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Debaty
Wtorek, 13 grudnia 2011 r. - Strasburg Wersja poprawiona

11. Prawa człowieka (debata)
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  Elnök. − A következő pont a Bizottság alelnökének/az Unió külügyi és biztonságpolitikai főképviselőjének nyilatkozata – emberi jogok

 
  
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  Catherine Ashton, Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. − Mr President, tomorrow the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought will be awarded to representatives from the Arab Spring, from Tunisia to Egypt, from Libya and Syria. Unfortunately not all of them will be with us tomorrow. Our Syrian friends are still fighting for their rights and therefore cannot be with us here in Strasbourg.

But honourable Members, the Arab Spring is a good example of the universality of human rights and of peoples’ aspiration to live in democratic systems.

This year’s winners embody the dramatic changes that have defined the past 12 months, and I wish to pay tribute to them now. Whether through dramatic acts of self-sacrifice, endurance in prison, or daily confronting injustice, they remind us of the true meaning of courage. By drawing cartoons or organising online they remind us that courage manifests itself in many different ways. It is about speaking the truth and refusing to be intimidated.

This is the case, too, for this year’s Nobel Prize Winner from Yemen, Mrs Karman, whom I had the opportunity to meet with just a few days ago. She deserves all the recognition she is now receiving as a result of her struggle for women’s rights.

It is also the case of the group of Afghan women whom I met at the beginning of the International Afghanistan Conference in Bonn and who are a real inspiration to us.

Speaking out fearlessly is something that has defined the careers of many in this House, and none more so than President Buzek. Under him, Parliament’s work on human rights has significantly increased and I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his dedication.

2011 has been a particularly active year for human rights in Parliament. The Subcommittee on Human Rights, chaired first by Heidi Hautala, and now by Barbara Lochbihler, has developed a great number of activities, including the De Keyser report on democracy, which inspired me, in particular on the idea of the global and coherent approach to human rights and to democratisation and civic participation.

The historic developments in our neighbourhood have significantly advanced human rights. The bringing down of longstanding repressive regimes has led to the formation of new governments and to free and fair elections. The continuing violent crackdowns in Syria, repression in Belarus, and protracted conflicts, including in the Middle East, require us to keep up the pressure.

The events of this year have served to highlight the vital links between human rights and democracy. It has led to a new approach for the European Union, which aims to provide greater support to partners engaged in building what I have termed ‘deep democracy’.

That is where the right to vote is accompanied by effective freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of religion or belief, underpinned by impartial justice, public security from accountable protection forces, and access to a competent and non-corrupt civil service.

We have also continued using our financial instruments to promote and protect human rights. In 2011 the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights funded more than 1 200 operations in more than 130 countries. Even in the toughest environments, where basic rights and freedoms are the most repressed, we have been able to provide assistance to civil society. To give just a few examples: our funding has been used to fight media and cyber censorship to keep information flowing out of Syria or North Korea; in Uzbekistan, Belarus and Egypt it provided legal defence for hundreds of political opponents arbitrarily imprisoned. It also supported their families and their lawyers, who risked imprisonment for taking up their case. It supported the rehabilitation victims, those having undergone torture in Zimbabwe or Sri Lanka, and those affected by the campaigns of mass rape in East Congo or Libya. And it supported democratic transition in Morocco, Tunisia, Ivory Coast, Burma Myanmar and Libya, also helping in the support and observation of elections in Niger, Peru and Zambia.

We have also kept up its work to advance human rights on the multilateral stage in 2011. The UN Special Session on Libya, which made the historic recommendations to suspend Libya from the Human Rights Council, was a turning point in allowing this to respond to emergencies.

Several times this year the EU raised the human rights situation in Syria, in the HRC and in the General Assembly, building an alliance of countries from all regions, including the Arab world. Our role was instrumental in establishing the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the human rights situation in Syria.

In June, we secured the adoption of a Human Rights Council resolution on the human rights situation in Belarus, with whom we have tried to engage to improve its human rights record.

I continue to highlight the human rights situations in North Korea and in Burma Myanmar, reflecting the developments on the ground. I expect the new civilian government in Burma Myanmar will push ahead with political reforms and re-engage with the international community. I hope Aung San Suu Kyi will finally be able to come to this Parliament to receive the Sakharov Prize that she was awarded 21 years ago.

We continue our efforts to build consensus on freedom of religion or belief. I have also maintained my focus on promoting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people through the implementation of the EU’s toolbox.

Promoting and protecting the universal rights of freedom of religion, belief and sexual orientation are central to the EU’s approach.

We have also begun work on the campaign on forced marriages, which destroy the lives of so many young people, girls and boys. When I was engaged in taking legislation through on forced marriages in the country I know best and come from, I was surprised to learn that 15% of those who ring the helplines on forced marriages are boys. Either young boys forced into marriage with a girl they have never met, or young gay men forced into marriage for what reasons I do not know.

In Brussels, we have been working to put in place the arrangements foreseen by the Treaty of Lisbon to put human rights firmly at the centre of our policy. We are committed not only to guarantee but also to promote their universal respect by all.

The Charter of Fundamental Rights has contributed to promoting consistency between the EU’s internal and external policies, and the EU accession to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms will be a cornerstone for future developments.

With the creation of the EEAS, we have begun to work more closely with Parliament, with Member States and with civil society. The department created within the EEAS on human rights and democracy is currently being reviewed to make it more effective. We have established a network of focal points in all EU delegations that contribute to delivering our EU human-rights policy goals.

Ms Lochbihler gave us the privilege of meeting with all Heads of EU delegations recently, at the beginning of this month, and I hope that the honourable Member was able to see that human rights are at the core of the activities of the people on the ground.

Each of our Member States have played their own part in bringing their national legislation in line with EU standards of full compliance with all the relevant treaties and conventions on human rights in the wider UN framework.

But the indivisibility and universality of human rights is increasingly being challenged globally. We will continue to counter this. The ongoing economic crisis should not be used as a pretext for those who want to dilute certain rights.

All that I have just said has helped me to inform the review of the EU human rights policy that was first announced before this House and I am pleased that my contribution will be tabled very shortly. I want to outline some main points from that now.

The text I will table this week is a contribution to an ongoing debate. It is necessarily concise, meaning that not every detail is reflected, but I hope that it offers a good basis for future work with this Parliament and with the Council.

