Звільнення голови правління НСТУ: Аласанія заявив про порушення з боку Наглядової ради

Голова правління Публічного акціонерного товариства «Національна суспільна телекомпанія України» Зураб Аласанія заявив про порушення з боку членів Наглядової ради НСТУ під час голосування про дострокове розірвання контракту з Аласанією.

«У порядку денному питання не було. За поданням «з голосу» Козака і поправкою Панича поставили на голосування, зробили голосування «закритим і таємним» та проголосували. Складом: Тетяна Лебедєва, Світлана Остапа, Вадим Міський, Володимир Яворівський, Тарас Аврахов, Олексій Панич, В‘ячеслав Козак, Віктор Таран, Сергій Таран, Наталя Скрипка, Ігор Хохич, Олександр Павличенко. Троє проти, дев’ять – за. Причини мені невідомі, офіційного обґрунтування немає (обіцяють за тиждень)», – ідеться у Facebook-повідомленні Аласанії.

«Що далі? Порушено всі процедури; судова боротьба можлива і навіть обов‘язкова – після обнародування причин», – написав Зураб Аласанія і попросив журналістів про підтримку «Суспільного».

Наглядова рада «Суспільного» 31 січня більшістю голосів проголосувала за дострокове розірвання контракту з головою правління ПАТ НСТУ Зурабом Аласанією, повідомила у Facebook представниця ради Світлана Остапа.

Зураб Аласанія є головою правління Національної суспільної телерадіокомпанії України з квітня 2017-го. Згідно з контрактом, він мав працювати на цій посаді до 14 травня 2021 року.

20 грудня минулого року Наглядова рада ухвалила рішення про продовження мовлення ще на рік програм журналістських розслідувань «Схеми» та «Наші гроші з Денисом Бігусом». На день раніше автори обох проектів Наталія Седлецька та Денис Бігус заявили про ймовірність, що на засіданні ради буде розглядатися припинення їхньої трансляції.

читати

Росія не дозволяє розпочати миротворчий процес на Донбасі – Волкер

Росія не дозволяє розпочати миротворчий процес під егідою ООН на Донбасі, заявив 31 січня на телефонному брифінгу з Брюсселя спеціальний представник США з питань України Курт Волкер.

Відповідаючи на запитання про те, наскільки реалістичним є мирний план, який днями запропоновав посередник на переговорах від ОБСЄ Мартін Сайдік, Волкер наголосив: «Фундаментальним питанням є те, чи Росія готова погодитися з тим, щоб міжнародна миротворча місія замінила російські війська і створила справжній мир та безпеку на Донбасі. Якщо Росія готова на це погодитися, то це би відбувалося під мандатом ООН, і ООН могла б створити справжнє середовище безпеки, яке б дозволило виконати Мінські угоди і закінчити конфлікт», – вважає Курт Волкер.

«Головною проблемою є те, що Росія не погоджується з тим, що потрібні миротворчі сили, Росія заперечує той факт, що вона окупувала території», – додав американський дипломат. 

Посередник на переговорах від ОБСЄ Мартін Сайдік запропонував замінити Мінські угоди новим мирним планом. В інтерв’ю австрійській газеті Kleine Zeitung він заявив, що йдеться про залучення ООН до проведення місцевих виборів і гарантування безпеки.

 

Сайдік сказав, що потрібний інший документ, який матиме «справжню політичну і правову вагу», оскільки Мінські угоди так і не були ратифіковані російським і українським парламентами. Сайдік також зауважив, що в новій угоді мають брати участь представники «окремих районів Донецької та Луганської областей».

 

Віце-спікер українського парламенту Ірина Геращенко, яка представляє Україну в гуманітарній підгрупі на мінських переговорах, в інтерв’ю Радіо Свобода перед переговорами в Мінську назвала пропозиції посла Сайдіка «нереалістичними».

 

За її словами, поява нового мирного плану означала фактично, що «потрібно пробачити Москві за порушення Мінських угод в гуманітарній сфері і сфері безпеки». На переконання Геращенко, Росія має бути покарана за невиконання Мінських угод.

читати

Greece to Ratify Macedonia’s NATO Accession in ‘Coming Days’

Greece will bring Macedonia’s NATO accession agreement to parliament for ratification “in the coming days,” the government spokesman said Thursday, which will bring into effect the change of the country’s name to North Macedonia.

