Speaking on behalf of the women-led movement, launched in 2017 by families whose loved ones had been detained and disappeared, she painted a picture of sick, injured or dying people, many enduring daily barbaric torture with some scheduled for execution, saying, “hardly any of them will have had a fair trial”. Acknowledging that she was not telling them “anything new”, Ms. Khoulani underscored that “this Council can save their lives if it chooses to act today”. And yet in spite of the reports and information on detention, forced disappearances and torture, numbers continue to rise, including among those who have tried to return. “You have let vetoes and excuses get in the way of what is right and just”, she said, adding that it was the Council’s responsibility to find a way to “end impunity and stop this horror”. Recalling that she herself was imprisoned for six months, for “peaceful activism” and her husband detained for two and a half years, she asserted, “we were both lucky to survive, but many others were not as lucky”. “I don’t have enough words to describe how it felt” when two of her family members were sentenced to death “on the same day at the same minute on 15 January 2013”, she told the Council. Today, around 100,000 Syrian men, women and children remain missing, “the majority detained by the Syrian regime, but extremist and opposition groups are also responsible for the disappearances”, she said. Ms. Khoulani implored the members to “make the issue of detention and forced disappearance in Syria a priority”, urging them to adopt a resolution pressuring the regime and armed opposition groups for the names and whereabouts for everyone in detention and to allow humanitarian organizations to visit the detention centres. This Council can save their lives if it chooses to act today — Amina Khoulani“Let those of us whose loved ones were executed or tortured to death, know the location of their burial sites so we can grieve them properly”, she said. Flagging that the crimes of detention and forced disappearance have for decades “plagued” Syria, Ms. Khoulani said that they have become “epidemic” over the last eight years and shattered millions of lives forever. “The first step toward sustainable peace and justice is truth, an end to arbitrary detention and forced disappearance and the release of thousands of civilians arbitrarily detained and denied their freedom” she concluded. Information blackout A continued lack of access to detention sites and people being held in Syria has left the United Nations with “no official statistics on those detained, abducted or missing”, UN political affairs chief Rosemary A. DiCarlo told the Council in her briefing. “While the UN is not able to verify, reports suggest that more than 100,000 people have so far been detained, abducted, disappeared or went missing, largely, but not only, by the Syrian Government,” she stated. Adding that many families have no information on the fate of their loved ones, she underscored that detainees, including women and children, are held “without due process or access to legal representation or their families”. Moreover, detention cites are not accessible to the UN or international monitors; hospital or burial site records are not public; and some families have paid enormous sums of money to obtain information on loved ones, often in vain. “Deaths in detention have continued to occur, many allegedly as a result of torture, neglect or humane conditions”, she continued, pointing out that this is compounded by the difficulty of obtaining death certificates or remains, which, if acquired, hide the real causes of death. Aside from being victims themselves, women also risk losing their homes, land and property rights in Syria when, after their husbands or male relatives disappear, they cannot explain their whereabouts and lack legal documentation or a death certificate. “Many women under these circumstances carry the heavy burden of sustaining their entire families”, Ms. DiCarlo elaborated. “For refugees or those internally displaced, these challenges are multiplied”. The UN political chief cited photos of nearly “7,000 dead bodies bearing marks of torture” that were smuggled out of Syria by a military defector and made public in 2014, saying they were “prominent evidence of torture and ill-treatment of detainees in Government detention centers”. Armed opposition groups have also conducted arbitrary detention, torture and civilian abductions in their controlled area, capturing and sometimes executing government soldiers, collaborators or other armed groups. The Syrian Democratic Forces have also conducted arbitrary detentions, including arresting men trying to evade forced conscription. “Justice and accountability for these abuses must be ensured, regardless of the perpetrators”, she stressed, adding the UN is concerned that thousands of foreign nationals, many relatives of alleged ISIL members, are currently being detained at Al Hol camp. “We call on Member States to ensure that their nationals are repatriated for the purposes of prosecution, rehabilitation and/or reintegration, as appropriate, and in line with international law and standards”. “Justice and accountability for these abuses must be ensured, regardless of the perpetrators — UN political chief DiCarloPointed to various Security Council resolutions, Ms. DiCarla called for the release of those arbitrarily detained. “The parties must fulfill their obligations under international law, to unilaterally release all arbitrarily detained or abducted, and most urgently, women, children, the sick and elderly”, she spelled out. She said that they must “collect, protect, and manage” detainee, abductee and missing persons data; establish an information management mechanism; identify and return remains to their families; and provide a list of “all places in which persons are being detained and arrange for immediate access” by a neutral third party. “Accountability for serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights is central to achieving and maintaining durable peace in Syria.”, Ms. DiCarlo emphasized. “All parties to the conflict, in particular the Syrian government, must cooperate fully with the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism and the Commission of Inquiry”. In a rare opportunity for the Council to hear directly from family members of people forcibly disappeared, Ms. Khoulani spelled out: “It is your responsibility to protect Syrians from a system that kills, tortures and illegally detains its own citizens”.
