Relatives and peers of the 43 missing students of Normal School of Ayotzinapa Raul Isidro Burgos march demanding their appearance in Tixtla, Guerrero state, Mexico on 21 October 2014. ©BELGA/AFP/ EDUARDO GUERRERO 

They might have gone missing in another part of the world, but that does not mean MEPs don't care about their fate. Today the Parliament will discuss the 43 missing students in Mexico and the suspected links between drug cartels and local authorities in the country. Issues such as this are brought up at every plenary session, when MEPs call attention to flagrant violations and breaches of the rule of law around the world. Find out more about the debates and follow them live on our website.

The debates on cases of a breach of human rights, democracy and the rule of law take place on Thursday at the end of the plenary and are followed by the adoption of resolutions.

"It is challenging to measure the real impact of our resolutions, as they influence the cases at the same time with other international actors and civil society," said  Elena Valenciano, a Spanish member of the S&D group, who is the chair of the human rights subcommittee. "But we do get information from human rights activists on the ground that our resolutions have played an important role, sometimes even to the point of influencing the release of imprisoned human rights defenders, for example. At the same time, the reactions of the countries concerned show that the urgency resolutions clearly have a broader political impact as well."

A debate can be requested by a committee, an interparliamentary delegation, a political group or at least 40 members. The Conference of Presidents, consisting of the EP President and the political group leaders, draws up a list with a maximum of three topics per plenary.


Today's debates

MEPs will discuss Russia´s treatment of the non-governmental organisation Memorial, which was awarded the Sakharov Prize in 2009. After having been listed as a foreign agent for it´s "political activity", Memorial is now facing  dissolution following an appeal from Russia´s ministry of justice in October.

The continuous violations of human rights in Uzbekistan, where a significant number of Uzbek citizens are imprisoned on politically motivated charges, will also be on the agenda. Recent reports also show that forced labour and child labour are still widespread.

Another important issue is the insecure situation in Mexico, where links between drug cartels and local authorities are being unravelled following the death of six people during demonstrations in the Guerrero state on 26 September. After the incident 43 students remain unaccounted for.

EP and human rights


The European Parliament takes all human rights violations seriously, no matter where they take place. MEPs regularly highlight abuses, help monitor elections around the world, ensure that human rights are protected in the EU's external economic and trade agreements, and award the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought every year.