Glencore’s Australia mine expansion ‘threatens sacred sites’

first_img Also Read: Glencore’s Australia mine expansion ‘threatens sacred sites’ Share The inquiry comes as Australian mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP’s plan to build a large new copper mine in Arizona faced a setback. The US government has reversed a decision to allow a land swap after the project was fought by the San Carlos Apache tribe. Tuesday 2 March 2021 10:24 am The decision could form the fate of historic sites including one related to creation stories, as well as a quarry where stone tools were made. Glencore’s McArthur River Mine received approval from the territory’s mining minister last year to go ahead with doubling the size of its waste dump. Also Read: Glencore’s Australia mine expansion ‘threatens sacred sites’ Expansion at an Australian mine run by Glencore puts several sacred Aboriginal sites at risk, an inquiry heard on Tuesday. Raised eyebrows The saga led to the departure of former CEO Jean-Sebastian Jacques, with the company vowing to rebuild relationships with traditional owners. Tags: Company Glencore Rio Tinto Glencore’s Australia mine expansion ‘threatens sacred sites’ Rio Tinto destroyed ancient rock shelters in Western Australia for an iron ore mine expansion last year. Also Read: Glencore’s Australia mine expansion ‘threatens sacred sites’ In a statement, Glencore said: “We understand our obligation to protect sacred sites on our mining lease and take this obligation very seriously.” The objections follow a surge in scrutiny of miners’ dealings with Indigenous groups. Damian Shepherd The head of a Northern Territory oversight authority said that a range of locations including a historical quarry were in danger. The tribe fears the mine will impact sacred and actively used religious land.  Benedict Scambary, chief executive of the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority, questioned whether Glencore had the authority to expand its mine. Approval now rests with the Northern Territory mining minister. Approval was granted despite an objection by an authority responsible for protecting traditional sites. Scrutiny weighs on miners whatsapp whatsapp Show Comments ▼ “The scale of the mine expansion raises some quite serious questions about the maintenance and protection of sacred sites on that lease and also access to those places for custodians into the future,” he said.last_img read more

Alaska senators fault Trump’s tack on racist rally

first_imgFederal Government | Nation & World | Public SafetyAlaska senators fault Trump’s tack on racist rallyAugust 18, 2017 by Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media Share:Alaska Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, pictured here at the 2015 Alaska Federation of Natives Convention, issued a second round of statements following white nationalist rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo by Mikko Wilson/KTOO)Alaska’s U.S. senators have issued a second round of statements following the rally of white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia.This time their criticisms are aimed at President Donald Trump.Audio Playerhttp://media.aprn.org/2017/ann-20170817-01.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.“What the President said yesterday was wrong,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski wrote on Facebook Wednesday night, a day after the president’s news conference in Trump Tower. “There is no moral equivalence between those who are inciting hate and division, and those who took to the streets to make it clear that those views are unacceptable.”Murkowski previously condemned bigotry and anti-semitism, without mentioning Trump or his assertions that “many sides” were to blame for the violence.Sen. Dan Sullivan’s second Facebook post said, “Anything less than complete and unambiguous condemnation of white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the KKK by the president of the United States is unacceptable. Period.”The senators join a number of fellow Republicans in Congress who say the president should have condemned neo-Nazis and white nationalists more forcefully.This morning, Trump issued a series of tweets blasting his critics and lamenting the removal of Confederate statues from American cities.Alaska Congressman Don Young declined to answer a question during a press conference Thursday in Anchorage, with other Western state House members.“Congressman, we’d like to hear your thoughts on the events in Charlottesville,” a reporter asked.“We’re not on that subject right now,” Young said. “We’re talking about resources. I brought these people up to see it. They’ve seen it. Next!”Young’s spokesman later provided a written statement that said: “I stand united with Americans from across all corners and demographics of our nation in condemning the violence, hatred and bigotry in Charlottesville, VA.”Share this story:last_img read more

How did the Nunam Iqua boys get lost on the snowy tundra? They were chasing a fox.