A number of MEPs have been involved in the process from the beginning, as when the Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights attended the EU NGO forum in July, which produced a first set of recommendations for inclusion. Since then there have been various informal meetings and contacts with Parliament, including of course with the Human Rights Subcommittee, which contributed greatly to the process, and I want to thank particularly Richard Howitt for the work that he has done.

Though much of the discussion about the review of our policy has centred on the process, I also want to say something about the substance.

Crucially, I want the outcome of the review to deliver a strong reaffirmation of what the EU stands for: the universality of human rights as binding international commitments and norms. The message must go out that human rights are not negotiable and are inviolable.

Against that backdrop, I have identified four main priority areas for action.

First, overhauling the EU’s delivery mechanisms. I want to make our policy more effective, adapting it better to the specific circumstances of each country, coupled with a global campaign-based approach. A key element here is the strengthening of relations with civil society, so that NGOs are better engaged as full partners with the European Union.

Second, achieving a joined-up approach in our policies. This is the idea I have spoken of often, to break down traditional silos, and have human rights running as a silver thread throughout a truly integrated range of external policies.

Third, building strong partnerships encompassing the whole world: multilaterally working through the UN and the ICC; regionally developing work, for example with the Arab League; and bilaterally through our dialogues.

Fourth, speaking as one, which does not mean with a single voice but rather a coordinated and consistent message from everyone, ensuring that the invaluable work of Parliament and the Member States is brought together for the benefit of the whole.

I propose to use thematic campaigns to deliver on specific cross-cutting themes. This has already been done to great effect in support of the ICC and the abolition of the death penalty. I believe that approach can be extended, for example to promote the rights of women, by setting realistic, time limited, achievable, objectives.

I am keen to make the best possible use of tailor-made country strategies on human rights, which should be driven by recommendations made locally. Whilst they should stand firm on the universality of human rights and the global standards that apply to all, I believe this will allow us to deliver more across the board than a one-size-fits-all approach for 150 countries. It should allow us, too, to make the most effective use of the assorted tools we have, while engaging with due respect with the views of our partners on the ground. EU delegations are well placed to take this forward.

I want to work closely, too, with all my Commission colleagues, to bring human rights fully into the key Community policies, such as development and trade, building on recent communications on the future of development, budget support, corporate social responsibility and the neighbourhood policy.

I agree with Ms Lochbihler when she says that Parliament has a key role to monitor, assess and provide political accountability for the EU’s actions in the human rights field.

Our financial support for human rights must go beyond the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights and should be reflected in other EU financial instruments. I will work to ensure that human rights are taken into account consistently in the programming of all EU external financial assistance.

It is clear that in order to be credible when we raise human rights concerns with others, we have to make sure that our own house is in order too. So I am determined to instil a human rights culture in the EU’s emerging diplomatic structures. We already have an active EU training policy, but there is much more to be done in this direction and we are ready to take that forward.

And I am very open-minded on the idea of appointing an EU Special Representative for Human Rights, to act as a catalyst and to raise our profile internationally.

I look forward to discussing these proposals with Members of this House over the coming weeks and months and to getting their views as we take this issue further forward.

This Parliament, this House of democratically elected representatives from all over the European Union, is a champion of human rights, in the European Union and in the world. Your reports and your opinions inspire us and help to guide the work that we do. It is for this reason that being in front of you today on this topic is not merely my obligation, but it is also my privilege.

 
  
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  Inese Vaidere, PPE grupas vārdā. – Godātie kolēģi, cienījamā Ashton kundze! Paldies par jūsu ziņojumu! Jāatzīst, ka to gan gaidījām jau pirms vairākiem mēnešiem. Šī kavēšanās ir kritiski iekavējusi attiecīgo ziņojumu pieņemšanu Eiropas Parlamentā, iekavējusi arī jūsu pieminētā Richard Howitt kunga ziņojumu par cilvēktiesībām.

Jūsu ziņojumā ir iezīmēts ļoti plašs problēmu loks, taču es šajā ziņojumā neredzu to, kas ir ziņojuma virsrakstā – lielāku efektivitāti. Nav redzams arī, kā risināt problēmas, nav redzams šis konkrētais mehānisms, ko mēs labprāt varētu attīstīt arī tālākajā sadarbībā. Ziņojumā minētā prioritāte – tiesu reforma – manā skatījumā ir ārkārtīgi svarīga, bet arī šeit ir vajadzīga efektivitāte mūsu darbībā, jo, lai gan mēs runājam jau vairākus gadus par tādiem kliedzošiem gadījumiem kā, piemēram, Krievijā Hodorkovska, Magņicka gadījumu, ... — Ashton kundze, es tiešām gribētu, ka jūs paklausāties varbūt, ko mēs arī runājam. Ashton kundze! We would like you to listen to us a little bit. — ... mēs neesam pavirzījušies šajā virzienā ne par mata tiesu.

Cilvēktiesībām pasaulē ir ļoti svarīga loma. Esam pieredzējuši „Arābu pavasari”, un demokrātiskas vēlēšanas ir izšķirošas šajā ziņā. Es gribētu: lai šīs tiesības tiktu stingrāk pateiktas arī Krievijas gadījumā; lai jūs paustu stingrāku Eiropas Savienības kopējo nostāju uz vairāk nekā 80 000 cilvēku palīgā saucieniem mums; lai mums nebūtu dubultstandartu; lai mēs arī uz vēlēšanu pārkāpumiem Krievijā reaģētu tāpat kā uz pārkāpumiem Kirgizstānā, kur man bija gods vadīt misiju, Baltkrievijā, Ukrainā. Dubultstandarti nedara godu mūsu cilvēktiesību politikai. Paldies!

 
  
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  Richard Howitt, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Mr President, this is my first parliamentary speech since last week’s events and I regret having to use the first sentence to say to you, my parliamentary colleagues, that the actions of the government of my country do not represent the views of my party or many of the people who I represent, and those actions do not represent me.

As the Socialist and Democrats’ human rights spokesperson, can I welcome, however, the strategic review of human rights presented today by Baroness Ashton – long awaited. I absolutely endorse the aspiration to raise effectiveness, to achieve concrete results, to emphasise civil society, to better implement the recommendations of election observation missions, to continue the priority given to the defence of human rights defenders, to support the proposals for thematic campaigns and to move to a Brussels-based Council working group.

