Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 33 n° 335

Human rights and COVID-19: MEPs deplore measures taken by authoritarian regimes

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 8 dicembre 2020

The Foreign Affairs Committee expresses its deep concern over how many authoritarian regimes around the world have used the pandemic to repress civil society and critical voices.In their annual report assessing the human rights situation in the world, adopted on Thursday, Members on the Foreign Affairs Committee highlight the negative impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on democracy and the rule of law in many countries.They express their deep concern at the worrying pattern of several authoritarian regimes having used the pandemic as an excuse to justify exacerbated measures aimed at weakening democratic principles and fundamental freedoms, severely undermining human rights, repressing dissent and limiting space for civil society.While unfortunately noting the persistence and increase of many negative trends, MEPs also welcome the growing aspirations and mobilisations of citizens, in particular the younger generations, for political and societal changes in support for human rights, democratic governance, equality and social justice, more ambitious climate action and better protection of the environment.They call for an inclusive and rights-based approach to boost climate action that ensures public participation and access to justice in the making, implementation and review of political decisions related to climate change and its consequences.The report asks the EU and its Member States to continue supporting the strengthening of democratic institutions, transparent and credible electoral processes worldwide, to fight against impunity, to ensure the work of civil society organisations and to combat inequalities.It also urges the same parties to develop an explicit strategy to counter increasing state withdrawal and pushback against the international human rights framework.Members further call on all EU countries to make the European Union’s foreign and security policy more effective by using the rule of qualified majority voting in the Council, notably when it comes to human rights-related matters.The parliamentarians finally push for the urgent adoption and implementation of an “autonomous, flexible and reactive” global EU human rights sanctions mechanism, as an essential part of the EU existing human rights and foreign policy toolbox. Such a mechanism would strengthen the EU’s role as a global human rights actor, they say, allowing for targeted sanctions against individuals and state or non-state actors and other entities responsible for or complicit in serious human rights violations around the world.The text was approved by 48 votes in favour, 7 against and 14 abstentions.

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