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Förfarande : 2015/2712(RSP)
Dokumentgång i plenum
Dokumentgång :

Ingivna texter :

RC-B8-0473/2015

Debatter :

PV 21/05/2015 - 5.3
CRE 21/05/2015 - 5.3

Omröstningar :

PV 21/05/2015 - 7.3

Antagna texter :

P8_TA(2015)0212

Debatter
Torsdagen den 21 maj 2015 - Strasbourg Reviderad upplaga

5.3. Fallet med människorättsaktivisterna Thulani Maseko och Bheki Makhubu i Swaziland
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  Przewodniczący. – Kolejnym punktem porządku dnia jest debata nad siedmioma projektami rezolucji w sprawie Suazi: sprawy obrońców praw człowieka Thulaniego Maseko i Bhekiego Makhubu (2015/2712(RSP))

 
  
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  Mark Demesmaeker, Auteur. Sinds de opheffing van de grondwet en het verbod op politieke partijen in 1973 steekt de absolute monarchie in Swaziland schril af tegen de ontwikkelingen in de buurlanden Zuid-Afrika en Mozambique. Ook de huidige koning, Mswati III, houdt de opperste bevoegdheid op bestuurlijk, gerechtelijk en wetgevend vlak en vertoont weinig bereidheid tot machtsdeling. Onder zijn bewind kenden de mensenrechtensituatie en de levensstandaard een sterke achteruitgang. Het aantal gevallen van AIDS behoort tot de hoogste ter wereld, waardoor de levensverwachting er navenant daalde en er duizenden wezen zijn bijgekomen.

Wij veroordelen vandaag de onrechtmatige veroordeling en gevangenzetting van Thulani Maseko en Bheki Makhubu. Zij zijn echter geen alleenstaand geval en maken deel uit van een verontrustende trend om de vrijheid van meningsuiting en vreedzame vergadering te smoren en de eisen van oppositiepartijen en vakbonden met betrekking tot een democratische rechtsstaat te negeren. Nochtans is Swaziland door de Overeenkomst van Cotonou gebonden aan het eerbiedigen van democratie, rechtsstaat en mensenrechten. Het EU-beleid ten aanzien van Swaziland moet dan ook niet alleen gericht zijn op de onmiddellijke vrijlating van Thulani Maseko en Bheki Makhubu en alle andere politieke gevangenen, maar ook op het mogelijk maken van de overgang naar een democratische rechtsstaat en van een betere sociaal-economische situatie.

 
  
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  Ignazio Corrao, autore. Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, l'ha già detto il collega Demesmaeker: Thulani Maseko e Bhekithemba Makhubu sono stati arrestati e imprigionati semplicemente per aver criticato il sistema giudiziario dello Swaziland. Uno è un avvocato del Congresso dei sindacati dello Swaziland e l'altro è il capo redattore del periodico "The Nation", il periodico più importante della nazione.

Lo Swaziland è un paese che da quando è indipendente, dal 1968, praticamente è sempre stato in stato di emergenza. È una monarchia assoluta, com'è stato già detto, ma è anche un paese che ha il sistema di preferenze generalizzate con l'Unione europea e di questo sistema la Commissione dovrebbe verificare che vengano rispettati i requisiti. Quindi questa è una delle cose che chiediamo con questa risoluzione.

Del resto mi sembra chiaro che è impossibile pensare di intrattenere relazioni con chi viola sistematicamente i diritti umani, quindi speriamo con questa risoluzione di mandare un segnale forte al governo dello Swaziland.

 
  
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  Maria Heubuch, Verfasserin. Herr Präsident! Thulani Maseko und Bheki Makhubu wollten auf die Menschenrechtslage in ihrem Land aufmerksam machen und auf die Lage ihrer eigenen Rechtssysteme und der Rechtspflege. Die Urteile gegen diese beiden sind sehr viel schärfer ausgefallen als in vergleichbaren Fällen. Und daran sehen wir, dass das ein Versuch war, die Menschen abzuschrecken, die in diesem Bereich aktiv werden wollen.

