Twinning partnerships

Defending parliamentarians

Elected directly by the citizens, Parliamentarians play a fundamental role in strengthening and consolidating democracy. Through their work in Parliaments, they enable a more effective defence of human rights and rule of law. It is through the Solidarity with Parliamentarians programme that the European Parliament intends to ensure a better protection of their rights, while many parliamentarians around the world are at risk because of their political positions.

Discover hereafter the twinning partnerships in place, find out what is at stake for these parliamentarians, and what actions MEPs undertake to support them.

Hannah Neumann supports Sarah Elago, harassed Philippine MP

Sarah Elago is the first female representative of the youth party-list, KABATAAN (Filipino for young people), in the House of Representatives of the Philippines. Currently on her second term and part of 13 House Committees, she is the youngest of the Board of Trustees of the Philippine Legislators' Committee on Population and Development.

Sarah Elago is particularly active in pushing for legislation and oversight on safeguarding accessible and quality healthcare, and the rights and welfare of people with disabilities. She is also a mover-volunteer in Tulong Kabataan Relief Network distributing food and essential aid to disaster victims and their rebuilding efforts.

A critic of Duterte's regime, Sarah Elago has been subject to red tagging and disinformation received from the police and army. She has submitted complaints to the Commission on Human Rights and the National Bureau of Investigations. She has been subjected to gender-based discrimination, and the frequent target of disinformation and toxic propaganda, including through the publication of a fake sex video that was shared on several websites.

Raphael Glucksmann defends Nathan Law, Hong Kong’s youngest lawmaker

Nathan Law is a Hong-Kong politician and human right activist. He is a founder of the political party Demosistōn and in 2016 became the youngest person ever to be elected Member of the Legislative Council, the Hong-Kong parliament.

In 2014, Nathan Law was part of the Umbrella Movement, a peaceful protest in Hong Kong to demand more transparent elections. Sentenced to several months of prison for his role during the 2014 protests, he remained highly active as a defender of the fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration and in the Hong-Kong Basic Law.

Following the adoption by China, on 30 June 2020, of the new security law applicable in Hong-Kong, which among other things, allowed for the arbitrary imprisonment of dissidents and extradition to the Chinese mainland, he went into exile to the United Kingdom, where he was granted asylum.

From Europe, he continues to defend the civil and political rights of the Hong-Kong citizens and to draw attention to the fate of dissidents under Chinese rule.

Chris MacManus supports Figen Yüksekdağ, imprisoned Turkish MP

Figen Yüksekdağ is a Turkish politician and a member of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP). Born in 1971, she has been part of the socialist movement ever since her youth. Due to her political activities, she was detained in 2009. Shortly thereafter, in 2010, she took over the role of chairperson of the Ezilenlerin Sosyalist Partisi (Socialist Party of the Oppressed).

Elected co-president of the HDP in June 2014, she became a member of the Turkish Parliament in 2015. She was arrested in 2016 over alleged terrorist propaganda, which led to the removal of parliamentary immunity. The following year and for the same reasons, she was deprived of her parliamentary mandate. Yüksekdağ and 108 HDP members were collectively tried for terrorist propaganda, resulting in 37 life sentences.

Figen Yüksekdağ is currently detained in F-type High Security Prison, an establishment strongly denounced in several NGO reports for human rights abuses. She has been subjected to ill treatment due to her political identity, and has received disciplinary sanctions for reacting against harsh treatment.

Nikolaj Villumsen solidarises with Leyla Güven, imprisoned Turkish MP

Leyla Güven is a Kurdish politician who dedicated her political career to the fate of the Kurdish community in Turkey. Born in 1964, she started her political life in the People's Democracy Party (Halkın Demokrasi Partisi, HADEP), which was considered to be pro-Kurdish and banned in 2003.

She was elected mayor of Kucukdikili in Adana in 2004 and of Viransehir Urfa in 2009. As mayor of Kucukdikili, she became known for defending the rights of women. She was imprisoned for the first time in 2009 for her political activity, in a large crackdown of Kurdish politicians. She remained imprisoned for four years. Elected member of the Parliament in June 2018, she was jailed for criticising the Operation "Olive Branch", the Turkish military intervention in Syria.

Released in January 2019, she saw her parliamentary immunity lifted in June 2020, alongside other members of the HDP. In December 2020, she was accused of links to a terrorist organisation and sentenced to 22 years of prison, where she still remains.

Nacho Sanchez-Armor defends Ömer Gergerlioğlu, persecuted Turkish MP

Born in 1965, Ömer Gergerlioğlu is a member of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, elected in 2018 for the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP).

Shortly after his election, the Turkish judiciary prosecuted him for retweeting in 2016 a PKK tweet. As the PKK is classified as a terrorist organisation, he was accused of terrorist propaganda and sentenced in 2018 to two years and six months' imprisonment, a conviction upheld by the Court of Cassation in February 2021. Consequently, he had his parliamentary immunity stripped of in March 2021.

Following these events, he was physically assaulted while the police was raiding his home and had to be briefly hospitalised. In July 2021, the Turkish Constitutional Court ruled that his civil and political rights had been violated and restored him his freedom and parliamentary membership. Despite his freedom and mandate restored, Ömer Gergerlioğlu still suffers threats and harassment.

Jordi Solé defends Musa Farisoğullari, imprisoned Turkish MP

Musa Farisoğullari is a Kurdish politician and a member of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP). Born in 1956, he worked as a German teacher in Diyarbakir. Due to involvement in the teachers' union organisation, he was dismissed in 1991 and again in 1997, which led to the beginning of his political career.

In 2009, Turkish authorities arrested him and several other members of the Democratic Society Party, and accused them of belonging to the KCK (Koma Civakên Kurdistanê - umbrella organisation of several Kurdish parties and associations). Musa Farisoğullari spent nine years in prison.

In 2018, he was elected for the Grand National Assembly of Turkey as an HDP member. In June 2020, however, a new ruling forced him into custody for the execution of the remaining part of the sentence. He was then and sent to Diyarbakır D Type Closed Penal Institution and after 22 months, Turkish authorities transferred him to Diyarbakır High Security Prison.

While Musa Farisoğullari was in prison, a public lawsuit was filed against him with the allegation of "being a member of an illegal organisation", being a member of the Democratic Society Congress. This case is still ongoing.