Tag Archives: European Union

Venezuela/EU/Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought: Call for EU sanctions ahead of human rights award

December 12, 2017

2017 Sakharov Prize laureate Democratic opposition in Venezuela

The EU’s top human rights award will be officially presented to Venezuela’s opposition and political prisoners on Wednesday.

The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought comes after deadly anti-government demos in the country earlier this year.

Last month, Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma, an opponent of President Nicolas Maduro, escaped house arrest and made it to Spain.

Speaking to Euronews, he says the EU needs to hit Venezuela with sanctions.

“Canada and the US have made sanctions against individuals, and not against the whole country. They’re meant to hit people in connection with drug trafficking, corruption and human rights violations. The EU too should follow this path,” Ledezma stressed.

“But there has been a step forward with the EU’s embargo on arms being used by the government of Nicolas Maduro to commit crimes against human rights.”

Venezuela is in crisis, with deep splits between supporters of Maduro’s socialist government and the opposition. The government rejects global criticism.

The Sakaharov prize – named after a Soviet scientist and dissident – is awarded annually. Last year, it was went to two Yazidi women who escaped the so-called Islamic State in Iraq.

Wednesday’s ceremony will be held in Strasbourg.

http://www.euronews.com/2017/12/12/venezuela-call-for-eu-sanctions-ahead-of-human-rights-award

http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2017/12/11/venezuelas-maduro-bans-opposition-parties-2018-election/

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sakharovprize/en/home/the-prize.html

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

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sakharovprize/fr/home/the-prize.html (FRANCAIS)

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_Ledezma (FRANCAIS)

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sakharovprize/es/home/the-prize.html (ESPANOL)

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China/EU: EU ‘Deeply Troubled’ by China’s Human Rights Record

December 10, 2017

The  delegation to China issued a statement on Friday ahead of International Human Rights Day expressing deep concerns regarding the outlook for human rights in the country. From AFP:

The  noted “significant improvements in the Chinese people’s standard of living and in access to social services such as health and education,” according to a statement on its website.

“However … during the past year, we have been deeply troubled by the deterioration of the situation with respect to freedom of information and freedom of expression and association, including with respect to online activity,” it said.

[…] The EU delegation also said it regrets the death in detention in July of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, and called for the release of imprisoned human rights defenders, including lawyer Jiang Tianyong and Uighur scholar Ilham Tohti.

[…] The delegation’s statement was not formally endorsed by all 28 EU member states, and there was no immediate response from Beijing. [Source]

The Chinese government has intensified its crackdown on civil society under President Xi Jinping. Hundreds of human rights lawyers and activists were targeted in 2015 in one of the most extensive assaults on rights advocates that the country has seen in recent years. In Hong Kong, the forced disappearance of five staff members of Causeway Bay Books in late 2015 shocked the city and raised fears of eroding  in the former British colony. Repression in Xinjiang and Tibet continues as Chinese authorities ramp up efforts to curtail political activity and suppress all expressions of ethnic and religious identity.

https://chinadigitaltimes.net/2017/12/eu-deeply-troubled-chinas-human-rights-record/

https://www.news24.com/World/News/eu-deeply-troubled-by-chinas-human-rights-record-20171208

http://www.laht.com/article.asp?CategoryId=12395&ArticleId=2447419

Turkey/EU: Turkey to cut European rights funding to protest award for jailed judge

November 21, 2017

Image result for judge Murat Arslan

Turkey said on Thursday it would cut back its funding to the Council of Europe human rights body, in protest at an award given to a Turkish judge held in detention for alleged links to last year’s coup attempt.

The council last month awarded Murat Arslan with the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize. Ankara says Arslan, who is awaiting trial, has links to the network of the U.S.-based cleric accused of orchestrating the abortive 2016 putsch.

The award was “the last straw” for the Turkish government, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said during ministerial budget discussions in Ankara.

“I cannot give my people’s money to an institution who awards a ByLock user. This is the government’s decision, if there is a price to pay we will do so,” he said.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-eu-turkey-judge/turkey-to-cut-european-rights-funding-to-protest-award-for-jailed-judge-idUKKBN1DG2TL

http://cyprus-mail.com/2017/11/16/turkey-cut-european-rights-funding-protest-award-jailed-judge/

https://turkeypurge.com/award-winning-judge-murat-arslan-remain-behind-bars-following-court-decision

https://www.dailysabah.com/turkey/2017/11/12/turkish-judge-stabbed-dismissed-after-affair-with-woman-in-process-of-divorce

https://www.dailysabah.com/investigations/2017/10/21/police-detain-2-feto-linked-judges-trying-to-flee-in-turkeys-edirne

https://lepetitjournal.com/istanbul/droit-une-grande-ecole-francaise-rend-hommage-aux-magistrats-turcs-160332 (FRANCAIS)