Es ist unsere Aufgabe, die Staatsorgane von Swasiland auch auf ihre eigene Verfassung von 2005 aufmerksam zu machen. Sie müssen ihre eigene Verfassung respektieren, in der sie in Artikel 24 das Recht auf Meinungsfreiheit, Medien- und Pressefreiheit verankert haben. Die Allgemeine Erklärung der Menschenrechte der Vereinten Nationen müssen sie genauso achten wie das mit der EU geschlossene in Catonu-Abkommen, wo auch auf Menschenrechte und Demokratie abgehoben wird.

Wir müssen fordern, dass die beiden Männer unverzüglich und bedingungslos freigelassen werden – aber nicht nur sie, sondern alle, die aus ähnlichen Gründen in Swasiland inhaftiert sind. Auch müssen wir die Haftbedingungen hier ankreiden. Die beiden sitzen in Einzelhaft, und das ist wirklich mit Folter gleichzusetzen. Hier müssen wir als Europäisches Parlament dringend ein Zeichen setzen!

 
  
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  Javier Nart, Autor. Señor Presidente, uno ya viene acostumbrado a multitud de condenas, todas ellas retóricas, donde concordamos nuestra conciencia con nuestra propia esencia. Pero yo creo que es más importante llegar a la práctica. Contamos con el artículo 2 de los Acuerdos de Asociación, que es la cláusula democrática —que nunca se lleva a efecto, aunque se viole democráticamente todo—, contamos con el Acuerdo de Cotonú —con su artículo 9, apartado 2, que también tiene una definición democrática determinante—, y con el Acuerdo de Cooperación con los países del sur de África, entre ellos Suazilandia, que exige un comportamiento democrático. ¡Exijámoslo! Yo no quiero una sola condena más, quiero una primera práctica y, en consecuencia, que el mensaje sea rotundo: que no habrá acuerdo de ninguna clase, ni se mantendrán acuerdos ni preferencias de ninguna clase si no se respeta nuestro propio acuerdo: la cláusula democrática y las exigencias democráticas que contienen nuestros acuerdos.

 
  
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  Lidia Senra Rodríguez, Autora. Senhor Presidente, Suazilândia: estamos diante de um caso de violação da liberdade de expressão, de reunião, de associação, também de violação do direito de trabalhadoras e trabalhadores a sindicalizarem-se. Isto é algo muito interessante, sem dúvida, para as corporações transnacionais.

Mais, todos estes direitos são consagrados na Declaração Universal dos Direitos Humanos. Por isso, neste Parlamento e na Comissão devemos ser intransigentes perante este facto e utilizar os mecanismos ao nosso dispor para que o governo da Suazilândia garanta o respeito pelos direitos das trabalhadoras, dos trabalhadores, das camponesas e dos camponeses. E também a liberdade de expressão, a democracia e o pluralismo. Pedimos também a liberdade das pessoas detidas.

Gostaria também de chamar a atenção deste Parlamento e da Comissão para a qualidade da democracia em alguns dos Estados, como o caso do Estado espanhol, onde a "lei da mordaça", as modificações do código penal, a tortura, as detenções, a brutalidade da polícia ou as penas de prisão para sindicalistas são uma preocupação de organizações internacionais, a mais recente delas, o Comité contra a Tortura das Nações Unidas. Senão velamos pela liberdade nos nossos Estados seremos muito pouco credíveis a nível internacional.

 
  
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  Tunne Kelam, author. Mr President, the human rights situation in Swaziland has been problematic for a long time, to put it mildly; but recently, respect for the rule of law has dramatically deteriorated.

Today our concern extends to the lawyer Thulani Maseko, who has been defending the interests of the local trade union congress, and also to the journalist Bheki Makhubu, who is editor of the last independent newspaper in the country. Both have been sentenced for a ridiculous charge – contempt of court. Therefore, our message should be that independence of the judiciary must be fully respected in all circumstances. We ask the Swaziland authorities to unconditionally release these two persons, as well as all others who have been sentenced for using freedom of expression.

We call on Swaziland to unconditionally respect their commitment to the rule of law and human rights under the Cotonou Agreement, which includes freedom of expression. The granting of trade preferences to Swaziland must be directly linked to respect for the rule of law and human rights by the country’s government. There have been hopeful signs that, finally, the local trade union congress has been registered once again, but this is only the first step. We expect that Swaziland will continue in the same direction.