We agree with the High Representative emphasising a bottom-up approach, but may I tell her that in the last year I have asked EU delegations in two critical countries – I will not name them – who is their focal point on human rights and where is their human rights country strategy? I met silence in response. We know we have a long way to go. We agree with her that worldwide there is an attempt at erosion of international human rights and international humanitarian law, which is why I welcome her statement today towards considering the appointment of a special representative, perhaps specifically on international justice.

Just as we have failed states, let us be honest and say that the EU human rights dialogues and human rights clauses are close to being failed mechanisms – not to be abolished but requiring life-saving surgery. Meanwhile bolstering our external advocacy, by strengthening internal respect for human rights, requires a mechanism not just an aspiration. The mainstreaming of human rights – a development in particular trade policies – has yet to really begin, not just compatibility in the language of the communication but coordination for common ends, using all our external relations instruments at one and the same time. I believe the benchmarks she identifies are the way forward.

Finally, as has been said, in the annual report this year I have been asked to provide an input to the review and I am pleased to do so. There will always be the need for some confidential communication on human rights abuses. But just as those who perpetrate war crimes or crimes against humanity must always be held to account, we who seek to uphold human rights must be held to account too.

 
  
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  Sarah Ludford, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – Mr President, there is some good material in this strategy paper. I fully support one principal theme, and that is the importance of coherence. This is necessary not only across the range of external policies, but also in the form of consistency with our internal record.

The EU cannot argue against torture and disappearance in the war on terror as effectively as is necessary when it has failed to fully clean house on our own collusion in secret prisons and rendition flights.

Our credibility in the desperately necessary battle for equality on the basis of sexual orientation is undermined by the shabby prejudice still suffered by LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people in some EU states. Our voice will not be heard sufficiently in condemning ethnic, racial and religious discrimination abroad when Roma, Muslims and even Jews are not guaranteed proper freedoms and security at home.

One procedural reform in the Council might help, and that is to have joint meetings of the Working Party on Human Rights and the Working Party on Fundamental Rights, Citizens’ Rights and Free Movement of Persons: COHOM and FREMP, to use our beloved acronyms. These are committees looking at human rights violations outside and inside the EU.

It is however disappointing that the European Parliament only merits seven lines in a 20-page document. Ironically, those lines say that the European Parliament has made human rights and democracy one of its highest priorities. Well, not quite high enough to give us a central place, apparently, in an EU human rights strategy. This could probably have been written in the 1970s, taking absolutely no account of our enhanced role under the Lisbon Treaty. There is quite a long way to go before we have a fully coherent and fully credible human rights strategy.

 
  
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  Nicole Sinclaire (NI). - Mr President, in any type of democratic chamber you need to have consistency. Earlier this afternoon, one of my UK colleagues was admonished by the Vice-President for speaking off-topic when he began to talk about the UK situation last week.

Now Mr Howitt has also gone off-topic on the very important subject of human rights, and chosen to make party political points in a human rights debate. Can you please admonish him for going off-topic, and show some consistency in this Chamber?

 
  
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  Barbara Lochbihler, im Namen der Verts/ALE-Fraktion. – Herr Präsident, sehr geehrte Frau Vizepräsidentin, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Ich möchte zur Mitteilung zur Menschenrechts-Review reden, die am Montag verabschiedet wurde. Es geht darum, die Menschenrechts- und Demokratisierungspolitik der EU-Außenpolitik zu verbessern. Das ist ein sehr wichtiger Schritt, den wir begrüßen. Es ist notwendig, ernsthaft und vertieft daran zu arbeiten, was wir tun können, und da möchte ich Sie, Lady Ashton, zitieren, wie Sie es gestern im Ausschuss für auswärtige Angelegenheiten sehr gut zusammengefasst haben: „How to do human rights better.“ Das Europäische Parlament hat das schon wiederholt gefordert, und wir im Parlament nehmen die Aufforderung gerne auf, unsere Vorschläge dazu einzubringen. Erste Anmerkungen haben wir ja bereits gemacht. Aber schon heute sehen wir, dass einige Bereiche unbedingt verbessert und weiter ausgearbeitet werden müssen – zum Beispiel, dass Unternehmen, die ihren Sitz in der EU haben, in verbindlicher Weise zur Verantwortung gezogen werden müssen, wenn sie Menschenrechtsverletzungen Vorschub leisten oder diese begünstigen. Gerade im Bereich der Internettechnologie haben wir einen besorgniserregenden Anstieg von autoritären Regierungen, die diese Zensurtechnologie nachfragen.

Als zweiten Punkt habe ich mir aufgeschrieben, dass Sie den Vorschlag nicht übernommen hatten, eine hochrangige Vertretung oder eine Position in der EU zu besetzen, die Menschenrechtspolitik in verschiedenen Politikfeldern vertritt. Ich danke Ihnen sehr, dass Sie das mündlich jetzt unterstützt haben. Wir im Parlament freuen uns darüber. Das war eine Forderung von uns.

Lassen Sie mich abschließend erwähnen, dass es sehr ermutigend ist, dass der dänische Minister für Außen- und Europaangelegenheiten heute hier erklärt hat, dass für ihn die Umsetzung und Erarbeitung dieser Menschenrechtsstrategie sehr wichtig ist. Das nehme ich zum Anlass, nochmals zu unterstreichen, dass es uns ja vielleicht gelingt, dass alle EU-Institutionen gemeinsam nicht nur eine Strategie verabschieden, sondern zu einer gemeinsamen Erklärung, einem gemeinsamen Konsens zu Menschenrechten kommen. Die Unterstützung der Menschenrechtspolitikerinnen und -politiker hier im Hause haben Sie dafür.

