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Human rights: Philippines, Somalia and Zimbabwe

By European Parliament
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Parliament condemns the current wave of extrajudicial executions and killings in the Philippines, deteriorating security and widespread intimidation in Somalia, and growing violence against demonstrators and breaches of human rights in Zimbabwe, in three resolutions voted on Thursday.

Extrajudicial executions and killings in the Philippines

MEPs strongly condemn the attack on a night market in the city of Davao, Philippines, on 2 September 2016, which left at least 14 people dead and 70 wounded, and convey their condolences to the victims’ relatives. They call on the EU Delegation to "monitor carefully the 'rule of lawlessness’” declared by the Philippine Government after the attack.

Drug trafficking and drug abuse in the Philippines remain a serious national and international concern, note MEPs. They understand that millions of people are hurt by the high level of drug addiction and its consequences in the country but are also concerned by the "extraordinarily high numbers killed during police operations in the context of an intensified anti-crime and anti-drug campaign": from 1 July to 4 September 2016, police killed a thousand suspected drug pushers and users and arrested more than 15,000 drug suspects, according to figures released by the Philippine National Police.

MEPs urge the Philippines government to put an end to the current wave of extrajudicial executions and killings, launch an "immediate investigation" into them and adopt "specific, comprehensive policies and programmes", in full compliance with national and international obligations and respect for human rights.

Killings, arrests, and widespread intimidation in Somalia

The European Parliament condemns the perpetrators of the recent terrorist attacks in Somalia, attributed to the Al-Shabab insurgent group, and also the many killings and arrests, widespread intimidation, closure of critical media outlets, confiscation of equipment and blocking of websites. The Somali authorities should urgently act to ensure that all violations of the right to freedom of expression are fully investigated, it says.

Parliament calls for a strengthening of the national security architecture and protection of the population, as Somalia is now in a crucial transition period, after two decades of civil war, absence of state control and terrorism. An "all-inclusive dialogue is needed between the country’s social sectors, including the clans and tribes that compose the Somalian nation", say MEPs, recalling that lasting stability and peace can be achieved only through "social inclusion, sustainable development and good governance based on the democratic principles and rule of law."

MEPs urge the African Union (AU) and troop-contributing countries to ensure that allegations of sexual violence by the African Union Mission in Somalia’s (AMISOM), the 22,000-strong African Union peacekeeping mission, are properly and thoroughly investigated and that those responsible are brought to justice. They call for better EU monitoring and capacity building to ensure accountability for abuses by AMISOM, especially given that the EU is responsible for the bulk of its funding.

Human rights breaches in Zimbabwe

MEPs express serious concern about the growing violence against demonstrators – informal traders, unemployed young people and, now, professional people – who have taken to the streets in urban centres across Zimbabwe to protest against job losses, mass unemployment and the government’s failure to meet people’s basic economic expectations. They also note with alarm the recently announced one-month ban on demonstrations. The "rise in the number of arbitrary arrests of human rights defenders" worries MEPs, who urge that the rule of law should be respected.

The Zimbabwean authorities should release all political prisoners immediately and unconditionally and not interfere with the independence of the judiciary, urge MEPs. They condemn the recent statements by President Mugabe attacking the judiciary.

The EU Council and Commission should consider reimposing certain EU restrictive measures against the Zimbabwe regime, while making it clear that these will be removed and that an assistance package will be made available once Zimbabwe is clearly on the path towards democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights, say MEPs, who believe that the lifting of the bulk of restrictive measures was premature.