MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on Sudan, "situation of two Christian pastors"
7.7.2015 - (2015/2766(RSP))
pursuant to Rule 135 of the Rules of Procedure
Catherine Bearder, Louis Michel, Ivo Vajgl, Ramon Tremosa i Balcells, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Pavel Telička, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Petras Auštrevičius, Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Javier Nart, Juan Carlos Girauta Vidal, Maite Pagazaurtundúa Ruiz, Frédérique Ries, Ivan Jakovčić, Dita Charanzová, Jozo Radoš, Gérard Deprez, Johannes Cornelis van Baalen, Filiz Hyusmenova, Petr Ježek, Marielle de Sarnez, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, Nedzhmi Ali, Antanas Guoga, Urmas Paet, José Inácio Faria, Nathalie Griesbeck, Hannu Takkula on behalf of the ALDE Group
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0707/2015
European Parliament resolution on Sudan, "situation of two Christian pastors"
The European Parliament,
- having regard to its previous resolutions,
- having regard to the Interim Constitution of the Republic of Sudan adopted in 2005,
- having regard to article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) signed by Sudan in 1986,
- having regard to the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
- having regard to the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders of December 1998,
- having regard to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which was ratified by the DRC in 1982,
- having regard to Rules 135 of its Rules of Procedure.
A. whereas Rev Yat Michael and the Rev Peter Yein Reith were arrested on 14 December 2014 and 11 January 2015 respectively; Rev Michael was arrested after visiting a church service in Khartoum, and Rev Reith was arrested after submitting a letter from leaders of the South Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church (SSPEC), inquiring about the whereabouts of Rev Michael; whereas The National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) detained both men without charging them or permitting them to access a lawyer or their families until 1 March 2015;
B. whereas their location was unknown for months, violating international human rights agreements, but on April 30 they were transferred from Khartoum’s downtown police station to a NISS detention centre in Khartoum, Rev Michael’s wife reported that on Monday (May 4) they were transferred to Omdurman Prison;
C. whereas further concerns were raised on 4 June, when their families were refused access. On 6 June, prison authorities confirmed the pastors had been transferred to Kober Prison in North Khartoum, a high security prison, with no rights for visitors;
D. whereas the pastor’s lawyers met with the Director of Prisons Administration on 7 June to request access to the pastors and were told they should approach the Director of Kober Prison for access. The Director refused the request and lawyers were told to get a court order, which was denied on 8 June on the grounds that such decisions are at the discretion of the Prison Director;
E. whereas the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) officials have charged the Rev Yat Michael and the Rev Peter Yein Reith with undermining the constitutional system (Article 50 of the Sudan Penal Code from 1991) and spying (Article 53) – offences punishable by death or life imprisonment – and waging war against the state (Article 51), which also carries the death sentence; the charges are based on the Sudanese Penal Code of 1991 and not the one of 2003 current under the Interim Constitution;
F. whereas until now all the witnesses presented by the government have not presented any conclusive proof that they are guilty; whereas the trial keeps being delayed for the government to find new witnesses;
G. whereas NISS is conducted by hard-line Islamists who are given broad powers to arrest Christians, black Africans, South Sudanese and other people lowly regarded in the country ruled by President Omar al-Bashir who has pledged that Sudan will be fully Arabic and Islamic. That the charges seem to appear to be based solely on the two pastors’ nationality, race and faith;
H. whereas the church that Michael had visited in December, Khartoum Bahri Evangelical Church, has reportedly been the subject of government harassment, arrests and the demolition of part of its worship centre when Muslim investors took it over. NISS officials appear to be determined to punish the pastors for their support of the embattled congregation;
I. whereas harassment, arrests and persecution of Christians have intensified since the secession of South Sudan in July 2011, when President Bashir vowed to adopt a stricter version of sharia (Islamic law) and recognises only Islamic culture and the Arabic language. The Sudanese Minister of Guidance and Endowments announced in April 2013 that no new licenses would be granted for building new churches in Sudan, citing a decrease in the South Sudanese population;
J. whereas, according to news sources, since 2012 Sudan has expelled foreign Christians and has demolished church buildings stating that they belonged to South Sudanese; That besides raiding Christian bookstores and arresting Christians, authorities threatened to kill South Sudanese Christians who do not leave or cooperate with them in their effort to find other Christians;
K. whereas religious freedom, freedom of assembly, association and expression are essential components of any democracy, particularly in the context of concluding the constitution-making process;
1. Strongly condemns the detention of Reverend Peter Yen and Reverend
2. Urges the Sudanese authorities to immediately release these two clergymen as no charges have yet been made against them or at the least ensure that the clergymen's detention is normalised, and they are permitted regular family visits and unhindered access to their lawyers. The decision to detain them at a higher security prison should be reconsidered, given that they have not been found guilty of any crime;
3. Calls upon the authorities to guarantee in all circumstances their physical and psychological integrity and to take all necessary measures to provide them the full protection of the law, within its overall responsibilities of ensuring the safety of all its citizens;
4. Urges the Government of the Republic of Sudan to put an end to any kind of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Rev Peter Yen and Rev Yat Michael, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to practice and promote their activities without hindrances;
5. Condemns the continuing violation of basic freedom of religion and expression that are protected under Sudan’s constitution and international human rights law;
6. Calls on the Government of the Republic of Sudan to take the necessary steps, including restoration of the rule of law, democracy and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Sudan.;
7. Urges the Sudanese government to conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually or in association with others, to promote the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, and its article 12.2 which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;
8. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the African Union, the President, Prime Minister and Parliament of the DRC, and the ACP-EU joint parliamentary assembly. And the President of Sudan.