Showing posts with label safety. Show all posts
Showing posts with label safety. Show all posts

Friday, April 15, 2011

Environment Health and Safety Regulations on the Rise in Africa


Children carrying water near gas flares at Shell`s Obigbo oilfield, near Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
PHOTO: Peter Roderick, www.climatelaw.org


Environment Health and Safety Regulations on the Rise in Africa

BRUSSELS and WASHINGTON, April 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Enhesa presented a webinar in March on the explosion of EHS regulations throughout Africa. As a result of increasing opportunities for investment, many companies have decided to open facilities in African countries. Over 250 EHS professionals from a broad spectrum of industries attended the webinar. Participants were asked to complete an on-line questionnaire. Overwhelmingly the main concerns of attendees were understanding regulations and creating a culture that cared about EHS issues.

Enhesa unveiled its EHS Regulatory and Enforcement Matrix. In order to comprehensively understand the developments and trends of EHS requirements in Africa, consultants analyzed the number of EHS issues regulated, whether there are effective EHS enforcement measures in place, powers of enforcement authorities, and powers of internal EHS positions. It revealed that countries such as Botswana and Kenya lack regulations and enforcement, while Ghana and Morocco have regulations but little enforcement. While South Africa has the strongest regulation and enforcement capabilities amongst African countries; Algeria and Nigeria are not far behind.

Enhesa also highlighted the major trends in the environmental, health and safety and products areas.

Environmental: Experiencing the fastest rate growth, the strengthening environmental framework often results in direct requirements for a facility and fines, shut-downs, and clean-up costs for a non-compliant company.

Health and Safety: Due to a rising awareness of poor labor conditions, health and safety requirements are increasing. Non compliance can result in court cases, punitive damages, and compensation payouts. Countries in Africa will continue to take the first steps to implement requirements of the Globally Harmonized System (GHS).

Products: Product related requirements are being established, albeit at a slower pace. Non-compliance can result in fines, failure to pass customs, and product recalls.

Economic growth will continue throughout Africa providing opportunities for companies to expand and move operations into Africa. A company can expect African countries to strengthen EHS regulatory frameworks, which will differ from the typical U.S. and European approach.

About Enhesa - Enhesa is the leading provider of global environmental, health and safety regulatory compliance assurance support to business. Enhesa covers EHS regulatory and policy issues in 150 countries and jurisdictions.

More Information

Contact Enhesa for a copy of the presentation or to view the webinar recording, or read the cover story in the next issue of the Enhesa Flash: http://www.enhesa.com/en/service/flash.aspx

Contacts

Virginia Schaffer, info@enhesa.com, +1 202.552.1090

SOURCE Enhesa


Web Site: http://www.enhesa.com



Thursday, September 2, 2010

Workshop on Safety and Protection of African Journalists

1 Sep 2010 19:42 Africa/Lagos

Workshop on safety and protection of African journalists


ADDIS ABABA, September 1, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Invitation to representatives of the media

Theme: “Peace and Security for African Journalists!!!”

WHEN: 2 – 3 September 2010

WHERE: Headquarters of the African Union Commission. Conference Center, Committee Room 2

WHO: The Division of Communication and Information (DCI) of the African Union Commission, in collaboration with the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ).

WHY: The Year of Peace and Security offers an unprecedented opportunity for the African Union Commission and the Federation of African Journalists to celebrate some accomplishments in partnership with the international community, and review current efforts to peace building on the continent, with a view to strengthening and, where appropriate, launching


new initiatives for peace and security. Such a goal cannot be reached if freedom of expression and a free media, key conditions for good democratic governance, are not able to flourish and journalists cannot work in a safe and secure environment. Thus, the need to join force in organizing this workshop on the safety and protection of African Journalists.


Objectives:


African journalists need the establishment of enduring and effective


safety standards throughout the continent so they can do their legitimate and much-needed work to keep citizens informed.