first_imgSearch & Rescue | Weather | WesternHow did the Nunam Iqua boys get lost on the snowy tundra? They were chasing a fox.February 11, 2020 by Greg Kim, KYUK – Bethel Share:Irene Camille with her son, Ethan Camille, inside his hospital room at Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage. Ethan and his brothers left their home by snowmachine during a winter storm and ended up lost, 18 miles south of town. They weathered the storm for over 24 hours outside, until searchers found them huddled together in the snow. (Photo by Greg Kim/KYUK)Audio Playerhttps://media.ktoo.org/2020/02/200211-Fox.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Lying on his hospital bed, 7-year-old Ethan Camille looks down at his hands. Nine of his fingers are wrapped in bandages.“I only remember a little bit,” he said. “The weather makes me forget some things.”Last week, Ethan and three other boys in his family from Nunam Iqua left their home by snowmachine during a winter storm and ended up lost 18 miles south of town. They weathered over 24 hours outside in freezing temperature before searchers found them huddled together in the snow. Searchers said they were lucky to be found alive.His mother, Irene Camille, sits beside him. She’s also the grandmother of the three other boys who were lost. Her memory of that day is clear — the day her son and grandsons left home and didn’t return.“That day was supposed to be a good day,” she said. “It was my birthday.”Both Irene and Ethan said the weather looked ugly that day.“How come you let us go outside?” Ethan asked his mom.Irene sighs. She’s been asked that question a lot since that day. Part of the reason, she says, is the boys had been staring at their phones all morning.“We don’t like them to be on their phones too much,” she said. “We like them to exercise and play in the snow and have fun outside.”And so, she took away their phones and sent them out. She checked outside her window every now and then to make sure she could see them.“Then we just…they just disappeared.” she said.Rescuers found lost Nunam Iqua children in a hole in the snow, huddled around the youngest childEthan says he and the boys had been riding their snowmachine around town for four or five hours. Just as they were about to head back inside, something appeared, that lured them away from home.“We found a real fox and we tried catch it, but it run away super far,” he said.Ethan and the boys chased the fox until they eventually caught up, and hit it with their snowmachine.Thinking it was dead, Ethan jumped off to pick it up. But the fox wasn’t dead. It bit Ethan twice. When it ran away, the boys continued to give it chase, driving miles and miles farther away from town.“So, that’s how we got lost. Cause we were trying to catch a fox to show my mom and my dad,” he said.The fox disappeared into the storm’s empty whiteness, which had worsened since they left home. That’s when Ethan says the snowmachine got stuck. 14-year-old Chris Johnson worked so hard to free the machine and pull the younger boys out of the deep snow that he suffered a hernia.Soon, they ran out of gas, and had no phone or compass. Still, the boys were determined to get home. They abandoned their vehicle and started trudging towards what they believed was Nunam Iqua.But they didn’t know which way to walk.At one point, Ethan stopped to go to the bathroom. As he took off his gloves, the wind snatched them out of his hand.The boys never found Ethan’s gloves. They were starting to lose their vision in the whiteness of the blizzard.“We almost got blinded,” he said. “We almost got white eyes. White eyes.”After four miles of walking, and no town in sight, Chris, the oldest, decided they should hunker down.“We tried to dig a hole, but it was too hard,” Ethan said.Ethan says he was originally on top of 2-year-old Trey Camille, below the older boys. But afraid Trey would suffocate, Ethan joined the outer ring of the huddle — gloveless — so that the baby could breathe.“And I got tired so I went to sleep I waked up here,” he said. “That’s all I can remember.”Irene said 8-year-old Frank Johnson was the only one who remained conscious through the night. She said Frank kept prodding the other boys, knowing that if they closed their eyes, they may not open them again.“At the last couple of hours, I think I almost lost hope,” she said.Ethan Camille, 7, succeeds in opening his soda bottle with his bandaged fingers. He and his brothers left their home by snowmachine during a winter storm and ended up lost, 18 miles south of town. They weathered the storm for over 24 hours outside, until searchers found them huddled together in the snow. (Photo by Greg Kim / KYUK)Miraculously, Herschel Sundown and searchers from Scammon Bay found the boys the next day around 4:25 PM. In a few hours, the boys would have faced their second night outside.Back in the hospital room, despite having nine of his fingers bandaged, Ethan insists on trying to open a coke bottle by himself.Irene says Ethan and the other boys will make a full recovery. And when they do… she says they can go right back out, into the storm.“I’ll never ever feel regret that they were outside in the storm,” she said. “I’ll always let them play out in the storm. That’s where they were born, that’s where they come from, that’s where they’re gonna be. There’s always gonna be a storm.”Irene says, if you don’t understand… that’s because Nunam Iqua is not your home.Share this story:last_img read more

