No to human rights trade-off by EU, China and India
(Brussels, 10 February 2012) Ahead of today’s EU-India summit and next week’s EU-China summit, Amnesty International has challenged the European Union to demonstrate that it is just as committed to protecting human rights in those countries as it is to pursuing its trade interests. The organisation has pressed the EU, India and China to bolster their international and regional status by jointly realising the UN Charter’s objectives, and fulfilling their international commitments on human rights and fundamental freedoms.
“The EU should use these summits to show global leadership and speak out on human rights concerns”, said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office. “The EU understandably sees India and China as major economic and trade partners, but the Union can’t turn a blind eye to human rights violations there. Putting trade ahead of human rights may bring short-term economic gains, but risks longer-term political and social instability.”
With India, Amnesty International has called on the EU to raise the rights of Adivasi (indigenous) communities who have recently shown increased resistance to corporate-led attempts to acquire their land. The organisation believes India should guarantee a conducive climate for human rights defenders, allowing them to work in peace.
Regarding China, intensified repression in response to growing demands for freedom and rights is a major concern for Amnesty International. More than a hundred human rights defenders, bloggers and lawyers have been arbitrarily detained over the past year, some of whom were tortured and ill-treated. Amnesty International has inter alia urged the EU to highlight the situation in Tibet, which has noticeably worsened, resulting in mounting instances of self-immolation by monks. Elsewhere in China, thousands of Falun Gong practitioners continue to be detained, imprisoned, and many tortured, because of their religion.
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