Tajikistan: How EU Should Tackle Tajikistan Crackdown

October 10, 2017

2015-9-eca-tajikistan-IRPT

Last time the European Union and Tajikistan held high-level talks on human rights in summer 2016, Tajik authorities were in the midst of the worst crackdown in the country’s recent history. Six days before talks took place, the country’s supreme court had sentenced the leaders of Tajikistan’s leading opposition party, the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan to cruelly long prison sentences. The trials were politically motivated, and the defendants tortured. There was no evidence of the activists’ involvement in non-peaceful activities.

This Thursday, the human rights dialogue will once again take place in Tajikistan’s capital, Dushanbe. But this year, things are even worse.

More than 150 political activists, including at least three human rights lawyers – Shuhrat Kudratov, Buzurgmehr Yorov, and Nuriddin Makhkamov – remain unjustly jailed. Kudratov, who’s already served three years, was to have been released last year but authorities kept him behind bars.  And just last week information surfaced that Yorov – who along with Makhkamov is serving 25 years – has been brutally beaten by prison guards recently and thrown into solitary.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/10/10/how-eu-should-tackle-tajikistan-crackdown

https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/10/12/greece-tajik-activist-faces-extradition

https://www.rferl.org/a/eu-accused-of-weak-statement-after-human-rights-visit-tajikistan/28794296.html

Venezuela/EU: EU Sakharov prize shortlist revealed

October 11, 2017

The Venezuelan opposition, a Guatemalan indigenous leader and an imprisoned Eritrean writer were shortlisted on Tuesday (10 October) for the European Parliament’s prestigious Sakharov human rights prize.

The parliament said the three finalists for 2016 are Guatemalan Aura Lolita Chavez Ixcaquic, Venezuela’s democratic opposition and Swedish-Eritrean journalist and playwright Dawit Isaak.

The shortlist was decide by a vote by the members of the European Parliament’s foreign affairs and development committees.

Named after the dissident Soviet scientist Andrei Sakharov, who died in 1989, the prize is awarded every year to honour individuals who combat intolerance, fanaticism and oppression, often falling foul of their governments as a result.

The winner, the Parliament said in a statement, will be chosen on 26 October by the presidents of the European Parliament’s political groups and Parliament President Antonio Tajani.

Aura Lolita Chavez Ixcaquic is a member of the Council of Ki’che’ Peoples, which fights to protect natural resources and human rights from the expansion of mining, logging, hydroelectric and agro-industry sectors, the parliament said, adding she has faced threats.

Also on the list is Venezuela’s democratic opposition, led by National Assembly leader Julio Borges and including all political prisoners who were also Sakharov finalists in 2015. The names of Leopoldo López, Antonio Ledezma, Daniel Ceballos, Yon Goicoechea, Lorent Saleh, Alfredo Ramos and Andrea González are mentioned.

“The situation in Venezuela has been seriously deteriorating as regards democracy, human rights and socio-economy, in a climate of growing political and social instability,” it said.

http://www.euractiv.com/section/freedom-of-thought/news/eu-sakharov-prize-shortlist-revealed/

http://www.turkeytelegraph.com/world/venezuelan-opposition-again-finalist-for-the-sakharov-prize-h9569.html

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

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_Ledezma (FRANCAIS)

Poland: EU threatens Poland with sanctions as judiciary stand-off escalates

July 19, 2017

The European Union on Wednesday warned Poland’s right-wing government to put on hold controversial reforms to the country’s courts or risk unprecedented sanctions.

In a worsening 18-month standoff between Warsaw and Brussels, the European Commission said Poland’s draft reforms could have a “very significant negative impact on the independence” of the courts.

“We are very close to triggering article seven,” Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans told a press conference in Brussels, following a high-level meeting on the issue.

If article seven of the EU treaty is activated — and the matter could be discussed as early as next week — Poland could see its voting rights suspended in the council of ministers, the EU’s highest decision-making body.

But it was not immediately clear whether the commission could muster the support required from the other 27 member countries, particularly from Poland’s ally Hungary.