 
  
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  Jude Kirton-Darling, author. Mr President, we have massive political repression and a climate of fear in Swaziland: a fragile civil society urgently needs our support. Trade unions such as TUCOSWA are central to this movement, and they are watching the European Parliament today and so is the Swazi Government.

With this resolution we are telling them that Europe is paying close attention to the human and labour rights situation and that the imprisonment and treatment of Thulani Maseko and Bheki Makhubu are intolerable. They must be freed at once and unconditionally. Our determination to help those who fight for progress in Swaziland can only be meaningful if it is matched with real action. In this resolution we call on the EU to use all political and economic levers available to us to protect human rights in Swaziland.

Importantly, this must be taken up by the Commission and its representatives in Swaziland. Commissioner, the US has acted. Why haven’t we?

 
  
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  Seán Kelly, on behalf of the PPE Group. Mr President, the case of Swaziland is certainly very concerning for all of us. Any country that declares a state of emergency in 1973 and still has it in place 42 years later tells its own story.

Regarding the cases here of Mr Maseko and Mr Makhubu and the way they have been treated, I particularly want to draw attention to the fact that the judge who presided at their trial was the same judge who was criticised in Mr Maseko’s paper. That tells you again what respect there is for a fair trial in Swaziland.

As people have pointed out, we have an EPA coming up to be discussed and approved, perhaps, by Parliament in the second half of this year. We should ensure, firstly, that the state of emergency is lifted; secondly, that these two gentlemen are released, as well as other people in similar conditions; and, thirdly, that respect is shown for trade unions, and particularly for women and the poor. We should try to get them to do something to give benefits to those poor people in Swaziland. Otherwise we should not agree with it.

 
  
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  Agnes Jongerius, on behalf of the S&D Group. Mr President, in August last year Swazilandʼs Prime Minister Dlamini called for the strangling of two trade union leaders. They had criticised the government for the terrible state of human, political and workersʼ rights in the country during the African Summit in Washington. Despite appalling developments, Swaziland still remains part of the EU GSP and as such is still granted trade preferences without fulfilling the preconditions to respect core human and labour rights and adhere to the principles of good governance.

Considering the shocking violations by the government of Swaziland, the Commission should follow the United States in investigating the violations of labour rights, protected under the GSP, and if confirmed, the Commission should consider withdrawing the trade preferences granted. If the carrot is not working, now should be the time to show the stick.

 
  
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  José Inácio Faria, em nome do Grupo ALDE. Senhor Presidente, Caros Colegas, na Suazilândia, o combate pela liberdade de expressão assume particular importância. Thulani Maseko, o proeminente advogado galardoado em 2011 com o Prémio Vera Chirwa em reconhecimento da defesa dos direitos humanos em África, e Bheki Makhubu, editor do jornal The Nation, são exemplos cimeiros dessa luta. Detidos em março de 2014 e condenados em 25 de julho desse ano a dois anos de prisão, por artigos em que criticavam a falta de independência e de integridade do sistema judicial do seu país, o seu julgamento não ofereceu quaisquer garantias de imparcialidade e a sentença que os condenou é manifestamente desproporcionada (aliás, como disse o meu colega Kelly, o juiz que foi alvo desses artigos foi quem os condenou).

É urgente, pois, que o Governo da Suazilândia honre os seus compromissos, no âmbito do Direito Internacional, no que diz respeito à liberdade de expressão, associação e reunião, e respeite os princípios do primado do direito, da democracia e do respeito pelos direitos humanos.

Termino, citando um texto de uma carta que Maseko escreveu a partir da prisão: "quando nos é retirada a liberdade, torna-se dever supremo, ainda que árduo, do Homem, reclamá-lo ao seu opressor, pois abdicar da liberdade equivale a abdicar do direito do Homem à dignidade".

