Human rights breaches in Turkey, Cambodia and China 


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  • Turkish authorities must immediately release Osman Kavala from prison 
  • The Cambodian government must end the crackdown on political opposition 
  • Chinese authorities must allow investigations into alleged forced organ harvesting 

On Thursday, the European Parliament adopted three resolutions on the respect for human rights in Turkey, Cambodia and China.

The case of Osman Kavala in Turkey

Parliament condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the recent ruling by Istanbul’s 13th High Criminal Court on 25 April imposing an aggravated life sentence on Osman Kavala, who was found guilty of attempting to overthrow the government. MEPs say the verdict came after Mr Kavala had spent more than four and a half years in unjust, unlawful and illegitimate detention. MEPs also criticize the sentence being handed out less than three months after the Council of Europe launched infringement proceedings against Turkey for refusing to implement the legally binding judgment of the European Court of Human Rights to release Mr Kavala.

A prominent Turkish philanthropist and human rights defender, Osman Kavala was first arrested and imprisoned on 1 November 2017 on charges related to the Gezi Park protests in 2013, and the attempted coup in Turkey in 2016. In addition to asking for his immediate and unconditional release, MEPs demand the same for his co-defendants at the recent trial, who were sentenced to 18 years in prison on the same charges. These include architect Mücella Yapıcı, lawyer Can Atalay, city planner Tayfun Kahraman, director of Boğaziçi European School of Politics Ali Hakan Altınay, founder of Istanbul Bilgi University Yiğit Ali Ekmekçi, film producer Çiğdem Mater Utku and documentary filmmaker Mine Özerden.

The resolution was adopted by a show of hands. For further details, the full version of the report will be available here. (05.05.2022)

The continuous crackdown on the political opposition in Cambodia

MEPs condemn the continuous prosecution of opposition politicians, trade unionists, human rights defenders, journalists, environmentalists, students and others in Cambodia. They highlight how this sweeping crackdown is being orchestrated by Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Cambodian Peoples’ Party, and they call on the government to immediately put an end to all forms of this intimidation and harassment. In addition, they urge the country’s security forces to refrain from using unnecessary and excessive force against people engaged in peaceful protests.

The resolution condemns the dissolution by the Cambodian Supreme Court of the country’s largest opposition party – the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) – in November 2017. It also asks for the charges against Kem Sokha, Sam Rainsy, Mu Sochua and other prominent opposition officials to be dropped immediately.

Expressing their deep concern over backsliding on human rights in Cambodia ahead of local elections in June 2022 and national elections in 2023, MEPs want the EU and the international community to support Cambodian activists, human rights defenders and political parties in their struggle to reclaim some amount of political and civic space in their country. They say that the European Commission should be prepared to use all tools available, including a complete suspension of Cambodia’s ‘Everything But Arms’ status and other sanctions, if electoral observers find evidence of unfair elections.

The text was adopted by 526 votes in favour, with 5 against and 63 abstentions. It will be available in full here. (05.05.2022)

Reports of continued organ harvesting in China

Parliament expresses serious concern about reports of persistent, systematic, inhumane and state-sanctioned organ harvesting from prisoners in China, and more specifically from Falun Gong practitioners. It recalls that China has ratified the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which provides for the absolute and non-derogable prohibition of said practices.

MEPs consider that the practice of organ harvesting from living prisoners on death row and prisoners of conscience in China may amount to crimes against humanity. They call on the Chinese authorities to respond promptly to the allegations of organ harvesting and to allow independent monitoring by international human rights mechanisms, including the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The resolution was adopted by show of hands. For further details, the full version will be available here. (05.05.2022)