Human rights breaches in Kenya, United Arab Emirates and Cuba

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This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.

On Thursday, the European Parliament adopted three resolutions on the human rights situation in Kenya, the United Arab Emirates and Cuba.

The situation in the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya

Parliament expresses its deep concern about the dire humanitarian situation and the reports of protracted violence within Kenya’s Kakuma camp, where around 300 of the registered refugees and asylum seekers have an LGBTIQ+ profile. MEPs are deeply worried about the threats and assaults against the camp’s LBGTIQ+ inhabitants and condemn the recent deadly arson attack directed at two refugees. They recall that over 30 individuals have been urgently relocated from the camp in the last few months.

The resolution further urges the Kenyan government, UNHCR and the international community to commit to working together to find alternative and appropriate solutions to address the situation of refugees in Kenya, in line with the “responsibility-sharing principles” and the Global Compact on Refugees. A meaningful number of refugees in need of international protection should be resettled to the EU. Kenya currently hosts the second largest number of refugees and asylum seekers in Africa after Ethiopia, with around 519 989 in Kakuma, Dadaab and urban areas.

The text was adopted by 377 votes in favour, 115 against and 192 abstentions. For further details, the full version will be available here. (16.09.2021)

The case of human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor in the United Arab Emirates

MEPs call for the immediate release of Ahmed Mansoor and all other human rights defenders, political activists and peaceful dissidents in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), who have been imprisoned solely for exercising their basic human rights such as freedom of speech, association and peaceful assembly.

Pending their release, Parliament urges the UAE authorities to ensure that Ahmed Mansoor and all other similar prisoners are treated in line with the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, and in particular that Mr Mansoor be removed from solitary confinement. The resolution further calls on the European External Action Service to propose the adoption of targeted measures against those responsible for grave human rights violations in the UAE under the EU global human rights sanctions regime.

The text was adopted by 383 votes in favour, 47 against and 259 abstentions. It will be available in full here (16.09.2021).

The government crackdown on protests and citizens in Cuba

Parliament condemns in the strongest possible terms the extreme violence against and repression of protesters, human rights defenders, independent journalists, artists, dissidents and opposition political leaders by the Cuban government in the aftermath of the large-scale protests on 11 July this year. These demonstrations saw thousands of Cubans take to the streets in over 40 towns to peacefully protest against the chronic shortage of medicines and other essential goods, the general mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the systematic restrictions on human rights in the country.

MEPs call on the Cuban authorities to cease repression, release all political prisoners and guarantee due process. They also deplore the fact that the Cuban authorities have used the wave of recent detentions to “criminalise the legitimate and peaceful democratic demands of its population”.

The resolution finally recalls that the EU-Cuba Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA), approved by the European Parliament on 5 July 2017, contains a human rights clause that allows for the agreement to be suspended in the event of severe violations. MEPs urge the EU to call for an immediate meeting of the joint committee tasked with overseeing the agreement, in light of the breaches by the Cuban government.

For more details, the resolution will be available in full here (16.09.2021). It was adopted by 426 votes in favour, 146 against with 115 abstentions.

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