Tag Archives: MEP

MEPs: human rights in Afghanistan concerns

Strasbourg 24.11.2022 On Thursday, the European Parliament adopted three resolutions on the respect for human rights in Afghanistan, Belarus and Democratic Republic of Congo. (Image above: European Parliament building, Strasbourg)

Human rights situation in Afghanistan, especially the deterioration of women’s rights and attacks against educational institutions

The staggering regression in women and girls’ rights under the Taliban qualifies as gender apartheid, warn MEPs. They call on Afghanistan’s de facto authorities to ensure that women can again actively participate in public life. This must be a key condition, they say, if the international community is to engage with the Taliban. Denouncing the egregious ban on secondary education for girls, Parliament recalls the Taliban’s promises that women’s access to education would be restored and demands that the Taliban now honour their own commitments.)

Parliament deeply regrets that, since the Taliban takeover, access to information has become increasingly difficult, journalistic independence has been curtailed, and civil society organisations have been subjected to increasing pressure.

MEPs also express their alarm at the devastating impact of climate change and environmental degradation in Afghanistan, which is ranked by the UN as the sixth country in the world most affected by climate-related threats, and call for urgent action by the international community to help Afghans address this dramatic situation.

Finally, MEPs ask the EU to establish a long-term strategy on Afghanistan in light of the current situation and the failure of the Taliban to deliver on any of their initial promises.

The resolution was adopted by 532 votes in favour, 8 against with 25 abstentions.

Hungarian forced labour victims for justice

Brussels 17.11.2022 “The deportation of the Hungarians of Slovakia for forced labour 1946-1947” hearing took place in the European Parliament on November 16 under the chairmanship of the MEP Jordi Sole from the Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya party, Spain, belonging to the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance.
“In order to understand the question of deportation of the Hungarian population of Slovakia towards the Czech countries some enlightenment is necessary”, said the keynote speaker Mikulas Krivansky, a Slovakian born Hungarian journalist, President of the Association of Victims of Deportations and their Descendants.

At the end of the Second World War the Czechoslovak leaders were deeply convinced that reconstituted Czechoslovakia had to become ethnically homogeneous.
The Conference of Potsdam accepted the evacuation of Germans but opposed the expatriation of Hungarians. As a consequence the Czechoslovak government asked the Peace Conference to compel Hungary to accept a Treaty on the exchange of populations, such a Treaty being signed on Febrary 27th 1946.
The Czechoslovak authorities decided to proceed to an unilateral and violent solution of this issue.
Instrumentalising the Law 88/1945 on general work liability (obligation) the displacement of the Hungarians towards the Czech country proceeded.

Comparing the Law itself and its application, in fact it has been used as a pretext to the displacement of the Hungarian population.

By virtue of such a law, in the case of an urgent and public interest work, it was foreseen, for a year at most, to impose the obligatory work on men aged from 16 to 55 and women from 18 to 45.

Those not to be constrained to work were gravid women and women with one child under 15, nor women having at least one dependent person. Married workers could only be called if the number of workers was not sufficient.

In spite of this, as early as November 19th 1946, forced transfers were executed, army and police troops encircled the Hungarian districts along the Danube.
The deportations produced many tragic victims and caused a lot of suffering; newborn babies at the breast and elderly people died, others suffered serious illnesses.
The displaced families were posted as rural servants or daily-workers for Czech big farmers and landowners.
Such a proceeding was contrary to the Czechoslovak laws, because the authorities had repeatedly violated the legislation in force.

According to the sources of the ministry of Social Affairs, in January 1948, 11 746 “economic units”, a term used to designate families, were deported, namely 44 129 persons.

The majority of the victims managed to go back to Slovakia after the communists took power in 1948.
Only after the change in 1989, did the victims express their claims, demanding justice to be served.
This is the reason why the Association of Victims of Deportations and their Descendants was founded. The Association represents 3 000 registered victims.

