compromised by violent extremists and warlords who operate seamlessly across territorial borders. This is having devastating effects on people’s lives, families, and communities, and depleting natural resources and biodiversity. - This challenge demands that we seek to counter the magnetic effect of violent extremism, including by promoting the UN’s ideals of tolerance, inclusion, human rights, and the rule of law. It is important that we help countries expand the freedoms and opportunities available to burgeoning populations of young people, and root out the exclusion, injustice, and discrimination which drives people to violence and extremism. - What we have learned from practice is that establishing the rule of law is not purely a technical endeavor. Whilst we work to strengthen governing and justice institutions, much depends on the political will of governments, ruling elites, and traditional leaders to respect human rights and the rule of law, and be inclusive in decision making processes. - The participation of victims of conflict in Colombia, for example, in the peace talks has helped to ensure recognition and realization of their rights. The Tunisian Government’s National Truth and Dignity Commission is another example of leadership. Since opening last December, the Commission has received an average of 100 cases per day from complainants, seeking the investigation of human rights violations committed from 1955 to 2013 - helping to heal wounds and bring an end to injustice and impunity. - Turning a corner in 2015 - As the UN works to improve its peace and peacebuilding support, it is important to recognize the development dimensions of this challenge. The real cost of peacebuilding over a generation includes the cost of the slow and difficult work needed to build consensus and trust, weave together a social contract, and heal wounds from injustices. At UNDP, we have seen what works, and believe that the costs of bringing these efforts to scale should be recognized and financed. I thank all present for being champions of this cause. - Our recommendation to the various peacebuilding review panels is to deliver findings which support the UN system to function more effectively and collaboratively to deliver peace for the longer term. Building on the example of the Global Focal Point, we should aim for ever better co-ordination on improving our work on governance, conflict prevention, and peacebuilding. - By the end of 2015, the new global development agenda should be in place. Embedded in the proposed SDG Goal 16 on peaceful and inclusive societies are targets which aim to strengthen and reinforce the rule of law. Goal 16 and its targets will be transformative: a target to reduce rates of lethal violence, for example, would provide a new impetus to the direction of development assistance. - UNDP is committed to supporting Member States to implement Goal 16, and to establishing appropriate monitoring systems for measuring progress. - At UNDP, we look forward to working with all Member States on the implementation of the new global development agenda. Backed by our partnership with Member States on the next phase of UNDP’s Global Programme on Rule of Law, we will work hard to advance respect for the rule of law and human rights as essential for achieving a more peaceful, inclusive, and sustainable world...
  • Improving transparency and accountability of public spending in focus of regional OSCE-supported seminar in Vienna Alexey Stukalo, Deputy Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities (l) and and Michel Nussbaumer, Director of the EBRD Legal Transition Programme during an opening session at the Regional Seminar on Enhancing Public Procurement Regulation, Vienna, 28 May 2015. (OSCE/Micky Kroell) Photo details - VIENNA, 28 May 2015 - The role of improving public procurement procedures for economic development and combating corruption, as well as the recent trends in public procurement, are the focus of a two-day Regional Seminar on Enhancing Public Procurement Regulation which started today in Vienna. - Some 40 public procurement policy-makers from Armenia, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey and Ukraine are taking part. - “Economic development and combating corruption are key prerequisites for stability and security,” said Alexey Stukalo, Deputy Co-ordinator/Head of Economic Activities at the Office of the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities. - He noted that the public procurement sector is well-known for being fraught with corruption risks. “Public procurement activities should be based on the principles of integrity, transparency, competitiveness, accountability, credibility and cost-effectiveness. Promotion of such principles contributes significantly to achieving better terms for the delivery of goods, performance of works and supply of services.” - Michel Nussbaumer, Director of the Legal Transition Programme at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), said: “Public procurement represents an average of 28% of general government expenditure and 13% of GDP in member countries of the OECD (the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), so amounts at risk of corruption are very significant.” - Caroline Nicholas, Senior Legal Officer at the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), said: “The revised UNCITRAL Model Law on Public Procurement promotes the ‘value for money’ principle in government spending, it pays special attention to ensuring transparency thereby supporting the fight against bribery and conflict of interest in procurement decisions.” - The seminar is co-organized by the Office of the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities, the EBRD and UNCITRAL...
