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Human rights: violence against women in India; crackdown in Bahrain; insecurity in Central African Republic

Plenary Session Press release - Human rights17-01-2013 - 16:54

Parliament called on Thursday on the Bahraini authorities to stop their violent crackdown against peaceful protestors; condemned sexual violence against women and girls in India and demanded new laws to tackle it; and sounded the alarm at the instability in the Central African Republic following last December's rebel offensive, in three separate human rights resolutions.

Human rights situation in Bahrain

In their resolution on Bahrain, MEPs call on the authorities and security forces to stop using violence against peaceful protestors and demand an independent investigation into all human rights abuses, particularly those involving children. The prosecution, detention and torture of protestors must stop and freedom of expression and assembly, both online and offline, must be guaranteed, they insist.

The EP urges the Bahraini authorities to follow the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), implement democratic reforms and pursue a national dialogue aimed at reconciliation.

The House expresses its "strong disapproval" of the EU's lack of response to the ongoing crackdown in Bahrain and calls for sanctions against the individuals directly responsible for the human rights abuses and for restrictions on EU exports of surveillance technology, tear gas and crowd-control material.

Violence against women in India

Parliament demands immediate action to improve the handling of rape and sexual assault cases by the Indian police and condemns all form of sexual violence, with a specific reference to the treatment of Dalit women and girls. It "welcomes the great wave of solidarity in India and internationally with rape victims and hopes that this will help speed up the necessary reforms."

MEPs point out that, as a democratic partner of the EU, India must uphold the rule of law and ensure respect for fundamental and human rights, in particular women's rights. They regret the lack of assistance for victims and call for open trials in cases of sexual violence. Parliament also calls on the EU and the member states to prioritise programmes addressing violence against women and focusing on women and girls.

Central African Republic (CAR)

Parliament is gravely concerned about the situation in CAR since the launch of Seleka rebel offensive on 10 December 2012, which has put civilian lives at risk and threatens the security and stability of the country.

It welcomes the peace agreement signed on 11 January 2013 in Libreville, calls on the parties to respect the ceasefire and condemns all attempts to take power by force.

MEPs welcome the decision to hold parliamentary elections, call for them to be internationally monitored and insist that the government of national unity must represent all the country's political forces.

The EP is worried by reports of an increase in the recruitment and use of child soldiers and also stresses the need for close monitoring of the regional dimension of the conflict.

The three resolutions were adopted unanimously.

Procedure: debates on breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law (Rule 122)

REF. : 20130114IPR05320