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Procedura : 2015/2970(RSP)
Ciclo di vita in Aula
Ciclo del documento : B8-1259/2015

Testi presentati :

B8-1259/2015

Discussioni :

PV 26/11/2015 - 4.3

Votazioni :

PV 26/11/2015 - 11.3

Testi approvati :

P8_TA(2015)0414

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
PDF 139kWORD 71k
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-1257/2015
24.11.2015
PE571.083v01-00
 
B8-1259/2015

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law

pursuant to Rule 135 of the Rules of Procedure


on the freedom of expression in Bangladesh (2015/2970(RSP))


Ignazio Corrao, Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Marco Valli, Rolandas Paksas on behalf of the EFDD Group
NB: This motion for a resolution is available in the original language only.

European Parliament resolution on the freedom of expression in Bangladesh (2015/2970(RSP))  
B8‑1259/2015

The European Parliament,

– having regard to its previous resolutions on Bangladesh, and in particular those of 18 September 2014 and of 16 January 2014,

 

– having regard to the statements by the European Union Delegation to Bangladesh of 9 August 2015 and of 11 February 2015,

 

– having regard to the Statements by the EEAS Spokesperson of 1 April, of 9 April and of 29 April 2015,

 

– having regard to the EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy of 25 June 2012,

 

– having regard to the Statement by UN High Commissioner for the Human Rights of 5 November 2015,

– having regard to its resolution of 13 June 2013 on the freedom of the press and media in the world,

 

– having regard to the EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy of 25 June 2012,

 

– having regard to its resolution of 11 December 2012 on a digital freedom strategy in EU foreign policy,

 

– having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,

 

– having regard to Rule 135 of its Rules of Procedure,

 

 

A. Whereas since 2013, a number of secularist writers, bloggers and publishers in Bangladesh have been killed or seriously injured in attacks perpetrated by Islamist extremists; whereas tensions have also risen as a result of the capital execution of the Islamist opposition leader Muhammad Kamaruzzaman for war crimes committed during the war of independence of 1971,

 

B. Whereas Niladri Chatterjee alias Niloy Neel, an online activist and writer, was hacked to death by reportedly four unidentified armed assailants inside his residence in Goran on 07 August 2015; whereas Niladri Chatterjee used to write on different blog sites, including Mukto-mona and Ishtishon and he was also working at a non-government organization named Research and Development Collective,

 

C. Whereas in February, the blogger Avijit Roy, a United States national of Bangladeshi origin, and his wife were attacked with machetes on a street in Dhaka; whereas Roy was killed while his wife narrowly escaped the attack; whereas Ansar ul Islam claimed responsibility for this attack,

 

D. Whereas in November a secular publisher, Arefin Dipon Faisa, who published the books of Avijit Roy, was killed with machetes in Dhaka; whereas a few hours after another publisher and two writers had been wounded in an attack attributed to Islamic fundamentalists;

 

 

E. Whereas in March, blogger Washiqur Rahman was murdered in a similar attack on a Dhaka street; whereas in May, the blogger Ananta Bijoy Das was killed in a machete attack in Sylhet city,

 

F. Whereas in February 2013, another atheist blogger, Ahmed Rajib Haider, was stabbed to death and in March, blogger Asif Mohiuddin was severely injured in a similar attack,

 

G. Whereas Cesare Tavella, an Italian worker for a Dutch agency of the development aid, was killed in Dhaka, Bangladesh; whereas the attack was claimed by the group Islamic State;

 

H. Whereas the murders were been targeting online writers and activists who professed to express views against religious bigotry, anomalies and obscurantism; whereas such killings are a direct affront to the tolerant, pluralist and discursive mind-set of the people in general,

I. Whereas, although Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said there will be a speedy investigation into the blogger murders, she had earlier also promised action against bloggers for “hurting people’s religious sentiments”,

 

J. Whereas the government has also targeted free speech, threatening or prosecuting contempt of court cases against civil society activists and journalists, shuttering media houses critical of the government, and arresting human rights defenders who criticize violations by security forces,

 

