• Vietnam must free blogger Nguyen Van Hoa
  • Cambodian government must allow the opposition to run in 2018 elections
  • El Salvador must free women prosecuted for miscarriage and decriminalise abortion

MEPs call for the release of Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Van Hoa, the reinstatement of Cambodian opposition lawmakers, and the decriminalisation of miscarriage and abortion in El Salvador.

Vietnam: release Nguyen Van Hoa


The European Parliament calls for the release of Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Van Hoa, sentenced on 27 November to seven years in prison on charges of producing propaganda against the state. Mr Hoa reported on the environmental disaster that took place in the Ha Tinh Province in April 2016, when toxic waste spilled into the ocean by Taiwanese firm Formosa Ha Thinh killed huge numbers of fish and made people ill.


The Vietnamese authorities should release all citizens detained for exercising their freedom of expression and end all restrictions on the activities of human rights defenders, say MEPs. They also call for a moratorium on the death penalty in Vietnam, as a first step towards abolishing capital punishment.


Cambodia: reverse the ban on the main opposition party


MEPs urge the Cambodian authorities to reverse their decision to dissolve the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) and ban 118 CNRP politicians from politics for five years. They also call for the release of CNRP leader Kem Sokha, arrested on 3 September. MEPs express concern about the general elections scheduled for July 2018, stressing that an electoral process from which the main opposition party has been excluded is not legitimate.


Cambodia currently benefits from EU’s preferential EBA (Everything But Arms) scheme, the most favourable regime available under the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences. If Cambodian authorities do not respect fundamental rights, these tariff preferences must be temporarily withdrawn, say MEPs. They also ask the European External Action Service and the EU Commission to prepare a list of individuals responsible for the dissolution of the opposition and other serious human rights violations in Cambodia, with a view to imposing visa restrictions and asset freezes on them.


El Salvador: free the women prosecuted for miscarriage


Parliament urges the El Salvador authorities to release women and girls imprisoned after suffering stillbirths or miscarriages and to decriminalise abortion. The Salvadoran Legislative Assembly should reform the Penal Code to allow abortion, at least in cases where pregnancy poses a risk to the life of a pregnant woman or to her physical or mental health, where there is severe and fatal impairment of the foetus, or in cases of rape or incest, say MEPs. Meanwhile, they ask authorities to place a moratorium on the enforcement of the current law.


Since 2000, at least 120 women in El Salvador have been prosecuted for abortion-related offences, 26 of whom were convicted of homicide and 23 of abortion. MEPs ask Salvadoran courts to set aside their judgments in the two most recent cases: those of Teodora del Carmen Vásquez, whose 30-year prison sentence was upheld on Wednesday by the appeal court, and Evelyn Beatriz Hernandez Cruz, whose sentence was confirmed in October 2017.


The three resolutions have been voted by show of hands on Thursday.


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