Human rights: Sudan; freedom of expression in Egypt, recent attacks in Nigeria

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Parliament passed three separate resolutions on Thursday, calling on the Sudanese authorities to protect minorities' religious identities, expressing its alarm at the increasingly severe clampdown and physical attacks on media and civil society in Egypt, and calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Chibok schoolgirls in Nigeria.

Sudan - the case of Meriam Yahia Ibrahim

MEPs call for the repeal of all legislation that discriminates on grounds of gender and religion in Sudan and for appropriate health care for all pregnant women and women in labour in detention. They highlight that adultery and apostasy should not be considered crimes at all, and call on the Sudanese government to investigate and prosecute those responsible for human rights abuses.

The EU should also "play a leadership role in pushing for a strong resolution on Sudan at the next Human Rights Council session in September 2014, which is to address the serious and widespread violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in the country", adds the text.

Freedom of expression and assembly in Egypt

MEPs are deeply concerned about “a series of recent court decisions in Egypt, including the lengthy jail terms handed down on 23 June 2014 to three Al Jazeera journalists and 11 other defendants tried in absentia, as well as the confirmation of death sentences against 183 people". The President of Egypt should "act without delay (...) to ensure that no death sentence is executed and that no-one can be detained in Egypt without a verdict issued in a court procedure" that does not meet the requirements of a free and fair trial.

MEPs regret "the existence of media and web censorship", the worsening of violence against women and the criminalising of LGBT people for expressing their sexual orientation and right of assembly.

EU Member States should have "a common strategy towards Egypt", and the EU should "work actively on the basis of the principle of conditionality ('more for more'), says the text. MEPs call "for an EU-wide ban on the export to Egypt of intrusion and surveillance technologies which could be used to spy on and repress citizens", it adds.

Recent attacks by Boko Haram in Nigeria

MEPs are "extremely concerned about Boko Haram's active targeting of women and children as part of its bloody guerrilla campaign" and condemn the prohibition on access to education for children, calling it a "flagrant violation of fundamental human rights". The reports of forced conversions to Islam and the imposition of Sharia law is another source of "grave concern" for the MEPs.

Parliament calls on the Nigerian government "to recognise and respect freedom of the press and media and to allow journalists and reporters access to the front lines", and urges the EU "to work with the UN and other international partners to cut off funding for, and restrict the movements of, Boko Haram and, in particular, their leadership".

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