Tag Archives: European Union

Thailand/EU: Rights lawyer Sirikan June Charoensiri faces court again

June 19, 2018

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On 19 June, representatives from the EU Delegation to Thailand and Embassies of Sweden, the Netherlands, France and the US observed an indictment hearing of the case of Ms. Sirikan Charoensiri, a human rights lawyer. The purpose of the hearing was to establish whether she would be charged with concealing evidence and refusing to comply with an order, after she refused to allow the authorities to conduct a warrantless search of her car, which contained her clients’ information and consequently should be protected by the lawyer-client privilege.

 

(European Union in Thailand Facebook, 19/6/18)

https://www.marieclaire.com/politics/a19664067/woman-of-courage-award-june-charoensiri-thailand/

https://www.bangkokpost.com/news/general/1434487/rights-lawyer-sirikan-wins-us-award

https://clarionproject.org/meet-2018-international-womenofcourage/

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/theresa-may-mustnt-mince-words-over-thailands-human-rights-record-during-pm-visit

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sirikan_Charoensiri

https://prachatai.com/journal/2018/06/77501 (THAI/ENGLISH)

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Poland/EU: ‘They’re trying to break me’: Polish judges face state-led intimidation

June 19, 2018

Judges say ruling party is tightening its grip through threats and hate campaigns

A protest against changes to the Polish justice system in July 2017

Three high-profile Polish judges have complained of a “state-led campaign of intimidation and harassment” against them, as Poland’s ruling party tightens its grip on the judiciary.

Since taking power in 2015 the Law and Justice party (PiS) has assumed direct oversight of state prosecutors and the judicial body that appoints, promotes and disciplines judges, as well as the power to dismiss and appoint court presidents, who wield considerable power and influence in the Polish justice system.

A disputed law on the supreme court, forcing the retirement of 40% of its judges, is due to take effect on 3 July.

Judges involved in politically sensitive cases or who have expressed opposition to threats to judicial independence have told the Guardian they are frequently threatened with disciplinary proceedings and even criminal charges, and in many cases are subjected to allegations of corruption and hate campaigns orchestrated by leading PiS politicians.

“I became an enemy of the state,” said Waldemar Żurek, a district court judge in the southern city of Kraków, who served as spokesman for the National Council of the Judiciary (KRS), the body that appoints and disciplines Polish judges, until it was taken over by government appointees this year.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/19/theyre-trying-to-break-me-polish-judges-face-state-led-intimidation

http://thecourier.com/national-news/2018/06/18/no-progress-reported-in-poland-eu-standoff-over-courts/

https://www.neweurope.eu/article/eus-timmermans-in-poland-to-calm-spat-over-justice-and-rule-of-law/

https://www.politico.eu/article/frans-timmermans-eu-commission-leaves-poland-warsaw-with-no-breakthrough-on-rule-of-law/

http://fr.euronews.com/2018/06/18/la-commission-europeenne-espere-poursuivre-le-dialogue-avec-varsovie (FRANCAIS)

https://www.lemonde.fr/europe/article/2018/06/19/etat-de-droit-en-pologne-bruxelles-dans-l-impasse_5317694_3214.html (FRANCAIS)

#Ruleoflaw

China/Taiwan/EU: EU urged to confront China at summit

June 17, 2018

OPEN LETTER:‘The EU’s broad and principled commitment to promoting human rights has not been matched in China with a willingness to act,’ the letter said

Ahead of next month’s EU-China summit, the Taiwan Association for Human Rights on Wednesday joined US government-funded non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch and several other international advocacy groups in issuing an open letter to EU officials to raise public awareness about the “growing human rights crisis” in China.

The coalition of groups urged the EU to fulfill its pledge to promote human rights globally by repeatedly calling for the release of political prisoners detained by the Chinese government, including poet Liu Xia (劉霞), the widow of journalist Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波), and Taiwanese human rights advocate Lee Ming-che (李明哲).

The letter is addressed to European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker ahead of the July 12 to 13 summit, Taiwan Association for Human Rights secretary-general Chiu E-ling (邱伊翎) said yesterday.

Just weeks after last year’s summit, Chinese authorities ignored an international outcry, including pressure from several EU member states, and denied the wish of late 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo to leave China to seek medical treatment for liver cancer.

The letter also called on the EU to pressure China for the release of human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang (王全璋), Uighur academic Ilham Tohti, Tibetan-language education advocate Tashi Wangchuk and other people China has charged with crimes not recognized elsewhere in the international community, or detained for simply taking steps toward protecting human rights.

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2018/06/17/2003695019

https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/asa17/8624/2018/en/

https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3459034

https://www.amnesty.org/en/get-involved/take-action/free-chinese-lawyer-wang-quanzhang/?utm_source=FBPAGE-IS&utm_medium=social&utm_content=1597762615&utm_campaign=Amnesty&utm_term=News (PETITION – PLEASE SIGN!)

