Nov 26, 2010

Human rights: Burma, Iraq, Tibet


In three resolutions adopted in Strasbourg on Thursday, the European Parliament welcomes the recent release of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, strongly condemns the recent attacks on Christian communities in Iraq and urges the Chinese authorities to support a genuine bilingual language policy in Tibet.


Below is a press release  published by the European Parliament:



MEPs welcome the recent release of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi but are concerned about her safety and insist that her freshly regained freedom must be unconditioned and unrestricted. They urge the Burmese regime to engage in discussions with her and with representatives of the minority peoples.

In a plenary resolution passed on Thursday, MEPs call on the EU and its Member States "to employ its full economic and political influence in order to bring about freedom and democracy in Burma" and urge them to continue to provide funding for refugees on the Thai-Burma border.  They also welcome the decision to send a Parliamentary delegation to Burma to hand Aung San Suu Kyi the Sakharov Prize she won in 1990, should she be unable to attend the official Sakharov ceremony in Strasbourg in December.

Regarding the 7 November elections in Burma, MEPs say they were conducted in a climate of fear, intimidation and resignation, with hundreds of thousands of Burmese citizens, monks and political prisoners being banned from voting. Up to 2200 political prisoners should be immediately released without any pre-condition, stress MEPs. They also call on ASEAN members, China, India and Russia (Burma's main trading partners) to stop supporting the regime and exert pressure to bring positive change to the country. Censorship of the press and political control of the internet and mobile phone network are other serious sources of concern to Parliament.



In a resolution on Iraq, Parliament reiterates its long-standing opposition to the death penalty and urges the Iraqi authorities not to carry out the death sentences on Iraq's former deputy premier Tariq Aziz, aged 74, former Interior Minister Sadoun Shakir and Abed Hamoud, former Private Secretary to Saddam Hussein. They welcome the announcement by Iraq's president Jalal Talabani that he will not sign the execution orders.

Condemning the recent attacks on Christian communities in Iraq, Parliament calls on EU High representative Catherine Ashton to treat the problem of the safety of Christians within Iraqi borders as a priority and urges the Iraqi authorities to "drastically increase their efforts for the protection of Christian and vulnerable communities". MEPs also call on the European Union to strengthen the fight against terrorism.



In a resolution on Tibet, MEPs urge the Chinese authorities to support a genuine bilingual language policy, in which all subjects can be taught in the Tibetan language. They condemn the "increased crackdown on the exercise of cultural, linguistic, religious and other fundamental freedoms" of the six million Tibetan people as well as the Chinese authorities' plan to make Chinese the main language of instruction in Tibet.  Parliament deplores the often discriminatory treatment of ethnic and religious minorities in China and asks the European Commission to report on the use made by China of the €1 million fund requested in 2009 to support Tibetan civil society.