Posts Tagged ‘Catherine Ashton’

Retaliation against Iranian Human Rights Defender for meeting with Ashton

June 12, 2014

Reprisals are not limited to human rights defenders cooperating with the UN. Narges Mohammadi, a prominent human rights defender in Iran, told the NGO ‘International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran’ that new charges have been brought against her stemming from her March 8, 2014 meeting with the EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. Mohammadi was charged with “propaganda against the state” and “collusion against national security” for her meeting with Ashton at the Austrian Embassy in Tehran. She was released on $10,000 bail. [Mohammadi was one of several women activists who accepted an invitation to meet the EU foreign policy head during her March visit to Tehran. The meeting took Iranian officials by surprise and unleashed a flurry of criticism by conservatives who described the meeting as “foreign interference in Iranian domestic affairs” and labeled the Iranian participants as foreign collaborators.]

Mohammadi stated: “I have been ‘charged’ with every single civil activity I have engaged in since my release from Zanjan Prison in August 2012, such as participating in gatherings on women’s rights, air pollution, and [Rouhani’s] Citizenship Rights Charter. I was also accused of honoring families of political prisoners at meetings, or attending a gathering with Gonabadi Dervishes in front of the Prosecutor’s Office, or giving interviews to media outside Iran. I told them there that when you fit all my civil activities into these two charges, it means that I must remain silent and still.”

Mohammadi was arrested in 2009 and charged with “assembly and collusion against national security,” “membership in the Defenders of Human Rights Center,” and “propaganda against the state.” She was first sentenced to 11 years in prison, but Branch 54 of the Tehran Appeals Court reduced her sentence to six years in prison. She was released in 2013 for medical reasons after a severe illness in Zanjan prison.

Prominent Rights Defender Faces New Charges for Her Meeting with Ashton : International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

Russia publishes report on human rights in the EU

January 17, 2014

On 14 January 2014 the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs published its report “On the situation with human rights in the European Union” (posted on the ministry’s website ) in which it claimed that the EU was struck by “serious human rights illnesses.” A large part of he report relies on information from international human rights organizations, such as AI. In the document the Russian Foreign Ministry Read the rest of this entry »

The EU and freedom of expression as seen by Index on Censorship

January 16, 2014

Index on Censorship is basing a series of articles on its larger report by Mike Harris, Time to Step Up: The EU and freedom of expression.

On 14 January 2014 came the one the ‘southern neighbourhood’ arguing that the credibility of the EU’s swing in focus from economic development towards human rights (after the outbreak of the Arab spring) is low.

The EU’s  communication “A partnership for democracy and shared prosperity with the southern Mediterranean“ (published on 8 May 2011) addresses the EU’s commitment to financially support transition to democracy and civil society and heralds the creation of the Civil Society Facility for the neighbourhood (covering both the southern and eastern neighbourhoods), while the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) deployed a number of operations in the region to protect and promote freedom of expression, often without the consent of the host country. Still, the article argues, european countries are often still seen as former allies of repressive regimes.

http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2014/01/eu-freedom-expression-southern-neighbourhood/

The one of 15 January, entitled ‘The EU and free expression: Human rights dialogues’, looks at the situation that the EU runs 30 human rights dialogues across the globe, with the key dialogues taking place in China, Kazakhstan,  Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Georgia and Belarus. It also has a dialogues with the African Union. The article is more detailed on China 

The article concludes: “With criticism of the effectiveness and openness of the dialogues, the EU should look again at how the dialogues fit into the overall strategy of the Union and its member states in the promotion of human rights with third countries and assess whether the dialogues can be improved.

The EU and free expression: Human rights dialogues – Index on Censorship | Index on Censorship.

 

Human Rights Watch urges EU to stand up for human rights in China during Ashton’s visit today

April 25, 2013

(EU) High Representative Catherine Ashton should publicly raise concerns over ongoing and persistent human rights violations in China when she visits Beijing, said Human Rights Watch. “As EU’s top foreign policy official, Ashton cannot ignore the deteriorating human rights environment in China,” said Lotte Leicht, European Union advocacy director. “She needs to make it a central part of her agenda in Beijing.” Ashton should also urge top Chinese officials to stop obstructing Security Council action on Syria, including humanitarian access to all civilians in need, and referring  jurisdiction over war crimes and crimes against humanity to the International Criminal Court.HRW_logo

In recent months the EU has issued strong statements, including ones at the United Nations Human Rights Council, on China’s use of the death penalty and the crisis of self-immolations in Tibet, among other issues.

The EU also provides some support to human rights defenders in China…..Yet, the EU’s engagement on human rights in China has been extremely weak since Ashton was nominated as the EU’s first foreign policy chief. The more than thirty rounds of the official EU-China dialogue on human rights have had little discernible positive effect for those standing up for human rights in China, and at other levels of political dialogue the EU has failed to give human rights and the rule of law a degree of public attention commensurate with the importance of these issues in China…

…Although the new Chinese leadership has expressed rhetorical support for reform on some key human rights concerns, such as re-education through labor, abuses remain rampant throughout the country. The Chinese government denies people the full exercise of basic rights such as freedom of expression, association, and religion, and systematically suppresses dissidents and human rights activists…

Ashton should be prepared to tell her Chinese government interlocutors who speak of the need for reform that a good start would be freeing Liu Xiaobo and lifting the appalling and abusive house arrest imposed on Liu Xia,” said Leicht.

Even the new leadership’s commitment to robustly grappling with rampant corruption – identified as a high priority – is already being called into question. In early April, eight activists were arrested for their involvement in a grass-roots anti-corruption campaign.

China: EU Commitments Demand Tough Response | Human Rights Watch.