News / Hapag-Lloyd to impose post-CNY rate hikes as blanked sailings slow the pace of price decline

first_img By Gavin van Marle 05/02/2016 © Jdanne | Dreamstime.com – Stack of Containers, Harbour of Khor Fakkan, United Arab Emirates Hapag-Lloyd today announced a new general rate increase (GRI) of $900 per teu on headhaul westbound Asia-North Europe and Asia-Mediterranean shipments for 1 March.The line also scheduled a transpacific GRI for 1 March of $540 per teu and $600 per feu.The announcement coincided with another week of declining freight rates on the major east-west deepsea trades.The Shanghai Containerised Freight Index (SCFI again headed south this week as the industry prepares for the two-week Chinese New Year holiday. This officially begins on Monday, but judging by scenes at Guangzhou railway station this week, hundreds of thousands of factory workers have already begun heading home.With a series of blanked sailings by the four major container shipping alliances, the pace of rate decline slowed. The SCFI’s Shanghai-North Europe component dropped by $38 per teu to $431 per teu, a decline of 8% – the smallest fall since October, although today’s rate level is still 59% below this time last year.On other trades, the Shanghai-Mediterranean leg dropped $34 to $454 per teu, a decline of 7%, the transpacific Shanghai-US west coast fell $67 per feu to $1,321, down just under 5%, and the Shanghai-US east coast leg fell $125 per feu to $2,341, a decline of 5%.Meanwhile, Alphaliner reported that the O3 alliance is set to increase capacity on its Asia-Mediterranean services, as it completes the transition of its AMC-1 service (marketed as the MEX2 by CMA CGM and AMX1 by China Shipping) to an ultra-large container vessel (ULCV) operation.“UASC is to complete the fleet upsizing of its AMC-1 service by replacing the last four 9,580 teu ships, chartered from UASC’s alliance partner, CSCL, with owned tonnage of 13,000-15,000 teu,” it said.This weekend, UASC will deploy the 14,993 teu Linha onto the AMC1 after it completes its final sailing on the O3’s FAL8 Asia-North Europe service, and will be followed by the Al Murabba in March and the similar-sized Al Mashrab later.In a clear sign of vessel cascading, all three will, in turn, be replaced by UASC’s new series of 19,870 teu newbuildings.last_img read more

News / Airline relief as US charts a new course to help trainee pilots gain flying hours

first_img© Tea Airlines, particularly regional carriers, have lobbied hard for changes in pilot eligibility rules since the US introduced legislation that raised the minimum flight hour threshold from 250 hours to 1,500.Prior to that legislation, flight school graduates traditionally joined regional carriers to build up experience that would allow them to move up to larger aircraft.Its implementation exacerbated the pilot shortage and has prevented regional airlines from expanding their operations. Flight crew resources have been stretched to the limit – Republic Airways, which filed for bankruptcy protection last year, largely blamed its woes on a lack of pilots.“RACCA has lobbied the FAA for a number of years on this topic,” Mr Bernstein said. “This rule change offers an entirely new pathway for entry-level pilots to pursue their careers.”Tim Komberec, president of Empire Airlines and chairman of RACCA, said gaining flight hours in regional carrier operations was a great way for pilots to gain experience.“It offers the structured airline operation duty airlines want, including flying to schedules between small airports and major hub environments in all weather. It also maintains the airline career discipline studies have found lacking in pilots who build time flying banners or traffic reporting,” he said.And RACCA hoped for further relief from Washington – a legislative initiative currently before Congress would allow pilots to use credits for structured training courses towards the 1,500-hour threshold.Concerned about the pipeline for their own pilot pools, some larger carriers have taken steps to support regional carriers (which often fly for them on a contract basis, such as Empire).UPS and FedEx have come up with “flow-through” programmes for young pilots. Under the UPS Gateway programme and FedEx’s Purple Runway initiative, pilots are hired by the integrators but spend two years with regional cargo airlines before moving back to their employer.Atlas Air is moving in a similar direction. On 13 July, it announced an agreement with regional passenger airline GoJet that guarantees Gojet pilots interviews with the larger carrier after two years’ service. St Louis-based GoJet flies Bombardier CRJ700s and CRJ900s on feeder routes for United and Delta.However, while these developments help young pilots bridge the gap between the 250-400 hours they typically build up during training and the 1,500-hour mark for commercial flying, another bottleneck is looming in the pilot shortage saga.In order to bolster their own crew numbers, large airlines have recruited flight instructors as pilots over the past couple of years. This is now threatening to come back to hurt them and the rest of the industry.According to Mr Bernstein, flight instructors are now in short supply. Flight schools have been forced to cut back on the number of trainees because they do not have enough instructors. By Ian Putzger in Toronto 20/07/2018center_img Regional cargo airlines in the US have cause for celebration, for, after years of preaching to deaf ears in Washington, they have finally swayed lawmakers to ease the barriers for young pilots to fly commercial aircraft.The administration has issued an omnibus FAA final training rule that opens a new avenue to pilots to build up the number of flight hours required to operate commercially.A jubilant Stan Bernstein, president of the Regional Air Cargo Carriers’ Association (RACCA), informed members that with this move it had “granted virtually everything RACCA has been working on for the last 15 years”.Specifically, the new rule allows pilots to accrue flight hours as co-pilots, both on single- and multi-engine aircraft that are otherwise authorised to be flown by a single pilot.last_img read more

