European Parliament addresses human rights breaches in Russia, Equatorial Guinea and Eswatini

Image: Alexei Navalny

ON Thursday, February 16, the European Parliament adopted three resolutions on the respect for human rights in Russia, Equatorial Guinea and Eswatini.

The European Parliament has addressed human rights breaches in Russia, Equatorial Guinea and Eswatini, including the recent deterioration of the inhuman imprisonment conditions of Sakharov Prize laureate Alexei Navalny.

In fact, MEPs called for the release of Alexei Navalny and “all other brave political prisoners in Russia fighting for Russian democracy.”

“Until their release, the conditions of detention of political prisoners such as Navalny, who has been subject to ill-treatment including torture and risks a new prison sentence of up to 25 years, have to comply with Russia’s international obligations,” it noted.

“In particular, Navalny needs access to doctors of his choice and to his lawyers, and communication with his family.”

A statement from the MEPs stressed that “the EU and the democratic community need a clear strategy to support victories for both Ukraine and for democracy in Russia, which would also be a victory for Navalny.”

They urged “EU member states to assist Russian human rights defenders, pro-democracy activists and independent journalists in and outside Russia.”

The EU Parliament also said, “Putin must be put on trial for crimes against his own population and urges the EU Council to adopt restrictive measures against those responsible for arbitrary prosecutions and torture of anti-war protesters.”

It noted that the resolution was “adopted by 497 votes in favour, 17 against and 33 abstentions.”

With regards to Equatorial Guinea, MEPs addressed the violence against opposition activists, notably Julio Obama Mefuman, who in 2019, alongside other opposition members, was kidnapped in South Sudan and flown to Equatorial Guinea.

They were sentenced on charges of terrorism, denied consular assistance and allegedly tortured.

Obama Mefuman died in prison in January 2023.

“Parliament holds the Equatoguinean dictatorial regime responsible for the death of Julio Obama, a prominent dissident and a Spanish and Equatoguinean citizen,” it said on February 16.

MEPs called for “the liberation of three other members of the opposition movement MLGE3R.”

They urged “Equatorial Guinea to fully cooperate with Spanish judicial authorities and strongly condemn the dictatorial regime’s systemic political persecution and barbaric repression of political opponents and human rights defenders.”

The EU Parliament also urged “EU member states to demand the end to all political persecution, as well as an independent inquiry into the death of Obama Mefuman and the wider situation of political prisoners.”

MEPs noted that they want the EU “to sanction regime members involved in human rights violations.”

The resolution was adopted by 518 votes in favour, 6 against and 19 abstentions.

Finally, with regard to the situation of human rights defenders and the murder of Thulani Maseko in Eswatini, Parliament said it “strongly condemns the killing.”

Thulani Maseko was killed in his home just hours after King Mswati III threatened members of the country’s pro-democracy movement earlier this year.

MEPs called for an “investigation into the harassment, violence and pressure against other pro-democracy and human rights activists, as well as the alleged recruitment of mercenaries to help the country’s security forces repress opposition.”

They also called “for the immediate release of all political prisoners, whose incarceration they consider a clear contravention of the Cotonou Agreement” and urged the authorities to “launch a comprehensive dialogue with its opponents without delay, with the aim of national reconciliation and lasting peace, under the mediation of the Southern African Development Community (SEDC).”

The EU Parliament also called on the EU to “review or suspend support programs to Eswatini, if funds risk being used for activities that violate human rights.”

The resolution was adopted by a show of hands, the EU Parliament said.

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Written by

Matthew Roscoe

Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at