Once parliament ratifies the NATO protocol, Greece’s Foreign Ministry will inform Macedonia’s Foreign Ministry of the result, a move which will automatically bring into effect the name change, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said. He didn’t give a specific date.

 

The name change deal, dubbed the Prespa Agreement after the border lake where it was signed last year, ends a 27-year dispute between the two neighbors that had kept the former Yugoslav republic out of NATO and the European Union. Greece argued that the use of the name “Macedonia” implied territorial claims on its own northern province of the same name and usurped Greek history and culture, and had blocked its neighbor’s efforts to join NATO over the issue.

 

Tzanakopoulos said the nearly three-decade dispute had given rise to “the monster of lies, nationalism and extreme historic revisionism” in Greece. Greek lawmakers’ Jan. 25 ratification of the deal was “a historic milestone for peace, cooperation and stability in the Balkans,” he said during a media briefing, adding that the agreement restores Greece’s “leading role in the Balkans.”

 

The agreement’s ratification “symbolizes the victory of political courage and respect of the country’s history, over opportunism, nationalism, the taking advantage of patriotism and the commerce of hate,” he added.

 

The deal has been met with vociferous opposition by many in both countries, with critics accusing their respective governments of making too many concessions to the other side.

 

Once the deal comes into effect, Macedonia will have a five-year period to implement many of the practical changes it must make, including changing vehicle license plates and issuing new passports.

 

 

читати

Diverse, International Flock Awaits Pope Francis’ UAE Trip

At St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Dubai, an effort to transcribe the Bible in the native tongue of its flock saw the holy book presented in 52 languages — a sign of the cosmopolitan welcome awaiting Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to the United Arab Emirates.

The diversity among its parishioners can be seen in its pews and heard in the sermons of St. Mary’s priests, who celebrate Mass and offer prayers in Arabic, English, French, Tagalog, Tamil, Urdu and other languages.

The church, they say, offers an anchor for the Roman Catholics among the UAE’s vast foreign labor force, many of whom live in this federation of seven sheikhdoms alone while their families stay home.

“The whole world meets here in a way,” said the Rev. Lennie Connully, the parish priest of St. Mary’s. “We have people from all over.”

Pope Francis’ visit from Feb. 3 through Feb. 5 marks the first papal visit to the Arabian Peninsula, the birthplace of Islam. The pontiff will visit Abu Dhabi, the headquarters of the Catholic Church’s Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia, which covers the UAE, Oman and Yemen.

There are nine Catholic churches in this federation of seven sheikhdoms governed by hereditary rulers; four other Catholic churches are in Oman. The Catholic flock’s rapid growth followed the discovery of oil in what was previously known as the Trucial States. Officials consecrated the first Catholic church in Abu Dhabi in 1965.

As Abu Dhabi became a major oil exporter and Dubai grew into the skyscraper-studded city it is today, the Emirates’ rapid economic expansion drew millions of foreigners to everything from white-collar office jobs to hard-hat construction work. Of the over 9 million people now living in the UAE, around 1 million are Emirati while the rest are foreign-born.

In 2010, there were an estimated 940,000 Christians living in the UAE, according to a 2015 Pew Research Center report, including 750,000 Catholics. The report suggests the number of Christians in the UAE would rise to about 1.1 million by 2020, with Catholics making up the lion’s share. The Catholic Church itself believes there are some 1 million Catholics in the UAE today.

The backbone of that population is Filipino and Indian. Life for them and others can be incredibly difficult as many move to the UAE often leaving their families and loved ones back home.

“The church is a base for them. They are far away from their homes,” Connully said. “They don’t have an extended family to support them. That family atmosphere is created here.”

Rulers in the UAE, which has described 2019 as the nation’s “Year of Tolerance,” have supported the Catholic community in the past by donating land for their churches. However, there are limits in this Muslim nation.

Proselytizing by non-Muslims remains illegal. Islam is enshrined as the UAE’s official religion in the country’s constitution, with government websites even offering online applications to convert. Conversion from Islam to another religion, however, is illegal, the U.S. State Department has warned. Blasphemy and apostasy laws also carry a possible death sentence.

