Daily Archives: April 14, 2015

UN rights experts welcome Blackwater sentencing, urge greater accountability for private security

14 April 2015 – The outsourcing of national security to private firms creates risks for human rights and accountability, the United Nations working group on the use of mercenaries confirmed today as it welcomed the sentencing of four former Blackwater Worldwide personnel for the 2007 killing of 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians.

The four security personnel were convicted for the shooting deaths of 14 unarmed Iraqis in Baghdad’s crowded Nissour Square in 2007. Another 17 Iraqi civilians were also injured when the private contractors opened fire.

According to a press release issued by the UN’s human rights office (OHCHR), one Blackwater security guard was convicted to life in prison while three others were sentenced to 30 years.

“We endorse the sentences meted out to the private military actors in this landmark trial,” said Elzbieta Karska, the working group’s chairperson, in the press release. “Private military and security companies must always be held accountable for violations committed under international human rights and humanitarian law.”

However, Ms. Karska added, such examples of accountability are the “exception rather than the rule.”

“The difficulty in bringing a prosecution in this case shows the need for an international treaty to address the increasingly significant role that private military companies play in transnational conflicts.”

Ms. Karska and the Working Group acknowledged that the adoption of a new international legal instrument within the UN would provide a clear framework to effectively monitor abuses and violations of human rights committed by private security contractors and develop an independent avenue to compensate victims of such violations.

The Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination was established in 2005 by the then Commission on Human Rights. It is composed of five independent experts serving in their personal capacities: Ms. Elzbieta Karska (Chairperson-Rapporteur, Poland), Ms. Patricia Arias, Mr. Anton Katz (South Africa), Mr. Gabor Rona (United States/Hungary), and Mr. Saeed Mokbil (Yemen).

The UN human rights experts are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN human rights system, is the general name of the independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms of the Council that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world.

Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

“There can be no justice without effective accountability and redress mechanisms for victims,” Ms. Karska continued, noting that human rights violations committed by private security companies cannot remain unpunished.

“States have a responsibility to ensure that victims and their families have equal and effective access to justice, as well as adequate, effective and prompt reparation for the harm suffered.”

Remarks by Commissioner Avramopoulos on the situation in the Mediterranean at the LIBE Committee in the European Parliament

Honourable Members,

Dear representative of the presidency,

Dear Dr. Gonzi,

I am very happy to be back in LIBE and to discuss with you.

Let me start by stressing how timely your initiative is and that I very much welcome the opportunity to exchange views, as we have done in previous meetings.

The arrival of more than 7000 migrants – according to Frontex estimates – over the past few days reminds us that we have to be well aware of the immediate realities at our borders.

Europe finds itself amidst a widening arc of instability ranging from the East all the way to North Africa.

On our Eastern flank, the conflict in the Ukraine, fuels instability and anxiety in the entire region.

The conflicts in Syria and Iraq generated a historic displacement of people, with serious security and socio-economic implications for neighbouring countries, including Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.

Then, of course there is Libya, which has been a recurrent theme in many of your recent debates.

With such a set of circumstances in our neighbourhood, we have to prepare for a heavy migratory season, and the Commission is ready to do its part to support and assist those Member States that are affected the most and have urgent needs.

In fact, we have recently offered emergency financial support to a number of Member States and we are ready to do this again in the future if needed.

We are following the on-going actions already identified and developed under the Task Force Mediterranean, but more actions will be needed to deal with the current situation:

  • to support the asylum systems under pressure with the help of EASO;
  • and to assist member States protecting their borders through Frontex in all affected Member States; not only Italy, but also along the Eastern Mediterranean border in Greece and Bulgaria.

We have to understand that the current context – in other words, the unprecedented influx of migrants at our borders and in particular, refugees – is unfortunately the new norm and we will need to adjust our responses accordingly.

These recurring events are indeed one more justification to move from reacting to emergencies to implementing a comprehensive approach that addresses the migratory challenges at their roots.

The European Agenda on Migration that will be adopted in May is the start of a process to present a set of effective and sustainable actions to address migratory challenges.

This will be the basis on which the Commission considers that the European Union should move forward.

The European Agenda on Migration is built on four pillars that are closely inter-related and of equal importance:

  • A strong Common European Asylum System that guarantees assistance to those in need of protection but limit the abuses;
  • A new policy on legal migration to define the framework under which people with different skills that we need can come to Europe;
  • A robust fight against irregular migration that includes a clear plan to fight smuggling and trafficking of migrants and an effective return policy;
  • Borders that protect a Europe that remains open.

To face these challenges, the European Commission or the European Union cannot solve all the problems alone. It is clear that we have to develop a comprehensive approach and we need to act together with the Member States. That is why I have engaged in a dialogue with each of them. I have almost met all ministers of Interior and I’m visiting many Member States. At these occasions, I always call Member States to show solidarity through concrete actions.

The recent incidents in the Mediterranean, with thousands of migrants crossing – mainly from Libya but also from Turkey – to Italy and Greece, is a stark reminder that we also need to engage in a substantial way with third countries.

