At a news conference at the end of his four-day visit to Côte d’Ivoire, Juan Mendez said his mandate was not to determine whether there had been genocide, but to prevent it.He said he was delighted that no massacres had been recorded since June, even though the situation remained tense. In that regard, however, the serious violations of human rights and the inter-communal hatred in the rebel-held north and Government-ruled south had to be monitored, he said.He deplored the climate of mistrust, as well as the misinformation and rumours spread by those in positions of authority and those in the media, fuelling division and hatred. He urged both of those groups to ensure that they did not pour oil on the fire by making or relaying irresponsible statements.Besides that, the massacres that have aroused the indignation of the international community have met only a local political impasse and persistent impunity. Noting the presence of many illegally-armed and well organized militias across the country; Mr. Mendez called for their immediate disarming.The Special Adviser pleaded in favour of the settlement, in a transparent manner, of the issue of national identity in order to allow for free, democratic and really representative elections. The identity question has played a part in fomenting years of political unrest and inspiring a failed 2001 coup.The relevant authorities should work towards holding exams as soon as possible, Mr. Mendez said, emphasizing that schooling helps prevent human rights violations since it helps students and young people to direct their future towards peace instead of joining armed groups.Mr. Mendez, who arrived in Côte d’Ivoire on Tuesday, travelled to the west of the country and to the zone under the control of the rebel Forces Nouvelles, in addition to meeting the Ivorian head of the State and several other politicians.
The workforce at a Scottish surface coal mine has benefited from on-site training. This latest investment by Banks Mining into its staff has provided high-level health and safety and IT training to all the plant operators at its Rusha surface mine, near Breich in West Lothian.The Rusha employees all completed a Level 2 NVQ which focused on health and safety awareness and was then followed up with a practical IT training course. The training was carried out by Edutrain, an Edinburgh based education and training company.Richard McClelland, Managing Director at Edutrain, said: “Feedback from Edutrain’s trainers from the Rusha site was extremely positive, when on site they could see clearly that Banks Group had a strong culture of health and safety.“Many of the operators we assessed are trusted with highly expensive items of plant and as such know the importance of maintaining their operator competence in what is a safety critical industry.“While in the past operators required little or no knowledge and understanding of Information Communication Technology (ICT), things are changing with technology playing an increasingly significant role, therefore it’s getting ever more important that operators of modern plant are comfortable with ICT.”Banks Mining is committed to the development of its employees which mostly comprise of locals from in and around West Lothian. Members of the team at the mine are also being funded through courses at Kelvin College in Glasgow helping to gain valuable qualifications whilst benefiting from practical on-site experience and a wage.Site manager for Banks Mining’s Rusha site, Ian Ritchie, said: “It is of great importance to us that the team that operates in the mine is fully confident, competent and capable of operating to the highest standards.“Development with care is our ethos and that very much extends to our staff. We take great pride in operating in a safe, responsible and efficient manner to ensure that our people have a safe and rewarding place to work that meets our customers’ needs.The company estimates that the Rusha site will contribute more than £5 million to the local economy every year through wages and other supply chain contributions, and in addition to the people employed on site, it will also support a number of other off-site jobs in related transport and supplies activity.Banks Mining has been operating at the surface mine since 2012, as part of a planned seven-year project. The coal extracted from Rusha is used for industrial, domestic and coal fired power generation in both Scotland and England. Once coaling is complete, the 154-ha site will be fully restored and landscaped to a mixture of woodland and agriculture.