 
  
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  Valdemar Tomaševski, w imieniu grupy ECR. – Panie Przewodniczący! Dziękuję baronessie Ashton za dobrze przygotowane oświadczenie, ale nie mogę nie zgodzić się z panią Ludford, że zbyt mało mówimy o prawach człowieka w samej Unii Europejskiej, a niestety z tym też wiążą się określone problemy, w szczególności gdy mówimy o autochtonicznych mniejszościach narodowych mieszkających od wieków na jakimś terytorium i nie tylko musimy mówić o mniejszości romskiej, ale także o innych. Niestety obecny rząd na Litwie nie przestrzega praw autochtonicznych mniejszości narodowych. Mniejszości narodowe nie mają tam prawa do używania własnego nazwiska, które jest ich własnością, są karani za używanie swojego języka ojczystego w życiu publicznym w tych miejscowościach, gdzie stanowią ponad 80% mieszkańców. Nie są też respektowane prawa własności do ziemi zagrabionej przez Sowietów. O tych wszystkich sprawach musimy mówić. Dobrze, że ostatnio na Litwie gościł wysoki komisarz OBWE, ale myślę, że zarówno Komisja, jak i Rada powinny również się tymi tematami poważnie interesować.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat, au nom du groupe GUE/NGL. – Monsieur le Président, en juin 2010, Madame la Haute représentante, vous nous aviez annoncé votre ambition de mettre en œuvre une nouvelle stratégie de l'Union européenne en faveur des droits de l'homme et de la démocratie.

Dix-huit mois plus tard, nous y voici. Ce qu'il est convenu d'appeler le printemps arabe aura encore renforcé votre ambition. Vous avez rendu hommage aux acteurs de ce printemps arabe et à leur courage, dont acte. Comme vous le dites dans la communication que nous venons enfin de recevoir, l'Union européenne n'a pas toujours agi de manière aussi efficace et coordonnée qu'elle aurait pu. Et l'Union européenne n'est pas pour grand-chose dans les avancées démocratiques dont vous vous félicitez.

Vous vous dites inspirée par les travaux du Parlement européen en matière de droits de l'homme. J'aimerais vous croire, mais j'ai quelques doutes. Je vais en donner deux exemples. En page 19, votre communication consacre un paragraphe au Parlement européen, huit lignes effectivement. Et vous nous prodiguez des conseils en nous demandant d'intensifier nos efforts au-delà de la sous-commission "Droits de l'homme". J'avoue que ce paragraphe me laisse perplexe, et je vous conseillerais volontiers de bien relire l'ensemble des résolutions du Parlement européen sur ces questions et de mieux les intégrer à l'avenir dans votre stratégie.

Deuxième exemple: les clauses "démocratie et droits de l'homme". Et ce qui est dit en page 12 et 13 de la communication, là encore, me laisse sur ma faim. Oui, depuis 1995, il y a de telles clauses dans les accords-cadres de l'Union européenne avec les pays tiers. Oui, ces clauses devraient, comme vous le dites, être prises en compte dans le cadre des négociations de libre-échange. Mais là, nous ne constatons aucune avancée dans votre communication, et je le regrette.

Je voudrais terminer par une chose: je ne voudrais pas, Madame la Haute représentante, que nous soyons plus exigeants vis-à-vis des nouvelles démocraties que nous ne …

(Le Président retire la parole à l'oratrice)

 
  
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  Fiorello Provera, a nome del gruppo EFD. – Signor Presidente, Lady Ashton, in tutto il mondo aumentano gli impedimenti, anche legislativi, alla libertà di culto. Aggressioni e omicidi crescono di anno in anno e riguardano i credenti di tutte le religioni, ma in particolare i cristiani.

Paradossalmente, la libertà religiosa sta diventando un tema sempre meno certo anziché essere una delle libertà più naturali e indiscutibili. In Europa e nel nostro Parlamento si proclama continuamente la difesa dei diritti umani, ma la nostra azione per garantire la libertà religiosa è ancora poco efficace.

Per questo motivo ribadisco la proposta, già avanzata in altre occasioni, di istituire un rapporto specifico, accurato e annuale del Parlamento europeo per verificare lo stato delle libertà religiose nel mondo. Questo rapporto fornirebbe gli elementi necessari per programmare interventi politici adeguati e preventivi, coerentemente con quanto affermato dall'Alto rappresentante di organizzare politiche adeguate a ogni paese in rapporto alle esigenze del paese stesso.

 
  
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  Nicole Sinclaire (NI). - Mr President, Baroness Ashton recently went to the Commonwealth meeting in Australia at the taxpayers’ expense.

One of the reasons you gave, Baroness Ashton, was to speak with some heads of state there. Could you tell us, did you speak to some African heads of state, maybe Ugandan heads of state, about homosexuality and its criminalisation there? Hillary Clinton has said that the US is going to give it its utmost priority. I just wondered, did you use that opportunity? And, by the way, how much taxpayers’ money did it cost to go there and why were you at the Commonwealth meeting which has nothing to do with the EU?

Also, I just recently visited Gaza and Ramallah. When I asked about the treatment of lesbian women, the corrective rape, police beatings, etc., they looked at me with disgust as if it was something I should not have asked them or that it was not the EU’s business. Bearing in mind the absolute fortune, the millions of taxpayers’ money from the EU that goes into Gaza, some of which probably gets to Hamas, etc., what are you actively doing to stop these corrective rapes of lesbian women in Gaza?

 
  
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  Eduard Kukan (PPE). - Mr President, with the upcoming review of the strategy on EU human rights and democracy, we have a rare opportunity to demonstrate leadership in the enhancement of human rights implementation through foreign policy. It will be very important to get this strategy right, as it will shape policies for a longer period of time. That is why the EU should opt for a really ambitious approach.

This will require the preparedness of structures inside the EU, especially the External Action Service. We need to make sure that we have prepared instruments and well-trained staff. It was encouraging to hear from the High Representative that she intends to appoint an EU special representative for human rights who would act as an EU voice in human rights policy internationally and increase coherence of EU policy in this field.

The EU human rights strategy needs to ensure the full involvement and commitment of all EU institutions. Therefore it should be effectively mainstreamed into EU policies and mechanisms, including those such as development, energy, environment and trade. All in all, it is necessary to ensure that the EU, through its foreign policy instrument, its enlargement processes and as an international actor, plays a clearly strengthened role in shaping human rights and democratisation in the whole world.

 
  
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  Gay Mitchell (PPE). - Mr President, on a point of order, I have been waiting for quite a long time to speak and I find now that I have to go and vote and I cannot speak. It really is because of these debates not being held on time.

I wanted to raise an important issue and I want it on the record that I did not get an opportunity to intervene in the debate.