At St. Mary’s and other churches, crosses are for the most part carefully concealed behind compound fences. There are no bells that toll to mark the start of services, though loudspeakers on minarets proclaim the call to prayers, like at the mosque across the street from St. Mary’s.

Despite facing restrictions, Christians in the UAE have never faced the violence that has targeted those in Syria and Iraq during the rise of the Islamic State group and other militants. Coptic Christians, a minority in Egypt that has faced extremist attacks in their homeland, also can safely worship.

In recent years, militant attacks have only exacerbated a “long, slow decline” of Christianity in the wider Middle East that began with mass migrations of the 19th Century, said Robin Darling Young, a professor studying church history at the Washington-based Catholic University of America.

The growth of ultraconservative Islamic beliefs, like Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia, coupled with the creation of independent states, further fueled that, she said. America’s 2003 war in Iraq and the chaos that followed made it even worse, she said.

“Particularly in areas where Wahhabi Islam is strong, like the Arabian Peninsula, Christians have been subject to more restrictions,” Young said. “The UAE is trying to make itself look better to the West by permitting, under certain restrictions, public Christian worship.”

Catholics in the UAE, however, make a point to thank the UAE’s ruling sheikhs for being able to worship freely. During a recent Mass at St. Mary’s, the Father Andre Francisco Fernandes led worshippers in a prayer asking for God’s blessings upon “the rulers of the UAE,” specifically naming UAE President and Abu Dhabi ruler Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Fernandes’ sermon that day focused on the parable of the loaves and the fishes, the story of Jesus Christ feeding a crowd of 5,000 with just five loaves of bread and two fish. The priest urged those listening to keep their faith and view the world with an open heart.

“Every day, miracles are happening,” he told parishioners. “We need to believe.”

читати

Banks, Businesses React With Mounting Alarm Over Brexit

British banking giant Barclays has drawn up plans to shift more than $200 billion worth of assets from London to Dublin amid mounting business alarm that Britain is more likely now to leave the European Union without an exit deal.

With Prime Minister Theresa May’s ruling Conservative government now backing away from a contentious withdrawal agreement negotiated in November and locked in a standoff with Brussels, Britain is heading for a scheduled March 29 departure without any kind of negotiated exit agreement. That means tariffs would have to be imposed on goods moving back and forth across the English Channel. It would also block market access to the EU for banks based in Britain.

British and international firms with European headquarters in London have become increasingly angry with the Brexit crisis. Earlier in January, in at times a testy conference call, 331 business leaders, including from U.S. banking giants and major companies like Amazon and Apple, were assured by senior government ministers that a no-deal exit would be taken off the table and that Britain wouldn’t part company with its largest trading bloc until a deal had been struck.

Since then, though, there has been no resolution to the major differences between Britain and the other 27 EU member states – if anything, frustrations have deepened with EU officials maintaining Monday that they are not prepared to reopen negotiations on the withdrawal agreement, which a deeply divided British House of Commons refused to endorse in January.

The transfer by Barclays of assets belonging to 5,000 clients emerged Monday, when the bank won the court approval required. The judge, Richard Snowden, noted that the transfer was “huge” as it represents nearly a quarter of the assets Barclays holds. “The design of the scheme has been based upon an assumption that there will be no favorable outcome of the current political negotiations between the UK and the EU,” he said.

The bank said in a statement, “Barclays will use our existing licensed EU-based bank subsidiary to continue to serve our clients within the EU beyond 29 March 2019, regardless of the outcome of Brexit. Our preparations are well-advanced and we expect to be fully operational by 29 March 2019.”

Without a deal, British banks and international financial service institutions based in London would have no access to the EU market. Some market analysts estimate that London will lose at least a trillion dollars, and possibly much more, to financial rivals in Europe, including Frankfurt, Dublin and Paris by the end of March as banks flee ahead of Brexit.

Spreading operations

At least 30 banks and financial firms are planning to move their EU headquarters to Germany. Other banks are set to spread their operations across different European cities. At least 10,000 banking jobs are likely to move to Frankfurt, Germany’s fifth biggest city, over the next eight years, industry observers say. Paris is angling for business, too, offering tax incentives for banks to relocate to the French capital, a determined rival to London.

