European Parliament: Human Rights Report a strong stance for the promotion of human rights, democracy and rule of law

Brussels-Rome, 19 April 2012

 
The European Parliament Annual Report on Human Rights in the World in 2011, prepared by Rapporteur Richard Howitt (S&D MEP), was approved yesterday in plenary by the European Parliament. The Report assesses the state of human rights in the world in 2011 and also evaluates the EU's efforts to promote human rights through its policies. No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) welcome the clear stand taken by the European Parliament on several policy issues we consider to be priorities for the European Union and its member States in the protection and promotion of human rights, democracy and the rule of law throughout the world.

Statement by Niccolo’ Figa Talamanca, Secretary General of NPWJ, and Matteo Angioli, Member of the General Council of the Radical Party:
 
“No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT), fully support and underscore the Report’s explicit recognition that sustainable peace cannot be achieved through deals to protect violators of human rights and international humanitarian law and that justice and accountability are essential pillars of building stable States, based on the respect for the Rule of law, democratic values and human rights. As with the EP Annual Report on Human Rights in the World in 2007, prepared by the Italian Radical MEP Marco Cappato, the Report adopted today strongly reasserts that the non-violent methodology should be promoted and sustained as an essential and effective political instrument in terms of the prevention of conflict and support for democracy, rule of law and civil society around the world.
 
“Importantly, the EP calls on the Council and the Commission to continue their efforts to promote universal ratification and implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), and stresses that the mainstreaming of international justice must include systematically taking account of the fight against impunity in the broader context of trade, development and rule-of-law assistance. To that end, the Report recommends that the Rome Statute of the ICC be added to the package of international treaties on good governance and the rule of law to be ratified by third countries admitted to the System of Generalised Preferences Plus (GSP+); it also calls for the consistent inclusion of ICC clauses in the human rights and democracy clauses of EU agreements with third countries.
 
“Women's rights are another key issue, which the EP says should be raised in all EU human rights dialogues in order to combat discrimination and violence against women and girls, including, significantly, all forms of harmful traditional or customary practices, such as female genital mutilation and forced marriage. We welcome the fact that this year’s Annual Report strongly reaffirms that these practices constitute a severe violation of the human rights and physical integrity of women and girls which must be combated with legislation banning the practice, and congratulates African Heads of State for adopting, at the African Union Summit in July 2011, a Decision in support of a UNGA resolution banning FGM worldwide.
 
“As stated in the Report, we would like to stress that a consistent approach should also focus on strengthening capacity building of human rights activists and fostering consultation and interaction mechanisms between them and their governments on issues of democratic reform and human rights promotion, in particular when processes of democratisation are at stake. As highlighted by the “Arab Spring”, in-country NGOs and organised citizens are playing a critical role in mobilising people and promoting their participation in public life through conducting education and awareness-raising campaigns aimed at informing people of their rights and empowering them to understand and embrace democracy. Supporting the involvement and contribution of nonviolent activists and human rights defenders is the most adequate means for the promotion of democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights around the world”.
 
For more information, contact Nicola Giovannini on ngiovannini@npwj.org or +32 (0)2 548-3915.