That is why I will also visit key third countries (Morrocco, Egypt, Tunisia).

The recent joint LIBE-DEV Committee meeting is, in my opinion, further proof of the nexus between migration and development and we intend to take this up in the preparation of our Agenda.

We have to enhance cooperation with third countries and also apply tools from foreign policy, neighbourhood policies, development aid and trade in order to achieve the objective of better-managed migratory flows.

This cannot be a one-way relationship. Third countries must also see the benefits of working with us on migration.

We will also continue to provide support to neighbouring third countries in their commendable efforts to host displaced persons or to combat human traffickers and smugglers.

At the same time, a successful migration policy also depends on connected and effective employment, education and research policies.

Dear Honourable Members,

Given our short- and long-term challenges I cannot but reiterate the importance of developing a constructive and close cooperation between the European Institutions and, in particular, with the European Parliament.

When it comes to migration, we cannot afford to follow competing agendas. The European Agenda on Migration will take into account the Strategic Guidelines adopted by the Member States last June and the resolution for a holistic approach adopted by the Parliament last December.

I am here today to continue our dialogue and to listen to your suggestions and discuss them with you. I did not come here to give you definitive answers and details on what the Agenda will include.

I am here to listen to your proposals, so that I can feed them into the ongoing discussions in the Commission that will lead to the adoption of the European Agenda on Migration at the end of May.

Thank you for your attention.

PW Power Systems va livrer le premier groupe générateur à turbine à gaz MOBILEPAC® à la Guinée

GLASTONBURY, Connecticut, 14 avril 2015 /PRNewswire/ – PW Power Systems, Inc. (PWPS), une société du groupe Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI), a annoncé un contrat avec Miami Capital Holding Corporation pour la fourniture de trois unités MOBILEPAC qui seront installées à Conakry, en Guinée. Ces unités seront exploitées par K-Energie, une filiale de Miami Capital Holding Corporation. Il s’agira des toutes premières unités MOBILEPAC à être fournies à la Guinée.

Les principaux composants de la première unité ont été livrés à la Guinée par transport aérien dans un avion-cargo Antonov ; la conception modulaire du MOBILEPAC facilite le transport de l’unité d’une puissance nominale de 25MW dans un seul avion. MKH Engineering installera l’équipement sur place avec le soutien d’ingénierie et technique de PW Power Systems. La société Tractebel Engineering, basée à Bruxelles, en Belgique, effectuera un audit dès que l’installation sera complétée. L’unité MOBILEPAC a été acquise dans le but précis d’augmenter la capacité de production d’électricité de la Guinée de façon rapide et efficace.

Contexte
Le groupe de turbine à gaz MOBILEPAC est un leader de l’industrie qui fournit une technologie de pointe depuis plus de 30 ans. Ce groupe, qui exploite la technologie éprouvée du groupe de turbine à gaz SWIFTPAC®, est conçu pour assurer une alimentation en électricité rapide et fiable. Sa compatibilité environnementale, son fonctionnement bi-combustible/bi-fréquence et son exploitabilité à distance sont parmi ses nombreux avantages. Plus de 550 moteurs FT8® ont été fournis à l’industrie avec plus de 125 groupes dans une configuration MOBILEPAC.

À propos de PW Power Systems, Inc.
PW Power Systems, Inc. (PWPS), qui a son siège à Glastonbury, dans le Connecticut, est un leader mondial en prestation de solutions énergétiques pour l’industrie de la production d’électricité. PWPS propose une gamme de produits et de services, notamment des groupes de turbines à gaz, des services après-vente pour les turbines à gaz industrielles, ainsi que des services d’ingénierie, d’approvisionnement et de construction. PWPS est une société du groupe Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI). MHI, qui a son siège à Tokyo, au Japon, est l’un des plus grands fabricants de machinerie lourde au monde, avec un chiffre d’affaires consolidé de l’ordre de 32,5 milliards USD pour l’exercice clos le 31 mars 2014. La gamme diversifiée de produits et de services de MHI couvre la construction navale, les centrales électriques y compris la puissance distribuée, les usines chimiques, les équipements de protection de l’environnement, les structures en acier, les machines industrielles et d’usage général, les aéronefs, les systèmes spatiaux et les systèmes de conditionnement d’air. Pour plus d’information sur PWPS, visiter www.pwps.com.

PW Power Systems to Provide Guinea’s First MOBILEPAC® Gas Turbine Generator Package

GLASTONBURY, Connecticut, April 14, 2015 / PRNewswire – PW Power Systems, Inc. (PWPS), a group company of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI), has announced a contract with Miami Capital Holding Corporation to provide three MOBILEPAC units for installation in Conakry, Guinea. These units will be operated by Miami Capital Holding Corporation’s subsidiary, K-Energie. They will be the very first MOBILEPAC units delivered to Guinea.

