Parliament voices deep concern about the intimidation and harassment of Francesca Ramirez and other human rights defenders in Nicaragua, deplores the recent use of the death penalty in Kuwait and Bahrain, and strongly condemns the murders of human rights defenders and journalists in Guatemala, in three resolutions voted on Thursday.
Nicaragua: the case of Francesca Ramirez
MEPs urge the Nicaraguan government to refrain from harassing and using acts of reprisal against human rights defender Francesca Ramirez in Nicaragua. Ms Ramirez, who is Coordinator of the National Council for the Defence of Land, Lake and Sovereignty and who made formal complaints about acts of aggression and repression in the Nueva Guinea region in December 2016, has also seen her family violently attacked in retaliation.
MEPs remain very worried by the broader deterioration of the rule of law and democracy in Nicaragua, noting that free and fair elections are hindered by the exclusion of opposition candidates, while journalists face frequent “harassment, intimidation and detention”, including death threats.
Executions in Kuwait and Bahrain
The European Parliament strongly condemns the executions of seven people by the Kuwaiti authorities on 25 January 2017 and the executions of three people in Bahrain on 15 January 2017. It deplores the decision of these countries’ authorities to revive capital punishment when more than 160 other UN states have outlawed or ceased to use it, and calls upon Kuwait and Bahrain to impose a moratorium on the death penalty as a step towards its abolition.
Further, MEPs are extremely worried by reports from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) that defendants in both countries did not receive a fair trial, and that one of those convicted in Bahrain was under the age of 18 at the time of his alleged crime. They reiterate the EU’s opposition to capital punishment and call for a retrial of those currently awaiting execution according to international standards.
Human rights defenders in Guatemala
MEPs condemn the recent murders of human rights defenders Laura Leonor Vásquez Pineda and Sebastian Alonzo Juan, and journalists Victor Valdés Cardona, Diego Esteban Gaspar, Roberto Salazar Barahona and Winston Leonardo Túnchez Cano.
Parliament notes that assassinations like these, and the deep-seated culture of impunity and high levels of violence and criminality in Guatemala, make it very difficult for human rights defenders to work effectively. MEPs welcome Guatemala’s efforts to fight organised crime, but call on it to step up these efforts and for an immediate, independent, objective and thorough investigation into these murders.
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Procedure: Non-legislative resolutions