Human rights: Bahrain, Sinai and Israeli raids on Palestinian TV stations
Parliament urges the Egyptian authorities to investigate and put an end to human smuggling and trafficking in Sinai, in a resolution adopted on Thursday. In two further resolutions, MEPs express their deep concern over the raids by Israeli forces on Palestinian TV stations and condemn human rights violations in Bahrain.
Human trafficking in Sinai
In a resolution on human trafficking in Sinai, the European Parliament urges the Egyptian authorities to intervene rapidly to protect the life of Solomon, a 25 year-old Eritrean man who escaped from human organ traffickers in the area of Rafah (Sinai Mahadya, Egypt). Solomon's life is in danger, as he knows where another 125 prisoners from Eritrea, Sudan and Ethiopia are located, and the human organ traffickers have put a price of USD 50,000 on his head.
MEPs call on the Egyptian authorities to intervene rapidly to ensure that these refugees are rescued and to investigate this case "full of murders, tortures and rapes, where women were battered and mistreated and some killed and their bodies thrown into the desert".
Torture, extortion and human trafficking of Eritrean and other refugees in Egypt must be stopped, says the resolution, which calls for full access by UN agencies and human rights organisations to the areas affected by human smuggling and trafficking in Sinai.
MEPs also urge the EU foreign policy High Representative to raise this as a matter of high priority on the agenda for political dialogue with Egypt.
An average of 2,000 people enter Israel through Sinai each month; many with the assistance of smugglers who have established a sizable network in this area.
Raids by Israeli forces on Palestinian TV stations
In a separate resolution, Parliament voices deep concern about raids by Israeli security forces on the Palestinian television stations Wattan TV and Al Quds Educational TV in Ramallah On 29 February 2012, Israel Defence Forces soldiers and officials of the Israeli Ministry of Communication confiscated broadcasting equipment and documents belonging to both TV stations and held employees for hours.
MEPs support the efforts of the Palestinian authorities to restore equipment and continue interrupted broadcasting and urge the Israeli authorities to immediately return the confiscated equipment and allow resumption of activity by the two TV stations.
Israel should fully respect the existing agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority when dealing with Palestinian media, says Parliament, calling on the High Representative to place this issue on the agenda of the EU-Israel Association Council.
Human rights violations in Bahrain
Parliament condemns human rights violations in Bahrain and urges the Bahraini authorities and security forces to stop the excessive use of violence, including the excessive use of tear gas, repression, acts of torture, unlawful detention and prosecution of peaceful protestors. Human rights organisations say that over 100 citizens have been arbitrarily detained in the past two months in Bahrain.
MEPs reiterate their call for the immediate and unconditional release of all peaceful demonstrators, political activists and human rights defenders, in particular Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, and Mahdi Abu Dheeb, President of the Bahrain Teachers’ Association.
Impartial and independent investigations must be made into human rights violations by the police and security forces (6) and human rights and fundamental freedoms restored, says Parliament, which welcomes the setting up of a Ministry for Human Rights and Social Development in Bahrain.
Finally, MEPs welcome the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) and urges the Bahraini Government to take all necessary steps to implement them swiftly and in full.
Procedure: Motions for resolutions (Rule 122)