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Procedure : 2020/2782(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
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Texts tabled :

RC-B9-0290/2020

Debates :

PV 17/09/2020 - 11.1
CRE 17/09/2020 - 11.1

Votes :

Texts adopted :

P9_TA(2020)0233

Debates
Thursday, 17 September 2020 - Brussels Provisional edition

11.1. The situation in the Philippines, including the case of Maria Ressa
Video of the speeches
PV
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  Die Präsidentin. – Als nächster Punkt der Tagesordnung folgt die Aussprache über Fälle von Verletzungen der Menschenrechte, der Demokratie und der Rechtsstaatlichkeit nach Artikel 144 der Geschäftsordnung.

Ich weise die Mitglieder darauf hin, dass es bei allen Aussprachen dieser Tagung keine spontanen Wortmeldungen gibt und dass keine blauen Karten akzeptiert werden.

Das Thema der ersten Aussprache über sechs Entschließungsanträge ist „Lage auf den Philippinen, insbesondere der Fall Maria Ressa“ (2020/2782(RSP))*.

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* Siehe Protokoll.

 
  
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  Hannah Neumann (Verts/ALE). – Madam President, I think we have the wrong order because I was actually the one negotiating these resolutions. There must be a mistake, but if the author gets the first word that should be me.

 
  
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  President. – I have Urbán Crespo, Bielan, Neumann, Fuglsang, Wiseler-Lima and Guetta as the order, and it’s being signalled to me that is the correct order. I cannot check that.

We have four points of order now. I don’t know if this really makes sense to discuss the order because there are very few people watching us live. You are going to put it on to your social media anyway, only yours, but OK, if it’s important, yes.

Who wants to reply? There have been so many.

 
  
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  Frédérique Ries (Renew). – Madam President, I’m sorry but we have exactly the same problem for the next debate on Dr Mukwege, which is that the first three authors to take the floor have not participated in the negotiations.

I don’t understand why we don’t do things like we used to do them: take the authors in the order of importance of the groups. At least you could do that. It’s completely awkward to have as a first orator taking the floor somone from ID who has been completely absent. This is a problem for some of us as we have no clue what they think on the issue.

So it’s more than just a cosmetic problem. I think it’s really problematic. It’s symbolic who takes the floor in the first place, and that’s not the kind of signal we want to send to the person who we are defending today. So please convey this huge concern to the people responsible for that. Don’t talk to us about the rules, because rules have limits and these are not good rules.

 
  
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  President. – I have a problem here, of course, because I wasn’t present. I completely understand what you are saying and appreciate that you tell us. The idea obviously is that the order is by the order of tabling, and then it is one speaker each per group. This is how it has been explained to me.

For me this is a difficult situation, but I would say – and I take this on my shoulders now – if you all agree on this, if all the speakers that I just mentioned are fine with that, I think we should then proceed as the people concerned suggest. Is everyone fine with that?

OK. Hannah Neumann. But then you have to tell me who’s next!

 
  
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  Hannah Neumann, author. – Madam President, before the summer I spoke to Maria Ressa. She had just lost a made-up case, and I was so worried about the human rights situation in the Philippines.

I said Maria, what can we do as the international community? She said ‘democracy dies in darkness so you should is shed light on the situation’. That is exactly why we are having this debate today and that’s why I’m happy to see you here Ms Urpilainen.

But someone is missing, and that’s our new trade commissioner Mr Dombrovskis, because as the European Union we don’t have that many tools to protect human rights and democracy, and maybe our trade policy is the strongest one.

But Duterte, the president of the Philippines, who is encouraging his own services to kill tens of thousands of people, still enjoys EU trade privileges the under the GSP Plus scheme that are supposedly linked to improvements in human rights.

The situation is just getting worse, and that’s why I’m so happy that across all political parties in this resolution we call on the Commission to start the procedure to revoke these privileges immediately and – to be frank – by immediately, we mean by Monday.

 
  
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  Isabel Wiseler-Lima, auteure. – Madame la Présidente, la situation des droits humains est très préoccupante aux Philippines.

Les exécutions extrajudiciaires dans la lutte contre les drogues sont des pratiques inacceptables au regard de la dignité humaine, mais aussi du droit international. Nous les condamnons fermement. Tout comme nous condamnons les menaces, intimidations, viols et violences de toute sorte contre ceux qui dans le pays s’insurgent contre ces pratiques, notamment des défenseurs des droits humains et des journalistes. La liberté de la presse est d’ailleurs toute relative dans le pays vu les menaces, intimidations et violences à l’encontre des journalistes. Je voudrais dans ce contexte évoquer le nom de la journaliste Maria Ressa.

