Summary: January 19, 2005: European Parliament - MEPs say EU must take lead at UN Human Rights Commission
In a prelude to the 61st meeting of the UN Human Rights Commission, MEPs called on the EU to play a pioneering role there. In a draft resolution adopted in the Foreign Affairs Committee by 53 votes in favour, 5 votes against and 2 abstentions, MEPs listed some 25 countries where the human rights situation raises concern and on which the EU should submit resolutions to the UN Commission. They also asked called for resolutions to be submitted on economic, social, cultural and civil and
political rights issues.
Going into more detail on the human rights situation in a number of countries, MEPs condemned "the growing number of reports about executions" in Iran, the public floggings, the generalised crackdown on the press and media and the widespread arrests. As regards Iraq, MEPs condemned "the terrorist groups for hostage-taking, executions and regular attacks on minority groups", as well as the "Iraqi Interim Government's decision to restore capital punishment". Concerning China, the Foreign Affairs Committee condemned arbitrary detentions, the repression in Tibet and Xinjiang and against the Falun Gong movement and any form of political opposition.
Regarding Chechnya, MEPs condemned "first and foremost" the massacre in Beslan, but also "the increasing number of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Russian authorities against the civilian population". In Belarus and Turkmenistan, they condemned "the violent repression of political activities and freedom of the press. In Uzbekistan, it was the outlawing of religious groups and interference with political parties which raised concern.
In the case of Afghanistan, the Foreign Affairs Committee recognised the need to support the newly elected government, while condemning violations of human rights and the taking and execution of hostages. For Sudan, MEPs welcomed the signature of the peace agreement between the Khartoum government and the Sudan People's Liberation Army, but nevertheless called on all parties to the Darfur conflict to immediately cease all violence, refrain from the forcible relocation of civilians and cooperate with international humanitarian relief and monitoring efforts.
MEPs also called for a resolution asking the United States for an immediate clarification of the situation of the prisoners in Guantánamo.
Parliament's recommendations for the UN Human Rights Commission will come up for debate in plenary on 23 February.
19.01.2005 Committee on Foreign Affairs
In the chair: Elmar BROK (EPP-ED, DE)