16 November 2017

Africa: Human Rights - Sudan, Somalia and Madagascar

press release

Strasbourg, France — MEPs call for an end to the arbitrary detention of journalists in Sudan, condemn the terrorist attacks in Somalia, and express their concern regarding the upcoming elections in Madagascar.

Sudan: charges against writer Mohamed Zine al-Abidine must be reviewed

The European Parliament expresses its deep concern over the sentencing of writer Mohamed Zine al-Abidine, on 23 October 2017, to a suspended jail term with a five-year probation period and calls on the Sudanese authorities to immediately review all charges against him. Al-Abidine was charged with violating the journalism code of ethics when he wrote an article criticising Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, published in 2012 by the newspaper Al-Tayar.

MEPs are deeply worried about freedom of expression in Sudan. They urge Sudanese authorities to end all forms of censorship, seizures of newspapers, and attacks on media workers, including the arbitrary arrest and detention of journalists conducted by Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS). The proposed 2017 Press and Printing Act would allow further restrictions on online publications, note MEPs. Instead, they encourage the government of Sudan to amend the 2009 Press and Publication Act, to provide more protection to journalists.

Somalia: solidarity with the victims of terrorist attacks

MEPs express their sympathy with the victims of the recent terrorist attacks in Somalia, which have been attributed to the terrorist group Al-Shabaab, and strongly condemn the perpetrators. On 14 October 2017, a truck bomb in the centre of Mogadishu killed at least 358 people, injuring 228 others, in one of the most lethal terrorist operations in the world in recent years, while on 28 October over 30 people were killed by two bombs detonated outside a hotel.

With 3 million people living in emergency food security conditions, Somalia is on the brink of a famine reminiscent of that of 2011, which was exacerbated by Al-Shabaab militants interfering with food aid, say MEPs. They urge the EU to help with measures aimed at establishing food security, as well as assisting Somali authorities to improve the management of public finances and to complete the constitutional review. The Parliament deplores the fact that in Somalia natural resources remain a significant source of financing for terrorists and a cause of environmental degradation, recalling the UN Security Council resolution banning the export of Somali charcoal. MEPs call on the Commission to examine how traceability and due diligence schemes can be expanded to include all natural resources used to fund terrorist activity and violence.

Madagascar: government must grant fair elections in 2018

The European Parliament calls on the government of Madagascar, the President Hery Rajaonarimampianina and the international community to guarantee free, democratic and transparent presidential elections in 2018. Malagasy authorities should govern in strict respect of the rule of law, taking all necessary measures to guarantee the exercise of their citizens' fundamental freedoms, say MEPs.

In particular, they should:

investigate extrajudicial killings, that often involve members of the law enforcement, prosecute the perpetrators and compensate the families of the victims;

end the arbitrary detention of journalists, human rights defenders and environmental activists on the basis of fabricated charges, and repeal the restrictive elements in the Communication Code; and

let justice follow its course in the case of Claudine Razaimamonjy, arrested for misappropriation of public funds, which provoked an open conflict between the government and the judiciary, and in all cases of corruption.

The three resolutions were voted on by a show of hands on Thursday.

Copyright European Union, 1995-2017

SOURCE European Parliament

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