  • Press release - Tunisia’s Prime Minister Habib Essid on security and migration challenges -... Tunisia’s Prime Minister Habib Essid met the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Human Rights and Security and Defence subcommittees on Thursday to discuss the latest developments in his country. Security challenges, fighting terrorism and tackling migration flows were the key issues raised in the debate. - Tunisia’s transition to democracy has been difficult, taking over 3 years to complete, said Mr Essid, adding that its major political challenge now was to put its newly-approved constitution into practice. - “Development cannot happen without security”, he said, stressing that Tunisia’s new counter-terrorism strategy is a top priority. He also described its new 5-year strategy to boost the economy, including regional projects and development programmes. - On migration flows, Mr Essid stressed that prevention is always needed and the only way to achieve it is by finding sustainable solutions locally in order to integrate people in their own country, so as to prevent them from fleeing. - Mr Essid repeatedly thanked the European Parliament and the EU as a whole for lending their support to Tunisia during its difficult democratic transition period. - All MEPs welcomed Tunisia’s progress, acknowledging its difficulties with migration and terrorism, and saying that it should “lead by example”. - You can watch the debate as a recording event...
  • APR Energy Signs Two-Year, 35MW Contract for New Power Generation in Botswana – Brings company’s installed capacity for BPC to 105MW JACKSONVILLE, Florida, May 27, 2015 / PRNewswire – APR Energy (LSE: APR) announced today that it has signed a contract with the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC), the national electric utility, to provide 35MW of new power generation for a two-year term. Logo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120207/FL48583LOGO APR Energy will […]..
  • Press release - Tunisia’s Prime Minister Habib Essid to meet European Parliament committees - Committee on Foreign Affairs Tunisia’s Prime Minister Habib Essid met the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Human Rights and Security and Defence subcommittees on Thursday to discuss the latest developments in his country. Security challenges, fighting terrorism and tackling migration flows were the key issues raised in the debate. - Tunisia’s transition to democracy has been difficult, taking over 3 years to complete, said Mr Essid, adding that its major political challenge now was to put its newly-approved constitution into practice. - “Development cannot happen without security”, he said, stressing that Tunisia’s new counter-terrorism strategy is a top priority. He also described its new 5-year strategy to boost the economy, including regional projects and development programmes. - On migration flows, Mr Essid stressed that prevention is always needed and the only way to achieve it is by finding sustainable solutions locally in order to integrate people in their own country, so as to prevent them from fleeing. - Mr Essid repeatedly thanked the European Parliament and the EU as a whole for lending their support to Tunisia during its difficult democratic transition period. - All MEPs welcomed Tunisia’s progress, acknowledging its difficulties with migration and terrorism, and saying that it should “lead by example”. - You can watch the debate as a recording event...
  • Press statement by Commissioner Avramopoulos on the first measures under the European Agenda on Migration Today, the Commission has shown that it can act quickly and firmly to better manage migration. - Only two weeks after the adoption of the European Agenda on Migration, we are making another important step. We are moving from policy planning to policy making. We are taking concrete actions. - This new step underscores the Commission's determination and commitment to implement this Agenda. - So, let's see what we have put on the table today. - We have a European resettlement scheme for 20,000 persons who are in clear need of international protection. They will be resettled from countries outside Europe to EU Member States. - We also have a proposal for an emergency mechanism to relocate 40,000 asylum seekers. Syrians and Eritreans will be relocated from Italy and Greece to other EU Member States over a period of 2 years. - For the first time, we will trigger the emergency mechanism under Article 78 point 3 of the Treaty. - Malta faced a similar situation in the past and was supported, but not in the same way. We learned from this experience. - This time, we are ready to propose emergency measures if other Member States also face a sudden influx of migrants. - Let me clarify some points. - The European Agenda on Migration has raised very diverse reactions in the press, in the Member States and in the European Parliament. - Overall, the comments on the Agenda are positive. But there are also some misunderstandings. - There is no proposal to relocate irregular migrants across the EU. - We do not propose the fixing of “quotas”; it’s a word we don’t like and we don’t use. - All this is about ensuring solidarity, but it is up to each Member States to decide on how many persons they will grant refugee status. - If countries want to relocate or resettle more persons, they can. But we want to ensure minimum solidarity. - As I said many times before, the European Agenda on Migration is a comprehensive policy. - The Agenda does not only address the situation in the Mediterranean, nor does it only deal with the distribution of asylum seekers across the EU. - The Agenda is balanced package, based on a very simple principle: extend a helping hand to those in need and strive to attract those we need. - But this will