 
  
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  Tomáš Zdechovský (PPE). Pane předsedající, podle dohod z Cotonou musí Svazijsko respektovat demokratické hodnoty, mezi které bezesporu patří svoboda projevu. Proto vidím uvěznění právníka Thulaniho Maseka a novináře Bhekiho Makhubua jako protiprávní. Žádný stát nesmí porušovat základní lidská práva a používat brutální metody a brutální způsoby proti svým kritikům.

Je potřeba Svazijsku jednoznačně říci, že demokracie funguje jinak. Svazijská vláda musí zajistit a posilovat demokratické hodnoty, jak je to dáno v její ústavě. Evropská unie nechce nic víc, Evropská unie chce pouze, aby Svazijsko respektovalo svoji vlastní ústavu, a úkolem Evropské unie je na to dohlížet a dále chránit lidská práva ve Svazijsku. Jinak Svazijsko nebude pro Evropskou unii obchodním partnerem a tato diskuse by měla vyslat svazijské vládě jednoznačný signál.

 
  
 

Pytania z sali

 
  
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  Doru-Claudian Frunzulică (S&D). Mr President, I believe it is very important that international solidarity is expressed to the political opponents who have been imprisoned by Swaziland’s monstrous royal decree. We cannot turn a blind eye to the conditions of political prisoners. This is a matter of human dignity and social justice.

Swaziland engaged itself, under the Cotonou Agreement, to respect democracy, the rule of law and human rights principles, which include freedom of expression and freedom of the media. The government should stand by the promises it made, take concrete measures to respect and promote freedom of expression, guarantee democracy and plurality, and establish a legislative framework allowing the full participation of political parties in line with international and regional human rights obligations. The authorities of Swaziland should guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of Swazi political and civil rights prisoners and release them without delay.

 
  
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  Νότης Μαριάς ( ECR). Κύριε Πρόεδρε, η κατάσταση στη Ζουαζηλάνδη είναι γνωστή. Εδώ και 41 χρόνια υπάρχει μια απόλυτη μοναρχία, έχει επιβληθεί κατάσταση ανάγκης, δεν λειτουργεί ουσιαστικά η δημοκρατία, το κράτος δικαίου, ούτε και το δικαστικό σύστημα. Παραβιάζονται τα εργασιακά δικαιώματα και δεν επιτρέπεται να υπάρχουν συλλογικές ελευθερίες στους ίδιους τους εργαζόμενους.

Έχουμε λοιπόν τη συνέχεια μιας κατάστασης καταπίεσης των ανθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων. Ο Maseko, εν προκειμένω, είναι ένας γνωστός δικηγόρος ο οποίος υπερασπίζεται τους εργαζόμενους, είναι δικηγόρος των συνδικάτων και τόλμησε να ασκήσει κριτική στο σύστημα δικαιοσύνης της χώρας του. Ο Makhubu είναι δημοσιογράφος και έχει και αυτός ασκήσει κριτική στο δικαστικό σύστημα. Έχουν επιβληθεί λοιπόν εξοντωτικές ποινές, ποινές αντίθετες με την αρχή της αναλογικότητας και είναι δεδομένο ότι παραβιάζονται τα ανθρώπινα δικαιώματα.

Η Ζουαζηλάνδη, σύμφωνα με την συμφωνία του Κοτονού, πρέπει να σέβεται τη δημοκρατία· όμως δεν το κάνει. Επομένως, πρέπει να ληφθούν μέτρα ενάντια σε αυτό το αντιδημοκρατικό καθεστώς.

 
  
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  Fabio Massimo Castaldo (EFDD). Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, lo Swaziland è una monarchia assoluta, una monarchia nella quale ormai anche le ultime due voci indipendenti, Maseko e Makhubu (il primo è un avvocato coraggioso che ha avuto appunto l'ardire di criticare un sistema giudiziario che definire non imparziale, non indipendente, è un eufemismo; il secondo è l'ultimo editore dell'unico giornale indipendente del paese), sono stati arrestati, silenziati, maltrattati.

Anche alla luce del fatto che la Coca Cola rappresenta addirittura il 40% del PIL del paese, controllando tutte le riserve idriche, e appunto per la sua presenza, resto scioccato al pensiero che persino gli Stati Uniti, nonostante questi grossi interessi commerciali, hanno deciso di sospendere l'accordo di preferential trade agreement nel novembre 2014 proprio perché non sono state implementate le riforme.

