Human rights: Russia, Cambodia, Zimbabwe

Published: 22 October 2010 y., Friday

Pasaulio gyventojai
In three resolutions adopted in Strasbourg on Thursday, the European Parliament restates its solidarity with Oleg Orlov, a member of the Russian human rights organization Memorial and winner of the 2009 EP Sakharov Prize, who is now facing trial, denounces the imprisonment of Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy and calls on Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe to put an end to the threat of mass forced evictions.


Parliament restates in a resolution its solidarity with Oleg Orlov, the leader of the Human Rights Centre Memorial who was first accused of defamation and is now facing a trial which could end in a sentence of up to three years in jail. The criminal investigation against Mr Orlov seriously violated the code of criminal procedures in Russia, claim MEPs, who also reject and condemn “the cynical and absurd attempts to implicate Memorial in the crime of aiding terrorist organizations”.  

Mr Orlov was awarded Parliament's Sakharov Prize in 2009 for his work in Memorial, a non-profit organization which campaigns against abuses of power in the countries of the former Soviet Union. He is now “under the EP's special moral and political protection”, MEPs added.

While acknowledging the increasing acts of terrorism in the North Caucasus region and Russia's right to fight real armed insurgency, MEPs still denounce the “generalized climate of fear” in Chechnya and the “alarming” situation of human rights in the Chechen Republic, Ingushetia and Dagestan, where the disappearances of human rights activists, political opponents and independent journalists have gone unpunished. Russia is urged to allow international human rights organizations unhindered access to the region and to stop collective punishment against alleged insurgents, including the practice of burning homes of their family members.


In a resolution on Cambodia, MEPs strongly condemn “all politically motivated sentences against representatives of the opposition and NGOs”, in particular those against opposition political leader Sam Rainsy, who has been sentenced to a 12-year prison term.

Parliament calls on the Cambodian authorities to guarantee free political expression, engage in political and institutional reforms and demonstrate their will to combat corruption, massive deforestation and the sex tourism industry.


MEPs also discussed the situation in Zimbabwe, calling for an immediate end to the threat of mass forced evictions in the country and urging the government “to scrap the arbitrarily imposed lease renewal fees, which residents simply have no means of paying”.  Up to 20,000 people living in an informal settlement (Hatcliffe Extension) on the outskirts of Harare have been threatened with forced eviction for failing to pay prohibitively high fees charged by the authorities.

The resolution deplores the fact that “Robert Mugabe and his close supporters continue to be a stumbling block in the process of political and economic reconstruction and reconciliation in Zimbabwe, plundering as they do its economic resources for their own benefit”. The fight against HIV/AIDS and maternal mortality is being undermined by the government’s abusive practices, which have disrupted access to basic health care and education, the resolution adds.


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