The core components of the first unit were delivered to Guinea via air transportation provided by the Antonov cargo transport airplane; the modular design of the MOBILEPAC facilitates transportation of the nominal 25MW unit with a single aircraft. MKH Engineering will install the equipment on site with engineering and technical support from PW Power Systems. Tractebel Engineering, based out of Brussels, Belgium, will facilitate an audit once the installation is completed. The MOBILEPAC unit was specifically purchased to augment Guinea’s power generation capacity in a rapid and efficient manner.

Background
The MOBILEPAC gas turbine package is an industry leader, delivering state-of-the-art technology for over 30 years. Utilizing the proven SWIFTPAC® gas turbine package technology, this package is designed to provide quick, reliable power. Benefits include its environmental compatibility, dual fuel/dual frequency, remote operability and many others. There have been over 550 FT8® engines provided to the industry with over 125 packages in a MOBILEPAC configuration.

About PW Power Systems, Inc.
PW Power Systems, Inc. (PWPS), headquartered in Glastonbury, Conn., is a world leader in the supply of energy solutions for the power generation industry. PWPS provides an array of products and services, including gas turbine packages, industrial gas turbine aftermarket services, and engineering, procurement and construction services. PWPS is a group company of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI). MHI, headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is one of the world’s leading heavy machinery manufacturers, with consolidated net sales of approximately $32.5 billion for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014. MHI’s diverse lineup of products and services encompasses shipbuilding, power plants including distributed power, chemical plants, environmental equipment, steel structures, industrial and general machinery, aircraft, space systems and air-conditioning systems. To learn more about PWPS, visit www.pwps.com.

U.S. training foreign health personnel to tackle future epidemics in North Africa, Middle East

EpidemicsU.S. training foreign health personnel to tackle future epidemics in North Africa, Middle East

Published 14 April 2015

In an effort to prevent an Ebola-like disease outbreak in North Africa and the Middle East, a U.S. science envoy is leading a government-sponsored program which would train foreign health experts on how to produce vaccines in time to prevent an epidemic. It is uncertain what disease threat might emerge in North Africa and the Middle East, so the scientists want to be prepared for a number of candidates. They worrys most about leishmaniasis, schistosomiasis, MERS, dengue fever, and alkhurma hemorrhagic fever, diseases for which there are no licensed vaccines; and tuberculosis, for which the only vaccine, BCG, offers at best modest protection.

In an effort to prevent an Ebola-like disease outbreak in North Africa and the Middle East, Dr. Peter Hotez, a U.S. science envoy, is leading a government-sponsored program which would train foreign health experts on how to produce vaccines in time to prevent an epidemic. Hotez, dean of Baylor College of Medicine’s National School of Tropical Medicine and director of Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, is concerned that the next outbreak of a neglected tropical disease or emerging infection could strike Islamic State-occupied territories in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, or Libya, because they share the conditions that historically have preceded such events- poverty, conflict, and human migration. Health experts, Hotez said, could have predicted the Ebola outbreak because of the post-war conditions in West Africa. “We can’t wait for catastrophic epidemics to happen and only then start making vaccines…we need to start anticipating the next threat.”

The Houston Chronicle reports that in the 1970s, African sleeping sickness killed 500,000 people following wars in Angola, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Then in the 1980s and 1990s, leishmaniasis killed 100,000 people following the civil war in the Sudan. The deterioration of health care infrastructure and people fleeing conflict preceded the outbreaks, both caused by parasites.

It is uncertain what disease threat might emerge in North Africa and the Middle East, so Hotez wants to be prepared for a number of candidates. He worries most about leishmaniasis, schistosomiasis, MERS, dengue fever, and alkhurma hemorrhagic fever, diseases for which there are no licensed vaccines; and tuberculosis, for which the only vaccine, BCG, offers at best modest protection.

The public health community’s reaction to the West Africa Ebola crisis was rather slow, worsening the effects of the disease in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea, where at least 10,000 people have died. Western health institutions, for at least a decade, had the technology to produce Ebola vaccine candidates, but major pharmaceutical companies did not conduct a clinical trial on any of the candidates until late last year.

Hotez will meet with government and health officials in Saudi Arabia later this month to access the country’s viability as a partner on the program. He has already met with officials in Morocco, and will soon visit Qatar. The post of U.S. science envoy is designed to promote the nation’s commitment to science and technology as “engines of diplomacy.” “One reason people admire America is the power of our research institutions,” said Hotez, who is also director of the Sabin Vaccine Institute. “People come from around the world to study at Harvard, Stanford, Baylor, but we haven’t exploited that advantage as much as we could. We need to put science diplomacy out there as part of U.S. foreign policy.”

Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Morocco meet Hotez’s fundamental criteria for project participation: political stability; acceptable science, biotechnology and pharmaceutical capabilities; the will to make the project happen; and regional as well as national interests.

Under the program, scientists from selected institutions would spend time at the Sabin Institute, whose vaccines for hookworm and schistosomiasis are in early-stage human trials; and its vaccines for Chagas, leishmaniasis, and SARS are still in lab development and production.

There’s a persistent pattern to these outbreaks in the developing world the past 40 years that we can’t keep ignoring,” said Hotez. “Ebola was just version 3.0. We need to be ready for version 4.0.”

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