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‘Liberia Has Poor Human Rights Record’

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first_imgA US State Department Human Rights report about Liberia points to numerous human rights abuses in the country.Lack of justice, corruption, lengthy pretrial detentions, denial of due process, and harsh prison conditions are some human rights abuses recorded about Liberia.Furthermore, the report shows that violence against women and children, including rape and domestic violence, and child labor were also serious problems.Also recorded in the report about Liberia are police abuse, harassment, and intimidation of detainees; arbitrary arrest and detention; official corruption; human trafficking; racial and ethnic discrimination; discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons; unlawful deprivation of life under customary law; mob killings; and ritualistic killings.The report also notes that impunity remains a serious problem despite intermittent government attempts to prosecute and punish officials.The report further acknowledges that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, having won the 2011 election, which the international community described as “free and fair,” controls state security forces and resources, but that said security forces are also involved in committing human right abuses.“Liberia is a constitutional republic with a bicameral National Assembly. In November 2011 Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of the Unity Party won a second term in multi-party presidential elections, which domestic and international observers considered generally free and fair. Authorities generally maintained effective control over the security forces. Security forces, however, committed human rights abuses.”The report signed by US Secretary of State John Kerry also accused Nigeria and Uganda of discrimination against Lesbians and Gays; something it says those two countries have made discriminatory laws to deter.The Government of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has emphasized that it will preserve human right without favor or discrimination.Besides the recent report published by the US State Department, the Liberian government has itself acknowledged the challenges of corruption and access to justice amongst other key issues it is striving to address.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

SA swimmer clinches World Cup title

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first_imgRyk Neethling achieved the feat for two years running, in 2005 and 2006, while Roland Schoeman finished runner-up to Neethling in 2005. 18 victoriesThere was also success for South African Kathryn Meaklim in the women’s competition; she finished third in the overall standings, which was worth $30 000, after winning 18 events throughout the series. She also picked up six silvers and two bronzes, making her the winner of the most women’s medals. Gold, silver, bronzeHe completed a haul of all three medals on offer with third place in the 200 metes freestyle in a personal best time of 1:43.19. Melloulli took second, while Germany’s Paul Bierdermann powered to victory in 1:40.83 seconds to eclipse the world record that had previously belonged to Australian legend Ian Thorpe. The depth and the high level of performances by South African swimmers throughout the World Cup series was on show at the final event in Berlin. Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material The 30-year-old was second in the 100 butterfly in a fast 58.05 seconds, and also finished second in the 200 butterfly, this time in an African record 2:06.60. Loots claimed a third medal in the 200 individual medley by finishing third. He won 12 medals in total, made up of 10 golds and two bronzes. In addition, Townsend was pipped to the 200 IM title by Olympic 1 500 metres freestyle champion Oussama Mellouli, after a terrific battle which the Tunisian won in 1:52.41, a new African record. Townsend smashed the South African record with his time of 1:52.51 as both men bettered the previous World Cup best. Meaklim’s success was built on her dominance of the 400 metres individual medley, which she won five times, including in a World Cup record 4:27.21 in Stockholm. Cameron van der Burgh continued South Africa’s recent successes in the short-course FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup, claiming the men’s overall title after the conclusion of the 2008 series in Berlin on the weekend. Meaklim picked up a victory in the 400 metres individual medley, finishing close to five seconds clear of second placed Emma Smithurst, while veteran Mandy Loots enjoyed a superb competition. 18 November 2008 Darian Townsend excelled with victory in the 100 metres individual medley in 51.80 seconds – the fastest time recorded for the event throughout the World Cup series. The World Cup record belongs to Ryk Neethling, with a time of 51.52 seconds. His efforts were well rewarded as he pocketed a cheque for $100 000 for his overall victory. On top of that, each individual win was worth $1 500. He then destroyed the 100 metres mark that had belonged to Ed Moses since January 2002, lowering the record from 57.47 seconds to 56.88. Breaststroke doubleVan der Burgh did the 50 and 100 metres double in the breaststroke, clocking 26.05 and 57.32 seconds respectively for two dominating victories. Van der Burgh, a breaststroke specialist, broke three short-course world records during the 2008 series. In Moscow, he clocked 26.08 seconds for the 50 metres to better the previous record of 26.17, set by Oleg Lisogor, which had stood since January 2006. Under the 26-second barrierVan der Burgh’s 50-metre record in Moscow didn’t stand for long, however, as he became the first man to crack the 26-second barrier for the 50 metres a week later in Stockholm, with a sensational time of 25.94 seconds. Lyndon Ferns completed South Africa’s medal haul in Berlin by picking up silver in the men’s 100 metres freestyle in 46.71 seconds. Victory went to Olympic champion Alain Bernard of France. last_img read more