 
  
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  Véronique De Keyser (S&D). - Monsieur le Président, Madame la Haute représentante, il est vrai, peut-être, que l'on a attendu longtemps votre déclaration, mais vous avez fait du travail de terrain avant cela, et vous avez eu le temps de l'éprouver. Je peux dire vraiment que, championne de droits de l'homme, vous l'avez été. Je voudrais appuyer toute votre action à cet égard, même si cette déclaration vient un petit peu tard.

Vous avez dit beaucoup de choses intéressantes. Je voudrais peut-être reprendre un petit point: je pense que l'on n'insiste pas assez sur l'importance que peut avoir l'ensemble de nos accords – que ce soit l'aide que nous donnons à certains pays, que ce soient nos accords de partenariat, que ce soient les accords commerciaux que nous nouons avec des pays – pour faire passer l'idée même de démocratie et de droits de l'homme.

En premier lieu, je voudrais d'abord souligner à quel point j'ai accueilli positivement la communication avec le "plus pour plus" pour la démocratie dans la Méditerranée, qui conditionnait en quelque sorte notre aide à des avancées en matière de démocratie.

Je voudrais vous dire aussi que sur les accords commerciaux, il y a encore, à mon avis, beaucoup à faire. Par exemple, si je prends l'accord de libre-échange dont nous sommes en train de discuter avec la Colombie, je sais que, à travers les négociations, nous avons déjà pu faire progresser la Colombie en matière de droits des syndicalistes et de droits de l'homme, en général. Mais, si nous nouons cet accord, nous n'avons pas encore bien bouclé le mécanisme de suivi, qui nous permet de voir si le pays continue à aller vers la démocratie. Il y a encore des choses à faire sur ce point.

Troisième point: je ne suis pas d'accord avec tout ce qu'on a dit, parfois, dans les larges critiques qui vous ont été adressées, mais je voudrais vous dire aussi que, malgré tout, la question des deux poids deux mesures, que nous n'avons pas toujours bien su gérer, reste pour moi quelque chose de très préoccupant. Je voudrais donc qu'on y travaille très fort, en essayant d'adopter une doctrine cohérente à cet égard.

 
  
  

PRÉSIDENCE DE MME ISABELLE DURANT
Vice-présidente

 
  
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  Kristiina Ojuland (ALDE). - Madam President, on 10 December when we celebrated Human Rights Day, the streets of Moscow, St Petersburg, Vladivostok, Kaliningrad and 88 other cities in Russia were in a state of ferment on account of a series of peaceful protests. The people of Russia were calling for the annulment of the rigged elections of 4 December. The ALDE Group expresses its solidarity with the people of Russia in their legitimate call for human rights and civil liberties to be respected, and for free and fair elections.

Human rights are universal everywhere; therefore, the EU must avoid a differentiated approach to different countries. We must be consistent in our statements and policies. The European Union stands first and foremost for human rights and democracy, and that is precisely why those values must be reflected as an integral part in all our policies, as well as in our partnerships with third countries.

 
  
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  Peter van Dalen (ECR). - Mevrouw Ashton gefeliciteerd met uw nieuwe mensenrechtenstrategie. Ik hoop dat deze strategie ook verschillende onderdelen van het beleid coherenter kan maken. Ik denk dan met name aan de relatie tussen handel en mensenrechten. Voorts is het tijd om nu de woorden ook in daden om te zetten en ik vraag graag nogmaals aandacht voor de vrijheid van godsdienst.

Ik was de afgelopen weken zowel in Egypte als in Turkije en Oost-Turkije, twee landen waar de Europese Unie terecht nadrukkelijk aanwezig wil zijn, maar die zich niet in de goede richting bewegen. In Egypte heb ik gesproken met kopten, wier leven daar steeds moeilijker wordt, zeker nu extremistische partijen aan de macht dreigen te komen. In Turkije zag ik dat het model dat Erdogan de Arabische landen zo graag voorhoudt, christenen sterk benadeelt. Aramese christenen worden langzaam murw gemaakt en eeuwenoude kloosters zoals Mor Gabriel dreigen al hun grondbezit te gaan verliezen.

Dus als er één thema is dat speerpunt moet worden in het beleid, dan is het vrijheid van godsdienst.

 
  
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  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE). - Madam President, in June 2010, here in the European Parliament, the High Representative announced her intention to launch a consultation to form a new human rights strategy.

Madam High Representative, you said that this new strategy must be ambitious and should make the strongest EU statement so far on human rights in terms of purpose, EU policy and EU commitment. While the main objective of the communication you are presenting today is to open a discussion with the other European institutions on how to make the EU’s external policy on human rights and democracy more active, more coherent and more effective, our expectation is that there will now be a swift, transparent and inclusive process moving forward and a truly ambitious EU human rights strategy will be adopted without delay.

I strongly recommend that a strategy should state clearly that human rights are not merely principles, nor European values, but international legal standards and obligations undertaken by states within the framework of international law. I expect the EU to make strong references to cooperation with the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and various international justice mechanisms.

It is important that a strategy should ensure that the European Parliament and civil society organisations are stakeholders in overseeing implementation of the EU’s human rights policy.

Finally, I fully support the appointment of EU special representatives on human rights.

 
  
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  Ana Gomes (S&D). - Madam President, I welcome the High Representative’s initiative of launching an interinstitutional debate to ensure that an effective and comprehensive strategy for promoting human rights and democracy is at the core of the EU’s external policy. However, I agree with my colleague, Sarah Ludford, who says that the EU is not going to be seen as credible as a human rights promoter if it continues ducking the serious responsibilities of Member States that collaborated in human rights violations under the guise of the war on terror.

I believe that a country-by-country strategy on human rights that takes into account specificities and priorities along with dramatic campaigns, such as women’s rights, and related governance and rule-of-law questions, such as the fight against corruption, should enable EU foreign policy to improve coherence and achieve concrete results. Benchmarking can be a useful tool for us to reward a genuine willingness to protect human rights and dramatic practices and, through our trade and development policies, to put those who continue to resort to repressive policies at a disadvantage. Take Ethiopia, the second most populous country in Africa, which is massively financed by EU aid and is an outrageous example of our inconsistency, where we turn our blind eye to the blatant human rights’ violations.

