Friday, July 09, 2010

Human Rights: EU calls for release of Farai Maguwu and Maria Lourdes Afiuni

European Parliament -

In three resolutions adopted in Strasbourg on Thursday, the European Parliament calls for the release of Zimbabwean human rights campaigner Farai Maguwu, urges North Korea to stop its systematic violations of human rights and asks the authorities of Venezuela to free Maria Lourdes Afiuni, (photo) a judge in Caracas who was arrested in December 2009.

Zimbabwe: human rights should be part of Kimberley process

Parliament calls for the release of Zimbabwean human rights campaigner Farai Maguwu, who was arrested by the authorities on 3 June this year after he identified serious human rights violations by the Zimbabwean state security forces in several Zimbabwean diamond fields.

MEPs call on the Zimbabwean government to demilitarise the Marange diamond fields. They also urge Harare to respect the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, which enables members to sell rough diamonds on the legitimate international market provided that their trade does not finance armed conflicts, by observing human rights.

Parliament also "calls for the revision of the Kimberley Process to take proper account of human rights principles". In addition, it insists that the Zimbabwe Government use the substantial revenue from diamond mining to help regenerate the economy as a whole.

"Mugabe and his close supporters remain a continuing stumbling block in the process of political and economic reconstruction and reconciliation in Zimbabwe, plundering as they do its economic resources for their own benefit", states the resolution, which was adopted by a show of hands.

Venezuela: MEPs call for release of Judge Afiuni

In a resolution on Venezuela, MEPs demand the release of Judge Maria Lourdes Afiuni, who was arrested without charge at court by officials of the DISIP (Directorate of Intelligence and Prevention). They call for guarantees for judicial independence and the democratic conditions needed to allow legislative elections to go ahead in September.

Parliament calls for the release of the judge and also for a fair and rapid trial, with all the necessary legal guarantees. They voice concern at the conditions of detention of Judge Afiuni, which pose a threat to her physical and psychological integrity.

They condemn the public statements made by the President of the Republic of Venezuela, insulting and denigrating the judge.

With a view to the parliamentary elections on 26 September, the resolution, which was adopted by 46 votes to 20 with 1 abstention, calls on the Venezuelan Government to respect the rules of democracy and the principles of freedom of expression, assembly, association and election.

North Korea: human rights violations must stop

Turning to the situation in North Korea (DPRK), Parliament calls on the government to abolish the death penalty and end to the ongoing grave, widespread and systematic human rights violations, public executions and extra-judicial executions. MEPs also urge the international community to protect North Korean refugees.

The EU should "appoint an EU special representative on the DPRK to ensure persistent attention and coordination" both within the European Union and with key partners such as the United States and South Korea, says the resolution.

MEPs call on the Government of the DPRK to ensure a comprehensive investigation on the EU citizens and third-country nationals who are suspected to have been abducted by North Korean state agents during past decades.

EU Member States are urged "to continue granting North Korean refugees asylum and to adopt a more systematic approach to organising European and international protection for North Koreans". In addition, Parliament calls on China to stop arresting and returning North Korean refugees to the DPRK.

The resolution was approved by 64 votes to 0, with 1 abstention.