RelatedPosts Djokovic clinches fifth Italian Open title Djokovic zooms to 10th Italian Open final Nadal stunned by Schwartzman in Italian Open quarter-finals, Djokovic survives Koepfer Novak Djokovic has been in touch with fellow ATP Player Council members Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal to discuss ways to assist lower-ranked players facing financial struggles amid the novel Coronavirus outbreak, the world number one said on Saturday. Answering a fan’s question during his Instagram live chat with Stan Wawrinka, Player Council chief Djokovic said steps would be taken to ensure that only those players who are most deserving will benefit from any relief plans. “I spoke to Roger and Rafa a few days ago and we had a conversation about the near future of tennis. How we can contribute to help lower ranked guys who are obviously struggling the most,” Djokovic said. “A majority of players ranked between 250 to 700 or 1,000 don’t have federation support or sponsors and are independent and left alone.” The tennis season was suspended in early March due to the pandemic, leaving players in the lower tiers who depend solely on tournament winnings without the chance to earn a living. The plight of players ranked outside the top 100 in singles has prompted the game’s stakeholders — the ATP, WTA, ITF and the organisers of the four Grand Slams — to devise plans to provide some assistance. “Players hopefully will (also) contribute collectively to the relief fund that the ATP (and others) will distribute using models and criteria,” Djokovic added. “You want to avoid giving money to player who fits into this category (low ranking) but does not need the money compared to someone else… hopefully between $3-4.5 million will be distributed to lower-ranked players.” Djokovic, a 17-times Grand Slam champion, said other short-term solutions could include diverting bonus money meant for top players from season-ending events like the ATP Finals into the relief fund. “If we don’t have any events (in 2020), maybe next year’s Australian Open prize money can be contributed to the fund,” the Serb added. “I’m glad the tennis eco-system is coming together. Everyone realises the basis of tennis. These guys ranked 250 onwards are the ones making the future of tennis. “We have to show them they’re not forgotten. We also have to send a message to young players that they can live out of tennis when there’s a financial crisis.” Reuters/NAN.Tags: ATP Player CouncilNovak DjokovicRafa NadalStan Wawrinka
Press gangOn 9 May 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Theadvent of electronic publishing had forced the magazine industry to improve itsrecruitment and retention practices and led to the launch of an HR networkgroup last year. Veronica Simpsonreports on the network’s progress in raising the profile of HR issuesThe supposed glamour of a career in publishing has often been consideredlure enough to justify a cavalier attitude to staff recruitment, salaries, trainingand conditions among much of the industry. HR has often found it hard to gain afoothold in an industry which traditionally exults in its macho managementculture and hard-nosed business approach. The periodical publishing industry ranges from large companies responsiblefor many of the magazines on newsagents’ shelves to tiny operations publishingspecialist journals for small audiences. Philippa Kennedy, editor of the journalists’ newspaper The UK Press Gazette,says, “The trouble with this industry is that the rewards at the top areso great, young people will put up with shoddy treatment in the hope that oneday they will hit pay dirt. It’s still a very unfair and precarious industry towork in.” But the dotcom explosion two years ago enforced a much-needed reassessmentof priorities in some quarters (although by no means all). Suddenly,experienced staff were jumping ship from old technology to new, and goodreplacements were very thin on the ground. The result was that publishers wereforced to review their approach to training and career progression, recruitmentand retention. Now the industry body the Periodical Publishers Association has launched itsown HR managers network – a regular (three times a year) gathering of HRmanagers to facilitate the exchange of information, ideas and legal andcommercial updates. The PPA’s training officer Felicity Keane says, “It was launchedbecause in many companies there is only one person in charge of HR, and theyfound it quite isolating. You need opportunities to network and mix.” As a result of this group’s existence over the past seven months, severalmajor publishing companies have agreed to cooperate with a full salary survey,alongside a benchmarking study of HR practices, so that direct comparisons canbe made. At the suggestion of the HR Network group, the PPA has also initiateda graduate recruitment fair, which will take place this October. Says Keane, “HR has been raised up the agenda, to the extent that itwas a topic for discussion at the PPA’s CEO conference for the firsttime.” As an indicator of intent, it is a positive move. But this networkis a self-selecting community, as it comes from publishers who belong to thePPA and of representatives from publishers who are progressive enough to haveHR staff in the first place – still by no means common. It mustered 30 representatives for