Bridging the public healthcare gap

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first_imgRay Maota Doctors who need valuable surgicalexperience can get it through AfricaHealth Placement.(Image: AHP)MEDIA CONTACTS• Retha GrobbelaarAHP: Media and Public Relations+ 27 11 328 1316Africa Health Placements (AHP) is a non-profit organisation determined to support and enhance healthcare systems in South Africa by finding, placing and retaining healthcare workers in rural and underserved areas.The organisation came about in 2005 to counter the brain drain that South Africa in particular was experiencing in the public health sector. A large number of medical professionals were pursuing private sector opportunities in some of the world’s more lucrative industries.Over 2 000 healthcare workers have been placed so far in predominantly rural areas, with almost half of these being local professionals.AHP gets funding from the US President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief; The Atlantic Philanthropies; and leading mining companies Anglo American and De Beers, as well as Discovery Health; West Pharmaceuticals and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.“We work in the public sector and are linked to the national department of health as well as its different provincial departments,” said Retha Grobbelaar, media and public relations officer of AHP.“This is in order to get an idea of where there are shortages of health practitioners and how we can help.”Grobelaar said that they tend to encourage the professionals they meet by reminding them of the reasons they entered into the profession. Their message is one of making a difference: the practitioners get the opportunity to expand on their medical experience and the impact of adjusting to a difference lifestyle means growth for them spiritually and for their careers.“We also try to make their transition smoother by doing administrative work for them like finding them accommodation, schools for those who have children and suitable peers with whom they can relax in their spare time if they need some.”According to AHP, as many as 50% of graduating health professionals in South Africa are likely to emigrate to foreign shores at some point in their career. To add to the woes of the public sector, 75% of those who remain in the country opt for private practice.“Africa’s greatest obstacle in the public (and particularly rural) healthcare environment is the lack of qualified professionals,” said Grobelaar.“Our aim is to fill the gaps, and ultimately to help people view the public health sector in a new light – as a truly viable and exciting career option.”Health practitioners who are recruited and placed within the AHP programme receive the standard government salaries for their work.Recruitment and placingThe programme offers a variety of contracts for professionals, ranging from permanent to part-time and voluntary placements.The processes are governed within the standards set by regulatory bodies such as the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) and the Foreign Workforce Management Programme.According to AHP, citizens from economically developed countries not on the G77 list – a coalition of 132 nations, all UN members, of which 77 are founding members of the group – may be called upon to write a proficiency examination if they would like to work in South Africa, depending on the country in which the qualification was issued.On the other hand, AHP has a policy of not recruiting candidates from G77 countries if those countries have a similarly desperate need for qualified professionals. The exception here is for those who would operate under a refugee status. The policy is in line with standards of the HPCSA.For local doctors applying for placement, permanent positions are available at levels one to three in public hospitals as well as in the NGO sector. Volunteer and temporary placements are also available.Requirements for foreign health practitioners applying can be found here.The great stories from doctors already placedDr Andrei Kirpichnikov from the Ukraine came to South Africa in 2007 seeking to further his surgical experience.After spending a year at the Tugela Ferry Hospital in rural KwaZulu-Natal, about three hours from Durban, he found another post at the East London Hospital Complex in the Eastern Cape.“I am definitely a better doctor now. I came to be trained and to do surgical procedures and I ended up staying,” said Kirpichnikov.Asked to give advice for doctors seeking experience in their field, Kirpichnikov described the experience as a unique opportunity.“There are wonderful hospitals, and if you are looking for experience, or if you want to be supervised, you will find it here. If you want to work independently in a rural setting, you will also find that.”Doctors Jenness Cameron from the UK and Anne Brouha from the US came to South Africa in August 2011. They hope to leave a successful ARV programme behind in the rural clinics surrounding the Rietvlei Hospital in KwaZulu-Natal when they leave South Africa at the end of June 2012.The two have been establishing ARV services in Rietvlei by training two nurses at each of its 13 clinics on how to administer ARV treatment.Cameron said: “HIV rates in rural KZN are very high. We’ve put hundreds on treatment and there are always more who desperately need it.”She also found the experience rewarding, especially the opportunity to train the local nurses.“You feel like you are leaving something behind that will carry on. You are not just seeing patients. It’s been an amazing experience and I love working with the people,” said Cameron.last_img read more

All equal in Cabinet says Defence Minister A. K Antony

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first_imgPlaying down the rift between the Congress and the NCP over the ‘number two’ slot in the government, Defence Minister A. K Antony said in Mumbai on Saturday that there was no hierarchy in the Union Cabinet.Antony was in the city for the commissioning of new stealth frigate INS Sahayadri for the Indian navy. His comments came amid reports that NCP boss and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar is sulking after Antony was promoted to the number 2 slot following Pranab Mukherjee’s exit.When asked who was senior in the Cabinet, Antony said: “There is no junior or senior cabinet minister. All are equal.”last_img read more