Chairwoman Hautala addressed today the launch of Amnesty International Recommendations to the EU during the Belgian Presidency.[:] The recommendations by Amnesty cover several internal and external human rights issues of EU and more importantly call on the Belgian Presidency to take action on specific10 cases.Ms Hautala underlined in her speech that she fully supports the raising of these specific cases as human rights efforts wield most results when concrete action is taken on the case of an individual. In this vein, she called for EU to put more emphasis info efforts to secure justice for the named individuals.
Ms Hautala has particular experience of the case of Aleksey Sokolov, whose is one of the cases raised in the Amnesty list. In December 2009 Ms Hautala went to see Mr Sokolov to Ekaterinburg in Russia but was not allowed to meet with him in the end. She did, however, meet with his family and lawyers and stays in close touch with them still. She stressed that she continues to work with them to bring an end this judicial harassment and hopes that this will be done in close cooperation with Amnesty International also from this on.
Ms Hautala also noted that on the whole, it is time that EU took its human rights commitments more seriously. The human rights dialogues could and should be more effective and human rights approach in cooperation with third countries should be made more coherent. In this spirit she has drafted the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs report on Human Rights Defenders, which was adopted by the European Parliament last week. The report focuses on how to make the EU action more efficient and result-oriented in this field. Ms Hautala reiterated her gratefulness of the invaluable input of Amnesty International not only to the work of the Subcommittee on Human Rights but also to her own report. She underlined that now that the report has been adopted the hard work only begins to defend the rights of individuals who take risks to defend the rights of others.
The report, including the list of 10 individual cases, can be found from www.amnesty.org