Human rights breaches in Azerbaijan, The Gambia and Hong Kong 


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  • The Commission should consider suspending the EU’s energy partnership with Azerbaijan 
  • MEPs urge Gambian authorities to prevent the roll-back of the country’s female genital mutilation ban 
  • The new security law in Hong Kong must be repealed and pro-democratic activists released 

On Thursday, the European Parliament adopted three resolutions on human rights issues in Azerbaijan, The Gambia and Hong Kong.

Azerbaijan, notably the repression of civil society and the cases of Dr Gubad Ibadoghlu and Ilhamiz Guliyev

MEPs urge Azerbaijan to immediately and unconditionally release Ilhamiz Guliyev, a human rights defender arrested in December 2023, and all other political prisoners, including EU and other nationals. They call on the authorities to lift the travel ban and drop all charges against Gubad Ibadoghlu, a political economist and opposition figure, and ensure he receives independent medical care after he was released from jail and placed under house arrest on 22 April.

The ongoing human rights violations in Azerbaijan are incompatible with the country hosting COP 29, MEPs say. They want the Commission to consider suspending the strategic partnership with Azerbaijan in the field of energy. MEPs insist on making any future partnership agreement conditional to the release of all political prisoners and an improvement of the human rights situation in the country, and they reiterate their call for EU sanctions against Azerbaijani officials who have committed serious human rights violations.

The resolution was adopted by 474 votes in favour, 4 against and 51 abstentions. For further details, the full version will be available here (25.04.2024).

Concern over potential repeal of female genital mutilation ban in The Gambia

MEPs warn that The Gambia risks being the first country in the world to reverse legal protection against female genital mutilation (FGM) and urge the Gambian Parliament to reject a proposal to repeal the current FGM law and to uphold the practise’s criminalisation. They also urge the Gambian government to strengthen its efforts to prevent and eliminate FGM through enforcement measures, education and collaboration with international partners.

Parliament says it is ready to support the government and civil society in community engagement to combat FGM, assist survivors, and defend women’s rights. FGM should, MEPs argue, be urgently and systematically raised with the Gambian authorities by the Commission and the European External Action Service.

The resolution was adopted by 535 votes in favour, 1 against and 1 abstention. For further details, the full version will be available here (25.04.2024).

The new security law in Hong Kong and the cases of Andy Li and Joseph John

The resolution strongly condemns the adoption of the Safeguarding National Security Ordonnance (SNSO) in Hong Kong, expanding the National Security Law (NSL) imposed by China, and urges China and Hong Kong to repeal both laws.

MEPs are appalled by the shutting down of pro-democracy political forces, civil society, news outlets and the arrest of over 200 people since the adoption of NSL. They urge the Hong Kong government to immediately and unconditionally release Andy Li, Joseph John, Jimmy Lai, all other pro-democratic activists, and drop all charges against them.

They demand the Council review its 2020 Conclusions on Hong Kong and adopt sanctions under the EU global human rights sanctions regime against Chief Executive John Lee and all officials responsible for the crackdown on freedoms in Hong Kong. They are also concerned about the Safeguarding National Security Ordonnance’s extraterritoriality and retroactivity, targeting the Hong Kong diaspora, and urge member states to suspend extradition treaties with China and Hong Kong.

The resolution was adopted by a show of hands. For further details, the full version will be available here (25.04.2024).