Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN) Announces Details of Inaugural West African International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (WAIPEC) to Launch in February 2017 - African Business Magazine
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Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN) Announces Details of Inaugural West African International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (WAIPEC) to Launch in February 2017

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  • South Africa: UN experts shocked by death of at least 37 people in flawed relocation process from psychiatric hospitals

    Four United Nations human rights experts* today called on the South African authorities to establish a clear and sustainable deinstitutionalization policy and plan of action to avoid another tragedy, after a flawed process led to the death of at least 37 persons with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities. Unconfirmed reports indicate the casualties could be as high as 60.

    Following a badly planned relocation process of 2,300 persons from Life Healthcare Esidimeni hospitals, the Gauteng Department of Health has transferred more than half of them under the care of NGOs with inadequate capacity and resources to assist people requiring high-level, specialized and intensive non-stop care.

    “South Africa must set up a policy framework to guide its deinstitutionalization process, inclusive of a plan of action with timelines and benchmarks, the redistribution of public funds from institutions to community services, and the development of adequate housing and community support for persons with disabilities, such as housing assistance, home and family support, and respite care,” the UN experts urged.

    “While deinstitutionalization is the right approach, when implemented without a plan based in human rights that increases community-based services, and provides adequate housing and financial resources, it can have fatal consequences, as this situation illustrates,” the human rights experts highlighted.

    The relocation was the result of a decision by the Gauteng Department of Health to terminate its contract with the Life Healthcare Esidimeni hospitals in the context of deinstitutionalization, but it was implemented without appropriate support and consultation with all the persons concerned.

    “Transferring persons with disabilities to unsuitable locations without their consent and adequate support may result in further grave abuses to their right to physical and mental integrity, health and well-being, an adequate standard of living including adequate housing, and places them at risk of extreme poverty, homelessness and loss of dignity,” they cautioned.

    Furthermore, the independent experts reminded the State’s duty to protect and guarantee the right to life of persons with disabilities by deterring and preventing abuses by non-State actors.

    The Gauteng Department of Health has started an investigation, but the findings are not yet available. The South African Human Rights Commission and the new Health Ombudsman have also been seized of the matter.

    “We are extremely concerned about this situation and the seeming lack of conclusive investigations until now,” the experts said. “We urge the authorities to provide the results of any judicial and other independent investigation as soon as possible, and to explain what measures they have taken to prevent further casualties and protect the rights of those affected by this situation.”

    The UN experts recalled that persons with disabilities should not be obliged to live in particular living arrangements. “South Africa is a party to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities since 2015, and must respect the obligation to provide access to persons with disabilities to a range of community support services, and to prevent isolation and segregation from the community,” they concluded.

    (*) The experts: Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, Catalina Devandas-Aguilar; Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard; Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, Dainius  Pūras; and Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context, Leilani Farha.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

    The UN Special Rapporteurs 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 Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms 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. 

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    Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
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  • The African Union Commission Honors Congressman Charles B. Rangel for his Distinct Accomplishments and Friendship to Africa and the African Union

    The African Union Mission to the United States, in collaboration with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, held, On November 15, 2016, a farewell event and reception to honor U.S. Congressman Charles B. Rangel for his outstanding contribution to the enduring partnership between the United States and Africa during his 45 consecutive years of service in the US House of Representatives.

    The Honorable Jane Harman, Director, President  & CEO of the Wilson Center and former U.S. Representative gave welcoming remarks for the event and also paid tribute to Congressman Rangel, highlighting the great career of Congressman Rangel and their long working relationship as Congress Members. The Honorable Ed Royce, Chair of the House of Representative’s Foreign Affairs Committee, also paid tribute to Congressman Rangel for his excellent contribution to US Foreign Affairs. The Honorable Karen Bass, Ranking Member of the Africa Subcommittee in the House Foreign Affairs Committee also paid tribute to Congressman Rangel for his great work for the continent and his guidance as a great mentor to her, as another great Congressional leader on Africa.

    From his side, Mr. Tarek Ben Youssef, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of the African Union Mission to the United States, thanked on behalf of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission H.E Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, all the participants for their presence to pay tribute to the Honorable Charles B. Rangel and celebrate his immeasurable contribution to the longstanding ties between the United Sates and Africa.

    Commending Congressman Rangel for his decades of work supporting Africa, and the important and lasting outcome of his efforts, including the recent 10-year renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, Mr. Ben Youssef stated that Congressman Rangel has epitomized what it means to spend one’s entire life dedicated to making his nation, his community, and his fellow citizens of the world better off. He also expressed gratitude for the Congressman’s tireless support to Africa and his friendship to the African Union and the ideals it defends and promotes, for a peaceful, prosperous and integrated continent.

    The Dean of the African Diplomatic Corp in Washington, DC H.E. Serge Mombouli, Ambassador of the Republic of Congo, gave remarks thanking Congressman Rangel for his service to Africa on behalf of all the African Ambassadors Group to the U.S. He reiterated the importance of the Congressman’s role in AGOA’s renewal and also mentioned his powerful work done to promote and defend the ideals of freedom and human dignity particularly his fight against apartheid in South Africa.

    The Ambassador of South Africa, H.E. Mninwa Mahlangu, paid a special tribute to Congressman Rangel on behalf of the Government and people of South Africa, thanking him for the important role he played in pushing for the end of Apartheid in the country. He powerfully stated that if it had not have been for his brave acts, that he as Ambassador would not be in the US today as a representative of a democratic South Africa to bid him farewell. He highlighted the important role that Congressman Rangel played in passing the Rangel Amendment, which signaled that the US would no longer support the Apartheid regime and helped spur divestment from South Africa that eventually culminated in the government releasing political prisoners and ending the oppressive system.

    H.E. Ambassador Tete Antonio, Permanent Representative of the African Union to the United Nations, gave a closing tribute, on behalf of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, stating that Congressman’s Rangel’s triumph in reaffirming justice and dignity for all was Africa’s triumph as well. Ambassador Tete indicated that Africa found in the honoree a committed and strong ally within the House of Representatives and the Congressional Black Caucus since he first assumed Office in 1971, before adding that Congressman Rangel shared his hope for a free and inclusive Africa in times of darkness and when our path to freedom was unclear. Ambassador Tete cited numerous examples of Congressman Rangel Commitment to Africa.

    Ambassador Tete highlighted in his final remarks that the African Union remains always grateful for Congressman Rangel active leadership and the key role he has played in advancing our shared values and interests. “Your 50 years in Congress has contributed to lay the ground of a stronger Africa, on behalf of its 6th region, the Diaspora. It is thanks to genuine friendship like yours, that Africa was able to build on strong foundations for the “Africa We Want” in 50 years as determined in the African Union Agenda 2063”, he concluded.

    The Permanent Representative of the AU to the United Nations was joined by the other speakers to present, on behalf of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, to Congressman Rangel a proclamation in recognition of his outstanding accomplishments, his rich legacy and his friendship to Africa and the African Union.

    Congressman Rangel gave remarks and humbly thanked everyone for their kind tributes and in particular the African Union Commission for the proclamation presented to him on this occasion. He noted that he played one small part in so many larger movements for change. He praised the growth and progress of the African continent, and expressed how so much has been achieved thus far, and how much potential there is now for the people of Africa and its Diasporas around the world. 

    Distributed by APO on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).

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    African Union Commission (AUC)
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