EU must bring burning human rights questions to UN table
Ahead of today's European Parliament resolution vote on the upcoming United Nations Human Rights Council meeting, Spanish GUE/NGL Willy Meyer highlighted three key gaps in the programme for discussions.
"My group is looking forward to the next Council meeting in Geneva, but we regret that three very important topics that have to do with foreign policy and the reality of the European Union are not on the table for dialogue" he said.
"First, the human rights situation in occupied Western Sahara, a dependent territory awaiting decolonization, is not going to be discussed. This Friday, the trial of 24 Saharawi activists will take place in Rabat following the violent dissolution by Moroccan security forces of a protest camp in Laayoune in 2010". The trial has been deemed as "flawed from the outset" by human rights NGOs such as Amnesty International.
"Nor are the persisting human rights violations caused by the Turkish occupation of the northern part of the Republic of Cyprus set to be discussed" said Meyer, calling the situation on the island "unacceptable" .
"And finally, the CIA flights: it is undisputed that there were torture centres that were allowed by European Union countries to continue operating, with European airspace used to allow these illegal CIA activities. I think it's very important that the European Parliament, in line with its own resolutions, take up issues such as these at the UN level".
The 22nd session of the Human Rights Council will take place from 25 February - 22 March 2013.
GUE/NGL has presented a resolution on the Council which includes the following paragraph on Cyprus:
27. Reiterates its condemnation of the persistent human rights violations caused by the continuing occupation of 37% of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey, and is particularly concerned about the situation of refugees, the enclaved and the families of missing persons; stresses that the occupation is directly linked to the deprivation of access to, and use of, property; calls on the EU delegation and the delegations of its Member States to denounce these ongoing violations, to condemn the presence of Turkish troops and settlers, to call for an immediate end to the occupation of Cyprus by the Turkish army and of the policy of seeking to alter the demographic character of the Republic of Cyprus, and stresses that these violations constitute war crimes; calls on Turkey to authorise access to the military zones in order to proceed with the verification of the fate of missing persons.
and on Western Sahara:
31. Recalls the European Parliament resolution of 25 November 2010 on the situation in Western Sahara; calls on Morocco and the Polisario Front to continue the negotiations with a view to a peaceful and lasting solution to the conflict in Western Sahara and reaffirms the right of self-determination of the Saharawi people, which must be decided by a democratic referendum in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions, condemns the continuing violations of the human rights of the Saharawi people, calls for the release of Saharawi political prisoners, particularly the Gdeim Izik 23 group, tried by a military tribunal.
GUE/NGL Press Contacts:
David Lundy +32 470 85 05 09
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20