News / Container shortage crisis spreads to India delaying exports

first_img A container shortage in India is causing long delays for exporters, especially on US trades.Earlier this month, The Loadstar reported the operational impact from the creeping equipment shortage in Asia – dominant headhaul traffic has caused empties to pile-up at ports in the US and Australia, for example, prompting carriers to plead for the swift return of used import boxes.According to New Jersey-based Worldwide Logistics (WL), the equipment shortage has spread to India, partly due to a drop in import volumes from China after trade restrictions were imposed by the government.“The shortage is most critical at Inland Container Depots (ICD) but also evident at port-side locations,” the forwarder noted.“Cargo volume from India to the US is extremely strong, as US importers look to replenish inventory depleted during the shutdown period in India, in response to Covid-19.”WL said most direct and transhipment services to the US east and west coasts from the major gateway ports of Nhava Sheva (Mumbai) and Mundra were impacted, with transhipment further exacerbated by the tight space from Asian transhipment hubs.“There is limited new container manufacturing in India which would otherwise serve to alleviate some of this pressure,” it added.As a result, WL said carriers had begun to offer guaranteed space surcharges of US$750 per container, similar to the ‘no-roll’ premiums found on the deepsea trades over the past couple of months.Rakesh Pandit, CEO of Conbox Logistics, agreed the container shortage was particularly acute at inland terminals.“The shortages are bigger if shippers have to plan their cargo from dry-ports of central and western India,” he told The Loadstar.“There is waiting period to get bookings and containers for one or two weeks on certain sectors, such as pharmaceutical companies who have to wait almost two weeks to get bookings for US ports.“Shipments planned in large volumes like marble, rice and other agro commodities are also getting delayed,” Mr Pandit added.He said the current ocean freight market was experiencing spiralling costs caused by shipping lines implementing increased surcharges, blank sailings and rolled cargo. For example, reefer rates to the US have increased 25%-30% to $4,000-$4,500, and, with further increases expected in October, the rate could soon breach $5,000.“Shipping lines are also changing ocean freight rates very frequently – within seven days, instead of maintaining them for a month which was the case previously,” he explained.Furthermore, he said there was a lack of government support for exporters rocked by lockdowns.“Exporters are finding it hard to execute orders due to a lack of government support in the form of stimulus or financial aid. They’re also at the mercy of bankers, who aren’t supportive in the current market situation,” Mr Pandit claimed.On the import side, he noted the market sentiment in India is very negative, with many businesses afraid the Covid situation will continue for another year.“There is low demand for almost all products within India, so import growth will not be huge in coming months,” said Mr Pandit.Indeed, according to the Indian Ports Association, port volumes between April and August plummeted 25% year-on-year to 3.2m teu. And, similar to India’s airfreight market, export volumes are gaining in share over imports. By Sam Whelan 23/09/2020last_img read more