Lloyds, Standard Chartered and Credit Suisse are among the banks that are planning to open offices in Frankfurt because of Brexit. While mainstream banks voice their frustration, hedge funds, many of which donated to anti-EU campaigns during the 2016 Brexit referendum, welcome a no-deal departure, hoping it will open the way for the dismantling of a swathe of regulations on financial services.

Aside from banks, other British businesses are becoming increasingly alarmed at what they might face in the event of a no-deal Brexit. On Monday, British officials acknowledged that businesses will face higher trade tariffs and barriers in dozens of countries because there’s not enough time between now and March 29 to replicate 40 EU trade deals with non-EU countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa.

Leading British Brexiters, including International Trade Minister Liam Fox, have been saying for months that trade deal replications would be easy. Fox once vowed that the agreements would be all complete “one second after midnight” on Brexit day.

On Monday, a British official acknowledged to a parliamentary panel that will not be the case and that hundreds of British firms will lose preferential access, reducing the price competitiveness of their goods. The official declined to provide an “absolute figure” on how many trade deals would lapse because of technical, legal or political problems.

As business fears mount, Prime Minister May has announced a change in her negotiating team with her de facto deputy, David Lidington, a former long-serving Europe minister, taking the lead position in British efforts to persuade Brussels to open up the withdrawal agreement, itself the product of ill-tempered haggling between the EU and London.

But EU leaders have firmly shut the door, so far, to amending or changing the agreement, which would see Britain locked in a customs union with the bloc for several years while it negotiates a vaguely defined free trade settlement.

In the temporary customs union, Britain would be unable to influence EU laws, regulations and product standards it would have to observe. The transition was reached to avoid customs checks on the border separating Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, but British lawmakers fear Britain could be trapped indefinitely in the transition.

Leading Brexiters say if May can get a sunset clause written into the deal to allow Britain to escape the transition agreement, if it wished later, or if the transition were time limited, they might reverse their opposition and back the deal. But that still might not give May the majority she needs to secure parliamentary approval.

The leaders of the 27 other EU member states made clear Monday that they are not prepared to revisit the deal. “A renegotiation is not on the table,” said Ireland’s prime minister, Leo Varadkar. “There’s no plan to discuss any changes. The withdrawal agreement is not up for renegotiation and is not going to be reopened,” he added. Both the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, echoed the Irish leader.

 

читати

Державна агенція із закупівлі ліків оголосила перші тендери – МОЗ

Державне підприємство «Медичні закупівлі», яке має перебрати на себе повноваження із закупівель ліків та медичних виробів у міжнародних організацій, оголосило перші тендери, повідомляє Міністерство охорони здоров’я на своєму сайті.

За цією інформацією, йдеться про закупівлі ліків від супутніх інфекцій при ВІЛ та побічних реакцій від терапії, а також медичних респіраторів у межах програм Глобального фонду.

«У цілому у 2019 році «Медичні закупівлі України» мають не лише провести десятки тендерів, а й застосувати нові інструменти закупівель. Наприклад, електронні каталоги (е-каталоги), що дозволять замовникам, в першу чергу – невеликим регіональним медичним закладам, – швидко і зручно замовляти типові препарати і вироби за принципом інтернет-магазину», – мовиться у повідомленні.

Міністерство охорони здоров’я України в 2015 році передало міжнародним організаціям ПРООН, ЮНІСЕФ та компанії Crown Agents право проводити державні закупівлі медичних препаратів. Це, насамперед, ліки з онкології, ВІЛ/СНІДу, туберкульозу, гепатиту, дитячої гемофілії і вакцинації.

Читайте також: Від міжнародних організацій – до нацагенції: як відбувається і як зміниться закупівля ліків в Україні

Потім цю функцію мала перебрати новостворена держагенція із 2019-го, але врешті було ухвалено рішення відтермінувати її офіційний запуск. МОЗ обіцяє запустити повноцінну роботу національної агенції із закупівель ліків із наступного року, а нинішній рік має стати перехідним.

 

читати

У Павла Гриба симптоми хвороби Альцгеймера – батько

В українського політв’язня Павла Гриба, якого утримують в Росії, виявили сиптоми хвороби Альцгеймера. Про це спецпроекту Радіо Свобода за участі «Голосу Америки» – «Настоящее время» розповів його батько Ігор Гриб.