During the two mandates of Mr. Dzurinda’s Government ( 1998-2002 and 2002-2006 ) the Slovak Parliament voted for laws aiming to compensate certain victims of the past. These laws covered the 1939 to 1945 fascist period and the 1948 to 1990 communist period but excluded from any compensation the victims of the 1945 to 1948 period considered as a democratic one.
The exclusion of the victims of forced labour from all compensation is based on ethnicity and constitutes, in our opinion, a serious discrimination between the different groups of Slovak citizens.

Subsequently 1 500 members of our association have written personally a letter to the Prime Minister Mr. Dzurinda and to the European Commissioner Mr. Romano Prodi. The European Deputies mobilized in favour of the victims of forced labour. The question was put forward within various Parliamentary Committees: Nelly Maes, Miquel Mayol i Raynal, Bernat Joan i Marí travelled many times to Slovakia to attend the General Assembly of our Association.
Written questions were raised at the Commission and at the Commissioner for Enlargement Mr. Verheugen.
The MEP Erik Meijer confronted the latter four pertinent questions, but got only vague answers based on evasive generalities.

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The Czech Government under Mr. Jiří Paroubek finally decided to make a humanitarian gesture towards the victims of the past. Thanks to the intervention of many European Deputies from a variety of political adherences, the Czech citizens of Hungarian origin, victims of forced labour, are now included in the Declaration of the Czech Government.
In the light of the preceding facts one is entitled to raise a question: has there then been indifference or complicity on behalf of the decision-making politicians?
To sum up the the main violations of legality incurred in by the state authorities are the following:

– Use of coercion and armed force
– Non-respect of the prescriptions of the law when being enforced
– Non-respect of salary related provisions in force
– Absence of proper housing and food as indicated by law
– Exploitation of child labour
– Denial to include in pension schemes the period of work
– Absence of all benefits issuing from social security coverage.

“We believe that all those who have been through these works, contributed to the reconstruction of the Republic caused by World War II, they deserve recognition for their dignifying effort. Many are those, among which are the MEPs, who feel there is a compelling need for legislation aimed at repairing prejudice caused to the Slovak citizens – victims of forced labour” Krivansky continued.

The recent role of the European Parliament and elected representatives in matters of forced labour is reflected in the decisions taken against companies resorting to these practices.
The EU ban of products from forced labour is an encouraging gesture for our struggle for justice.

Presentetion by Mr. Krivansky, President of the Association of Victims of Deportations and their Descendants – Slovakia, during the Public Hearing held by MEP Jordi SOLÉ in Brussel on Nov.16th 2022

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MEPs: nuclear joins “green” energies

Strasbourg 07.07.2022 The European Parliament has rejected a motion to oppose the inclusion of nuclear and gas as environmentally sustainable economic activities. (Image above: illustration).

The European Parliament did not object to the Commission’s Taxonomy Delegated Act to include specific nuclear and gas energy activities, under certain conditions, in the list of environmentally sustainable economic activities covered by the so-called EU Taxonomy.

As the Commission believes there is a role for private investment in gas and nuclear activities in the green transition, it has proposed the classification of certain fossil gas and nuclear energy activities as transitional activities contributing to climate change mitigation.

The inclusion of certain gas and nuclear activities is time-limited and dependent on specific conditions and transparency requirements.

278 MEPs voted in favour of the resolution, 328 against and 33 abstained. An absolute majority of 353 MEPs was needed for Parliament to veto the Commission’s proposal. If neither Parliament, nor Council object to the proposal by 11 July 2022, the Taxonomy Delegated Act will enter into force and apply as of 1 January 2023.

The Taxonomy regulation is part of the Commission’s action plan on financing sustainable growth and aims to boost green investments and prevent ‘greenwashing’.

MEP Donato denounces Facebook ban

Brussels 14.03.2022 “They closed my Facebook page. The attack on me started in a heavy way. Draw conclusions». The Venetian MEP Francesca Donato denounces this action of Facebook in her Twitter micro blog, explaining that her Facebook page with over 143 000 followers has been closed.

«I was immediately informed by my communication staff of the disappearance of the page which took place without any notification or warning from Facebook. I can only think that Zuckerberg’s company, which in these hours has also decided to make legitimate threats and insults to Russian citizens, has instead considered my page too free or in any case not compliant with the mainstream vulgate. This had been clear to me for some time, but I didn’t think they would silence a democratically elected Member of parliament and candidate for mayor in the fifth city of Italy».