K. Whereas the proposed Cyber Security Act 2015 seeks to fortify the ICT Act, further tightening the power of the authorities to restrict alternative views,

 

L. Whereas the journalist Probir Sikdar, owner of the online newspaper Uttaradhikar Ekattor News, was arrested on the evening of 16 August 2015 from his Dhaka office for allegedly defaming a government minister on Facebook; whereas on 18 August 2015 Shaukat Mahmud, President of the Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists, was arrested by plain clothed policemen for allegedly committing an arson attack on a bus on 23 January 2015,

 

M. Whereas disappearances, the use of torture and other forms of ill-treatment persist in Bangladesh despite the safeguards laid down in the Constitution, the Penal Code and the Torture and Custodial Death (Prohibition) Act,

 

1. Strongly condemns the barring of freedom of expression and free media coverage in Bangladesh, any form of censorship and recalls that the freedom of expression is a fundamental right of human dignity;

 

2. Stresses its concern on the attacks on bloggers and on the recent killing of foreign citizens and its concern over the rise of extremism; calls on Bangladeshi authorities for a transparent investigation into the killing of Foreign Nationals and bloggers to identify perpetrators of such heinous crimes;

 

3. Call on Bangladeshi authorities to ensure immediate independent investigations and explanations into the disappearances of members of opposition parties over the last few years, particularly in the months leading up to and subsequent to the January 2014 elections;

 

4. Call on Bangladeshi authorities to drop charges against Adilur Rahman Khan and Nasiruddin Elan of human rights group Odhikar, order an immediate end to the surveillance of Odhikar staff members nationwide, and ensure that all human rights and civil society groups are able to work in a climate free of fear and repression;

 

5. Call on Bangladeshi authorities to ensure immediate independent investigations into the many credible allegations of extra-judicial killings of opposition members, including during the Hefazat-led protest march in Dhaka in May 2013;

 

6. Call on Bangladeshi authorities to make public commitments to ensure that members of political parties are free to engage in protected speech and assembly and immediately charge or release members of opposition parties who have been jailed for participating, or being thought to be participating in protected speech and assembly;

 

7. Call on Bangladeshi authorities to restore the full independence of the media by, inter alia, dropping all charges against editors and journalists who have published content critical of the government, to allow the immediate opening of all media houses which were shuttered, and to immediately restore full and unhindered access to all forms of publications, including electronic ones;

 

8. Call on Bangladeshi authorities to amend the Foreign Donations (Voluntary Activities) Regulation Act of 2014 to ensure that the work of civil society organizations is not subject to arbitrary control by the government, and that all decisions made under this Act are subject to an independent review process;

 

9. Call on Bangladeshi authorities to ensure that the Cyber-Security Act of 2015 and the Information and Communication Technology Act are brought in line with international free speech standards, and to drop the criminalization of “anti-State” publications;

 

10. Urge the government of Sheikh Hasina to refrain from harassing international NGO’s in the country which include Amnesty International and Transparency International;

 

11. Ask the government of Sheikh Hasina to initiate dialogue with all democratic parties, to restore the democratic process by way of holding a free, fair and inclusive election, to hold a national dialogue to overcome the current instability and to accept the call for a national dialogue from opposition political parties and civil society organisations on the current crises;

 

12. Calls on EU Member States, the EU High Representative, European External Action Service, the European Commission to immediately raise the above concerns and recommendations with Bangladeshi authorities, in line with the EU’s Strategic Framework on human rights and Democracy;

 

13. Calls on the Bangladeshi authorities to immediately cease all harassment against journalists and those exercising peaceful free speech, including Shaukat Mahmud and Probir Sikdar; urges Bangladesh to uphold its obligations under international law to ensure that its people can exercise and defend the right to freedom of expression, including through ensuring the full independence and impartiality of the court system and appropriately amending the ICT Act;

 

14. Reaffirms its absolute opposition to the death penalty and reiterates its call for the abolition of the death penalty;

 

15. 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 governments and parliaments of the Member States, and the Government and Parliament of the Republic of Bangladesh.

 

 

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