The detention of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei this week by the authorities of his country, the human rights situation of Tibetans in Nepal and the imprisonment of opposition leaders in Zimbabwe were the three topics selected for urgent debates and resolutions by the European Parliament on Thursday.
The first resolution calls for the "immediate and unconditional" release of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who was detained by the authorities this week. Parliament sees this arrest as part of a "widespread recent crackdown on human rights activists and dissidents in China".
The resolution condemns the living conditions experienced by the families of many recent detainees as well as the increased surveillance and restrictions on foreign reporters.
MEPs are expected to raise these issues in the next EP-China interparliamentary meeting. The resolution argues that Parliament's participation in that meeting should be conditional on prison access for MEPs, so they can meet some of the detainees mentioned in the resolution.
Parliament also asks EU Foreign Affairs High Representative Catherine Ashton "to continue to raise the issue of human rights violations at the very highest level". "The development of EU-China relations must go hand in hand with the development of a genuine, fruitful and effective political dialogue" and "respect for human rights should be an integral part of the new framework agreement which is now being negotiated with China", believe MEPs.
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More than 82,000 exiled Tibetans across the world were invited to vote on 20 March 2011 to elect the new Kalon Tripa (Prime Minister) of the Tibetan government-in-exile but several thousand Tibetans in Nepal were not given permission to vote by the Nepalese authorities in Kathmandu, under pressure from the Chinese Government.
The resolution adopted by the European Parliament calls on the Nepalese government to respect the voting rights and freedom of speech of this community and refrain from preventive arrests. It urges the authorities "to resist the strong pressure exerted by the Chinese government to silence the Tibetan community in Nepal by using restrictions, which are illegal under domestic and international law".
The External Action Service delegation in Kathmandu must closely monitor the treatment of Tibetan refugees in the country, believe MEPs, and this issue must be on EU High Representative's political agenda when dealing with Nepalese and Chinese governments.
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In the final resolution MEPs denounce the marked increase in intimidation, arbitrary arrests and disappearances of political opponents of the Zanu-PF party (led by President Robert Mugabe) over the last few months. Accusing national security forces and militias loyal to Mugabe of harassing and raiding the offices of numerous NGOs and political opponents, MEPs call for an end to the abuses and for "the immediate and unconditional release of all those arbitrarily arrested".
Parliament urges the EU "to refuse to accept any Zimbabwean Ambassador to the EU who is not nominated on the basis of due constitutional process" and applauds the Union's dual policy of imposing asset freezes and travel bans on Mugabe loyalists while at the same time providing funding "in direct support of the Zimbabwean people" and civil organisations, "avoiding government agencies".
What the country needs is "free and fair internationally monitored elections", "a new Zimbabwean Constitution" and renewed efforts to "demilitarise the Marange diamond fields", say MEPs by way of conclusion.
Procedure: Resolutions (Rule 122)