I believe Parliament and civil society must participate in the elaboration of such country-based strategies and in the monitoring of their implementation. High Representative, in your visits, you should make a point of always meeting human rights’ defenders, particularly of women’s rights, and ensure that human rights are a mandatory topic for EU delegations and all in the European External Action Service. I also welcome your idea of appointing special representatives on human rights, international justice and international humanitarian law.

 
  
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  Edward McMillan-Scott (ALDE). - Madam President, like others, I welcome the rather tardy arrival of this communication, but nevertheless it is welcome in itself. It represents not, I think, what the Vice-President/High Representative defines as the beginning of a process, so much as the end of the examination of the subject from the point of view of the EEAS, Parliament, the Commission and the Council. When Parliament finally produces its report – I hope very soon – I think that will end it, because we all know that human rights are a universal value, that the document itself defines democracy as a universal value.

What I think is important is to accept the propositions made in the paper and to think about the new institutional balance we need to strike on this. Yes, this year has been a challenge for all of us, but when – and I welcome this – the Vice-President/High Representative says she is open to the creation of a special representative for human rights, I hope she means that she is prepared to do this, because I know that the NGOs, the European Parliament and the human rights community generally want to see that expression of the commitment of the Commission and the EEAS to human rights.

We need also a European endowment for democracy as another institutional element in the development of this process of democracy and human rights in the world.

Finally, I can tell the House that last night the Bureau established the process for creating a European Parliament Office for Democracy. That will be finalised in the new year. I welcome that very much.

 
  
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  Andrzej Grzyb (PPE). - Pani Przewodnicząca! Pani Wysoka Przedstawiciel! Z zadowoleniem przyjmujemy ten dokument, który dzisiaj został zaprezentowany. Po 10 latach dokonujemy rewizji polityki Unii w zakresie wspierania praw człowieka. Jednocześnie chciałbym powiedzieć, że dla mnie to też ważna data, i dla wszystkich Polaków, bo dzisiaj obchodzimy 30. rocznicę stanu wojennego w Polsce. Solidarność została wtedy zdelegalizowana, ale jednocześnie istniała jako ruch społeczny i otrzymała ogromne wsparcie ze strony Europy i świata, również wsparcie materialne.

Wiele z przedstawionych tu punktów uzyskało aprobatę Parlamentu już w przyjętym sprawozdaniu Véronique De Keyser. Chcemy, aby również w tym komunikacie przywołać ideę, która została poparta w sprawozdaniu Véronique De Keyser, mianowicie ideę powołania Europejskiego Funduszu na rzecz Demokracji. Nie znalazłem w prezentowanym komunikacie odniesienia do tej idei, ale jednocześnie wiem, że Pani promowała bardzo skutecznie, wspólnie z ministrem spraw zagranicznych Polski Radosławem Sikorskim, ten instrument wśród wszystkich ministrów spraw zagranicznych krajów członkowskich Unii Europejskiej.

Funduszu tego oczekują nasi partnerzy w walce o demokrację i prawa człowieka. List, który został skierowany zarówno do Pani, Wysoka Przedstawiciel, jak również do przewodniczącego Parlamentu Jerzego Buzka, podpisało wiele światowych autorytetów w zakresie praw człowieka, m. in. Aung San Suu Kyi, Lech Wałęsa czy Václav Havel. Myślę, że te wysiłki na rzecz powołania Europejskiego Funduszu na rzecz Demokracji, jego rola mogą pomóc w tym właśnie bardziej skutecznym podejściu, jak czytamy w tytule komunikatu, nad którym dzisiaj rozpoczynamy debatę pomiędzy Parlamentem, Radą i Komisją Europejską.

 
  
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  Alf Svensson (PPE). - Fru talman! Det finns väldigt mycket dystert att lyfta fram i en debatt om mänskliga rättigheter, men det finns också mycket positivt att se, vilket Catherine Ashton framhöll. Jag erinrar om att Sacharovpriset går till representanter som kämpar för mänskliga rättigheter i Nordafrika. Jag vill också påminna om den jemenitiska kvinna som talade i Oslo rådhus – hennes tal glömmer vi nog inte heller, vi som lyssnade till det.

Jag vill också gärna understryka det angelägna i att vi får en representant som specifikt ägnar sig åt just mänskliga rättighetsfrågor och jag skulle gärna drista mig att säga här i plenum att det vore värdefullt om varje nationellt parlament hade en speciell minister för mänskliga rättigheter. Sedan en sak som har nämnts tidigare här och som jag gärna vill lyfta fram, nämligen hur orimligt det är att vi är så tysta om vad som händer i Ryssland. Det råder säkert delade meningar om det, men jag upplever att vi är tysta.

Att ett val i Putins Ryssland ska behöva bevakas av 50 000 poliser, eller om det nu var soldater, och att myndigheterna kastar hundratals oppositionella i fängelse! Putin bör ta steg tillbaka. Han har verkligen inte kommit så långt fram som han borde när det gäller respekten för mänskliga fri- och rättigheter. Låt oss tala klartext också i relationerna till den stora björnen Ryssland!

 
  
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  Struan Stevenson (ECR). - Madam President, we talk a great deal in this House about human rights and we have a record to be proud of. But we have an unfolding potential catastrophe, as Baroness Ashton well knows, in Camp Ashraf in Northern Iraq. We have been given a deadline by the Iraqi Government to clear Camp Ashraf of 3 400 defenceless refugees by the end of this year. That means we have 17 days left before there is a potential massacre.

Could Baroness Ashton please say that she condemns the deadline and she asks for this deadline to be rescinded by the Iraqi Government? Could we please match the job of the UN in giving security and funding to help evacuate these 3 400 people as quickly as possible out of Iraq?

 
  
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  Franz Obermayr (NI). - Frau Präsidentin! Menschenrechte sind im Gegensatz zu Bürgerrechten subjektive Rechte, die jedem Menschen gleichermaßen zustehen, wie Schutz des Lebens, Schutz vor Folter, Meinungsfreiheit, um nur einige zu nennen. So die Theorie. Doch wie sieht es in Wirklichkeit aus?