«За цими аналізами, які зробили російські медики, український професор Василь Притуло, який Павла лікує з самого дитинства, зробив медичний висновок щодо прогресування хвороби Павла. У Павла зараз з’явилися нові хвороби, [такі] як початкова стадія цирозу печінки. Коли він вчора був у невропатолога, то невропатолог сказав, що у нього є симптоми хвороби Альцгеймера. Дружина сказала, що лікар був шокований станом його здоров’я», – зазначив Гриб.

Він додав, що у 2017 році, коли українця викрали російські силовики, Павло готувався до операції.

«Зараз 2019 рік. Більш ніж півтора року він перебуває за ґратами. Там, де його били, де над ним знущалися, там де постійний психологічний тиск, нелюдські умови. А я хочу всім нагадати, що він інвалід з дитинства. Якщо зараз терміново не зробити операцію, він просто помре», – сказав Ігор Гриб.

Минулого тижня Людмила Денісова звернулася до голови Європейського комітету з питань запобігання катуванням Миколи Гнатовського із закликом втрутитися у ситуацію з утримуваним у Росії українцем Павлом Грибом та розслідувати застосоване до нього жорстоке поводження.

Павла Гриба Росія обвинувачує в тероризмі, але він не визнає провину.

Українець зник у серпні 2017 року в білоруському Гомелі, пізніше його знайшли в СІЗО у російському Краснодарі.

За словами родичів, у Павла Гриба портальна гіпертензія – синдром підвищеного тиску в системі ворітної вени, який супроводжується збільшенням селезінки, варикозним розширенням вен стравоходу й шлунка, асцитом, печінковою недостатністю.

читати

Закон про переходи релігійних громад набув чинності

Після того, як ПЦУ отримала томос, православні громади країни повинні вибрати, залишатися в колишній церкві чи приєднатися до нової

читати

Climate Has Become Europe’s Green Revolution

Marie Toussaint has launched a climate petition in France that has attracted skyrocketing support. Ludovic Bayle splits his days between working at a restaurant and moonlighting as a climate activist. And in Sweden, Switzerland and Belgium, students are skipping school, demanding more action against what many Europeans consider one of the biggest threats to their future: climate change.

“Climate is one of the main concerns” in Europe, said Neil Makaroff, European Union policy adviser for the NGO Climate Action Network France. “Citizens are more and more mobilized today. They are taking different actions like marches, petition, litigation.”

Several hundred thousand Europeans took to the streets this past week alone. Students marched in Brussels where the European Union is headquartered, and climate activists briefly occupied the Scottish parliament. At the yearly Davos gathering in Switzerland, Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg, who is behind the growing school strikes, told the rich and powerful they were to blame for the climate crisis. And in France, dozens of towns held climate marches last weekend, bringing young and old to the streets in sometimes pounding rain.

Climate change, some analysts believe, is also shaping up to be one of the most important issues in upcoming European parliament elections in May.

“People really, really need to wake up,” said Parisian Veronique Weil, who braved whipping rain to join a climate rally at the city’s iconic Place de la Republic. “The seas are rising, countries are going to disappear. … It’s crazy.”

In some ways, Europe seems an unlikely place for a climate revolt. The region is considered among the world’s green leaders, and the EU says it is on track to meet 2030 emissions reduction targets.

French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to “make the planet great again,” launching a “One Planet summit” — now heading for its third edition — and urging American scientists to move to France after the U.S. announced it was pulling out of the Paris climate pact.

But climate activists have criticized Macron, saying France and Europe haven’t done enough. It’s a message echoed by popular French environment minister Nicolas Hulot, who quit Macron’s cabinet last year.

“Besides the nice sentences like ‘make our planet great again,’ our government is really not taking climate very seriously,” said Makaroff of Climate Action Network. “Because no climate action has been really strong in France to curb emissions.”

Now, citizens are taking matters into their own hands.

French environmentalist Marie Toussaint quit her government job two years ago to create a green NGO. In December, she launched a petition with three other groups, threatening to sue the French government for climate inaction. So far, the petition has gathered a record 2 million signatures, and counting.

“We really want to save the climate, to save the planet, but also to save solidarity, to save the people — to be part of the solution,” Toussaint said.