Safety training and protective equipment have in a few instances been


provided to journalists but they are not enough to guarantee their safety. In the end it will be up to the political will of African leaders


to spell out the measures necessary to help protect journalists.


Policies must be developed and implemented to minimise the risks


faced by journalists. Such measures will send a powerful message of support and solidarity for the newsmen and women who are committed to tell the story of Africa to the Africans and to the rest of the world.

Expected Outcome:

The draft resolution resulting from this workshop is expected to set out extensive policies that will impel member states, their legislative institutions and law enforcement agencies to deal with issues of protection of journalists and impunity.


Participants: The workshop will bring together:


Over 35 unions and associations of journalists across Africa;


Politicians;


Diplomatic Corps;


African Union officials;


Officials from the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) ;


Officials from the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ);


Journalists leaders in Africa


International and regional lawyers;


Advocacy groups and Safety experts amongst others.

Outline of the Draft Agenda:

Promoting the Safety of Journalists and Overview of Media Security in Africa: General Trends and Main Challenges:


The Risks of Death , Real and Serious: The Case of Somali Journalists


Deadly Trap of Investigative Journalism: Crimes against Journalists in Nigeria


Silence over Crimes and End of Press Freedom: The case of DR Congo


Precarious Working Conditions of North African Journalists


Legal Prospective: Who has responsibility to protect journalists and Why?


Women Reporting Wars – The Challenges


Key role of the African Union in protecting journalists' safety: Identify basis for action and draw up a plan


Measures to uphold the safety and protection of journalists in Africa


Impunity: Source of Insecurity and Continuous Danger



Background:


In Africa, the world's second largest and second most populous continent, journalists take great personal and professional risks to collect process and disseminate news and information to over 1 billion African citizens in 54 states. But sadly, being a journalist today in many places can often be a deadly pursuit, particularly for those covering conflict and other dangerous assignments. Conflict areas and post-conflict areas in Africa are predominantly dangerous environments for journalists.


The African Heads of States and Governments took the decision to declare 2010 the Year of Peace and Security in Africa, proclaiming in paragraph 9 of the Tripoli Declaration that: “We are determined to deal once and for all with the scourge of conflicts and violence on our continent, acknowledging our shortcomings and errors, committing our resources and our best people, and missing no opportunity to push forward the agenda of conflict prevention, peacemaking,


peacekeeping and post-conflict reconstruction. We, as leaders, simply cannot bequeath the burden of conflicts to the next generation of Africans”.


On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day on 3 May this year, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Mr. Jean Ping, condemned “all violations of the right to freedom of expression”. “During this year,” he said “our common goal is to make every effort to ensure that weapons are silent, crises are resolved and tensions subside, so that all African nations can peacefully continue continental integration and stand proudly amongst all nations. The press must be able to fully participate in this project by generating and conveying information, to freely play its role in sharing knowledge and in promoting a culture of peace. On this highly symbolic day, I also call upon all the actors of the media to join the African Union so that together we make peace happen in Africa. It is not an option for Africa but a necessity. Peace and security are sine qua non conditions for the development of the media industry and the effective promotion of freedom of expression.”


The Year of Peace and Security offers an unprecedented opportunity for African governments, citizens and institutions, in partnership with the international community, to celebrate our accomplishments and to review current efforts to peace building on the continent, with a view to strengthening these and, where appropriate, launching new initiatives for peace and security.


Journalists in Africa and associated media personnel like camera crew have been increasingly involved in covering news in so-called “hot spots” in war zones or hostile environments as conflicts flared up in countries like Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The mushrooming of news media organisations meant that increasing number of young people joining the profession without the necessary training on security awareness. At the same time, the technological advances allowed media houses to greatly increase the number of journalists covering conflicts while intensifying the competitive pressures that can force them to take unjustifiable risks. Camera crews and photographers take the biggest risks in conflict areas as they need to be up close to the action. Reporters are often at the sharp end in the battlefields because they want to get information from areas where others fear to tread. Some journalists started to believe that if there is no war, there is no news to report.


