UN refugee agency urges Kenya to grant access to detained Somalis

23 November 2007The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is urging the Kenyan authorities to grant the agency access to over two dozen Somalis being detained in Nairobi after a group nearly that size were forcibly returned to war-torn Mogadishu. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is urging the Kenyan authorities to grant the agency access to over two dozen Somalis being detained in Nairobi after a group nearly that size were forcibly returned to war-torn Mogadishu.Spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis today in Geneva voiced concern about the fate of at least 26 Somalis being held at the Jomo Kenyatta Airport from among at least 49 Somalis, mainly women and children, who reportedly flew from Mogadishu to Nairobi and then on to Kampala, Uganda, but were returned to Kenya. The remaining 23 were “forcibly returned to Mogadishu on Tuesday without being given the opportunity to request asylum as provided for under international and Kenyan laws,” she said.Ms. Pagonis pointed out that Kenya’s own laws require the Government to refrain from forcibly returning people to a place where their lives are in danger – and grant the right to present their claim for asylum. UNHCR had repeatedly requested access to the initial group of 49 but still has not received it. All of the Somalis of the group expressed fear of persecution were they to be returned to Somalia, according to reliable sources, the agency said. “We are now extremely concerned that the remaining group of 26 Somali nationals at the airport will be returned to the Mogadishu area, where continuing unrest and fighting would put them at extreme risk,” Ms. Pagonis said. “We are urging the Government of Kenya to grant UNHCR teams access to the Somalis at the airport in order to determine their international protection needs and to halt their possible forced return to Mogadishu.” read more

UK steel jobs safe after multinational commits to plants

UK steel jobs safe after multinational commits to plants FILE – This is a Oct. 20, 2015 file photo of a Tata Steel sign. Steel unions said Wednesday Dec. 7, 2015 that they’ve secured a commitment from Tata Steel to keep jobs and production at its Port Talbot plan in Wales. (Anna Gowthorpe/PA via AP) LONDON – A deal between multinational Tata Steel and unions secured some 8,000 jobs across Britain on Wednesday in an agreement that ended months of uncertainty for steelworkers and their families.Tata pledged to keep two blast furnaces operating for five years and to invest in the massive plant in Port Talbot, in south Wales. Compulsory redundancies will be avoided.But pensions remain a sticking point and the unions say the revised pension plan remains “worrying.” The company said the agreement is subject to the pension changes being accepted. It said it would start a consultation next week on a proposal to close the present pension plan and offer a defined contribution scheme.“This proposal would secure jobs for years to come and bring serious investment not just to Port Talbot but to steelworks across the U.K.,” said Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of the Community union. “Reaching this stage of the process is a credit to the hard work of our members, who never gave up the fight to ‘Save Our Steel’ — it was their jobs on the line and it has been their campaign that has brought Tata to this position.”The decision safeguards the future of a plant at Port Talbot in south Wales, which alone has some 4,000 jobs. The jobs had been in doubt since March when Tata Steel, based in India, announced plans to sell its U.K. operations.The business was losing 1 million pounds ($1.4 million) a day due to high costs and a glut of cheap Chinese steel in global markets. That raised fears the plant would close if Tata couldn’t find a buyer.Over the summer, Tata announced it was talking to Germany’s Thyssenkrupp about a potential joint venture in Europe and effectively halted the sale of its British businesses. Since then, the plant has become more efficient and market conditions have improved. In particular, the drop in the value of the pound following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union in June has made Britain relatively cheaper for foreign investors.While the problems of the steel industry may be global, they were distinctly local in Port Talbot, a community of about 45,000 people on a narrow strip of coastal plain abutting green hills. The 200-acre steelworks co-exists beside the rows of houses where generations of workers have lived.The deal will be seen as a victory there — not just for the steelworkers but for thousands of members of the communities around the plants who banded together to create grassroots efforts to persuade Tata to rethink its plans to close its operations.At Port Talbot, for example, union leaders met with dozens of reporters to tell them about their town and plant, underscoring how fundamental steel is to the economy. A Twitter campaign — #steelselfie — asked people to take pictures of themselves with something made of steel.Other campaigns showed off things made with British steel, such as the Sydney Opera House and London’s Olympic Stadium. Actor Michael Sheen, who is from the area, backed a petition to help workers.Professor Dave Worsley, research director at Swansea University’s College of Engineering, said he thinks those efforts made a difference to Tata.“Christmas is just around the corner and this is terrific news to end what has been quite a difficult year,” Worsley said, adding that promises of continued investment will keep the plant operating “for many Christmases to come.”But it’s not over yet. Union members must still vote on the measures and representatives of the leadership said that the government would still need to do its part to help the deal happen.“Today’s news is a step forward, but the underlying challenges of illegal Chinese dumping, uncompetitive energy prices, inadequate procurement policies and the government’s failure to come forward with a proper industrial strategy for steel still remain,” said Stephen Kinnock, a lawmaker for the area.The British government has said it is willing to take a 25 per cent stake in any rescue of Tata.Tata is Britain’s largest steel manufacturer, supplying some 50 per cent of U.K. carmakers’ steel requirements as well as advanced steels for the construction industry.“These are unprecedented times for the steel industry globally with multiple risks including global economic uncertainty, slow manufacturing growth and currency volatility which continues to present significant challenges to the business,” said Koushik Chatterjee, the group executive director for Tata Steel. by Danica Kirka, The Associated Press Posted Dec 7, 2016 9:05 am MDT Last Updated Dec 7, 2016 at 12:40 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more