China/EU: At Summit, EU Should ‘Throw Full Weight Behind’ Human Rights

June 14, 2018

European Council President Donald Tusk and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (R) arrive to attend a EU-China Summit in Brussels, Belgium June 2, 2017. REUTERS/Virginia Mayo/Pool

European Union leaders should publicly and privately demand that China release those deprived of their liberty for exercising human rights, including poet Liu Xia, the widow of the late Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, and Swedish publisher Gui Minhai, Human Rights Watch said today in a joint letter with 23 other nongovernmental organizations.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker, European Council President Donald Tusk, and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini will attend the EU-China Summit in Beijing with senior Chinese officials in mid-July 2018.

“EU leaders, who have pledged their full support for courageous human rights defenders, will visit Beijing around the first anniversary of 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo’s July 2017 death under state guard,” said Lotte Leicht, EU director. “Now, those leaders need to deliver on their pledge and make the immediate release of Liu Xia, Gui Minhai, and so many others a top strategic priority.”

The EU has pushed back against China’s ruthless crackdown on human rights, the groups noted, including through statements at the United Nations Human Rights Council, expressions of concern about individual cases, and outreach to human rights defenders. Yet, none of these EU actions have achieved the releases of any rights activists in China and the EU has yet to fulfill its 2012 pledge in its Strategic Framework on Human Rights to “throw its full weight behind advocates of liberty, democracy and human rights” and to do so “in all areas of its external action without exception” in China. Several member states chose to abstain rather than vote against a problematic Chinese resolution at the UN Human Rights Council in March 2018.

The organizations urged EU leaders to take several steps, including publicly pressing for the releases of Liu Xia, Wang QuanzhangTashi WangchukIlham TohtiLee Ming-che, and Gui Minhai, among many others, and developing a committed EU strategy to ensure their releases. They also asked the EU to identify specific human rights issues that the Chinese government needs to address as a strategic priority for the EU and its member states.

In the year since the last EU-China Summit, China has not only arbitrarily detained Liu Xia, Gui Minhai, and countless human rights lawyers and other activists, it has also continued to adopt abusive laws and maintain a vast censorship apparatus.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/06/14/china-summit-eu-should-throw-full-weight-behind-human-rights

https://sofiaglobe.com/2018/06/15/july-6-7-announced-as-date-for-cee-china-161-summit-in-sofia/

Poland/EU: Poland has not addressed key concerns over court independence: EU’s Timmermans

June 13, 2018

Poland has not addressed the key concerns of the European Commission over the independence of courts, the First Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans said on Wednesday, adding he would travel to Warsaw for talks next week.

Image result for Frans Timmermans

Speaking in the European Parliament, Timmermans said amendments introduced by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party to its reforms of the judiciary were not enough and the reforms still posed a risk of undermining the democratic division of powers, a core European value.

“I regret to inform you that overall and in spite of all of these legislative changes, key concerns which the Commission identified in the recent proposal, remain unaddressed,” Timmermans told parliament.

Timmermans said Polish authorities needed to urgently address the risk of irreparable damage to its Supreme Court, in which some 40 percent of judges could be forced into retirement on July 3 under the reform, and be replaced by nominees of a body now also dominated by the ruling PiS.

“The risk of creating irreparable damage fully remains. On July 3, 27 out of 72 Supreme Court judges will face the risk of being forced to retire,” Timmermans said.

“The forced retirement of these Supreme Court judges would constitute an irreversible violation of the rule of law. The Commission is at present examining this issue,” he said.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-poland-rule-of-law/poland-has-not-addressed-key-concerns-over-court-independence-eus-timmermans-idUSKBN1J91TJ

http://uk.businessinsider.com/r-political-control-of-courts-in-poland-violates-eu-treaties-eus-timmermans-2018-6

https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/timmermans-on-poland-changes-are-not-sufficient/

https://www.politico.eu/article/poland-rule-of-law-will-face-disciplinary-hearing-on-with-eu/

http://www.thenews.pl/1/10/Artykul/368216,Poland-will-defend-contested-court-reforms-FM

https://sundiatapost.com/2018/06/13/eu-appeals-to-poland-on-rule-of-law-as-time-runs-out-for-judges/

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/973745/eu-news-poland-referendum-european-union-Andrzej-Duda-constitution

https://euobserver.com/political/142077

https://www.theparliamentmagazine.eu/articles/news/poland-could-be-referred-ecj-over-controversial-judicial-reforms

https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2018-06-14/eu-parliament-urges-commission-to-act-against-poland

https://emerging-europe.com/in-brief/former-polish-presidents-ask-eu-to-help-defend-rule-of-law/

https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2018/06/16/how-jaroslaw-kaczynskis-filial-duty-dark-obsession-and-grief-have-shaped-a-decreasingly-democratic-poland.html

http://www.liberation.fr/planete/2018/06/17/reforme-de-la-justice-l-ue-menace-la-pologne-tenace_1659875 (FRANCAIS)

#RuleofLaw

Vietnam/EU/EP: No Free Trade With UNFree Regimes | Letter

June 10, 2018

90 NGOs including LRWC call on the EU to reject the proposed free trade agreement until Viet Nam releases all political prisoner, including Nguyen Van Dai, and ensures rights to expression and association.