Pharmalittle: Greek parliament to probe Novartis bribery scandal; N.J. county goes after Purdue shareholders

first_imgPharmalot Alex Hogan/STAT About the Author Reprints Hello, everyone, and how are you this fine morning? We are doing reasonably well, thank you, especially since the Pharmalot campus is especially quiet so far. The short person is sleeping in, since there is a winter break in our part of the universe, and the official mascots are following suit. This gives us space and time to quaff a few cups of stimulation and forage for tidbits. So here you go. We hope your day goes well and you conquer the world. And, as always, do keep in touch …Camden County in southern New Jersey has joined hundreds of counties nationwide in suing Purdue Pharma for its role in the opioid crisis, but in an unusual step, the county also named as co-defendants members of the Sackler family, who control the company, The Wall Street Journal reports. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Superior Court in the city of Camden, is a rare example of plaintiffs seeking to hold Purdue’s controlling shareholders personally responsible for allegedly marketing opioids in a deceptive manner that downplayed risks and helped spark widespread addiction. What’s included? Log In | Learn More Pharmalittle: Greek parliament to probe Novartis bribery scandal; N.J. county goes after Purdue shareholders By Ed Silverman Feb. 22, 2018 Reprints @Pharmalot GET STARTEDcenter_img Daily reporting and analysis The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters Subscriber-only newsletters Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day STAT+ Conversations Weekly opportunities to engage with our reporters and leading industry experts in live video conversations Exclusive industry events Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country The best reporters in the industry The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry And much more Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr. What is it? [email protected] Ed Silverman STAT+ is STAT’s premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond. Unlock this article — plus daily coverage and analysis of the pharma industry — by subscribing to STAT+. First 30 days free. GET STARTED Pharmalot Columnist, Senior Writer Ed covers the pharmaceutical industry. Tags legalopioidspharmaceuticalspharmalittleSTAT+Vaccineslast_img read more

Stock markets likely in for further losses amid lowered earnings expectations

S&P/TSX composite hits highest close since March on strength of financials sector TSX gets lift from financials, U.S. markets rise to highest since March The Toronto stock market could be in for further selling pressure after the TSX lost more ground last week amid lowered expectations for corporate earnings and slowing growth in the world’s second-biggest economy. However, the Canadian dollar could find some lift after the Bank of Canada makes its next announcement on interest rates on Tuesday. The central bank is widely expected to leave the key overnight rate unchanged at an ultra-low one per cent. Toronto stock market dips on weakness in the energy and financials sectors Related news The TSX fell 63 points or 0.5% last week, its sixth straight weekly loss as the market moved further away from its most recent highs around the 12,700 level at the beginning of March. At that point, the market had rallied more than 13% from the lows of early October as the European debt crisis showed signs of stabilizing, thanks in large part to two moves by the European Central Bank to provide cheap loans to eurozone banks. Also, economic data showed further evidence that the U.S. economic recovery is self-sustaining. But gains have been hard to find this past month and a half amid lowered expectations for corporate earnings and further indications that China’s economy, the world’s second-largest, continues to slow. Indexes fell sharply Friday after China said its growth rate declined to 8.1% in the three months ended in March, down from the previous quarter’s 8.9%. The growth was the weakest since the second quarter of 2009. Markets had rallied mid-week after U.S. resource giant Alcoa Inc. delivered a surprise profit to investors, and provided a positive outlook on aluminum prices. But analysts doubt very much that Alcoa’s performance heralds a run of earnings reports that will be stronger than thought. “The pace of improvement in the stock market since the fall has been driven by continued fairly strong growth rate in profit and that growth rate in profit is fading or has faded,” said Andrew Pyle, investment adviser with ScotiaMcLeod in Peterborough, Ont. Analysts say that S&P 500 earnings are expected to rise little more than three per cent year-over-year during the first quarter. That is down sharply from 9.2% growth for last year and would be the slowest quarter for growth since the third quarter of 2009. Major U.S. corporations handing in earnings this week include Citigroup and toymaker Mattel on Monday, Intel and Coca-Cola Tuesday, Bank of America and Advanced Micro Devices Thursday and McDonald’s on Friday. Pyle said it’s tough to see what would be the catalyst for getting the TSX back on a positive track. “To get that next leg up is going to require some pretty significant positive stories,” he said. “You already had positive growth in the equity valuations that continued into this year and now profit numbers are not going to be the driver that they have been, arguably for the past three years.” Also working against the resource-heavy TSX are sliding commodity prices. Oil is well off its highs of around US$109 in mid-February, drifting last week to the US$103 level. And copper, widely viewed as a proxy for the global economy because it is used in so many industries, has fallen almost eight per cent since the beginning of April. Soft Chinese data has contributed much to the slide as the country is the world’s biggest consumer of the metal. In Canada, traders will focus on the Bank of Canada Tuesday as it makes its next announcement on interest rates. The central bank is widely expected to continue to leave the key rate unchanged but analysts think it’s possible the bank could adopt a more hawkish tone, signalling it is prepared to start raising rates down the road. And it comes down to a very subtle change in wording in the statement. “They may return to the comment that at some point, the current high stimulative conditions will need to be withdrawn,” said RBC assistant chief economist Paul Ferley. But even that change in wording could be a stretch for the Bank of Canada. Ferley expects “that the Bank of Canada will cite the persistence of external headwinds, though somewhat diminished, will remain potent enough to warrant monetary conditions remaining highly accommodative.” Investors will also focus on a raft of important U.S. economic data during the week. “We get a ton of U.S. fundamentals from manufacturing to retail to housing,” said Pyle. “You name it, next week is probably the key week or the heaviest week in terms of the volume of information that will come out on the economy.” The data will also set the stage for the Federal Reserve’s next meeting on interest rates, which will be held April 25. Malcolm Morrison Keywords Marketwatch Share this article and your comments with peers on social media Facebook LinkedIn Twitter read more

