Human rights: Zimbabwe; Thailand; Swaziland
Parliament passed three resolutions on Thursday, calling for Zimbabwean human rights activist Itai Dzarana to be found immediately; the release of all political prisoners in Swaziland; protection for Rohingya asylum seekers and action against human trafficking in Thailand.
The case of Itai Dzarana in Zimbabwe
MEPs strongly condemn the forced disappearance of human rights defender Itai Dzamara and urge the government of Zimbabwe to comply fully with the High Court order directing it to search for him and thus take all necessary measures to find him. They express concerns at the reports by human rights organisations of increasing political violence and other human rights abuses and call for concerted action by the international community.
The resolution deplores the absence of a strong and enforceable human rights clause in the interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and calls on the EU delegation in Harare "to continue to offer its assistance to Zimbabwe in order to improve the human rights situation".
The resolution was passed by a show of hands.
The plight of Rohingya refugees and the mass graves in Thailand
Parliament expresses its concern over the plight of Rohingya refugees and calls on the Thai authorities to hold "immediate, full and credible" investigations into the mass graves of Rohingya Muslims found in May near human trafficking camps in southern Thailand.
It calls on all countries in the region to strengthen cooperation on counter-smuggling measures and to provide Rohingya asylum seekers "at least with temporary protection" and urges the leaders of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand to make saving of lives and refugees stranded on vessels in the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea a top priority.
It also asks the government of Burma/Myanmar to end the persecution of the Rohingya minority and calls on the EU High Representative to address this issue "at the highest possible political level" in her contacts with Thailand and Burma/Myanmar.
The resolution was adopted by a show of hands.
The case of Thulani Maseko and Bheki Makhubu in Swaziland
MEPs call for the immediate and unconditional release of Mr Maseko and Mr Makhubu, "given that their imprisonment relates directly to the legitimate exercise of their right to freedom of expression" and also of all political prisoners, including Mario Masuku, President of the People’s United Democratic Movement, and Maxwell Dlamini, Secretary-General of the Swaziland Youth Congress.
Parliament considers the imprisonment of political activists and the banning of trade unions to be in clear contravention of commitments made by Swaziland under the Cotonou Agreement to respect democracy, the rule of law and human rights, and also under the sustainable development chapter of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Economic Partnership Agreement, for which Parliament’s support will depend on respect for the commitments made.
It calls, therefore, on the Commission to honour its obligation to monitor Swaziland’s adherence to human rights and to labour and environmental conventions under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), and to open an investigation to determine whether there has been a serious and systematic violation of the labour rights protected under the GSP.
The resolution was passed by 579 votes to 6, with 58 abstentions.
Procedure: Non-legislative resolutions