European Parliament zooms in on human rights defenders in Cambodia, Tajikistan and Vietnam

June 9, 2016

A press release of 9 June 2016 reports that the European Parliament – in three resolutions voted on Thursday – focused on:

Opposition in Cambodia

MEPs deplore the worsening climate for opposition politicians and human rights activists in Cambodia and condemn all acts of violence, politically-motivated charges, arbitrary detention, questioning, sentences and convictions imposed on them. The Cambodian authorities should revoke the arrest warrant for, and drop all charges against, Sam Rainsy, President of the leading opposition party, the CNRP, and also immediately release the five human rights defenders still in preventive custody, namely Ny Sokha, Nay Vanda, Yi Soksan, Lim Mony and Ny Chakra. All politicians, activists and human rights defenders should “be allowed to work freely without fear of arrest or persecution”.

Given that the EU is Cambodia’s largest development assistance partner, with a new allocation of €410 million for 2014-2020, Parliament calls on the European External Action Service (EEAS) to make the “amount of EU financial assistance dependent on improvements in the human rights situation in the country”. EU member states, foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, the EEAS and the EU Commission should also set out clear benchmarks for the forthcoming elections in Cambodia, consistent with international law on freedom of expression, association and assembly, it adds.

Prisoners of conscience in Tajikistan

Parliament is deeply concerned about increases in the detention and arrest of human rights lawyers, political opposition members and their relatives in Tajikistan. Restrictions on media freedom and internet and mobile communications, and restrictions on religious expression are also worrying in this country, it adds. MEPs call for the release of all those imprisoned on politically-motived charges, including, well-known businessman and government critic Abubakr Azizkhodzhaev, opposition figure Zaid Saidov, activist Maksud Ibragimov, opposition deputy leaders Mahmadali Hayit and Saidumar Hussaini, and 11 other members of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT).

The EU has a “vital interest in stepping up political, economic and security cooperation with the Central Asian region via a strong and open EU-Tajikistan relationship”, says the resolution. But “political and economic relations with the EU are deeply linked to the sharing of values relating to respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms”, adds the text.

Protesters in Vietnam

MEPs deplore continuing human rights violations in Vietnam, including “political intimidation, harassment, assaults, arbitrary arrests, heavy prison sentences and unfair trials, perpetrated against political activists, journalists, bloggers, dissidents and human rights defenders”, and call on the government of Vietnam to put an “immediate stop to all harassment, intimidation, and persecution” of these individuals. “The increasing levels of violence perpetrated against Vietnamese protesters” demonstrating throughout the country in May 2016 to express their anger over “an ecological catastrophe that decimated the nation’s fish stocks” are worrying, note MEPs. The Vietnam government should respect the right to freedom of assembly in line with its international human rights obligations, the findings of the investigations into the environmental disaster should be published and those responsible should be held accountable, they add.

The resolution also calls on the Vietnam government to put an end to religious persecution in the country, to amend legislation on the status of religious minorities and to withdraw the fifth draft of the law on belief and religion, currently being debated in the National Assembly, as it is “incompatible with international norms of freedom religion or belief”.

Source: Human rights: opposition in Cambodia, prisoners of conscience in Tajikistan, continuing violations of human rights in Vietnam

2 Responses to “European Parliament zooms in on human rights defenders in Cambodia, Tajikistan and Vietnam”

  1. Robert Quinn Says:

    Hans, hope you are well.