The grassroots uprising is being seen in ways big and small. In the Netherlands, activists sponsoring a similar climate petition won a landmark court ruling last year, ordering the Dutch government to accelerate emissions cuts.  And in Germany, the Greens Party is surging, ranked second in polls behind the ruling Christian Democrats.

In Versailles, just outside Paris, 34-year-old Ludovic Bayle spends most waking hours either waiting tables or working at his unpaid job as a member of Citizens for Climate France, one of the grassroots groups that organized last weekend’s French protests. Launched in September, the chapter has nearly 70,000 members on its Facebook page.

“Of course I’m scared” about climate change, Bayle said. “That’s why it’s so important to act. We need to mobilize to put pressure on decision-makers.”

Last weekend’s climate protests intersected with another citizen’s uprising in France — the yellow vest movement, in its third month. Now embracing broader demands for greater social justice, the yellow vest protests began over a fuel tax hike intended partly to fund climate measures.

As a result, some analysts suggest the yellow vests show that people ultimately are not willing to make sacrifices to curb emissions. But climate activists like Toussaint dismiss that view.

“What we see now is people who are polluting the least are being asked to pay the most,” said Toussaint, who said both movements share similar demands for greater social justice.

The European parliament elections may be an early test of whether climate uprisings can translate into political power. Green parties are gaining strength, but not everywhere. In France, a recent poll placed the Greens a distant fifth in voter intentions, behind a fledging yellow vest party.

Meanwhile, the far-right National Rally Party, with a minimalist green agenda, is surging in second place, and hopes to capture votes from yellow vests, who are a highly disparate group.

Still, Makaroff believes politicians have gotten the message from the streets.

“It would be suicide for political parties not to take up climate issues in the European elections,” he said. 

читати

Patriotic War Film Draws 8 Million Russians as Ties With West Fray

A state-funded Russian film that lionizes a Soviet World War II tank and its crew has become the second highest grossing home-grown production since the collapse of the Soviet Union, part of a Kremlin-backed drive to instill patriotism in young people.

The Kremlin has long put the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany at the heart of a patriotic push to accompany what it casts as the country’s return to greatness under Vladimir Putin who has portrayed Russia as a fortress besieged by the West.

The new film, “T-34,” has been praised by the defense ministry which has shown it to its troops. Its release coincides with heightened tensions with the West, with President Putin warning of a new arms race. An opinion poll by Levada published on Wednesday showed more than half of Russians believe their country faces a foreign military threat.

It also comes as Kremlin critics warn of a growing militarization of society in the wake of Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea, its continued backing for pro-Russian separatists in east Ukraine, and deployment in Syria.

“T-34” tells the story of a group of Soviet soldiers who escape a Nazi concentration camp inside a T-34 tank. It is loosely based on real events.

Released on Jan. 1, it has already taken more than 2.1 billion rubles ($31.86 million) at the box office and has been watched by more than 8.3 million people, making it the second most successful domestically produced film in ruble terms since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

The highest-grossing film, released last year, told the story of a Soviet Cold War sports victory over the United States.

Raising the flag

Vladimir Medinsky, Russia’s culture minister, has suggested people take their children to see “T-34.”

Medinsky, a Putin ally, has angrily likened critics of the film who have questioned its historical accuracy to Soviet wartime traitors.

“It seems to me that here we need to raise and hold the flag,” the TASS news agency cited Medinsky as saying this month, calling for people to feel pride in their country’s wartime achievements.

Some critics have said the film romanticizes war and have likened it to a computer game, suggesting it does too little to bring home the human cost of warfare.

But its director, Alexei Sidorov, said he had tried to make a film that was not too gloomy.

“Yes, it’s war. Yes, it’s death. Every family lost someone.

But we won this war and that’s important,” he said.

Russia estimates that nearly 27 million Soviet citizens – including both soldiers and civilians – perished during World War II. In Russia it has long been known as the Great Patriotic War.

 

читати

Athens Aims to Deliver Goods,Services Free of Forced Labor

Athens is aiming to ensure that all the goods and services the local government provides to its residents are free of forced labor, under a pilot project launched on Wednesday that officials and activists hope will set an example across Greece. 