Vu les situations de détresse vécues par de nombreuses personnes aux Philippines, nous exprimons notre condamnation des violences contre les personnes LGBTIQ; notre condamnation du trafic d’enfants, de leur recrutement pour des conflits armés; notre condamnation des viols de femmes et de filles, viols d’ailleurs banalisés par des déclarations du président Duterte, absolument inacceptables.

Les députés qui voteront pour cette résolution demandent instamment au gouvernement des Philippines de se conformer à ses obligations relevant du droit international et nous demandons à l’Union européenne d’user de tous les moyens adéquats pour amener le gouvernement philippin à une gouvernance en accord avec les droits humains.

 
  
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  Niels Fuglsang, author. – Madam President, last June, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights presented an alarming report on the human rights violations in the Philippines, where the situation is horrendous.

For half a decade, the so-called war on drugs has led to thousands of killings by illegal police actions and death squads. Hundreds of thousands of people have been arrested. In these five years, the European Parliament has written four declarations concerning the state of the human rights in the Philippines, but the situation has not improved whatsoever.

On the contrary, since last year, the country has actually withdrawn from the International Criminal Court jurisdiction, and recently there has been a resurgence of extra-judicial killings, assassinations of human rights activists and intimidation and prosecutions of journalists. The most notorious is the former CNN journalist, Maria Ressa, who is now exposed to one hundred years in prison as a result of all the charges against her.

The Philippines should adopt and implement the recommendations from the UN report and, without substantial improvement, we as the European Union should suspend the Philippines’ beneficial trade preferences with us.

 
  
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  Bernard Guetta, auteur. – Madame la Présidente, Hold the line, tenir tête, en français, c’est la promesse que se sont courageusement, noblement, faite les opposants de M. Duterte.

Tenir tête car aux Philippines près de 9 000 personnes et sans doute beaucoup, beaucoup plus ont été tuées par des sbires du pouvoir sous prétexte de trafic ou consommation de drogue. Tenir tête car, journalistes, intellectuels, universitaires ou avocats, les opposants risquent non seulement l’arrestation, mais aussi l’assassinat. Tenir tête car le taux d’occupation des prisons vient d’atteindre 534 %.

Les dictateurs s’indignent d’ordinaire des rapports les accablant mais M. Duterte, non, bien au contraire, il s’en vante, car, à l’entendre, il ne faut pas – surtout pas – s’embarrasser de procédures et de respect des droits de l’homme. Il est là, et cela suffit puisque ce juge suprême s’est donné droit de vie et de mort.

L’histoire a connu un autre Duterte, c’était à Rome, il s’appelait Néron. M. Duterte, pour notre honte à tous, est le Néron des temps modernes.

 
  
  

ELNÖKÖL: KLÁRA DOBREV
alelnök

 
  
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  Miguel Urbán Crespo, autor. – Señora presidenta, en Filipinas, durante la supuesta guerra contra las drogas, se ha asesinado a más de 27 000 personas y, con la excusa de la lucha contra el terrorismo, se ataca, se asesina y se encarcela a sindicalistas, a personas defensoras de derechos humanos, a activistas y a periodistas como Zara Alvarez, Maria Ressa y Leila de Lima. Pero, aparentemente, estas violaciones de derechos humanos no son suficientes para que la derecha de este Parlamento exija de manera rotunda y clara la suspensión inmediata de los privilegios otorgados en el marco del sistema de preferencias generalizadas, un sistema que debería estar condicionado a la aplicación de los convenios internacionales de derechos humanos y laborales que, claramente, no se cumplen ahora mismo en Filipinas.

Exigimos que se dejen de comercializar armas y equipos militares con Filipinas y que se suspendan inmediatamente las preferencias comerciales hasta que no se respeten los derechos humanos. Esto se tiene que hacer de manera urgente. Ya. No esperemos a mañana.

 
  
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  Adam Bielan, author. – Madam President, in the Philippines, the situation of citizens, human rights defenders and media representatives has been worsening in recent years.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ report of June 2020 found that the killings related to the government’s anti—drug campaign were ‘widespread and systematic’. At least 8 663 people have been killed, according to government data, and some estimations even triple that number.

Meanwhile, human rights defenders, journalists such as Maria Ressa and activists routinely face harassment, intimidation and violence for seeking to expose allegations of extrajudicial killings. Threats, intimidation, violence, harassment, unfair prosecutions or corruption do not go hand-in-hand with a democratically elected government.