The Facebook page of the independent MEP had already suffered limitations due to the very critical positions expressed on the vaccination campaign and on Covid management. «The blackout of my page comes incidentally after my vote against the European Parliament sanctions against Russia and my critical position on the government’s line of exacerbating the conflict in Ukraine. Limiting or even preventing the free expression of political opinions seems to me a way of operating on the part of Meta that is incompatible with the need to defend freedom and democracy. Anyone who thinks of silencing me or intimidating me should put his mind in peace: I don’t stop “, concludes Donato

MEP Donato has been exposing atrocities of the Ukranian troops towards civilians in Donbass, calling for peaceful resolution of the conflict, which lasted for eight years after Maidan Revolution in Kiev.

MEPs express solidarity with Ukraine

Strasbourg 14.02.2022 President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola expressed MEPs’s solidarity with the people of Ukraine, at the opening of the session.

Highlighting that the plenary session will be dominated by discussions and decisions on Ukraine, President Metsola expressed solidarity with the people of Ukraine as they continue to face uncertainty and the fear of Russian military aggression.

The defiance of the Ukrainian people protesting on the streets of Kyiv “must be matched by continued European resolve and unity” she said, adding, “the position of this house is clear – we are with Ukraine.”

Calling the Russian military build-up at Ukraine’s border “a serious threat to peace in Europe”, President Metsola underlined that whilst Parliament is urging for a de-escalation of the current tension, it stands ready to support swift, forceful and concrete action should the situation deteriorate.

“We owe a strong show of support to the people of Ukraine and, this week, this parliament will do just that”, she concluded.

Wikileaks Assange closer to extradition

Brussels 10.12.2021 WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appeared to be a step closer to facing criminal charges in the United States for one of the major leaks of classified information after Washington won an appeal over his extradition in an English court.

U.S. authorities accuse Australian-born Assange, 50, of 18 counts relating to WikiLeaks’ release of vast troves of confidential U.S. military records and diplomatic cables which they said had put lives in danger.

Assange’s supporters profile him as an anti-establishment hero who has been persecuted by the United States for exposing U.S. wrongdoing and double-dealing across the world from Afghanistan and Iraq to Washington.

At the Royal Courts of Justice in London, the United States won an appeal against a ruling by a London District Judge that Assange should not be extradited because he was likely to commit suicide in a U.S.
prison.
Back in A cross-group of MEPs are calling on the European Commission to intervene and stop the extradition of Julian Assange from the UK to the US.

The letter, signed by 37 MEPs – including 32 from the Left – deplores the US request to prosecute the founder of Wikileaks, and it underlines the importance of the right to information as a fundamental pillar of our democracy.

MEPs shared the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer’s grave concerns that the extradition would put Assange at risk of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

MEP Puigdemont arrested in Italy

Brussels 24.09.2021 Member of European Parliament, Catalan politician Carles Puigdemont, who fled Spain after a failed secession bid for the region in 2017, was detained Thursday, 23 September, in Sardinia, Italy, his lawyer said.

MEP Puigdemont, who moved to Belgium and was elected there as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), has been fighting extradition to Spain, which accused him and other Catalan independence leaders of sedition.

Lawyer Gonzalo Boye said Puigdemont was detained when he arrived in Sardinia, where he was due to attend a cultural event this weekend.

The circumstances under which Puigdemont was taken into custody were not announced. Boye wrote on Twitter the Catalan politician was detained under a 2019 European arrest warrant, even though it had been previously suspended.

Police at the airport in northern Sardinia didn’t answer phone calls Thursday night after the arrest, the AP news agency writes, while police in the city of Alghero said they weren’t aware of his detention.

The European Parliament voted in March to lift the immunity of Puigdemont and two of his associates. In July the three EU lawmakers failed to have their immunity restored after the European Union’s general court said that they did not demonstrate they were at risk of being arrested.

Sardinian media reported earlier in the week he was due to attend an event in Alghero on Sunday, so his presence on the Mediterranean island had been expected. Sardinian media had also reported that Puigdemont was invited by a Sardinian pro-independence group.

