Parliament registered grave concerns at the massacre of striking mineworkers in South Africa, the persecution of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Burma and the pardon of convicted murderer Ramil Safarov in Azerbaijan, in resolutions passed on Thursday.
Massacre of striking miners in South Africa
Parliament condemns the brutal killing of striking miners on 16 August, as well as the preceding violence. It wants the Commission of Inquiry set up by President Zuma "to investigate the root causes of the excessive use of force by the police" and is "deeply concerned by the authorities' use of the apartheid-era 'common purpose' law. MEPs fear that labour unrest and violence could spread to the gold sector and they call on the government, trade unions and Lonmin to settle the conflict and the wage dispute quickly. They stress the need to tackle the "extreme economic inequality" in South Africa and ask the European Commission to introduce controls to prevent imports into the EU of mining products extracted without social, labour, safety and environmental guarantees.
Persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Burma
MEPs are alarmed at the "continuing ethnic violence in western Burma" and fear that the intercommunal clashes may put at risk Burma's transition to democracy. They point to the systematic and severe discrimination against the Rohingya and call on the Burmese government to grant citizens' rights to them and to other stateless minorities. "The Rohingya minority cannot be left out of the newly developing openness for a multicultural Burma/Myanmar", says Parliament. It calls on all parties to exercise restraint and on the government to allow UN agencies and humanitarian NGOs, as well as journalists and diplomats, unhindered humanitarian access to all areas of Rakhine State.
Azerbaijan: the case of Ramil Safarov
Parliament deplores the pardon granted by President Aliyev of Azerbaijan to Ramil Safarov, on his transfer to Azerbaijan from Hungary, where he had been sentenced to life imprisonment for the brutal murder of an Armenian colleague.in 2004, and the hero's welcome accorded to Safarov on his return to Azerbaijan. MEPs fear this could further inflame tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia and jeopardise "all peaceful reconciliation processes". They say the "legitimate frustration in Azerbaijan and Armenia" at the lack of substantial progress in the peace process in Nagorno-Karabakh "does not justify either acts of revenge or futile provocations". They call on the EU to play a stronger role in the settlement of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. Parliament also says the association agreement under negotiation between the EU and Azerbaijan should include human rights and rule-of-law clauses and benchmarks.
Procedure: Motions for resolutions (Rule 122)