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Press release

Human rights: China, Philippines and attacks on religious minorities

Human rights - 21-01-2010 - 14:15
Plenary sessions
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Three human rights resolutions - on recent attacks on religious minorities in Egypt and in Malaysia, on the case of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo and human rights violations in China more generally, and on the situation in the Philippines - were approved by Parliament on Thursday.

In the first resolution, Parliament expresses concern about the recent attacks against Coptic Christians in Egypt and welcomes the efforts to identify the authors of the 6 January 2010 attack, a drive-by shooting killed seven individuals: six Coptic Christians and a policeman.
Parliament calls on the Egyptian Government to ensure the safety and physical integrity of Coptic Christians and of members of other religious minorities in the country. Coptic Christians represent around 10% of the Egyptian population.
MEPs also voice concern about the recent attacks against churches and places of worship in Malaysia. Tension arose on 31 December 2009 when the Malaysian High Court ruled that Christians in Malaysia have the constitutional right to use the word ‘Allah’ to refer to God and that the word is not exclusive to Islam.
MEPs call on the Malaysian authorities to respect that decision and to ensure the personal safety and physical integrity of people practising their religion and to take appropriate steps to protect churches and other houses of worship.
They also call on the Council, the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to pay particular attention to the situation of religious minorities, including Christian communities.
In a resolution on China, MEPs call for the immediate and unconditional release of Liu Xiabao and express sympathy with Chinese people who have spoken out against his treatment.  On 25 December 2009, Liu Xiabao, a prominent human rights activist and scholar, was sentenced to 11 years in prison by the Beijing Municipal No 1 Intermediate People's Court for inciting subversion of state power.
Parliament also condemns the execution of Amal Saikh, a British citizen, despite repeated calls by the EU and one of its Member States for his death sentence to be commuted. MEPs welcome Google's intention to halt cooperation on internet filtering and censorship with the Chinese authorities. They urge all companies to act likewise.
The resolution stresses that China's human rights record remains a matter of serious concern and says the case of Liu Xiabao should be raised at the next EU-China summit. MEPs demand that respect for human rights be an integral part of the new framework agreement currently being negotiated with China. They highlight the imprisonment of the 2008 Sakharov prize winner Hu Jia and the harassment of his wife Zeng Jinyan.
Parliament strongly condemns the Maguindanao massacre of 23 November 2009 and expresses solidarity with the families of the deceased. On 23 November 2009, 100 armed men from a local militia led by the Ampatuan family tortured and brutally murdered 57 members of a convoy, including female relatives of Esmail Mangudadatu, lawyers and 20 journalists, who were on their way to file Mangudadatu's candidacy for the governorship of Maguindanao province.
MEPs stress the need for an independent and comprehensive police investigation, followed by effective prosecutions, including members of the security forces suspected of involvement.
REF.: 20100119IPR67615