Puigdemont’s office said in a statement that he had traveled to Alghero from Brussels to attend a folklore festival where he was detained upon arrival by Italian police. On Friday, September 24, Puigdemont will appear in front of a judge in the city of Sassari who would rule on whether he should be freed, the statement said.

Puigdemont and a number of his independalist colleagues fled to Belgium in October 2017, fearing arrest after holding an independence referendum for Catalonia that the Spanish courts and government said was illegal.

Nine Catalan independalists received prison sentences for their role in the 2017 referendum ranging from nine to 13 years. They were pardoned in July.

EU: Belarus human rights violations

Brussels 07.06.2021 “Viktar Babaryka was sentenced to 14 years in prison today. He had been held in detention since 18 June 2020, for the sole reason to have tried to exercise his political right to stand as a candidate in the presidential elections in August 2020” reads the statement by the spokesperson on sentencing Viktar Babaryka and other political trials.

“This sentence is one of at least 125 unfair and arbitrary recent verdicts by Belarusian courts in politically motivated trials, often held behind closed doors and without due process of law.

“Today, Belarus has over 530 political prisoners, hundreds of documented instances of torture, and continued repression against all segments of society to silence all dissent and ill treatment in detention centres. The Lukashenko regime clearly violates international human rights that it has committed to uphold. This has been most recently confirmed also by the UN Special Rapporteur on Belarus.

“The EU demands the immediate and unconditional release of Mr Babaryka as well as of all political prisoners, detained journalists and people who are behind bars for exercising their fundamental rights. The regime must halt repression and injustice and hold perpetrators to account.

“The EU will continue its efforts to push for accountability for the brutal repression by the Belarusian authorities. The EU also continues to call for a comprehensive and genuine political dialogue with representatives of the democratic opposition and civil society, facilitated by the OSCE, leading to new free and fair elections.

“Serious human rights violations come at a price. Since last October, the EU has progressively imposed restrictive measures in response to the continued intimidation and violent repression of peaceful protesters, opposition members and journalists. In line with its gradual approach, the EU stands ready to consider further measures”.

Ceuta: Spanish borders are EU borders

Brussels 18.05.2021 The European Council President Charles Michel expressed “full solidarity” with Spain after holding urgent talks with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, who cancelled his trip to Paris to address with what he has described a “serious crisis” for both the Iberian country and the EU.

European Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson told the European Parliament that the influx on Monday, May 17, was unprecedented, reportedly among six thousand arrivals about 1,500 are claiming to be minors.

“It is worrying that at least 6,000 people, a big number of them children, have been swimming to Ceuta, putting their life in danger. Many had to be rescued. One person died,” Johansson said.

“…A big number of them children, have been swimming to Ceuta. Putting their life in danger. Many had to be rescued. One person died. The most important thing now is that Morocco continues to commit to prevent irregular departures and that those that do not have the right to stay are orderly and effectively returned.
Spanish borders are European borders. The European Union wants to build a relationship with Morocco based on trust and shared commitments. Migration is a key element in this regard I am following this very closely together with the High Representative / Vice President Josep Borrell, and Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi
and of course, with the Spanish authorities”.

“We cannot rely on third countries to prevent irregular migration anymore! We need to finally start protecting our own borders and return irregular migrants immediately! THIS is what you call border protection, not asking other countries politely to prevent migrants to depart!” the Member of the European Parliament Bernhard Zimniok (AfD, Germany) tweeted in response to the Commissioner Johansson.

MEPs demand Trump to pardon Snowden

«I am sending an open letter signed by 26 Members of the European Parliament from 4 political groups to @realDonaldTrump supporting a pardon to @Snowden. We must not persecute those who put public interest above their personal well-being and security» wrote vice-president of the European Parliament Marcel Kolaja on his Twitter micro blog.

Marcel Kolaja,40, is a Czech software engineer, activist and a Czech Pirate Party who serves as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and a Vice-President of the European Parliament since the 2019 election. He is a member of the Greens–European Free Alliance parliamentary group along with three other European Pirate Party MEPs.
Image above: illustration, European Parliament Strasbourg.

Image below: letter (fragment)

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