Timmermans said the stakes were high as “these laws considerably increase the systemic threats to the rule of law in Poland.”

http://www.france24.com/en/20170719-european-union-threatens-poland-with-sanctions-over-judicial-shake-court?ref=fb_i&utm_utm_medium=facebook

https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/07/20/poland-draft-law-threatens-supreme-court

http://www.uianet.org/en/content/independence-judiciary-threatened-poland#.WXCmf1CDuag.facebook

http://www.dw.com/en/polish-lawmakers-pass-controversial-supreme-court-bill/a-39773625

https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/news/press-releases/independent-judiciary-underpins-rule-of-law-in-poland/

http://www.dw.com/en/thousands-protest-in-poland-after-controversial-supreme-court-bill-passed/a-39773625

http://www.france24.com/fr/20170719-union-europeenne-pologne-ordre-reformes-judiciaires-justice-pis-timmermans (FRANCAIS)

http://www.lemonde.fr/europe/article/2017/07/20/la-pologne-denonce-un-acte-politique-de-la-commission-europeenne_5162783_3214.html (FRANCAIS)

http://www.france24.com/fr/20170720-pologne-parlement-adoption-reforme-controversee-cour-supreme-donald-tusk-andrzej-duda?ref=fb_i (FRANCAIS)

http://tempsreel.nouvelobs.com/monde/20170720.OBS2378/la-pologne-se-transforme-en-pays-autoritaire-et-anti-democratique.html (FRANCAIS)

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Planowane zmiany w ustawie o Krajowej Radzie Sądownictwa, ustroju sądów powszechnych oraz Sądzie Najwyższym godzą w konstytucyjną zasadę podziału władzy. Wspieraj nasze działania w obronie praw człowieka w Polsce i kup symboliczną cegiełkę na http://sklep.amnesty.org.pl/

(Amnesty International Polska Facebook)

Poland: Poland MPs back controversial judiciary bill

July 15, 2017

Judges of the Polish Constitutional Court. File photo

Opposition parties and human rights groups say this would erode the independence of the judiciary.

The governing Law and Justice party says the reforms are needed because the judiciary is corrupt and serves only the elite.

The bill must now be signed by the president in order to become law.

A demonstration against the changes is scheduled to take place in the capital Warsaw on Sunday.

Since it came to power in 2015, the government of the conservative, populist Law and Justice party (PiS), has passed a series of controversial reforms, triggering mass protests.

Polish senators backed the legislation in a vote in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Earlier this week, Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro had argued that the changes were necessary because the current system of appointing judges was undemocratic.

“We want to end corporatism and introduce the oxygen of democracy there. Because Poland is a democracy based on the rule of law.

“This is not court-ocracy,” the minister said.

But opposition parties are concerned that the law would give parliament – dominated by PiS lawmakers – a greater say in appointing judges, violating the constitutional separation of powers.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-40617406

http://www.dw.com/en/polands-government-seeks-total-control-of-the-court-system/a-39702171

http://www.politico.eu/article/pis-polands-point-of-no-return/

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-40622896

https://www.amnesty.fr/presse/pologne-une-nouvelle-loi-compromet-lindpendance-du (FRANCAIS)

https://www.rtbf.be/info/monde/detail_le-senat-polonais-approuve-deux-reformes-controversees-du-systeme-judiciaire?id=9661183 (FRANCAIS)

http://www.lemonde.fr/europe/article/2017/07/13/la-hongrie-et-la-pologne-a-nouveau-mises-en-cause-sur-les-libertes-a-bruxelles_5160284_3214.html (FRANCAIS)

http://fr.euronews.com/2017/07/16/pologne-dans-la-rue-au-nom-de-la-democratie (FRANCAIS)

http://www.polskieradio.pl/5/3/Artykul/1789402,Protest-przed-Sejmem-Opozycja-przeciwko-zmianom-w-sadownictwie  (POLISH)

http://www.superstacja.tv/wiadomosc/2017-07-16/opozycja-protestowala-przed-sejmem-przeciw-planom-zmian-w-sadownictwie/  (POLISH)

http://tvnwarszawa.tvn24.pl/informacje,news,przeciw-zmianom-w-sadownictwie-sprzed-sejmu-na-krakowskie,236523.html (POLISH)

Letter Poland – judicial reform July 2017

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Unia Europejska zagroziła zastosowaniem art. 7 TUE jeśli procedowane reformy sądownictwa wejdą w życie. Naszym zdaniem to ważny krok: https://amnesty.org.pl/polska-grozba-zastosowania-art-7-tue-to-krok-w-dobra-strone/. Wezwij polskie władze do przestrzegania Konstytucji i prawa międzynarodowego. Podpisz petycję! https://amnesty.org.pl/akcje/prawo-do-bezstronnego-sadu-zagrozone/

(Amnesty International Polska Facebook)