Kazakhstan, Egypt, Congo in Focus: EU Concerned About Worsening Human Rights Conditions

Written by | Friday, March 11th, 2016

The European Parliament has condemned the deteriorating human rights record in Kazakhstan, citing the worsening climate for the media and free speech. MEPs are mostly concerned about the increasing pressure on independent media outlets, many of which are being shut down, as well as the detentions and criminal investigations of agency directors and journalists. “Freedom of speech for independent media, bloggers and individual citizens is a universal value that cannot be bargained away”, MEPs say, emphasizing that the Kazakh authorities should “ensure that any measure to restrict access to internet resources is based on law.”

Brussels said that the EU has a “great interest in a sustainable relationship with Kazakhstan in terms of political and economic cooperation”. However, deeper political and economic relations with the block “must be based on shared values and correspond to an active and concrete engagement by Kazakhstan to conduct political and democratic reforms stemming from its international obligations and commitments”.

The Parliament has likewise condemned the torture and assassination of an EU national Giulio Regeni in Egypt under suspicious circumstances as well as the worsening security and human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In the case of Mr Regeni, who was pursuing a research project in Cairo, focusing on the development of independent trade unions in post-Mubarak and post-Morsi Egypt, the EU commented that it “is not an isolated incident but occurred within a context of torture, death in custody and enforced disappearances across Egypt in recent years”.

In the case of Congo, MEPs expressed their concerns regarding the deteriorating security situation since January 2015 when Congolese security and intelligence officials cracked down on peaceful activists and political leaders, who protested against President Joseph Kabila’s amendment of the Constitution to enable him to stay in power. MEPs say that the Congolese government is “responsible for preventing any deepening of the current political crisis or escalation of violence and to respect, protect and promote the civil and political rights of its citizens”. The EU calls on the leadership of the Democratic Republic of Congo to comply with the constitution and guarantee democratic elections to be held in November this year.

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