Free Razan
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#FREE RAZAN action supported by MEPs and Sakharov Prize Laureates.
17-12-2014: Members of the European Parliament and Sakharov Prize Laureates together with civil society activists photographed above are calling for freedom for Razan Zaitouneh and for the three activists kidnapped with her one year ago on 9 December 2013 in the rebel-held area of Douma in Syria. The four, known in social media as the Douma 4 are still missing, believed to be alive, but their whereabouts are unknown. No one has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. Razan bravely denounced all those committing human rights violations in the Syrian conflict, government and rebels alike.
Many MEPs are supporting the campaign calling for the freedom of the Douma 4, among them the European Parliament President Martin Schulz, Vice President for the Sakharov Prize Network Ulrike Lunacek, Chair of the Committee on Development and co-Chair of the Democracy and Election Coordination Group (DEG) Linda McAvan, Chair of the Subcommittee of Human Rights and DEG Member Elena Valenciano, Chair of the Conference of Delegation Chairs and DEG Member Pier Antonio Panzeri, Chair of the Delegation to the EU-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee Eduard Kukan, Chair of the Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly Heidi Hautala, Chair of the Delegation for relations with Afghanistan Petras Auštrevi ius, Vice-Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights Barbara Lochbihler, Vice-Chair of the Delegation for relations with the Pan-African Parliament Maria Heubuch, and Vice-Chair of the Delegation for relations with the countries of the Andean Community and DEG Member Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, and former EP President Jerzy Buzek.
Sakharov Prize Laureates Denis Mukwege, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nasrin Sotoudeh, Iran, Asmaa Mahfouz, Egypt, Ahmed El Senussi, Libya, Damas de Blanco, Cuba, Reporters without Borders represented by Olivier Basille, France, the Belarusian Association of Journalists represented by Zhanna Litvina and MichaB Janczuk, Belarus, and Nurit Peled-Elhanan, Israel, are also supporting the call as well as the EU's High Representative for Human Rights Stavros Lambrinidis and many NGOs. Razan's sister Reem and the NGO Razan co-founded, the Violations Documentation Centre have also expressed their support of this action. This call is being supported by MEPs, Laureates and the public through social media, by tweeting using the #FreeRazan #Sakharov and posting photos of themselves holding up a paper with these same words. More
Martin Schulz remains SPN co-Chair and new Vice President for the SPN appointed
15-09-2014: EP President Martin Schulz remains co-Chair of the Sakharov Prize Network and EP Vice President Ulrike Lunacek has been given the responsibility for the Sakharov Prize Network in a decision taken by the Bureau of the European Parliament. The Bureau is headed by the President of the European Parliament and includes the 14 Vice-Presidents and the five Quaestors elected by Parliament for a period of two and a half years. More
Laureates Latest News
Dr Denis Mukwege meets EP President Martin Schulz in Brussels
25-03-2015:Mukwege EP

Sakharov Prize Laureate Dr Mukwege had a bilateral meeting with the President of the European Parliament and a co-chair of the Sakharov Prize Network, Mr Martin Schulz in Brussels. The discussion focused mainly on the current safety situation of Dr Mukwege himself as well as the situation at the Panzi Hospital where Dr Mukwege helps victims of sexual violence. More
Reporters without Borders keep a watchful eye on media freedom in Burundi
12-03-2015:Sakharov Prize Laureate Reporters Without Borders joined the Union of Burundian Journalists (UBJ) in welcoming the new media law adopted unanimously by Burundi's National Assembly on 4 March. The new law replaces the media law of 2013 and the controversial clauses concerning the confidentiality of journalists' sources and heavy fines for media offences. Burundi's Constitutional Court quashed the problematic media law in response to a petition by the UBJ in January 2015. The new law still needs the final approval from the Senate, the higher legislative chamber of Burundian Parliament. More
Hu Jia expresses concerns on new Chinese draft counterterrorism law
11-03-2015:Chinese Sakharov Prize Laureate Hu Jia has criticised a new draft counterterrorism law saying it is aimed at extending the Chinese government's control. "The government controls propaganda, if they say you are a terrorist, then you are", Hu Jia said in the media. Human Rights Watch has called the new law a "recipe for abuse" and it has also caused unusually strong concerns among Chinese human rights activists, who see it as a new attempt by the government to exploit the terrorist threat to further empower its repressive state-security apparatus. More
Taslima Nasreen criticizes religious extremism amidst deadly attacks on free thinkers
31-03-2015:Sakharov Laureate (1994) Taslima Nasreen criticized the oppression of religious fundamentalism in Bangladesh amidst deadly assassinations of bloggers and free thinkers in this country. In an interview she gave to an Indian newspaper on 21 March, Taslima states that 'Bangladesh will be heading for a complete disaster if Islamic terrorists are not brought to justice.' Taslima's words came as a warning as a blogger was hacked to death by assailants using machetes in Dhaka on 30 March. This is a second attack in five weeks on a critic of religious extremism in Bangladesh. More
Nurit Peled calls inter-religious electoral list "a ray of hope" in Israel
25-03-2015:speaking at the International Social Forum in Tunisia Israeli Sakharov Prize Laureate and co-initiator of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine Nurit Peled-Elhanan deplored the propaganda inciting fear and hatred that, she said, led to the recent electoral result in Israel, with Benjamin Netanyahu being returned to power. More
Razan Zaitouneh kidnapped in Syria with her husband and two other activists

