The European Union Parliament urged the international community to take urgent action to halt mass rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo, voiced concern at growing violence against religious minorities in Indonesia and appealed to the Indian government to commute two death penalties, in urgent human rights debates and resolutions on Thursday.
Democratic Republic of Congo
MEPs pointed out that 170 persons were victims of rape or physical violence between 10 and 12 June in South Kivu, where the same armed group had been implicated in similar atrocities in January 2011. They regretted that the international community’ lacks the courage to act to halt these “horrifically widespread” crimes. “The time has come to go beyond condemnation”, they said, adding that “responsibilities should be assumed by the Congolese government, the EU and the UN to take concrete actions”.
MEPs urged the European Commission to release additional funds to combat sexual violence and to work to create houses for the victims in conflict areas, and suggested that a pilot project be set up to improve medical assistance to rape victims.
Parliament also called on the Commission to come forward with a new law on conflict minerals, “which fuel the war and mass rape in the DRC”, with a view to combating impunity, similar to the Dodd-Frank Act (recently passed by the U.S) which imposes traceability requirements on manufactured products for which these minerals are used.
MEPs voiced “grave concern” at the recent violence against religious minorities in Indonesia, particularly Ahmadi Muslims, Christians, Baha’ís and Buddhists. They called on the national authorities to ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice and to repeal or revise the local blasphemy, heresy and religious defamation by-laws, which there is evidence to show “are being used by extremists to clamp down on religious freedom and to stir up intercommunity tensions and violence”
MEPs urgently appealed to India not to execute two convicts, Mahendra Nath Das and Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar, and to commute their death sentences. Although India had not implemented the death penalty since 2004, it has given clearance for their execution. Parliament’s resolution also urges India to introduce a permanent moratorium on executions.
Mahendra Nath Das was sentenced in 1997 for committing murder, and Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar in 2001, for his involvement in the 1993 bombing of the Youth Congress Office in New Delhi.
Both cases must be treated “in a particularly transparent manner”, say MEPs, who believe that the circumstances surrounding the return of the convict Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar to India from Germany and the prolonged stay on death row of Mahendra Nath Das “raise questions”.