Debates on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law:
- Violence against women in India
- Human rights situation in Bahrain
- Situation in the Central African Republic
Lieu: Strasbourg, France - European Parliament
End production: 17/01/2013 First transmission: 17/01/2013
This afternoon the MEPs held urgent debates in relation to human rights and democracy in some non European countries. One of the motions for resolution was the violence against women in India. After the brutal rape suffered by a 23 years-old student the past 16 December, the EP welcomes the Indian Government's initial action to review punishment for aggravated sexual assault and calls on them to ensure that the Criminal law is amended to criminalize all forms of sexual assault and to ensure protection especially in public transport. The MEPs voted also a motion for resolution on the respect of human rights in Bahrain, where the government continue to seriously violate and restrict the rights and freedoms of citizens, particularly those of the peaceful demonstrators. They ask Bahrain government to lift the ban on demonstrations and the restriction for foreign journalists to enter the country; and they Recall Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to give back their nationality to those 31 peaceful activists that were revoked from it. The last motion for resolution was about the actual situation in Central African Republic. MEPs condemned the attacks and the occupation of several towns in the north and north-east of the country by Seleka coalition of armed rebel groups that threaten the civilian population and the stability of the country; and thanked the Presidents of the Republic of Chad - current President of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) - of the Gabonese Republic, and of the Republic of Congo, for their involvement in the resolution of the crisis.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Exterior shot of the EP, Strasbourg
||SOUNDBITE (French) Karima DELLI (Greens/EFA, FR): "There has been an unprecedented wave of solidarity after the rape and the death of this 23rd years old student on the 16th of December. This has been a watershed moment, breaking with the archaic situations of the past. Europe has to be in line with this change, helping with education and health programmes. The government and the Parliament in India need to enhance legislation to support the safety and security of women, there needs to be a break with impunity. A national victim support and prevention should be put in place; there needs to be a change in mindset in India and women need to rediscover respect and dignity in the country".
||SOUNDBITE (English) Jo LEINEN (S&D, DE): "We ask in our resolution the Indian government to investigate cases of persons in senior official functions up to the top of the Parliament and the government who have former accusations of rape and that these persons give up their public functions. We call upon the Indian authorities to take effective measures to train police forces to better handle such cases of rape and the Indian criminal law should be amended to punish all forms of sexual assault".
||SOUNDBITE (English) Kristiina OJULAND (ALDE, EST): "From more than 635 rapes cases reported in Delhi in 2012, only 1 case led to conviction. This is outrageous and I call the EU to do all in its powers to ensure that India reforms its legislation and starts convicting those responsible for these terrible cases".
||SOUNDBITE (English) Karel DE GUCHT, Commissioner: "Like all of us I was shocked by the appalling raping in New Delhi last month and the death of a young woman shortly afterwards. I share the sense of outrage expressed by so many. Several men have now been arrested and justice will take its course. This terrible incident has brought the issue of women's rights in India to the forefront of attention in an unprecedented way and in a way that demands an adequate response".
||SOUNDBITE (English) Karel DE GUCHT, Commissioner: "High Representative Cathy ASHTON personally feels very strongly about this issue and has instructed the EU External Action service to raise it at the net EU-India Human Rights dialogue end of January".
||SOUNDBITE (French) Marie-Christine VERGIAT (GUE, FR): "There are certain EU countries that have economic relations with Bahrain, concretely by selling them teargas and other gears used for the control of crowds at demonstrations. When are the human rights treaties signed by the EU going to be fully respected in this sense? We want the EU to stop this kind of exports to countries like Bahrain. This would be a good sign for showing that Europe deserves its Nobel Peace Prize".
||SOUNDBITE (English) Petri SARVAMAA (EPP, FI): "International focus should now be on supporting the positive elements in this matter. It is positive that King Hamad and its government endorse the work of the Bahraini independent commission of enquiry. Now we have to see that this endorsement is followed by real change on the ground. Of greatest importance here for me here are the violations against children. Simply put: they are repugnant and Bahraini authorities must make sure they end".
||SOUNDBITE (English) Karel DE GUCHT, Commissioner: "We remain convinced that in the spirit of reconciliation, clemency should be shown towards human rights defenders and political activists detained in Bahrain in connection with the 2011 events. The Crown Princess recent offer of dialogue was a very welcomed step as was the encouraging reply from the opposition. We call on all parties to use the current momentum by generally preparing the ground for sustainable reforms"
||SOUNDBITE (Dutch) Judith SARGENTINI (Greens/EFA, NL): "To date, there's been a lot of diamonds traded from the Central African Republic, and that trade has been allowed. You Commissioner, in the framework of the Kimberley process, are you going to set an investigation on the conditions of trade? and then, maybe stop trade in diamonds from the Central African Republic? Because one thing is sure, as long as there is a legal trafficking and trading in diamonds, then both the rebels and the government will be able to maintain their fight and nothing will change".
||SOUNDBITE (Dutch) Karel DE GUCHT, Commissioner: "I think it's not just the state of the countries where these minerals are being mined who should show their responsibility. But also the companies in the EU; companies in the EU do have to show their responsibility when it comes to procuring mineral, diamonds, etc".
||Cutaways (4 shots)