its first meeting but only just over 20for the second. Judy Little, who chairs the HR managers network group and isalso HR director at The Economist, concedes that there is still a long way togo. “HR is still a fledgling discipline in magazine publishing. You haveto remember that magazine publishing is not a homogenous industry. It goes fromthe large, reputable organisations such as The Economist or NatMags to one-offpublications. “And the presence of good HR practice is by no means indicated by thesize or presence of an HR department: small companies will often take quitegood care of their staff but not have the resources for an HR division as such.And there are medium-sized outfits where the HR role is little more thanadministrative – the management has no idea what good HR is and wouldn’tunderstand its importance if you explained it to them.” Little confirms that the big issue in publishing HR, for the past two yearsat least, has been recruitment and retention of staff although, with the recentbursting of the dotcom bubble, she predicts it may become less of a pressingmatter. “However, companies are still concerned that they can attract new,young people into the industry and then hold on to them. And it still remainshard to get good, experienced people in sales and specialist editorial.” One by-product of the recruitment problems in the industry is that it hasput pressure on managers to offer higher salaries. This has caused problems foremployers in an industry where there are no formal job grades and benchmarkingis difficult. The main recruitment vehicle, The Guardian’s Monday Mediaedition, has no salary information in many of its magazine job adverts, forsales or editorial staff. One out-of-London publisher pays rookie salespeople £10,000 a year plusbonuses, while a major rival pays its sales graduates £14,000 basic pluscommission, with structured reviews over 18 months that should end up at£17,000 basic, regardless of inner or outer London location. The company wouldnot, however, give any starting salary for journalists. Another company, whichrecently won IIP status, declares, “There are very few of our employeesearning less than £15,000 a year.” The PPA HR network group plans to undertake a salary survey which will helpto clarify matters, although the information will be kept confidential betweenparticipants. Linda Rogers, the National Union of Journalists’ national magazines andbooks organiser, says union derecognition has made it difficult for publishersto benchmark salaries with competitors. “No publisher has been looking atsalaries in a systematic way,” claims Rogers. “We think it works against the company, as it makes the salary billvery hard to calculate, and the current ad hoc system certainly does not helpline managers to plan their department budgets. We also feel that thissituation discriminates against women, who will notoriously talk themselvesdown, as opposed to men, who will generally talk themselves up.” The lack of information on pay has also made it difficult to attractfreelance and casual staff, who make up a large proportion of the workforcewhere high staff turnover and peaks and troughs in activity are the norm.Freelance rates in many companies have barely gone up in the past 10 years. Access to casual staff is vital to publishers because with continual newlaunches, it is important to be able to assemble skilled staff quickly but on atemporary basis. London-based John Brown Publishing’s HR manager Helen Watson reckonsfreelancers can make up 10 per cent of staff at any one time. “We areputting together an information pack for freelancers so they know about healthand safety issues. It’s very important that they are briefed,” saysWatson. This rapid ebb and flow of the workforce gives HR managers considerablechallenges in internal communications. A former employee in one of the largercompanies says staff learned about the acquisition of an important publicationin the US from the company newsletter, after the line manager failed toannounce the development to the team in person. However, many publishing housesare using e-mail message boards and intranet technology to rectify thecommunications problem. In an industry where managers were traditionally selected because of theirprowess in sales or marketing, there is an increasing investment in managementtraining. Geraldine Pace, managing director of publishing industry trainingcompany Communications Skills Europe, says, “The value of training hasfiltered down as a real advantage, both in attracting and keeping staff, evenin the smallest companies.” However, according to Pace, sales training tends to be the priority, as itbrings faster short-term gains. She estimates that only 10 per cent ofcompanies really base training on individual needs and focus on careeradvancement across all disciplines. Companiesare putting more emphasis on developing staff, however. Two years ago, whenHaymarket, one of the UK’s largest privately owned magazine publishingcompanies, failed its assessment for Investors in People, the company broughtin an HR manager. Helen Tiffany has introduced job descriptions and regularappraisals focusing on training needs and career progression. “Haymarketwas very old-school, very commercially-driven,” says Tiffany. “Personnel was a department you rang to find out how much holiday youhad