Human rights breaches in Belarus, Iran and Nigeria 

Press Releases 
  • Belarus must immediately and unconditionally release political prisoners, and stop all human rights violations 
  • MEPs urge Iran to abolish death penalty and strongly condemn the executions of peaceful demonstrators  
  • Nigerian authorities must conduct a thorough, independent investigation into the deadly Christmas attacks in the Plateau State  

On Thursday, the European Parliament adopted three resolutions on human rights issues in Belarus, Iran and Nigeria.

New wave of mass arrests in Belarus of opposition activists and their family members

MEPs strongly condemn the recent wave of mass arrests in Belarus and urge the illegitimate Lukashenka regime to cease its repression, reminding the regime of its international obligations. Parliament calls for the immediate, unconditional release and compensation of more than 1,400 political prisoners, as well as their families and other arbitrarily detained persons.

Parliament urges the EU and the international community not to recognise the results of the parliamentary and local "elections" in Belarus because of their lack of transparency, freedom and fairness, MEPs want the EU Foreign Policy Chief Borrell and member states to impose stronger sanctions on the regime, and sanctions on the individuals responsible for serious human rights violations.

MEPs say regime victims need support through special instruments, allowing them to obtain EU visas and residence permits, and with cases of statelessness. They want to turn the examination of the human rights situation in Belarus by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights into a fully independent investigative mechanism, and to uphold the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Belarus, while strengthening accountability through extraterritorial and universal jurisdiction.

The text was adopted by 459 votes in favour, 14 against with 33 abstentions. The full resolution will be available here (08.02.2024).

Increased number of executions in Iran, in particular the case of Mohammad Ghobadlou

Parliament reiterates its continued support for the ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’ movement in Iran laureate of the 2023 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, and strongly condemns the executions of peaceful demonstrators, including Mohammad Ghobadlou.

MEPs urge Iran to commute all death sentences and completely abolish the death penalty, and fully support the abolition campaign launched by imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize winner Narges Mohammadi. Parliament wants the unconditional and immediate release of everyone arbitrarily on death row and of all prisoners of conscience, including EU nationals, including Ahmadreza Djalali and Johan Floderus.

The resolution reiterates the call for a new EU strategy on Iran, which would include a focus on countering hostage diplomacy. The Council should impose more EU sanctions on officials and entities involved in serious human rights violations, including the Supreme Leader, the President and the Prosecutor-General, MEPs add, and should designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organisation.

Member states should initiate criminal investigations into officials responsible for serious human rights violations, including under universal jurisdiction and support the renewal of the mandates of the UN Special Rapporteur on Iran and the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission at the upcoming UN Human Rights Council session. MEPs also call on member states to facilitate visas, asylum and emergency grants for people fleeing Iran.

The text was adopted by a show of hands. The full resolution will be available here (08.02.2024).

Recent attacks on Christmas Eve in Plateau State in Nigeria

Parliament strongly condemns the attack by gunmen on more than 160 villages in Nigeria’s Plateau State, which resulted in the deaths of over 335 people, including at least 200 members of Christian communities, between 23 and 25 December 2023.

The attacks were a result of escalating religious, ethnic and intercommunal conflicts, particularly in the country’s Middle Belt, which is experiencing conflict between farmers and nomadic herders over land and water resources.

MEPs say the Nigerian government should take action against militant Islamist groups, warning that the conflict may be instrumentalised to spread religion-based hatred, while also acknowledging the role of climate change. They encourage the EU Special Representative for Human Rights to visit Nigeria and welcome the announcement in October 2023 of a 900 million euros Global Gateway package for the country.

Parliament wants a thorough, independent investigation of the Christmas attacks and urges all humanitarian actors to ensure sufficient resources are allocated to addressing the crisis, which has caused an unprecedented number of deaths, injuries and displacements.

The text was adopted by a show of hands. The full resolution will be available here (08.02.2024).