be balanced by strong and targeted action against those who try to abuse the system. That is why today we are also launching several different and concrete measures to respond to the current migration challenges. - To secure our borders and save lives, the new Operational Plan of Triton includes a significant number of additional assets and extends its geographical scope to cover the area of the former Italian operation Mare Nostrum. Almost all Member States are participating. Yesterday, Frontex signed the new operational plan of the Joint Operation Triton. This will help to save lives. - We have an Action Plan on migrant smuggling. It goes far beyond the destruction of ships. The plan will follow all major smuggling routes, from beginning to end. That is why we have to strengthen our cooperation with the countries origin and transit. That is also why I recently visited Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco. - Moreover, to crack down on smugglers, we will step up prevention and collect information. We will also reinforce the investigation and prosecution of criminal networks of smugglers. - We need to improve asylum processing. The full and coherent implementation of the Common European Asylum System is one of our priorities. For its implementation, we adopted guidelines to ensure that all Member States use the same gradual measures on fingerprinting. - To develop a new policy on legal migration, we are finally launching a public consultation on the Blue Card directive. This is a first step towards its revision and to ensure that Europe attracts the qualified people it needs. - As announced in the Agenda, the Commission with the Agencies will also deploy "hotspot" teams. EASO, Frontex and Europol will work on the ground to swiftly identify, register and fingerprint incoming migrants and assess those who are in need of protection from those who are not. This process will complement actions that will increase the effectiveness of the return of irregular migrants. - Needless to say, all these measures require significant funds for their implementation. In a short period of time, we secured a total of €450 million. - So, as you can see, we mean what we say. But this is only the beginning. We are determined to take many more steps. We will move forward. I sincerely hope that the Council, Member States and the Parliament will also move forward with us. - Thank you...
  • University of Roehampton, London Online Introduces Master of Arts in Theology and Leadership LONDON, May 27, 2015 / PRNewswire – Continuing its tradition of providing access to quality theological education, the University of Roehampton, London announced today the addition of an online Master of Arts in Theology and Leadership to its Department of Humanities. This programme was created to help meet the demand for leaders of faith-based organisations and other organisations […]..
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  • UN rights chief spotlights Burundi, migrant crises in Europe and Asia, other pressing issues 26 May 2015 – The top United Nations human rights official drew attention to several issues of concern today in an informal address to the Geneva-based Human Rights Council from the eruption of violence in Burundi and the overflowing migrant dilemmas in the Mediterranean and South-East Asia, to the protracted and worsening conflict in South Sudan. - “When I left Burundi, on 15 April, 6,000 Burundians had fled the country due to fear of political violence and intimidation. Five weeks later, that number has swelled by a further 110,000 frightened people,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein told the Council. - “The attempted coup of 13 May, and the assassination of opposition leader Zedi Feruzi on Saturday, has further intensified tension,” he added, expressing alarm for the violence of the Imbonerakure militia, a strong supporter of President Nkurunziza’s government. - Burundi is a country with “deep and terrible knowledge of the potential consequences of outbreaks of violence,” and after a decade of growing recovery, and prosperity, these recent events are a “significant setback,” Mr. Zeid said. - He commended the efforts of the African Union, International Conference on the Great Lakes region, the East African Community, European Union (EU) and the UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes to draw all actors to the negotiating table and protect human rights and the rule of law. - On a positive note, Mr. Zeid commended Tunisia for “turning its back on the oppression of the past,” and for its resolute adoption of human rights goals. On the heels of his visit to the North African nation last month, the rights chief said that the country’s new Constitution is in line with international human rights standards and that legislation has been adopted to combat the persistent issue of torture. Authorities have also made significant efforts regarding the rights of persons with disabilities and the freedom of the media. - “The entire Middle East and North Africa region would certainly look very different today if leaders of other countries had had the wisdom to take a similar approach,” he said. - In Europe and South-East Asia, people are “embarking on a desperate voyage out of fear and need,” and are merely fleeing the relentless conflict, wide -ranging oppression of their human rights and repression and persecution, Mr. Zeid said. - In the Mediterranean, over 1,800 have died at sea so far this year, and 7,000 people were rescued in just the first three days of this month, he told the Human Rights Council, expressing concern that the disproportionate focus on enforcement, and the militarization of that enforcement, raises a large number of concerns, beyond the urgent and absolute need to protect the lives. - “Any