Alberta to harmonize pension rules with B.C.

The Alberta government has introduced an overhaul of pension legislation, which it says will harmonize pension rules between Alberta and British Columbia, and should make it easier for financial firms to develop pension plans. The proposed act, which represents the first major rewrite of private sector pension laws in 25 years, makes it easier for private sector employers to have affordable, workable pension plans, the government says, by providing more flexibility in how they design plans and removing barriers to employer pensions. Currently, only one in six employees in Alberta’s private sector belongs to a pension plan, it says. Share this article and your comments with peers on social media James Langton Federal budget fails to support needed pension reform, retiree group says Related news Keywords Pensions Budget 2021 revives tax issues from 2019 Canadian plan sponsors post positive quarter despite bond slump Among other things, the new legislation would harmonize pension rules between Alberta and B.C., making it easier for pension plans to both start up and operate effectively for their members. It would also extend the timelines for dealing with funding shortfalls; provide more clarity around the responsibilities of those involved in managing pension plans; enhance disclosure; and, establish standards for two new types of plans, target benefit plans, and jointly sponsored plans. Rules around vesting requirements and locking in would be changed, too. “The private sector has been asking for solutions that help them deal with some of the challenges associated with an employer’s ability to offer pension plans,” said president of Alberta’s treasury board and minister of finance, Doug Horner. “At the end of the day, we’ve been striving for more options to help Albertans be better prepared for a financially secure retirement, and this legislation is another step in that direction.” “Sun Life Financial welcomes the introduction of this legislation,” said, Randy Colwell, regional vice president for Sun Life’s workplace retirement business in Western Canada. “We work with hundreds of thousands of Alberta employees who contribute every pay period to workplace retirement savings plans to save for their retirement. The new legislation will make it easier for employers to establish pension plans, providing more Albertans with access to a convenient way to save at work.” Facebook LinkedIn Twitter read more

