Human rights: Cambodia and Laos; elections in Bangladesh; LGBTI rights;

EU

The EP passed three separate resolutions on Thursday, voicing concern at the situation of rights defenders and opposition activists in Cambodia, and demanding clarifications on the investigation into the Sombath Somphone case in Laos; calling for an immediate halt to the repression in Bangladesh; and condemning the threats, discrimination and restrictions faced by LGBTI people.

Cambodia and Laos

The 23 people “unjustly arrested” in Cambodia should be “immediately” released, insist MEPs, and the summons issued to CNRP leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha and to union leader Rong Chhun “should be immediately dropped”, they say. The Cambodian government is called on “to accept an independent, internationally assisted investigation into allegations of vote fraud and other irregularities around the July 2013 elections”, the resolution adds.

MEPs demand a clarification of the state of the investigation into the Sombath Somphone case, considering that “the lack of reaction from the Lao Government raises suspicions that the authorities could be involved in his abduction”. MEPs also stress that “enforced disappearances remain a major impediment to Laos joining the UN Human Rights Council”.

 

Bangladesh

MEPs condemn the widespread violence which erupted in the run-up to the January elections and express concern at the paralysis of every-day life in Bangladesh. “The opposition politicians, subject to arbitrary arrest, should be released, parties having a democratic reputation need to develop a culture of mutual respect, and parties which turn to terrorist acts should be banned,” say MEPs.

The EU should use every means available to assist a process seeking “a compromise which would give the Bangladeshi people a chance to express their democratic choice in a representative way”, add MEPs.

LGBTI rights

“LGBTI equality is an undeniable element of fundamental human rights,” say MEPs, calling on the 78 countries that do so to stop criminalising consensual activities between adults of the same sex, while noting that in seven of them the death penalty is applicable. MEPs call “on the President of Uganda to refrain from signing the Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law”, while condemning the adoption and signing into law of the “Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill” in Nigeria.

Russia should repeal the law on non-traditional sexual relations, while India should continue the legal process for outlawing a colonial-era law concerning homosexuality, say MEPs. They demand that EU make it clear that such laws “will have significant implications for the relevant countries’ bilateral relationship with the EU and its Member States” and repeat that “an explicit mention of non-discrimination based on sexual orientation” should be included in the next revision of Cotonou Agreement.

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