Human rights breaches in China, Iran and Egypt 

Press Releases 
Plenary session 
 
 
  • China must end the forced labour schemes and mass incarcerations of ethnic minorities 
  • Iran must free 2012 Sakharov laureate Nasrin Sotoudeh and halt imminent execution of Ahmadreza Djalali 
  • Egypt must end crackdown on human rights defenders 

On Thursday and Friday, the European Parliament adopted three resolutions taking stock of the human rights situation in China, Iran and Egypt.

Forced labour and the situation of the Uyghurs in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China

Parliament strongly condemns the Chinese government-led system of forced labour – in particular the exploitation of Uyghur, ethnic Kazakh and Kyrgyz, and other Muslim minority groups – in factories within and outside internment camps in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. It also denounces the continued transfer of forced labourers to other Chinese administrative divisions, and the fact that well-known European brands and companies have been benefiting from forced Chinese labour.


MEPs are deeply concerned about the increasingly oppressive regime that many religious and ethnic minorities, in particular Uyghurs and Kazakhs, are facing in mainland China. These “violate their human dignity, as well as their rights to freedom of cultural expression and religious belief, to freedom of speech and expression, and to peaceful assembly and association”.


They also deeply deplore the continued persecution and the serious and systematic human rights violations that amount to crimes against humanity, while urging the Chinese government to put an immediate end to the practice of arbitrary detention without charge, trial or conviction for criminal offences of members of the Uyghur and other Muslim minorities. MEPs call on the Chinese government to end the “mass incarceration” of ethnic minorities in camps and detention centres and demand the immediate and unconditional release of those detained.


The text was approved by 604 votes in favour, 20 against and 57 abstentions. For all the details, it will be available in full here. (17.12.2020)


Iran, in particular the case of 2012 Sakharov Prize Laureate Nasrin Sotoudeh

MEPs strongly condemn the arbitrary detention, sentencing and, recently, return to prison of woman human rights defender, lawyer and 2012 Sakharov Prize laureate Nasrin Sotoudeh in Iran. They urge Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release her and allow her to receive the healthcare she requires.


In addition, the resolution condemns the recent executions in Iran of France-based journalist Ruhollah Zam, editor of the Amad News Telegram channel, and wrestler Navid Afkari, while urging Iran to immediately halt the imminent execution of Swedish-Iranian academic Ahmadreza Djalali. It calls on EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell and all EU countries to urgently intervene to try to halt plans to execute Mr Djalali, quash his death sentence and secure his immediate release.


The text asks all EU member states to jointly issue public statements and undertake diplomatic initiatives to monitor unfair trials and visit prisons where human rights defenders and other prisoners of conscience, including EU nationals, are being detained in Iran. It also demands targeted EU measures against Iranian officials who have committed serious human rights violations, including the recent executions of Ruhollah Zam and Navid Afkari, as well as against those involved in gross human rights abuses, such as judges who have handed the death sentence to journalists, human rights defenders, political dissidents and activists.


The text was approved by 614 votes in favour, 12 against and 63 abstentions. For all the details, it will be available in full here. (17.12.2020)


The deteriorating situation of human rights in Egypt, in particular the case of the activists of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR)

Parliament deplores, once again and in the strongest possible terms, the continued and intensifying crackdown on fundamental rights and, among others, the persecution of human rights defenders, lawyers and civil society in Egypt. MEPs are outraged at the recent arrests of senior EIPR activists Gasser Abdel Razek, Karim Ennarah and Mohammad Basheer – who represent one of the last independent human rights organisations in the country – in retaliation for their recent meeting with European diplomats in Cairo.


They welcome the provisional release of these activists but urge the Egyptian authorities to drop all charges against them, end all forms of harassment and intimidation against them and EIPR founder and acting director Hossam Bahgat. Any restrictive measures, including travel bans and asset freezes, taken against them and the EIPR should be revoked.


The resolution further regrets that the decision to release them was not extended to other EIPR detainees, in particular Patrick George Zaki whose detention order was extended for another 45 days on 6 December. It stresses that the ongoing arrests and detentions are part of a broader pattern of intimidating organisations that defend human rights, and calls for an end to these acts.


The text finally deplores the attempt by the Egyptian authorities to mislead and hinder progress in investigating the kidnapping, torture and murder in 2016 of Giulio Regeni, an Italian researcher, and laments the Egyptian authorities’ persistent refusal to provide Italian authorities with all the documents and information needed to enable a swift, transparent and impartial investigation.


The text was approved by 434 votes in favour, 49 against and 202 abstentions. For all the details, it will be available in full here. (17.12.2020)