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Tunisia must live up to promises to end impunity for security forces at …

The use of torture in custody and human rights violations committed in the name of security and counterterrorism will continue unabated unless Tunisia lives up to the commitments it has made today at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, said Amnesty International. During today s session, the outcome of the third Universal Period Review of Tunisia s human rights record was adopted . The Tunisian authorities accepted 189 recommendations on how to improve the country s human rights record, including pledging to boost accountability for abuses by security forces, eliminate torture and other ill-treatment and ensure that counterterrorism and national security measures do not jeopardize human rights.

The commitments made by Tunisia today are a step in the right direction . But the government must swiftly implement these reforms if its promises of human rights progress are to be realised, said Heba Morayef, North Africa Research Director at Amnesty International. The commitments made by Tunisia today are a step in the right direction .

But the government must swiftly implement these reforms if its promises of human rights progress are to be realised

Heba Morayef, North Africa research director at Amnesty International

Two recent proposed bills have called into question the government s commitment to accountability . Last week Tunisia s parliament approved a controversial bill granting amnesty to officials accused of corruption under former President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali s rule. Tunisia s pledges related to security sector reforms will be seriously undermined if the government goes ahead with a bill1, known as the Repression of attacks against armed forces bill , which would grant security forces immunity from prosecution for unnecessary use of lethal force and criminalize criticism of police conduct . The bill could be reintroduced in parliament as soon as next month.

Tunisia s promises to end impunity for the security forces will be meaningless if the authorities proceed with a bill that gives the security forces protection from prosecution for human rights violations . The authorities must demonstrate they are committed to keeping the promises they have made today by scrapping this bill immediately, said Heba Morayef.

Tunisia s promises to end impunity for the security forces will be meaningless if the authorities proceed with a bill that gives the security forces protection from prosecution for human rights violations

Heba Morayef, North Africa research director at Amnesty International

For years Amnesty International has called on the Tunisian authorities to step up their efforts to reform the security sector and to stamp out impunity . Yet since the 2011, the overwhelming majority of credible allegations of torture and other serious violations by security forces have not been independently and impartially investigated, and there have been only a handful of prosecutions. Out of 248 recommendations from more than 100 countries, Tunisia has adopted 189, acknowledged 55 and deferred 4 at its UN review session today. As part of their commitments, the Tunisian authorities have agreed to ensure all allegations of torture are impartially and effectively investigated.

In its February 2017 report Abuses under Tunisia s state of emergency Amnesty International highlighted how violations including torture, arbitrary arrest and restrictions on movement have been committed in the name of national security since the fall of President Ben Ali in 2011.

Tunisia must not squander this chance to adhere to its commitments under its own constitution and international human rights law by implementing the reforms it has pledged to uphold and delivering genuine human rights progress, said Heba Morayef. During a recent meeting with Amnesty International in Tunis, Tunisia s Minister of Relations with Constitutional Authorities, Civil Society and Human Rights, Mehdi Ben Gharbia, discussed the outcome of the UN human rights review . He emphasized that the government takes recommendations relating to physical integrity very seriously and that efforts to address torture are ongoing but that it is taking time to overcome the legacy of the Ben Ali era . He added that the authorities are also working hard to end forced anal examinations which are regularly carried out on men suspected of engaging in same-sex sexual relations . Amnesty International considers that these examinations amount to torture.

In this regard Amnesty International welcomed today Tunisia s acceptance of two recommendations to immediately cease the practice of forced anal examinations and ensure the protection of LGBTQI persons from all forms of stigmatization, discrimination and violence . However the organization deeply regrets Tunisia s rejection of 14 recommendations relating the decriminalization of same-sex relations by repealing article 230 of the Penal Code. During today s session Tunisia s authorities also committed to bringing national laws in line with the country s new constitution and international human rights standards . Amnesty International is now urging the authorities to expedite the long overdue process of establishing a constitutional court and to amend the country s penal code to ensure all articles relating to freedom of expression, association, torture and the death penalty are brought in line with international law.

Disappointingly, Tunisia rejected a recommendation to end military trials of civilians, in violation of international fair trial standards. This is the country s third Universal Periodic Review by the UN Human Rights Council . Amnesty International delivered an oral statement at today s session, and ahead of it, submitted a report to the council highlighting the main human rights issues in the country as well as key recommendations.