left. Since the dotcom departures, we have concentrated on making sure weare providing career management in the company. “Almost all staff have job descriptions and we make sure managersregularly appraise their staff, are trained to do so, and through thatappraisal process we provide a variety of different training opportunities. I thinkthese are the basics that everyone should be aspiring to. And we now have 16in-house trainers – senior managers who are willing to train people. That’s ahuge commitment.” Another factor limiting the development of management talent has been thetendency in the past to promote only sales managers to the role of publisher,in charge of overall commercial direction and magazine budgets. Some companiesare trying to open up management careers to journalists. Haymarket’s recentlylaunched publishing training scheme is open to all disciplines, for example. Emap, one of the UK’s largest periodical publishers, has introduced foreditorial staff in two of its divisions a system of coaching, training allsenior managers in coaching and mentoring to keep a focus on developing thein-house talent. All advertising staff go through an induction programme, withextra targeted training thereafter. Other career development initiativesinclude coaching and 180- and 360-degree feedback. Across the industry as a whole, lack of opportunities at senior level is oneof the reasons staff turnover is high in the industry. Many companies estimatestaff churn is about 25 per cent and most employees leave at between 18 monthsand two years. The Economist’s Little says the industry’s new awareness of the importanceof staff retention and career development means it is attracting more skilledHR professionals, “I am encouraged to see that the calibre of HR staff [inmagazine publishing] is improving,” she says. “HR is higher on theagenda but there is still a long way to go.” Case Study: John Brown PublishingHeadline features of HR functionJohn Brown Publishing was started in 1987 with three magazines and is nowone of a growing number of media companies specialising in contract andcustomer magazines. It currently has 15 titles in its portfolio, includingspecialist consumer and business titles. There are 180 staff at the speciallyconverted offices in west London and business is ex- panding in the US. Thecompany’s HR manager is Helen Watson, and there is an HR officer to take careof all personnel matters from payroll to training and development, andreporting to the finance and operations director. The HR function has been in place for seven months but it inherited a fairlymature HR system in terms of training and appraisals. Also, Brown’s accessiblestyle as a director has fostered an approachable and non-hierarchicalatmosphere. Recruitment is carried out on an ad hoc basis. Training is unstructured but responsive to the individual. Training needsare identified through job description and annual appraisal procedures, withmost employees going on at least one training course a year. Training isconducted both in-house and externally. Career development takes place through appraisals. Publishers come from avariety of disciplines. Salaries are discretionary There is a state-of-the-artcanteen, a bar (with regular “happy hours”), a film screening roomand regular on-site visits from a yoga teacher, a masseur and a beautician. An optional pension scheme is open to all full-time staff plus full lifeinsurance from day one, health insurance and worldwide travel insurance. Every month, John Brown hosts a staff lunch where the latest companyactivities are shared, plus any major individual or team achievements praised.Also, the entire company is taken on an annual teambuilding weekend in France. Maternity benefits are currently discretionary or the statutory minimum butthe company is looking to instigate a more generous offer of six weeks at fullpay and 12 weeks at half pay. Job shares and part-time positions are available.HR basics include job descriptions, regular appraisals and mature systems toensure training and career development programmes are provided. “Our systems are good and pretty well established,” says Watson,”although of course I would like to take it further, and will need toexamine our progress as the company expands.” Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.
Like-for-like sales at Costa, the coffee shop chain run by Whitbread, increased by a whopping 8% in the 13 weeks to 30 May 2013.Costa grew total system sales by 23.1% to £281.8m, with total franchise system sales up 21.6% to £111.8m.Andy Harrison, chief executive of Whitbread, said: “Whitbread had a good start to the new financial year with first quarter Group sales up 13.8% and like for like sales up 3.1%, in line with our plan.“Costa, the UK’s favourite coffee shop, has continued to perform well, benefitting from the cold weather, with total sales growth of 24.8% and like for like sales growth of 8.0%.“We see no change to market conditions. Our plans for profitable organic growth are well established which, combined with our strong focus on returns, should create further substantial shareholder value.”It opened 39 net new UK stores in the quarter, 36 in UK Retail and three in Costa Enterprises. Costa Enterprises (including Costa Express) delivered system sales of £67.1m, up 32.6%. There are now 2,924 Costa Express units.