law enforcement response to migrant smuggling must respect international standards for human rights,” he stressed. - As for the European Agenda on Migration issued two weeks ago and which proposes quotas for the resettlement of 20,000 refugees within the EU, he said this small number of places is wholly inadequate to the magnitude of the crisis and urged far greater emphasis on expanding channels for migration into Europe, including for low-skilled labour and family reunification. - “A more humane, less mean-spirited response to their plight would be more worthy of Member States of the United Nations,” emphasized Mr. Zeid. - Meanwhile, in South-East Asia, in the first quarter of this year, 25,000 people have set out to sea from Myanmar and Bangladesh and at least 1,050 people have died at sea. And many have been violently abused and robbed by the smugglers whom they paid to facilitate their voyage. - While Indonesia and Malaysia are providing a temporary lifesaver, it is not enough. The Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), which committed itself in its Charter to human rights and humanitarian principles, must fulfil their obligations to search and rescue all those in peril at sea, and offer lasting protection to people who are fleeing persecution. The treatment of the Rohingya, thousands of who are fleeing Myanmar, not only violates human rights norms, but complicates Myanmar’s relations with its neighbours. - “I hope the discrimination that targets this vulnerable minority will swiftly be reversed, and that the Rohingya will be able to take their rightful place in the country where they were born,” he said. - He also expressed dismay that in Australia, people on boats intercepted at sea are sent to detention centres, and he called for the protection of human rights at places of transit and at borders, and a “principled campaign” against xenophobia and discrimination. - Lastly, on South Sudan, he said that despite the best efforts of the African Union, Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) and the UN, in the past two weeks, more people have sought refuge at protection sites managed by the UN Mission in in the country, UNMISS. - “Some had to trek hundreds of kilometres by foot, and braved attacks by armed groups along the way,” he said. - Armed attacks also directly threaten some UNMISS protection sites, and 7 people were recently killed at one of the locations, in Upper Nile state. Humanitarian access has been severely constrained, and aid agencies have pulled out of several locations in Unity state due to fighting. - “It has been almost 18 months since this senseless conflict erupted, with virtually no accountability for the numerous violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law that have been committed,” he said. - The conflict itself is, at least in part, a direct consequence of unresolved issues from the past. Previous cycles of violent attacks and killings, committed with absolute impunity, have left many people with unresolved grievances. It is therefore of the utmost importance that accountability remains a priority in seeking a resolution to the conflict...
  • Article - EP this week: TTIP, Ban Ki Moon, banking, Tunisia The committee responsible for dealing with the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will this week vote on its recommendation, while UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will address the plenary on Wednesday. Also on the agenda this week are transport, Tunisia, school fruit schemes and improving the stability of the EU's banking system. - The international trade committee votes Wednesday on the Parliament's recommendations on the TTIP negotiations with the US. The issues addressed in the resolution include investor protection rules, public health, data protection, public procurement and environmental sustainability. The trade agreement cannot enter into force without the Parliament's approval. - Ban Ki-moon will be speaking during May's second plenary in Brussels on Wednesday at 15.30 CET. - On Thursday and Friday the civil liberties committee organises an interparliamentary committee meeting on the democratic oversight of intelligence services in the EU. - The economic committee votes Tuesday on a draft law to strengthen the stability of the EU's banking system by curbing speculation and ring-fencing risky trading by banks that are too big to fail. - The transport committee casts its vote on Thursday on plans to facilitate the provision of information when travelling using different means of transport. - Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid debates his country's transition to democracy with MEPs at a meeting of the foreign affairs committee and the human rights and security and defence subcommittees on Thursday. This will be Essid's first visit to the European Parliament since becoming prime minister in February. - MEPs are also amending legislation on school fruit, vegetable and milk schemes to try to secure more money to encourage children to eat healthily and to promote using local food. - Click here for more news from the European Parliament...
  • FM Receives Czech Parliamentary Delegation Foreign Minister Taieb Baccouche Monday received a Czech..
  • Tunisia soldier opens fire on comrades near Parliament NNA - A Tunisian soldier opened fire on comrades at a barracks near parliament on Monday, wounding some of them, the defense ministry said.Ministry spokesman Belhassen Oueslati declined to be drawn on whether there had been any deaths in the shooting a.....
  • Tunisia's Cup - Club Africain Retain Trophy Club Africain won Tunisia's basketball Cup after beating US Monastir..
  • Horse "Enta Hor" Wins Grand Prix of President of Republic The horse "Enta Hor" (You are free), ridden by David Broux and..