The working conditions of journalists are in the most cases inadequate. Journalists working in Africa, as fulltime, and as a freelance, are overall poorly remunerated. They do not enjoy health and safety protection and rarely are covered by insurance. They are not even provided with the necessary equipment to help them protect themselves in conflicts or civilian unrests. Most media houses are not financially stable or strong, and those who have the financial capacity to take safety measures do not want to invest in the safety of journalists.


The African Union Commission, the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), the pan-African regional organisation of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), which is the global body of journalists representing 600,000 journalists worldwide, has been extremely concerned about the safety of journalists in Africa. Increased insisting that governments as well as media organisations which employ them should take steps to reduce the risks journalists face by protecting them and by ensuring that journalists have all the protective measures they might need.


The Federation of African Journalists and the African Union Commission have joined forces to organise this Regional Workshop on the Safety and Protection of African Journalists which concurs with the objectives associated with the Year of Peace and Security. The Workshop will bring together African journalists, AU politicians and officials, and civil society partners to discuss issues of protection of journalists and impunity. At the heart of these discussion will be the drafting of a resolution, similar to UN Security Council Resolution 1738, which will recognise the protection of journalists based on international law, various UN charters and AU constitutive act and resolutions/policies, Geneva conventions and additional protocols and will put the onus on member states to be responsible for putting an end to intentional attacks against journalists and media professionals, to comply fully with its obligations under international law and to respect their professional independence.


The continental congress of FAJ bringing together representatives of all the African journalists meeting in Harare, Zimbabwe, in March 2010, adopted a powerful resolution on safety and security of African journalists. The World Congress of the IFJ in May 2010 in Spain also unanimously voted for strong support of and solidarity with African journalists. The protection of journalists engaged in dangerous assignments in armed conflict is a major concern for the international community and a key obstacle for achieving the full implementation of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.


Obligations of governments related to the protection of journalists in armed conflict are mostly enshrined in international humanitarian law. The Third Geneva Convention, in its article 4(A) (4) states that persons who accompany the armed forces without actually being members thereof, such as war correspondents, provided that they have received authorisation, from the armed forces which they accompany, benefit from the prisoner-of-war status.


On 23 December 2006, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1738 calling on Governments to protect journalists in armed conflict situations. The Security Council expressed its deep concern at the frequency of acts of violence in many parts of the world against journalists, media professionals and associated personnel in armed conflict, in particular deliberate attacks in violation of international humanitarian law. It condemned intentional attacks against journalists, media professionals and associated personnel, as such, in situations of armed conflict, and calls upon all parties to put an end to such practices. The Security Council demanded that all parties to an armed conflict must comply with their obligations under international law to protect civilians in armed conflict. States and all other parties to an armed conflict were urged to do their utmost to prevent violations of international humanitarian law against civilians, including journalists, media professionals and associated personnel. It also emphasised the responsibility of States in that regard, as well as their obligation to end impunity and to prosecute those responsible for serious violations. UNESCO has a specific mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. In this context, UNESCO has dedicated part of its work to the issue of protection of journalists, in armed conflicts in particular, and has taken various initiatives in that respect.


The Federation of African Journalists and the African Union Commission, in alliance with civil organisations, will endeavour to make the safety and security of African journalists a special feature of The Year of Peace and Security.


CONTACT PERSONS:

Mrs. Habiba Mejri-Cheikh
Spokesperson,
Head, Division of Communication and Information (DCI)
African Union Commission
Tel. Off. (+251) 11 551 7700 Ext. 236
Email: HabibaM@africa-union.org / Mejri-cheikh.habiba@hotmail.com


Mr. Omar Faruk Osman
President, Federation of African Journalists (FAJ)
Tel. +251921322802 / +253 869230
Email: omar@nusoj.org / faruk129@gmail.com


Skype: omarfaruk10


Source: African Union Commission (AUC)


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