In Ägypten gibt es ein Massaker an koptischen Christen. Die EU sieht zu. Die Volksrepublik China, die sich zu den Menschenrechten bekennt, tritt sie mit Füßen. Die EU sieht zu. Autoritäre Staaten auf der Arabischen Halbinsel lenken mit Pseudo-Syrien-Kritik von ihren eigenen Problemen zuhause ab. Es ist also ein Messen mit zweierlei Maß, Lady Ashton.

Es ist schön, von der Wahrung der Menschenrechte zu reden. Aber lassen wir doch auch Ihren Worten Taten folgen! Die EU hat genug Möglichkeiten, außenpolitischen Druck auszuüben. Wir müssen den Mut haben, diese Möglichkeiten auch zu nutzen.

 
  
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  Sajjad Karim (ECR). - Madam President, I very much welcome the strategic review that is being undertaken, and of course I see that the Commissioner does take a very real personal interest in these matters. She must be quite sick to death of the number of letters that I keep writing to her about human rights issues by now, but she deals with them very diligently and I am obliged to her for that.

Commissioner, we actually have a problem here and it is quite clear to me that the flag that we display in our Parliament in certain instances has a reputation of which we can be proud. In other instances it has a reputation for double standards. I see that displayed here today. For instance, in all of the comments that have been made, there has not been a single mention of the thousands and thousands of mass graves that have been discovered in the area of Kashmir, only as recently as a matter of months ago and going back over the last year or so. We, of course, as a set of institutions, are currently in negotiations with India. If you want that agreement to pass through this House – and I am committed to that agreement – one of the things we have to do is to see how we can square that circle.

 
  
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  Andrew Henry William Brons (NI). - Madam President, the High Representative spoke of the importance of freedom of thought and expression, and free use of and access to the Internet in all countries, but did not mention Member States of the EU.

However, non-violent and non-abusive freedom of expression in speech, writing and on the Internet on political and academic subjects is denied even in Member States of the EU. Political parties that have no connection with violence or terrorism are banned in founder members of the European Union.

The recent discovery of a murderous Nazi gang in Germany quite rightly attracted utter condemnation and concern among the security services, largely because they were unaware of it. However, the announcement from Mrs Merkel that she would use this vile terrorist group as a pretext for seeking to ban a political party with which it had no connection was an appalling indictment of that country. It shows that the current leadership of Germany has learnt nothing from its unfortunate history.

 
  
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  Bastiaan Belder (EFD). - Voorzitter, hoge vertegenwoordiger Ashton, graag nog even uw aandacht voor het nog steeds uitstaande doodvonnis tegen de Iraanse dominee Youssef Nadarkhani. Ik heb daar nieuwe berichten over. Er wordt gevreesd dat er met name in de stille tijd rondom kerst wel eens een snelle oplossing zou kunnen komen, een oplossing in dramatische zin dan.

Een tweede vraagje, als u het me toestaat: hoe staat het met het nieuwe wetboek van strafrecht in de Islamitische Republiek Iran, dat zich zo moeilijk verhoudt tot wat we noemen de universele rechten van de mens?

 
  
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  Catherine Ashton, Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. − Madam President, I would like to thank honourable Members for what has been a very important and very interesting debate, both covering specific issues and the general thrust of what we are trying to do.

I wanted to apologise to Ms Vaidere, but she is not here. I was distracted because we got the news of the death of four people and 46 injured in Liège in Belgium, which has been unfortunately due to what looks like explosions. It flashed on my phone and I must confess that I was very shocked and had to look at it, but I do apologise for not listening for that moment.

I would also like – because I did not do it earlier – to say thank you to Ms Andrikienė for the work that she did in 2010 on the human rights report. It was an extremely important and valuable document. I skipped over her name – and I do apologise for that – in the earlier part.

I also want to make it clear that this is not meant to be the definitive strategy. The reason for that is simply that I want the European Parliament to be involved and engaged with me as we drive this forward. You can never have a definitive moment in human rights where you say that we have actually got everything written down and everything covered, because situations change. As I have tried to argue in my contribution to it – and, yes, it did take time because I was not satisfied with some of the ideas and I wanted to push further and try out things and discuss and involve people as much as I possibly could within the service – we should look at how we can make it more effective and how we can take the relationships we have across the world and make sure that we use them to further the opportunities for democracy, peace, security and human rights for people across the world.

So I hope honourable Members will see it for what it is and what it is not. I do not pretend that it is a document seeking to give you all the answers, but rather to put down some thoughts that I hope will inspire further debate. Colleagues have raised a number of specific issues and I am just going to comment on two or three of them.

First of all, the issue of freedom of religion and belief. We have done a huge amount of work this year and it is an issue that honourable Members have raised on a number of occasions and which, indeed, Member States have raised in the Foreign Affairs Council. I am very pleased that we were able to achieve the consensus on our UN resolution promoting freedom of religion and belief. It is so significant that we take this forward. You will know that I have said it must be part of the reporting that we now carry out as part of our gathering together of information on human rights.

I appreciate what Mr Howitt said about not all delegations being up to speed. I know that. We are at the beginning of building a service and trying to make sure that every delegation all over the world has the resources, the people, the training and the way of going about things. It is not yet complete. They would be the first to say that, and I would echo that. What I hope you appreciate is the commitment to try to get there, not just from me, but also from all the heads of delegation when I met with them most recently.

The issues that concern lesbian, gay, transsexual and bisexual people are really issues of core importance to how we support people across the world. As honourable Members know, I have a long and personal commitment on this issue, and I think it is core to what we do. I raise it with individual countries when I visit, and we also make many statements and promote the importance of this issue in everything that we do.

For reference on the Commonwealth – I am afraid that Ms Sinclaire did not wait for the answer either – I was a special guest of the Commonwealth, which meant that while I was in Australia I had the opportunity to address 53 ministers, to have 28 bilateral meetings and to take part in two events, particularly with NGOs, on forced marriage and women as agents of change. On the way back, I also visited China and Japan, especially to show our solidarity for the people of Japan, still suffering from the effects of the tsunami.

Ms De Keyser raised particularly the issues of other Commission pieces of work, especially trade. Again, I have tried to capture that a bit in my thoughts about how to bring together our human rights work right across the Commission, so that in trade, in development – in everything that we do – it is part of the approach that we take, so I agree with you. Again, I pay tribute to the work that you have done on this.