  • League 2 (play-Off) - US Ben Guerdane Promoted to League 1 for First Time in Their History US Ben Guerdane were promoted to Tunisia's soccer League 1 for the..
  • Protesters Arrested After Police Officer Found Not Guilty in Fatal Shooting of Unarmed Suspects About 150 protesters marched down the middle of downtown Cleveland..
  • President Caid Essebsi Meets ATFD Delegation Activities of the Tunisian Association of Democratic Women (French:..
  • Farhat Hached Foundation Signs Two Co-Operation Agreements in Scientific Research The Farhat Hached Foundation signed, on Saturday in Tunis, two..
  • Degueche - Date Exporters Struggling Date exporters in Degueche, Governorate of Tozeur are facing major..
  • PM Says There Is No Room for Strikes Now "There is no longer any room for strikes" considering the state of..
  • Caid Essebsi Meets With Minister of Defence President Beji Caid Essebsi met, Saturday at Carthage Palace, with..
  • Blocked Projects - 600 MTD Funds Dedicated to Local Development Unexpended An amount worth 600 million Tunisian dinars (MTD) dedicated to local..
  • BCT Governor Urges Creation of Development Funds in Regions Governor of the Central Bank of Tunisia Chedly Ayari, on Saturday,..
  • Municipality Performance Appraisal Tool "Baladiameter" Launched A platform to appraise the performance of municipalities in Tunis was..
  • Serviceman Opens Fire Wounding His Colleagues in Boushusha Military Barracks - Belhassen Oueslati A serviceman opened fire, Monday morning, wounding his colleagues in..
  • Launch of Tounes Ta3mal Platform Tounes Ta3mal 2.0, a platform to help young jobseekers was launched..
  • Shooting in Boushusha Barracks - 5 Killed and Several Wounded - New Toll A fifth victim succumbed to his injuries following the shooting in..
  • Tunisian-Moroccan Cultural Days May 27-29 The Tunisian-Moroccan cultural days will be held from May 27 to 29 in..
  • FCO Minister Visit to Tunisia [press release] UK Minister for the Middle East and North Africa Tobias Ellwood..
  • Boushusha Shooting, "Isolated Act" According to Defence Ministry The Boushusha shooting "is an isolated act," confirmed, Monday,..
  • Gafsa - UGTT Calls for Resumption of Work in CPG - Bouali Mbarki Deputy Secretary-General of the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT)..
  • More Tunisians Set to Be Released Sunday or Monday - Libyan Official Another group of Tunisians, held in Libya, will be released Sunday or..
  • World Judo Masters 2015 Rabat - Tunisian Faisal Jaballah Finishes 7th Tunisian judoka Faisal Jaballah (100 kg) finished 7th at the World..
  • Tunisian Early Fruits to Be Showcased At Expo Milano 2015 Tunisia's Inter-professional Fruit Group (GIFruits) is organising..
  • Nearly 64 Agricultural and Infrastructure Projects Still Stalling Some 39 agricultural projects worth 191 million Tunisian dinars (MTD)..
  • Revenues From Olive Oil Exports Reached 1,139 Mtd to End April 2015 Olive oil exports have reached 186 thousand tonnes (including 8.1..
  • "Digital Tunisia 2018" Strategic Plan Approved The Strategic Digital Council approved during its first meeting held,..
  • Caid Essebsi - "My Visit to Usa Achieved Its Objectives" President Beacuteji Caid Essebsi asserted that his visit in the..
  • Essid Urges Governors to Embark On Fieldwork Prime Minister Habib Essid, Saturday, insistently urged governors to..
  • ARAB INTERIOR MINISTERS CONDEMN ATTACK ON SAUDI QATIF MOSQUE TUNIS, May 24 -- The General Secretariat of Council of Arab Interior..
  • Five Illegal Immigrants Died and 48 Survived in Shipwreck Off Monastir The bodies of 5 illegal immigrants were recovered, Saturday morning..
  • Mohamed Ennaceur - Tunisia's Political Success Should Translate Into Economic and Social Success House of People's Representatives (HPR) Speaker Mohamed Ennaceur..
  • "There Is International Co-Operation With Tunisia in Case of Chourabi and Ktari" - Taieb Baccouche Foreign Minister Taieb Baccouche asserted, Friday, the existence of..
  • FM to Visit Spain On May 26-27 Foreign Minister Taieb Baccouche is paying, on May 26-27, an official..
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