Razan Zaitouneh

09-12-2013 Razan Zaitouneh has been kidnapped in Syria on Tuesday with her husband and two other activists. Human rights activists alerted HRAC to the kidnapping which took place on Tuesday 9-2-13 in Douma, a rebel-controlled area of Syria. More
EP Human Rights Resolutions
Syria and Iraq: ISIS held responsible for crimes against humanity and genocide
12-03-2015:MEPs declared ISIS responsible for committing cultural and religious cleansing and crime against humanity. They strongly condemned the ISIS activities for "eradicating all traces of religious and faith communities other than those representing its own interpretation of Islam in extremely cruel and unimaginable ways".
In the resolution adopted on 12 March, the European Parliament called on the EU Member States to do more to prevent the abduction of ethnic, religious and political minorities as well as the demolition of UNESCO World Heritage sites. Further, the resolution underlined the importance of ensuring a safe haven for the Chaldeans, Assyrians, Syriacs and others at risk in North Iraq.
The resolution strongly supports the military actions against ISIS coordinated by the United States, and encourages the EU Member States to contribute to these efforts.
South Sudan: a call to cease hostility and stop violating children's rights
12-03-2015:The Parliament is deeply concerned that since December 2013 "approximately 12000, children have been recruited to serve in armed forces and groups' in South Sudan. Whereas the recruitment and employment of children into armed forces is a grave violation of international law, the EP urges "to immediately stop using schools for military purposes including for the recruitment of child soldiers".
The European Parliament stressed the continual breaches of the previous agreements by the South Sudan government and rebels to cease hostilities and their respective failure to "meet the deadline of 5 March 2015 set by IGAD to reach a power-sharing agreement".
Consequently, MEPs urged all parties to the conflict to immediately and unconditionally "stop human rights violations and to form a transitional government of national unity" responsible "for conducting prompt, thorough, impartial and independent investigations into human rights abuses and prosecuting individuals suspected of crimes under international law".
Tanzania: EP expresses deep concerns on Massaai's denied right to their lands
12-03-2015: The European Parliament condemned "the illegal displacement of local Masaai communities" who have been illegally evicted from their lands by Tanzanian government, in breach of previous customary tenure arrangements.
The EP calls on the Tanzanian government to uphold all the international and regional legal obligations enshrining the respect of indigenous people human rights and customary land rights, and which ultimately impose the implementation of effective mechanisms of justiciability and remedy in accordance with the rule of law.
MEPS call in particular on the Commission "to engage actively with the Tanzanian authorities in order to strongly encourage them to bring forward a legally binding and codified acknowledgement of the rights of the Maasai, with particular reference to their ancestral land, therefore providing the necessary legal protection to prevent future disputes".
Russia: EP deplores Nemtsov's murder and deteriorating human rights situation
12-03-2015: The EP deemed Boris Nemtsov's killing as one of the most significant "unresolved politically motivated murders and suspicious deaths perpetrated in Russia since 1998". The MEPs deplored the concurrent situation of repression and hate speech fuelled by the Kremlin while democratic and fundamental values "are presented as being alien to Russian society". The EP called on the Russian government to uphold its international legal obligations as a member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the OSCE.
The EP called on the Russian authorities "as a matter of urgency" to release Nadiya Savchenko, who is being "illegally detained in a Russian jail", and urged the Council to develop a unified policy towards Russia, "that commits the 28 EU Member States and the EU institutions to a strong common message concerning the need to end the crackdown on freedom of expression in the country".
EP Latest News
The 2014 Sakharov Prize is awarded to Denis Mukwege
Finalists EuroMaidan and Yunus invited to the award ceremony for the first time
26-11-2014: "Today the European Parliament is sending a strong signal to the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo," EP President Schulz said in awarding the European Parliament's 2014 Sakharov Prize to Dr Denis Mukwege in recognition of his admirable work as a medical doctor in Eastern Congo, and honouring "the man who struggles for women's dignity, for justice and peace in his country".
"The European Parliament also wishes to honour the other two finalists of the 2014 Sakharov Prize by inviting their representatives here today: the EuroMaidan Movement in Ukraine represented by Ielyzaveta Schepetylnykova, and Dinara Yunus the daughter of Leyla Yunus, founder of the Institute for Peace and Democracy in Azerbaijan, and currently imprisoned under conditions which put her life in serious danger. The European Parliament calls for her immediate release. By hosting you here today for the Sakharov ceremony, the European Parliament wanted to acknowledge your courage and your commitment to democratic values and affirm our strong support," President Schulz said. More
The European Parliament votes to recognise Palestinian Statehood
17-12-2014: The European Parliament supports "in principle recognition of Palestinian statehood and the two state solution, and believes these should go hand in hand with the development of peace talks, which should be advanced". A resolution drawn up by five political groups and passed by Parliament as a whole, decided to launch a "Parliamentarians for Peace" initiative to bring together MEPs and MPs from the Israeli and Palestinian parliaments More