On Camp Ashraf, Mr Stevenson, you have been tireless in pushing on this issue. I would say three or four things to you. Firstly, we just have to be a little careful about what we say might happen. Secondly, we are working very closely with the UN on this. The UN is in the lead. I have pushed through my discussions with the Secretary-General and the Special Representative. I have met with the Iraqi Foreign Minister on several occasions, and I have sent a special envoy to do a lot of work, not least with Member States. As you rightly recognise, it is important that those Member States who have nationals as residents in Camp Ashraf also need to be aware of what needs to happen. You will know, most recently, that I have indeed offered support to the UN in every possible way, in terms of how we can make sure that people are properly monitored and can feel secure.

But what we must be careful about is telling them that things may go wrong. What is important is to put it in place, so that they can feel confident in the UN process properly looking after them. It is a real challenge for us, but that is what we have to do. I think you know that I have worked extremely hard to try to make sure that the EU properly supports this international and UN process. I hope that this will see effect, as the UN now moves forward to try to support people into the future that they want to see for themselves.

Mr Karim, I will not answer on Kashmir now, but I understand exactly what you were saying and perhaps we can talk about that. Thank you for your comments about responding to your letters. I do try to respond to letters from Members of the European Parliament as quickly as I can in all cases.

Finally, Mr Belder, you raised Iran. You know that we have done a lot of work with Iran on human rights; we have sanctions against them for that. You know too that I watch with great interest and try very hard in my discussions with the Iranians to persuade them to move away from the death penalty. In any country it is wrong. In every country we try to make sure that we oppose it as effectively as we possibly can. On any individual case that honourable Members wish to raise with me, we will do our very best to let you know what we are doing. We follow all these cases where we possibly can – as many as we know about – both on the ground and within Brussels, and we try our very best, not least with our partners across the world, to make sure that people’s rights are respected.

 
  
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  Véronique De Keyser (S&D). - Madame la Présidente, Madame la Haute représentante, merci d'avoir évoqué le drame qui se déroule à Liège depuis le début de l'après-midi, Liège qui est ma ville, mais aussi celle de deux autres députés. Nous sommes en deuil et complètement bouleversés par ce qui est le crime de quelque repris de justice, qui a fait – comme vous l'avez dit –, 4 morts et plus de 50 blessés, au cœur même de la ville, en pleine période de Noël, au moment où tout le monde faisait ses courses. C'est vraiment tout à fait dramatique et c'est très délicat de votre part de l'avoir évoqué. Nous sommes véritablement en deuil ce soir.

 
  
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  La Présidente. - Merci Madame De Keyser. Je pense que tout le monde s'associera à cette pensée douloureuse, qui ne peut susciter chez nous que de la compassion et de la solidarité à l'égard de ceux qui sont directement touchés.

Le débat est clos.

Déclarations écrites (article 149)

 
  
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  Corina Creţu (S&D), în scris. Anul 2011 va rămâne în istorie ca anul schimbărilor în lumea arabă. Începute în 2010 şi desăvârşite în acest an, transformările din nordul Africii au demonstrat că regimuri ce păreau imuabile se pot prăbuşi sub presiunea străzii şi a comunităţii internaţionale, revoltate de încălcările drepturilor omului. Din această perspectivă, sunt încurajatoare bilanţul şi semnalul transmis viitorului de evoluţiile din spaţiul arab. La fel sunt şi unele progrese în combaterea impunităţii, cum este extrădarea fostului preşedinte din Coasta de Fildeş, Laurent Gbagbo, spre a fi judecat de Curtea Penală Internaţională, care ne îndreptăţesc să sperăm că mobilizarea internaţională poate contribui la pedepsirea celor care s-au obişnuit să calce în picioare cu brutalitate vieţi omeneşti şi drepturi fundamentale ale semenilor lor.

În acest context, îmi exprim aprecierea faţă de implicarea Serviciului European de Acţiune Externă în apărarea drepturilor omului. Uniunea Europeană este cel mai preocupat factor internaţional în această direcţie. Este o postură care ne obligă, totodată, să ne intensificam eforturile pentru protejarea celor persecutaţi de guverne dictatoriale şi traumatizaţi de violente barbare, în special împotriva militanţilor pentru drepturile omului. În acest sens, cred că un rol major trebuie să revină în 2012 colaborării UE cu Înaltul Comisariat al ONU pentru Drepturile Omului.

 
  
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  Joanna Senyszyn (S&D), na piśmie. W debacie dotyczącej praw człowieka szczególnie ważne są dwa aspekty: równość i wykluczenie społeczne. Prawa człowieka a równość: idea równości wobec prawa jest córką Rewolucji Francuskiej. Współcześnie jest uznawana za podstawowe prawo człowieka. Mimo tego, że prawo gwarantuje równouprawnienie kobiet i mężczyzn, jego implementacja w UE jest nieskuteczna. W Unii Europejskiej równość płci jest tylko na papierze. W rzeczywistości kobiety są dyskryminowane społecznie, ekonomicznie i politycznie. Dyskryminacja dotyczy także mniejszości (seksualnych, etnicznych, religijnych, rasowych), niepełnosprawnych oraz osób biednych i w podeszłym wieku. W Europie szerzy się poczucie braku równych szans i dyskryminacji. Praktycznie jedyną niedyskryminowaną grupą są młodzi, zdrowi, bogaci mężczyźni. W Polsce dodatkowo wyznania katolickiego.

Prawa człowieka a wykluczenie: do praw człowieka drugiej generacji zalicza się prawa ekonomiczne, socjalne i kulturalne. Gwarantują one tzw. bezpieczeństwo socjalne. Od wejścia w życie Traktatu Lizbońskiego celem Unii jest zwalczanie wykluczenia społecznego i dyskryminacji. Powstaje pytanie, czy te prawa w UE stanowią gwarancję przed wykluczeniem. Problem wykluczenia dotyczy 79 milionów osób, czyli podstawowe prawa 16 proc. Europejczyków są stale naruszane. W 2010 roku Unia przeznaczyła 26 mln euro na walkę z biedą i wykluczeniem społecznym. Jakie są rezultaty tych działań? Czy Unia jest w stanie poradzić sobie z takim permanentnymi naruszeniami praw człowieka?

 
Ostatnia aktualizacja: 7 marca 2012Informacja prawna