Flawed Country of Origin Reports Lead to Flawed Refugee Policies: Denmark

first_imgFlawed Country of Origin Reports Lead to Flawed Refugee Policies: Denmark Human Rights WatchWe, the undersigned analysts, researchers, and other experts on the Syrian context, strongly condemn the Danish government’s decision to remove “temporary protection” for Syrian refugees from Damascus. This decision used our testimonies to the Danish Immigration Service for a country of origin (COI) report on Damascus, but we do not recognize our views in subsequent government conclusions or policies, and neither do we consider that Denmark’s Syrian refugee policy fully reflects the real conditions on the ground. We are urging the Danish government to revise its conclusions on Damascus to better reflect the ongoing risks posed to potential returnees, and to amend its current refugee policies accordingly.We believe that conditions do not presently exist anywhere in Syria for safe returns and any return must be voluntary, safe, and dignified, as the EU and UNHCR have clearly stated. We call on Danish authorities to abide by the position outlined in last month’s European Parliament resolution, which: “Reminds all Member States that Syria is not a safe country to return to; believes that any return should be safe, voluntary, dignified and informed, in line with the EU’s stated position; calls on all EU Member States to refrain from shifting national policies towards depriving certain categories of Syrians of their protected status, and to reverse this trend if they have already applied such policies.”In 2019, Danish authorities officially reclassified Damascus as “safe” in its COI report concerning conditions in Damascus and Rural Damascus. While COI reports are regularly used by governmental and EU agencies to inform the asylum decision-making process along thematic, country-specific, or case-specific lines, we feel that our expert opinion, background information and other advice to the Danish Immigration Service was underappreciated.By reclassifying Damascus as safe, Danish authorities ultimately ruled that refugees originating from the Syrian capital who had sought asylum and received subsidiary protection in Denmark could, in the future, have their temporary residency permits discontinued. As a result, last month (March 2021), the Danish government informed 94 Syrian refugees in the country that they would not have their residency permits renewed.Damascus may not have seen active conflict hostilities since May 2018 – but that does not mean that it has become safe for refugees to return to the Syrian capital. Many of the key drivers of displacement from Syria remain, as the majority of refugees fled, and continue to fear, the government’s security apparatus, arbitrary arrest and detention, torture, military conscription, and harassment and discrimination.The Syrian government, and its security apparatus, have consistently persecuted those who have expressed dissent or shown opposition, including through arbitrary detention, torture, and harassment of critics and their relatives. Despite amnesties and declarations to the contrary, the Syrian government has yet to demonstrate any change in its conduct. Even where individuals have obtained guarantees of safety from the government, abuses have followed. There is a risk to anyone who fled the country or spoke out against the government, actions perceived as disloyalty, which may result in their being treated with suspicion, punishment, or arbitrary detention. Meanwhile, deteriorating socio-economic and humanitarian conditions in and around Damascus are such that they have produced new and worsening protection risks which do not correspond with a safe, dignified, and voluntary return. In its 2021 protection assessment, the UN Refugees Agency (UNHCR) stated that it “considers that changes in the objective circumstances in Syria, including relative security improvements in parts of the territory, are not of a fundamental, stable, and durable character so as to warrant cessation of refugee status.”There is an urgent need to rethink policies which differentiate the risk of return posed to Syrian refugees who fled the country as a result of individual fears of persecution, as well as those who fled general conflict conditions. Danish policy could lead a worrying trend in European refugee policy towards the revocation of residency and other restrictions in relation to the latter group, yet as UNHCR warns: “members of a larger entity, without individually being singled out, may become the target of repercussions by different actors for reason of real or perceived support to another party to the conflict,” and that “in those situations, the risk of being harmed is serious and real, and in no way diminished by the fact that the person concerned may not be targeted on an individual basis.” The highly localized nature of the conflict has meant that just originating from a particular area of the capital could equate to protection risks for returning refugees, while authorities in Damascus have at their disposal a staggeringly broad range of laws, decrees, and articles to arrest and detain returning refugees for perceived crimes committed since leaving the country. As such, as a matter of policy, no Syrian can presently be reasonably believed to be safe enough to remove their protected status in order to force their return to Damascus, nor to anywhere else in Syria.Signatories,Ammar Hamou, Syria DirectBente Scheller, Heinrich Boell FoundationCOAR GlobalJennifer Cafarella (on behalf of Christopher Kozak formerly of ISW)Jusoor for Studies CentreOmran Center for Strategic StudiesSara Kayyali, Human Rights WatchSuhail al-Ghazi, Syrian Researcher and Non-Resident Fellow at Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy /Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here. Why?Well, unlike many news organisations, we have no sponsors, no corporate or ideological interests. We don’t put up a paywall – we believe in free access to information of public interest. Media ownership in Australia is one of the most concentrated in the world (Learn more). Since the trend of consolidation is and has historically been upward, fewer and fewer individuals or organizations control increasing shares of the mass media in our country. According to independent assessment, about 98% of the media sector is held by three conglomerates. This tendency is not only totally unacceptable, but also to a degree frightening). Learn more hereWe endeavour to provide the community with real-time access to true unfiltered news firsthand from primary sources. It is a bumpy road with all sorties of difficulties. We can only achieve this goal together. Our website is open to any citizen journalists and organizations who want to contribute, publish high-quality insights or send media releases to improve public access to impartial information. You and we have the right to know, learn, read, hear what and how we deem appropriate.Your support is greatly appreciated. All donations are kept completely private and confidential.Thank you in advance!Tags:Damascus, Denmark, detention, EU, european, Government, harassment, Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, Humanitarian, immigration, Middle East, parliament, resolution, Syria, UNlast_img read more