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EU Parliament slams Pakistan's human rights, slams capital punishment for blasphemy

The European Parliament has criticised Pakistan's human rights record, and squarely reminded Islamabad that it has grossly erred in handing down capital punishment for those allegedly violating the nation's blasphemy law, in the excessive of military courts and in denying India consular access to former naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav on multiple occasions.

European Union Parliament members unanimously endorsed a resolution that criticised the abuse of capital punishment by Pakistan for fulfilling its political aims in trials related to civilians.

Calling for the abolition of the death penalty, the European Parliament members reiterated their strong opposition to the use of the death penalty in all cases and under all circumstances and called on Pakistan to reintroduce a moratorium on executions and commute all death sentences to various terms of imprisonment.

"Death penalty is a cruel and inhumane punishment and a miscarriage of justice," said one the members of the European Parliament.

Referring specifically to the Jadhav case, wherein he has been sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court in April on charges of espionage and sabotage, the EU Parliament deplored the use of military courts for holding hearings in camera and sought an assurance from the Government of Pakistan to reverse the decision to the extent military courts should apply their jurisdiction only on breaches of military discipline, and that too, only those committed by military personnel.

The European Parliament resolution also insisted that authorities in Pakistan should grant access to international observers and human rights organisations for purposes of monitoring the use of military courts and strengthen the civilian judiciary in line with international standards on judicial proceedings.

As India was denied consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav by Pakistan, the resolution underscored that "third country nationals brought to trial, must be allowed access to consular services and protection."

The European Parliament reminded Islamabad of its obligation to ensure respect for the fundamental rights of freedom of thought and freedom of expression and other international and regional human rights instruments.

Expressing its grave concern about the recent mass trials leading to a vast number of death sentences, the resolution sought an immediate and definitive end to such practices, which violate international human rights standards.

Stressing about the prevailing situation regarding human rights violation in Pakistan, the resolution said ,"Several minority people have been killed and persecuted because they are not being protected by the government and death penalty are the tools for setting personal vendetta or to suppress minorities."

The European Parliament said that the death penalty is incompatible with values such as respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, on which the Union is founded, and that any member state reintroducing the death penalty would, therefore, be in violation of the Treaties and of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

The European Parliament then instructed its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Commission Vice-President, EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Government and Parliament of Pakistan and the Secretary-General of the United Nations for further deliberation and action.

Source: dnaindia.com, June 16, 2017


EU concerned over alarming rate of executions in Pakistan after flawed trials


The European Parliament (EP) has expressed "deep concern" over the "alarming rate of executions" based on "flawed trials" in Pakistan and deplored the use of its military courts that hold secret hearings and have civilian jurisdiction.

Significantly, the EP resolution came today, days after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) stayed the death sentence given to Kulbhushan Jadhav, a retired Indian Navy officer, by a Pakistan army court for alleged "involvement in espionage and terrorist activities in Pakistan".

India moved the ICJ, describing the charges against Jadhav as "concocted" and his trial as "farcical".

"Parliament is deeply concerned at the alarming rate of executions in Pakistan following flawed trials, including of minors and persons with mental disabilities, some of which are carried out while appeals are still under way," the resolution said.

The European Parliament during its meeting in Brussels also called on Pakistan to reinstate its moratorium on the death penalty, with the ultimate goal of full abolition.

"The EP deplores the use in Pakistan of military courts that hold hearing in secret and have civilian jurisdiction; insists that the Pakistani authorities grant access to international observers and human rights organisations for purposes of monitoring the use of military courts," the resolution said.

It also called for an "immediate and transparent transition to independent civilian courts in line with international standards on judicial proceedings; underscores that third-country nationals brought to trial must be allowed access to consular services and protection".

The EP resolution also mentioned Jadhav's case and said he was convicted by a military court in April 2017 and sentenced to death and the case was currently before the ICJ on the grounds that he was denied consular access rights.

It also noted that Pakistan entered the "Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP)", which provides it with benefits from generous tariff preferences, and it should provide a strong incentive to respect core human and labour rights, the environment and good governance principles.

The resolution also made it clear that the GSP status was "conditional and the effective implementation of international conventions is an essential requirement under the scheme."

Source: dnaindia.com, June 16, 2017

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