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Human rights in Belarus: The EU’s role since 2016

05-06-2018

This study provides an overview of the European Union’s contribution to promoting and protecting human rights in Belarus since 2016. This analysis presents the main human rights trends in Belarus, examining legislation, policy commitments and violations of human rights. While the Belarusian government has made nominal concessions towards the EU, no systemic progress in terms of human rights has been made in the post-2016 period. The study also describes and assesses the EU’s human rights promotion ...

This study provides an overview of the European Union’s contribution to promoting and protecting human rights in Belarus since 2016. This analysis presents the main human rights trends in Belarus, examining legislation, policy commitments and violations of human rights. While the Belarusian government has made nominal concessions towards the EU, no systemic progress in terms of human rights has been made in the post-2016 period. The study also describes and assesses the EU’s human rights promotion activities in bilateral EU-Belarus relations, within the context of the Eastern Partnership multilateral dimension and in regard to financial assistance. Although the EU has expanded the range of its political dialogue with Belarus since 2016, it has had very little influence over the human rights situation in the country. The EU’s impact has been limited not just because of the very nature of the Belarusian regime. EU institutions and member states have increasingly prioritised geopolitical interests as well as the stability and resilience of Belarus over human rights concerns. The EU should increase efforts to mainstream human rights in all aspects of its relations with Belarus and find a better balance between ‘normalisation’ and ‘conditionality’ based policy approaches vis-à-vis the country.

Externe Autor

Gisele BOSSE, Alena VIEIRA

Human rights in Ukraine and the EU response, including relevant activities of the European Parliament

07-02-2018

The present study provides an overview of how the European Union and the European Parliament (EP) contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights in Ukraine. The analysis adopts an institutional approach, separately addressing the role of the various EP bodies involved, such as the plenary itself and the Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI). The actions of the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee (PAC), a parliamentary body created by the Association Agreement, as well as those ...

The present study provides an overview of how the European Union and the European Parliament (EP) contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights in Ukraine. The analysis adopts an institutional approach, separately addressing the role of the various EP bodies involved, such as the plenary itself and the Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI). The actions of the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee (PAC), a parliamentary body created by the Association Agreement, as well as those of the European Parliament’s Delegation to the PAC are included in this analysis. The territories controlled by the Ukrainian government and those that are temporarily occupied, namely Crimea and parts of eastern Ukraine, are addressed separately in the study. In terms of thematic focus, the EP’s activities aimed at human rights promotion have been dominated by the issue of the Crimean Tatars, the Ukrainian political prisoners illegally held in Russia, and the human rights situation in eastern Ukraine. The most significant conclusion is that the more entrenched the violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity becomes, the wider the spectrum of human rights issues extends, in protection of which the EP is able to step to the fore and take action. A summary of the contents of relevant EP actions can be found in the Annex to the study, together with a graphical visualisation of key data.

Externe Autor

András RÁCZ, Narine GHAZARYAN, Sergiy GERASYMCHUK.

Der Sacharow-Preis 2017

05-12-2017

Der Sacharow-Preis für geistige Freiheit wurde 1988 vom Europäischen Parlament eingerichtet und wird seither jedes Jahr im Dezember an Einzelpersonen oder Organisationen verliehen, die Herausragendes bei der Verteidigung der Menschenrechte und der Grundfreiheiten geleistet haben. Mit der Vergabe des Preises 2017 an die Opposition in Venezuela hat das Parlament die Lage in Venezuela kritisiert, seine Unterstützung für die demokratisch gewählte Nationalversammlung zum Ausdruck gebracht, einen friedlichen ...

Der Sacharow-Preis für geistige Freiheit wurde 1988 vom Europäischen Parlament eingerichtet und wird seither jedes Jahr im Dezember an Einzelpersonen oder Organisationen verliehen, die Herausragendes bei der Verteidigung der Menschenrechte und der Grundfreiheiten geleistet haben. Mit der Vergabe des Preises 2017 an die Opposition in Venezuela hat das Parlament die Lage in Venezuela kritisiert, seine Unterstützung für die demokratisch gewählte Nationalversammlung zum Ausdruck gebracht, einen friedlichen Übergang zur Demokratie gefordert und den Menschen in Venezuela Anerkennung gezollt, darunter vor allem den Menschen, die zu Unrecht inhaftiert wurden, weil sie ihre Meinung geäußert haben.

