Press release – Human rights: Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Central African Republic and Thailand

MEPs passed four resolutions on Thursday: urging Saudi Arabia to halt the execution of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr and calling for a moratorium on the death penalty; demanding measures to starve Boko Haram in Nigeria of its sources of illegal income; expressing fears of civil war in Central African Republic; and deploring human rights abuses in Thailand following the coup of May 2014.

Saudi Arabia: al-Nimr death sentence

MEPs strongly condemn the sentencing of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr to the death penalty and support the introduction of a moratorium on the death penalty, as a step towards abolition. They express their concern at the reported rise in the number of death sentences in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2014 and the alarming rate at which court rulings have ordered the death penalty in 2015.

Parliament calls on the Saudi Arabian authorities, and in particular King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, to halt the execution of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr and grant a pardon or commute his sentence. It appeals to the European External Action Service and the member states to deploy all their diplomatic tools and make every effort to immediately stop the execution. MEPs note that Saudi Arabia has recently been appointed to chair a panel of independent experts on the UN Human Rights Council and urge the Saudi authorities to “ensure that standards of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in their country are consistent with such an international role”.

The non-binding resolution was adopted by a show of hands.

Nigeria: the mass displacement of children as a result of Boko Haram attacks


Parliament strongly condemns Boko Haram’s crimes, including terrorist raids and suicide bombings in Chad, Cameroon and Niger and asks for immediate coordinated international action to assist the work of UN agencies and NGOs in preventing displaced children and youths from being subjected to forms of sexual violence and kidnappings and from being forced into armed conflict.

MEPs say that in the cases of children formerly associated with Boko Haram or other armed groups, “non-judicial measures should be considered as an alternative to prosecution and detention” . They urge the Nigerian authorities to eliminate corruption, within the public institutions and the army, and to promote fair taxation and they call for the adoption of measures to starve Boko Haram of its sources of illegal income through cooperation with neighbouring countries. They ask the Commission to prioritise assistance for uprooted children and youths in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger, within the framework of the Emergency Trust Fund for stability.

The non-binding resolution was adopted by 613 votes to 12, with 31 abstentions.

 Central African Republic

Parliament expresses its deep concern at the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR), “which could bring the country to the edge of a civil war if the latest violence is not contained” and calls on the CAR authorities to focus on fighting against impunity and on the restoration of the rule of law. It deplores the fact that although the UN has declared an embargo on weapons, the strengthening of militias continues.

MEPs urge the CAR diamond traders to prove due diligence and call on the CAR authorities and foreign companies to “help strengthen governance in the extractives sector by abiding by the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative”. They call on international diamond companies to look closely at the origin of diamonds in order to avoid fuelling the conflict by purchasing illicitly extracted and traded diamonds and urge European companies that are trading with CAR logging companies to abide by the EU Timber Regulation.

The non-binding resolution was adopted by a show of hands.


Parliament expresses its concerns at the “deteriorating human rights situation in Thailand following the illegal coup of May 2014” and urges the Thai authorities to lift repressive restrictions on the right to liberty and the peaceful exercise of other human rights. It calls on the Thai authorities to overturn convictions and sentences, to withdraw charges and to release individuals and media operators who have been sentenced or charged for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression or assembly.

Parliament also calls for the abolition of the death penalty and asks the European External Action Service and the EU Delegation to use all available instruments to ensure respect for human rights and the rule of law in Thailand, in particular by continuing to observe investigations and trial hearings of opposition leaders.

The non-binding resolution was adopted by 581 votes to 35, with 35 abstentions.

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