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Monday, May 16, 2011

Human rights: Belarus, Azerbaijan and Sri Lanka

News The Belarus regime's harassment of journalists and opposition leaders, the plight of human rights activists in Azerbaijan and the fate of Tamil citizens in Sri Lanka were the three topics selected for urgent debates and resolutions by the European Parliament on Thursday.

Call for EU sanctions on state-owned companies in Belarus Amid concern at "the persisting climate of fear and intimidation" of journalists and opposition leaders in Belarus, Parliament calls on the Commission to broaden EU sanctions against the regime to include targeted economic sanctions against state-owned companies. MEPs condemn the constant arrests and trials of presidential candidates and emphasise that the EU needs to find new ways to assist the political opposition against the Lukashenka regime. The ongoing procedure to close the weekly newspapers Narodnaya Volia and Nasha Niva and the independent internet portals Karta '97 and Bielorusskij Partizan must be also halted, says Parliament. Azerbaijan authorities criticised for treatment of activists A few weeks after the two young activists Jabbar Savalan and Bakhtiyar Hajiev used Facebook to call for antigovernment protests in Azerbaijan, charges brought against them for alleged possession of drugs or evasion of military service could result in jail terms of up to two and a half years. MEPs denounce both cases along with the worsening human rights situation in the country, in a resolution that blames the Azerbaijani authorities for increasing harassment and intimidation of journalists and political activists. MEPs call for the release of the two young bloggers and the newspaper editor Eynulla Fatullayev. They urge the government to drop the illegal charges against them and guarantee the protection of journalists in the country. A European Parliament delegation headed by President Jerzy Buzek will visit Baku next week. Negotiations on an EU-Azerbaijan Association Agreement were launched on July 2010 and are ongoing. Investigation needed into human rights violations in Sri Lanka Two years after the civil war in Sri Lanka ended with the surrender of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Parliament urges the Sri Lankan government to take active measures to protect the Tamil people so that they can look forward to "a bright and prosperous future, on equal terms with their Sinhalese fellow citizens". Following a recently published UN report which finds credible the allegations that both government forces and the LTTE conducted military operations with "flagrant" violations of human rights, MEPs call for a full, impartial and transparent investigation. The EP urges the Sri Lankan government to implement the recommendations suggested by the UN panel of experts and conduct a genuine investigation.

Source :  Press room - European Parliament


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