June 6, 2018
To:

  • The Council of the European Union
  • The Members of the European Parliament

We, the undersigned organizations, urge European Union member countries to reject the pending free trade agreement with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

After the European Parliament’s emergency resolution on Vietnam last December, it would be a disgrace if European countries were to ratify free trade with a country that is one of the world’s worst enemies of freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and freedom of association. Over the last year, the Vietnamese authorities have arbitrarily detained scores of peaceful activists and bloggers. Just in April 2018, the Vietnamese authorities conducted five political trials and sentenced ten courageous human rights defenders and bloggers to harsh prison sentences of up to 15 years in prison for peacefully exercising rights to freedom of expression and association. In prison, torture and mistreatment are routinely used to extract confessions and force detainees to plead guilty. It is not unusual for prison officials to deny detained activists appropriate medical treatment.

The European External Action Service condemned the 5 April 2018 conviction and sentencing of Nguyen Van Dai, Le Thu Ha, Pham Van Troi, Nguyen Trung Ton, Nguyen Bac Truyen and Truong Minh Duc, stating these individuals “have peacefully advocated the promotion and protection of human rights as guaranteed by the Vietnamese Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Their sentences are in direct breach of these international obligations, which Vietnam has itself signed up to, and which the European Union expects full respect for.”

https://www.lrwc.org/vietnam-no-free-trade-with-unfree-regimes-letter/

http://www.dw.com/en/vietnam-expels-dissident-lawyer-to-germany/a-44121266

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/case-history-nguyen-van-dai

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nguy%E1%BB%85n_V%C4%83n_%C4%90%C3%A0i

https://www.voatiengviet.com/a/nguyen-van-dai-thu-ha-minh-khanh-duc/4433825.html (VIETNAMESE)

https://verbaende.com/news.php/Akkreditierungshinweis-fuer-Medienvertreter-Uebergabe-des-Menschenrechtspreises-des-DRB-an-Nguyen-Van-Dai-in-Berlin?m=122558 (DEUTSCH)

Poland: Poland’s Top Judge Rings Alarm as Populist Makeover Takes Hold

June 7, 2018

As Italy’s new government prepares to challenge the European Union, Poland has a timely lesson for how quickly a particular brand of politics can change a country.

 

Poland is so far the biggest example of how the sort of populism pioneered by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has inspired anti-establishment firebrands across Europe. With the new Italian cabinet’s euroskeptic rhetoric and budget-busting spending plans spooking financial markets, the concern is those tendencies are spreading and will undermine the world’s biggest trading bloc.

 

Two-and-a-half years after winning power and setting out to drain the Polish swamp, the Law & Justice party has propelled a deep transformation of the nation’s 29-year democracy. The head of the country’s Supreme Court says that a “terrifying” new system is emerging, where a single party makes all the rules and puts pressure on independent judges.

 

“Poland is on a path to authoritarian rule and judges are being bullied,” Malgorzata Gersdorf, the chief justice, said in an interview last month. “What can still be salvaged from Poland’s democracy? I don’t know. Maybe the Supreme Court can be safe for some time.”

Unprecedented Conflict

The Supreme Court and Gersdorf herself are at the heart of Poland’s unprecedented conflict with the EU over what the 28-nation bloc’s executive says is an erosion of the rule of law. The government says its efforts to overhaul the judiciary are meant to modernize a justice system weighed down by red tape and the influence of what it calls a self-serving “caste” of communist-era judges.

 

The standoff has turned the country of 38 million people from a poster-child for eastern Europe’s transition to democracy and market economy to one of the EU’s biggest headaches, while raising the prospect of political sanctions and risking billions of euros in aid.

https://www.bloombergquint.com/politics/2018/06/06/top-polish-judge-raises-alarm-over-populist-court-revamp

https://www.politico.eu/article/poland-article-7-test-for-eu-on-rule-of-law/

https://vaaju.com/poland/the-un-criticizes-the-reform-of-the-polish-judiciary-report-details/

https://www.liberties.eu/en/short-news/21912/21912

http://www.dw.com/en/poland-ex-president-lech-walesa-leads-fight-against-judicial-reform/a-44162285