Media freedom trends 2017: Turkey

03-05-2017

The freedom of the media in Turkey has dramatically deteriorated since the failed military coup of July 2016. Moreover, the number of media workers in jail has raised concerns from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the European Union (EU) and the Council of Europe.

The freedom of the media in Turkey has dramatically deteriorated since the failed military coup of July 2016. Moreover, the number of media workers in jail has raised concerns from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the European Union (EU) and the Council of Europe.

Human Rights in Iran after the Nuclear Deal Business as Usual or Time for Change?

13-03-2017

This report summarises the proceedings of a workshop organised jointly by the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI) and the Delegation for relations with Iran (D-IR). The purpose of the workshop was to analyse the most recent developments regarding human rights in Iran since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed in July 2015 and to explore the options available to the EU in seeking to help improve the situation. Experts and human rights defenders pointed to ...

This report summarises the proceedings of a workshop organised jointly by the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI) and the Delegation for relations with Iran (D-IR). The purpose of the workshop was to analyse the most recent developments regarding human rights in Iran since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed in July 2015 and to explore the options available to the EU in seeking to help improve the situation. Experts and human rights defenders pointed to the gaps between law and practice in Iran and raised continuing concerns about the death penalty, political prisoners, prison conditions, arrests of dual nationals, minority rights and restrictions to internet access. They identified Iran’s dual power structure of elected and non-elected institutions and corruption as some of the chief constraints to any reform efforts. They said the EU should keep human rights — including support for the relevant UN mechanisms and efforts — high on its agenda. They said the key factors for engaging successfully with Iran on human rights in future were clear criteria and benchmarks, detailed knowledge of the human rights issues at stake and interaction with Iranian civil society both inside and outside Iran.

Externe Autor

Firouzeh NAHAVANDI (Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium - chapter 2.1) ; Nazila GHANEA (University of Oxford, the UK - chapter 2.2) and Giulia BONACQUISTI (Trans European Policy Studies Association - TEPSA, Belgium - workshop report)

Human rights in Vietnam

13-10-2016

Despite constitutional guarantees, Vietnam has one of the worst human rights records in south-east Asia, with severely restricted freedom of expression, as well as a ban on opposition parties and in general on independent organisations. Recent improvements to LGBTI rights and the criminal justice system are among the few bright spots. EU support for Vietnamese human rights includes funding and a human rights dialogue.

Despite constitutional guarantees, Vietnam has one of the worst human rights records in south-east Asia, with severely restricted freedom of expression, as well as a ban on opposition parties and in general on independent organisations. Recent improvements to LGBTI rights and the criminal justice system are among the few bright spots. EU support for Vietnamese human rights includes funding and a human rights dialogue.

The Situation of National Minorities in Crimea Following its Annexation by Russia

13-04-2016

National minorities in Crimea have been subject to systematic violations of their rights since the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia on 18 March 2014. Documented violations have occurred in the areas of freedom of expression, conscience, and religion; the right to peaceful assembly and association; freedom of the media and access to information; the right to a fair trial and effective remedy; the right to education in one’s native language; and linguistic and cultural rights. The de facto authorities ...

National minorities in Crimea have been subject to systematic violations of their rights since the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia on 18 March 2014. Documented violations have occurred in the areas of freedom of expression, conscience, and religion; the right to peaceful assembly and association; freedom of the media and access to information; the right to a fair trial and effective remedy; the right to education in one’s native language; and linguistic and cultural rights. The de facto authorities in Crimea have neglected to investigate cases of grave violations of the rights to life, liberty, security, and physical integrity. The response of the international community has been limited. While Western countries pursue non-recognition policies towards Crimea, international sanctions introduced in response to the occupation of Crimea are weak, and there have been no measures taken to address the international humanitarian law and human rights violations in Crimea. Limited support is available to human rights organisations focused on or working in Crimea, and human rights monitors still cannot gain access to Crimea. The European Union, and the European Parliament, in particular, should actively advocate for the establishment of an international human rights monitoring presence in occupied Crimea. Tailor-made support programmes should be offered to Ukrainian government agencies and civil society working towards the protection of the rights of Ukrainian citizens in Crimea. The European Parliament should continue raising the issue of human rights violations in Crimea and monitor individual cases. Furthermore, the Council of the European Union should consider imposing sanctions for the violations of international humanitarian law and human rights in occupied Crimea.