    FYI…

    >> Subject: Fwd: Egypt’s wrongfully detained scholars and students to receive Courage to Think Defender Award (EMBARGOED UNTIL JUNE 8, 2016) >> >>> >>> Please find below and attached Scholars at Risk’s (SAR) announcement to honor Egypt’s wrongfully detained scholars and students as recipients of the 2016 Courage to Think Defender Award. I have also attached a photo of the award. >>> >>> SAR will present the award on June 9, during the 2016 SAR Global Congress in Montreal, Canada. Students participating in SAR’s student advocacy seminars will accept the award on behalf of their student and scholar counterparts in Egypt. Please note the embargo on this release until June 8, the day before the award ceremony. >>> >>> Please let me know if you have any questions about the award or the Congress, including registration, interviews or other requests. >>> >>> All the best, >>> Dan >>> >>> — >>> Daniel Munier >>> Advocacy and Communications Officer >>> Scholars at Risk Network >>> New York University >>> 194 Mercer Street, 4th floor >>> New York, NY 10012 >>> >>> Email: dpm314@nyu.edu >>> Tel: (212) 992-9933 >>> http://www.scholarsatrisk.org >>> >>> >>> EMBARGOED UNTIL JUNE 8, 2016 >>> >>> Contact: Daniel Munier >>> >>> dpm314@nyu.edu >>> >>> +1 212-992-9933 >>> >>> >>> >>> EGYPT’S WRONGFULLY DETAINED STUDENTS AND SCHOLARS TO RECEIVE COURAGE TO THINK DEFENDER AWARD >>> >>> >>> >>> Montreal, Canada | June 8, 2016 – Scholars at Risk (SAR) has announced Egypt’s wrongfully detained students and scholars as recipients of the 2016 Courage to Think Defender Award, in recognition for their commitment to exercising the right to think, share and question ideas despite tremendous risks. The award, which will be presented at the 2016 Scholars at Risk Global Congress, will be accepted on their behalf by student representatives from SAR members Carleton University, Illinois Wesley University, Roger Williams University and the University of Iowa. >>> >>> >>> >>> “It is an honor to take the stage on behalf of hundreds of scholars and thousands of students who have been imprisoned for peacefully exercising their right to be free to think,” said Abigail DeVeuve, a student from Roger Williams University. “We are inspired by their courage to voice and share ideas while facing one of Egypt’s most staggering crackdowns on dissent.” >>> >>> >>> >>> SAR has selected student representatives to accept the award in order to recognize their efforts to conduct research and advocacy on behalf of threatened scholars and students around the world. “The students are vital to raising awareness around cases of imprisoned scholars and students like these, and to promoting academic freedom globally and locally,” said Clare Robinson, Advocacy Director at SAR. >>> >>> >>> >>> Over the past several years, SAR has observed an overwhelming crackdown on Egypt’s higher education community, including the reported use of violence, wrongful prosecutions and imprisonment, professional retaliation and travel restrictions against scholars and students across the country. According to data obtained by the Egyptian NGO, Association for Free Thought and Expression, over 2,000 university students and professors have been detained by security forces since July 2013. >>> >>> >>> >>> The award will be presented during the June 9 Courage to Think Award Dinner, a celebratory event at which SAR will recognize the many contributions of its member institutions and partners. The dinner will feature remarks by Melanie Adrian, of Carleton University, and a keynote interview of Emad Shahin by Nathalie Des Rosiers, of the University of Ottawa. Professor Shahin is a visiting professor at Georgetown University sentenced to death in Egypt in abstentia. >>> >>> >>> >>> SAR has presented the award only twice before, in 2011 to Aryeh Neier for his long career dedicated to free inquiry and expression including as the chair of the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch and the Open Society Foundations, and in 2015 to Dean Habib Kazdaghli of Manouba University in Tunisia for defending his university from extremist pressures after the Arab Spring, including in the face of prosecution and death threats. >>> >>> >>> >>> For more information about the award and the Congress, including registration information, the Congress program and speaker bios, visit http://www.scholarsatrisk.org/Montreal2016 or email Daniel Munier at dpm314@nyu.edu. >>> >>> >>> >>> ### >>> >>> >>> >>> About Scholars at Risk: Scholars at Risk (SAR) is an international network of higher education institutions and individuals working to protect threatened scholars, promote academic freedom and prevent attacks on higher education communities around the world since 2000. SAR protects scholars suffering grave threats to their lives, liberty and well-being by arranging positions of sanctuary for those forced to flee, and advocating for scholars facing prosecution, imprisonment or other restrictions through the Scholars-in-Prison Project. SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project identifies and reports attacks on higher education to protect vulnerable scholars and students, hold perpetrators accountable and prevent future violations. Institutions or individuals interested in learning more about SAR and its activities should visit http://www.scholarsatrisk.org or email scholarsatrisk@nyu.edu. >>> >>

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