 

The Athens municipality plans to create a level playing field for its suppliers by working solely with companies that monitor their supply chains and take action to prevent modern slavery, several officials told an anti-trafficking conference. 

 

As the world strives to meet a U.N. goal of ending slavery and forced labor by 2030, major companies face growing scrutiny and consumer pressure to guarantee their goods are slave-free. 

 

Yet governments have unparalleled bargaining power to change the business practices of their suppliers and contractors, not just at home but worldwide because of the increasingly global and complex nature of supply chains, experts said at the conference.

“By using the financial power of a city like Athens … there is pressure and leverage in order to change the situation in the labor market, and make the public procurement process fairer,” said Lefteris Papagiannakis, a vice mayor of Athens. 

 

While public procurement often focuses on environmental issues, the pilot project is an opportunity to bring human trafficking in government supply chains to the fore, he added. 

 

The scheme will first research and map Athens’ supply chains, then look to design due diligence tools and monitoring systems, according to Fiori Zafeiropoulou, who is leading the project. 

Companies in the dark

 

Many Greek companies interviewed by officials recently were unaware of how child or forced labor could be part of their supply chains, and would need help to monitor their operations and act if they were to find such cases, Zafeiropoulou said. 

 

“We want to create a zero-tolerance environment … and a level playing field to ensure all businesses play by the same rules with no unfair advantage for those exploiting victims of trafficking,” Zafeiropoulou said after announcing the plan. 

 

However, Athens has no dedicated funding for the project and will need to raise cash soon to go beyond just research and mapping, she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. 

 

If successful, the plan could be extended to other cities in Greece, government ministries and the private sector, and influence other European governments, said Korina Hatzinikolaou, an expert adviser at the national anti-human trafficking office. 

 

Every year, authorities across the European Union spend about 14 percent of their gross domestic product — at least 1.9 trillion euros ($2.2 trillion) —  on public procurement, according to data from the European Commission. 

 

In Greece, an estimated 89,000 people are modern-day slaves — about one in 125 of its 11 million population — according to the 2018 Global Slavery Index by the Walk Free Foundation. 

 

Greece was a front-line country for refugees fleeing war and poverty in Syria and elsewhere until 2016, and thousands of adult and child migrants are at risk of exploitation by traffickers for sex and labor, experts say.

читати

Україна має право на власне майбутнє – голова МЗС Чехії

Міністр закордонних справ Чехії Томаш Петршичек заявив, що Україна повинна мати право сама вирішувати своє майбутнє, незалежно від бажань Росії.

 

«Україна є важливим партнером Європейського союзу та Чехії, і ми б хотіли, щоб вона мала право на те, щоб обрати своє власне майбутнє. Я переконаний, що питання «сфер впливу» є справою минулого, і ми б не хотіли, щоб воно поверталося до міжнародних стосунків», – сказав в ексклюзивному інтерв’ю Радіо Свобода міністр закордонних справ Чехії Томаш Петршичек після закінчення дводенного візиту до України.

 

Він наголосив, що для Чехії є важливим дотримання міжнародного права. «А якщо це не так, то ми б мали піднести свій голос та чітко назвати речі своїми іменами», – сказав міністр після своєї поїздки на Донбас, де він побував на лінії зіткнення та в Маріуполі. 

 

Міністр також пообіцяв на зустрічі представників влади наступного тижня поінформувати їх про те, що він «дізнався і побачив тут в Україні, в Маріуполі». За словами Томаша Петршичека, це буде важливий аргумент до дискусії щодо скасування санкцій щодо Росії, що розпочалася серед керівників Чехії ще у вересні минулого року.

 

«Немає поступу у виконанні Мінських угод, конфлікт заморожується, а ми не повинні допустити, щоб у Європі створився ще один заморожений конфлікт», – наголосив Томаш Петршичек.

 

У рамках свого візиту до України 28–29 січня міністр закордонних справ Чехії Томаш Петршичек побував у Києві та на Донбасі. Він провів зустрічі з українськими урядовцями, відвідав лінію зіткнення та Маріупольський порт. Керівники цього підприємства, а також очільники приазовського міста ознайомили його з втратами людськими та економічними, яких зазнав регіон унаслідок російської агресії, що триває з 2014 року.

 

читати