References

  1. ^ bill (www.amnesty.org)

Rhyl security guard who had to quit job after brutal stabbing finds new career after SIX year search

A former security guard who had to quit the industry after being stabbed three times has finally found a job after a six year search. Brian Edwards, 52, of Rhyl, was attacked by two men in 2009 while he was working as a site security guard at a retail site in Liverpool. His attackers left him with back and shoulder injuries – forcing him to quit work as he recovered and then pushing him out of security.

Brian Edwards finds job with Wynne Construction after six year search

He struggled to find a new career and was left out of work for several years.

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But he took on a work placement through the JobCentre and Wynne Construction – working voluntarily to prove his worth. Now Brian, who had worked as a plant operator for a civil engineering firm prior to switching roles to security work, is now in a full-time post as a construction operative, helping to refurbish Rhyl Pavilion. Talking about his attack, he said: It was 3am and I was with another security guard when we were attacked by two men.

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I was stabbed three times, twice in the lower back and once in my shoulder.

I had to have surgery on the shoulder.

I recovered but I left security after that.

He struggled to find anything new but Wynne Construction spotted his potential during a work experience placement.

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He said: I live across the road from the Pavilion . I used to walk into town and look at it and think I would like to work on it.

When Wynne Construction s name came up at the JobCentre, I asked if I could apply for a work experience placement there.

Work on the new Rhyl Pavilion Theatre

The placements are voluntary and you are required to spend two weeks on them . I asked to stay on longer at the site.

Other guys said I was an idiot for working voluntarily . I disagreed and I m the one with the job now. Wynne Construction site manager Mark Wilson said: I saw Brian had potential . He is a good lad and keen to learn.

Brian proved himself keen to work and carry out the job to the best of his ability . He asked questions if he wasn t sure.

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He was relatively new to construction sites, but had a good attitude to health and safety.

It was clear that his work experience had been beneficial to Brian, and we valued his input into the on-going project so much that we offered him a contract to see the project through.

The company works with JobCentres close to its respective sites to offer work placements and give talks and mock interviews to candidates on the Work Experience programme. Wendy Harrison from Rhyl JobCentre said: We are delighted that we helped to facilitate this opportunity for Brian.

Brian has worked closely for many months with Jean from the Communities For Work Project to help him advance into work . Brian s dedication shone through and the results speak for themselves!

Brian added: Mark Wilson is the best manager you could ask for.

Real risk post-Brexit security arrangements will leave UK less safe, say peers

The UK will be less safe after Brexit unless “mission critical” EU security arrangements are retained or adequately replaced, a Lords report warns. Peers emphasised the importance to Britain’s law enforcement agencies of a string of tools which have fallen under the spotlight since the referendum in June. Senior figures in policing and counter-terrorism have highlighted the role played in the work by the European Arrest Warrant, the Second Generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) – a database of real time alerts, the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS) and Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency. A report from the Lords EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee said: “The arrangements currently in place to facilitate police and security cooperation between the United Kingdom and other members of the European Union are mission-critical for the UK’s law enforcement agencies.” The committee said that evidence it heard over the course of the inquiry pointed to a “real risk” that any new arrangements put in place by way of replacement when the UK left the EU “will be sub-optimal relative to present arrangements, leaving the people of the United Kingdom less safe”. Access to EU law enforcement databases and data-sharing platforms was “integral” to day to day policing up and down the country, according to the assessment. It warned that if the UK lost access to them upon leaving the bloc, information that could currently be sourced in seconds or hours could take days or weeks to retrieve. This would deliver an “abrupt shock” to UK policing and pose a risk to the safety of the public, the report said. The UK and other EU member states shared a “strong mutual interest” in ensuring there was no reduction in the level of safety and security afforded to their citizens post-Brexit, according to the paper.

But the peers cautioned against “assuming that because there is a shared interest in a positive outcome, negotiations will unfold smoothly”. Baroness Prashar, chair of the committee, said: “Protecting the lives of its citizens is the first duty of government and should be the overriding consideration during Brexit negotiations. “Without access to these vital EU tools or credible substitutes, we would be seriously harming the capability of our law enforcement agencies to fight crime and keep the public safe.

“Considering how instrumental the UK has been in shaping EU cooperation on police and security matters we hope the EU acknowledges the vital contribution we have and can continue to make.”

Policing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “The UK is leaving the EU, but co-operation on law enforcement and security with our European and global allies remains a priority for the Government.

“We will do what is necessary to keep people safe and we are working, alongside policing and security partners, to explore options for co-operation arrangements once the UK has left the EU.”