Today, we call on the Republic of the Philippines to cease immediately all violence and human rights abuses. The fight against illicit drugs must be pursued in full compliance with due process of law.

 
  
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  Maria Arena, au nom du groupe S&D. – Madame la Présidente, les exécutions extrajudiciaires perpétrées dans le cadre de la guerre contre la drogue et le terrorisme se sont multipliées et se poursuivent en toute impunité. La commission des droits de l’homme aux Philippines a estimé que près de 27 000 personnes ont trouvé la mort. Duterte continue de profiter de cette guerre pour éliminer, torturer, menacer les acteurs qui le gênent – les leaders, les paysans, les prêtres, les journalistes, les avocats – sans avoir de comptes à rendre.

Le dernier rapport des Nations unies met en évidence l’urgente nécessité d’enquêtes complémentaires sur ces violations. Le Conseil des droits de l’homme de l’ONU doit à présent mettre en place un mécanisme indépendant international chargé d’enquêter sur les exécutions extraordinaires et les autres violations commises dans ce pays. Mais dans ce climat de répression et de terreur, les communautés locales n’osent plus demander justice pour les violations subies, ni s’opposer au gouvernement. Il est temps que nous les soutenions, que nous les aidions à faire ce travail.

Et enfin, la question que nous devons aussi nous poser est celle-ci: pourquoi maintenir un régime préférentiel d’accès au marché européen dans ce contexte de répression massive des droits humains? Il y a aujourd’hui, aux Philippines, 18 000 femmes et enfants qui travaillent dans des mines, non protégés, 85 000 enfants qui travaillent, forcés, dans l’agriculture. Ce SPG n’a plus de raison d’être aujourd’hui avec les Philippines.

 
  
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  Lars Patrick Berg, im Namen der ID-Fraktion. – Frau Präsidentin! Ich möchte meine kurzen Bemerkungen auf den spezifischen Fall von Maria Ressa beschränken. Soweit ich weiß, ist Frau Ressa derzeit auf Kaution frei und wartet auf ihr Urteil. Mir ist auch bekannt, dass die Richterin in diesem Fall erklärt hat, dass Frau Ressa offenbar nicht in der Lage war, ihre Behauptungen zu begründen, und dafür auch keine Beweise vorgelegt hat.

Ich habe aber auch keinen Zweifel daran, dass auf den Philippinen Auftragsmorde stattfinden und schwere Menschenrechtsverletzungen begangen werden. Die Inhaftierung von Frau Ressa ist deswegen natürlich völlig übertrieben und auch die Anschuldigungen wegen Verleumdung. Ich denke jedoch, es obliegt dem Anwaltsteam von Frau Ressa, Beweise vorzulegen, die ihre ursprüngliche Geschichte untermauern. Und dann können wir über die Unterdrückung beziehungsweise auch die Aussetzung von Redefreiheit und die Schikanierung der Medien durch die Regierung sprechen.

 
  
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  Jutta Urpilainen, Member of the Commission. – Madam President, I would like to thank the honourable Members for their remarks.

The EU has expressed its concern about various human rights issues in the Philippines on numerous occasions, recently through the EU 27 statement at the Human Rights Council and the February 2020 biennial Generalised Scheme of Preferences report discussed in the European Parliament, as well as directly through the authorities, such as during the first Joint Committee of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement in January 2020.

More specifically on Maria Ressa’s case, the EU External Action Service spokesperson issued a statement on 16 June 2020 – so a few months ago – underlining that her conviction raised serious doubts over the respect for freedom of expression, as well as for the rule of law, in the Philippines.

We expect the Philippines, like all countries, to uphold its international human rights obligations and protect and promote fundamental freedoms.

With regard to the monitoring of the Philippines’ commitment under GSP+, the Trade Commissioner – you were referring to that, Ms Neumann – had clearly communicated our concerns to his counterpart in Manila, and the Philippines’ reply will be taken into account in assessing compliance through the chief GSP+ conditionalities during our bilateral dialogue with the Government.

The EU remains convinced that both the Philippines and the EU have most to gain from constructive engagement. During our January Joint Committee, we agreed on the establishment of a Sub—Committee on Good Governance, Rule of Law and Human Rights. This sub—committee, expected to meet regularly, will be an important forum for directly addressing all human rights issues.

The External Action Service has proposed to hold a first meeting already this autumn – by the end of this year – even under a virtual format. So the European Commission and the External Action Service will continue raising these matters with the Philippine Government in a clear and constructive way.

 
  
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  Elnök asszony. – A vitát lezárom.

A szavazásra a mai napon kerül sor.

 
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