Human rights breaches in China, Chad and Bahrain 

Press Releases 
  • MEPs condemn violations of fundamental freedoms amid peaceful anti-COVID-19 protests in China 
  • Release and protect pro-democracy protesters in Chad to safeguard political transition 
  • Bahrain must release Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja and all other political activists 

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

Chinese government crackdown on the peaceful protests across the People's Republic of China

MEPs express their support for protesters fighting for fundamental rights who are being persecuted by the Chinese government, notably in the context of the zero COVID-19 policy. They are concerned about violations of freedoms of expression, association, assembly, press and media in China - intensified by the use of mass surveillance - and demand that human rights be guaranteed.

All the victims of the Urumqi fire on 24 November 2022 were Uyghurs, MEPs point out, deploring the systematic repression of this ethnicity, notably in the Xinjiang region. In addition, MEPs highlight the arrest of a foreign journalist covering the protests and demand unhindered access to China for independent journalists, international observers and investigative bodies.

The resolution calls for sanctions against those responsible for crimes against humanity to be intensified, for better coordination regarding Chinese overseas police service stations and for addressing freedom of expression during official talks with China.

The resolution was adopted by show of hands. For more details, it will be available in full here. (15.12.2022)

Military Junta crackdown on peaceful demonstrations in Chad

Parliament condemns the restriction of the fundamental right to demonstrate and the use of violence against pro-democracy protesters and civil society in Chad during the protests of October 2022. In their resolution, MEPs call for all protesters held by the Chadian government to be released and granted legal protection. They condemn their prosecution in mass trials that failed to adhere to international standards on transparency and justice.

According to MEPs, the regime in Chad has failed to uphold its commitment to a democratic transition, causing a protracted crisis in the country. They highlight the need for new, transparent, inclusive and credible presidential elections to be organised as soon as possible, in order to facilitate a political transition that guarantees respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Finally, the resolution demands an independent and impartial investigation by the UN and the African Union into the reported violence, including reports of torture in Chadian prisons. MEPs want to prosecute and hold accountable those responsible for the violence and killings of individuals and civil society, and urge the EU and member states to raise these concerns directly with the Chadian authorities.

The resolution was adopted by show of hands. For more details, it will be available in full here. (15.12.2022)

The case of human rights defender Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja in Bahrain

Parliament demands the immediate and unconditional release of Danish-Bahraini citizen Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja and all other political activists. Al-Khawaja, who is the cofounder of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), has been in prison for twelve years serving a life sentence for leading peaceful protests during the 2011 Arab spring protests for democratic reforms.

He suffers from a series of chronic and degenerative health problems and requires timely, expert medical treatment, warn MEPs. Parliament calls on EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell, the European External Action Service and member states — in particular the government of Denmark — to raise the case of Al Khawaja and all other human rights defenders in the country both publicly and privately.

MEPs strongly condemn the continued use of torture and mistreatment in the Gulf country. Furthermore, they argue that Bahrain should restore citizenship to the almost 300 individuals — notably human rights defenders — who have been stripped of it and end the ongoing practice.

The moratorium on capital punishment, which had been in place until 2017, should never have been lifted, MEPs say. Bahrain has executed six people since then, in what the UN has referred to as extrajudicial killings, and 26 more are currently on death row in the country.

The resolution was adopted by 316 votes in favour, 6 against with 38 abstentions. For more details, it will be available in full here. (15.12.2022)