Cosa possiamo fare noi, quindi? Possiamo per una volta essere coerenti e ricordarci che i trattati che abbiamo firmato, a partire dal futuro economic partnership agreement con i paesi SADC, non sono carta straccia quando menzionano anche la democrazia come condizionalità, così come non è carta straccia l'accordo di Cotonou.

È ora di essere coerenti con le nostre posizioni e di sbattere i pugni sul tavolo quando si tratta di far rispettare i diritti umani e la democrazia, altrimenti siamo noi a perderci come credibilità e come immagine.

 
  
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  Gianluca Buonanno (NI). Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, c'è una trasmissione televisiva in Italia molto famosa che si chiama "Scherzi a parte": fanno degli scherzi e uno pensa che sia vero. Ma qui siamo a "Scherzi a parte"?

Un attimo fa abbiamo parlato degli immigrati della Birmania. Noi europei non siamo capaci di risolvere il problema degli immigrati che arrivano dall'Africa, dalla Libia e dagli altri paesi, però ci impegniamo a guardare cosa fanno la Malaysia e la Thailandia. Ecco, questo è il problema dell'Europa.

Adesso parliamo dello Swaziland. Mi piacerebbe sapere, tra tutti quelli che sono qua dentro, in quanti sanno dov'è lo Swaziland. Dov'è lo Swaziland?

Invece di preoccuparci dello Swaziland, preoccupiamoci delle nostre aziende, dei nostri anziani, dei nostri giovani, di qual è il futuro dell'Europa, di che cosa dobbiamo fare per andare avanti meglio, non di paesi sconosciuti! Che poi, alla fine della fiera, qua si perde tempo, si fanno proposte di risoluzione che poi alla fine non servono a niente se non a portarle al bagno, perché non servono a niente queste cose! A questi due signori e al governo dello Swaziland di quello che facciamo qua oggi non gliene frega un tubo!

 
  
 

(Koniec pytań z sali)

 
  
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  Christos Stylianides, Member of the Commission. Mr President, we welcome the European Parliament’s interest in the specific case of the lawyer and human rights activist, Thulani Maseko, and his co-accused, Bheki Makhubu, editor of The Nation magazine.

In our active engagement, we have since the very beginning in March 2014 always expressed our serious concerns regarding the issue of freedom of the media and freedom of expression in Swaziland. Thulani Maseko and Bheki Makhubu were arrested on 17 March 2014 after they had written an article in The Nation magazine criticising the way the courts had handled the arrest of a government vehicle inspector. From the outset, the EU delegation in Mbabane, in consultation with our partners, has followed both cases very closely. The EU Ambassador, who has been present at the court, has been in close contact with the relatives and the legal team and has introduced a formal request to visit both men in prison.

The European Union made a local statement on 31 March last year in order to express its concern about the detention of the two accused, followed in June 2014 by mentioning this in an EU statement during the ILO International Labour Conference while discussing labour standards in Swaziland. Nevertheless, the men were sentenced to two years’ imprisonment without the alternative option of a fine. The trial was widely condemned by leading international rights groups as unfair and not complying with international standards.

A spokesperson’s statement was issued after this severe sentencing in July 2014, in which we called upon the Swaziland authorities to respect and promote the freedom of expression in line with the country’s constitution and international and regional human rights obligations.

The European Union admits that the human rights track record is unsettling, and unfortunately improvements are extremely slow but, since last week, trade unions are no longer banned. The latter unfortunately does not guarantee that their meetings will not any longer be disturbed nor that their militants will not remain in prison.

Let me conclude by saying that Swaziland’s whole justice sector is under pressure. Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi has been accused of 28 infractions, including abuse of power. Judge Simelane, who tried the two activists, is himself currently arrested and charged with abuse of power and defeating the ends of justice.

Finally, the Minister of Justice...

(The President cut off the speaker)

 
  
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  Przewodniczący. – Zamykam debatę.

Głosowanie odbędzie się po debacie.

 
  
  

IN THE CHAIR: MAIREAD McGUINNESS
Vice-President

 
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