Externe Autor

Natalia SHAPOVALOVA (CASE – Center for Social and Economic Research, Poland), Olga BURLYUK (Centre for EU Studies, Ghent University in association with Policy Association for an Open Society, Czech Republic)

Proceedings of the Workshop on "Organ Harvesting in China"

12-04-2016

This workshop raised awareness on this issue and opens a debate on future transparent investigation by the European Union into organ transplant practice. The workshop consisted of different presentations and an exchange of views between MEPs and established experts in transplantation of organs, organ trafficking and international crime. The current organ trafficking around the world has created a substantial health risk contributing to a serious abuse of human rights, particularly of the right to ...

This workshop raised awareness on this issue and opens a debate on future transparent investigation by the European Union into organ transplant practice. The workshop consisted of different presentations and an exchange of views between MEPs and established experts in transplantation of organs, organ trafficking and international crime. The current organ trafficking around the world has created a substantial health risk contributing to a serious abuse of human rights, particularly of the right to life. This document reviews the scope for creating a fair system of organ donation and for the use of a more efficient and transparent organ database accessible to EU and eventually to global citizens. This document was provided by Policy Department A for the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety.

Externe Autor

Joëlle Hivonnet, Stefaan Van der Spiegel, Beatriz Dominguez, Marta Lopez Fraga, Francis L. Delmonico, David Kilgour, Marie Charlotte Bouesseau and Huige Li

Belarus: Human rights situation remains bleak

23-02-2016

Belarus is the only European country where the death penalty is still applied. Opposition politicians have disappeared, the President has stifled all forms of budding protests with violence; and authorities continue to harass human rights activists and independent journalists. Despite the softening in EU-Belarus ties and the newly lifted sanctions, the overall human rights situation under President Lukashenko's autocratic rule has yet to improve.

Belarus is the only European country where the death penalty is still applied. Opposition politicians have disappeared, the President has stifled all forms of budding protests with violence; and authorities continue to harass human rights activists and independent journalists. Despite the softening in EU-Belarus ties and the newly lifted sanctions, the overall human rights situation under President Lukashenko's autocratic rule has yet to improve.

Peace agreement in South Sudan: Ambitious but hard to deliver

02-02-2016

In August 2015, under considerable international pressure, a peace agreement was signed in South Sudan: it aimed to end the violent civil war that had broken out two years earlier. The conflict was caused by a number of entangled factors that can be boiled down to a struggle for power and oil in a devastated country. Soon after gaining independence in 2011, the rivalry between the two main leaders, Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, that had been subdued, erupted again. In July 2013, President Kiir dismissed ...

In August 2015, under considerable international pressure, a peace agreement was signed in South Sudan: it aimed to end the violent civil war that had broken out two years earlier. The conflict was caused by a number of entangled factors that can be boiled down to a struggle for power and oil in a devastated country. Soon after gaining independence in 2011, the rivalry between the two main leaders, Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, that had been subdued, erupted again. In July 2013, President Kiir dismissed Vice-President Machar. The following December, ethnic conflict erupted within the army, tragically spreading to the civilian population and leading to a humanitarian catastrophe. The 2015 peace agreement is an important benchmark towards peace and reconciliation, as it addresses the main issues: establishment of an inclusive government; demilitarisation and reinsertion in civilian life of a large number of well-equipped militias; proper mechanisms for transitional justice and reparation; immediate measures to facilitate humanitarian access; and a consistent programme to redress the economy. Nevertheless, progress towards implementation of the peace deal is slow: key structures such as the transitional government and the 'hybrid' court have not yet been put in place. Building confidence between the current head of state and his main opponent is a challenging task for international mediators.

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