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Human rights: closing down of Russian Memorial NGO; Uzbekistan; Mexico

Plenary Session Press release - Humanitarian aid / External relations23-10-2014 - 12:22

Parliament passed three resolutions on Thursday, calling on the Russian authorities not to close down the Memorial civil rights NGO; urging the Uzbek authorities to take immediate action to protect human rights; and calling for the immediate arrest of all those responsible for the disappearance of 43 students in Mexico.

Closing down of Memorial (2009 Sakharov Prize laureate) in Russia

MEPs strongly condemned the Russian Ministry of Justice's appeal to the Supreme Court to close down the independent rights organisation Memorial and urged the Ministry to withdraw its lawsuit before the hearing scheduled for 13 November 2014. They consider that the July 2012 law on “foreign agents” requiring NGOs that receive foreign funding and are engaged in “political activity” to apply for inclusion in a special government list is in breach of Russia's commitments to the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

MEPs ask the Commission and the EU High Representative for foreign policy to raise all the cases of those prosecuted for political reasons in meetings with their Russian counterparts.

The resolution was passed by 529 votes to 57, with 34 abstentions.



MEPs call on the Uzbek authorities to release all persons imprisoned on politically motivated charges, to put an immediate stop to all forms of torture and abuse in prison and to investigate and hold to account all officials and penal system staff alleged to have ill-treated prisoners.

The resolution calls on the EU High Representative for foreign policy and the member states to adopt a strategy for pressing Uzbekistan to make concrete human rights improvements over the coming months and furthermore calls on the EU, ''in accordance with Articles 2 and 95 of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, to put Uzbekistan on notice that, unless there is progress on the stated human rights concerns within the next six months, the EU will impose targeted punitive measures''.

The resolution was passed by a show of hands.

Disappearance of 43 teaching students in Mexico

MEPs strongly condemn the "unacceptable forced disappearances and crimes in Iguala" and call on the Mexican authorities to "act promptly and in a transparent and impartial manner" to arrest and bring to justice all those responsible. "Investigations should be continued until students are brought to safety", they say, voicing deep concern at the "apparent infiltration of local law enforcement and administrative entities by organised crime".

Parliament welcomes President Peña Nieto’s determination to investigate these events and "put an end to gang-related violence in Mexico"(4) and calls on EU member states to step up support provided to Mexico for human rights through programmes and financial and technical resources.

The resolution was passed by 495 votes to 86, with 56 abstentions.

Procedure: Non-legislative resolutions

REF. : 20141016IPR74265