Home Human Rights Urgent resolution on human rights in Serbia adopted in the European Parliament

Urgent resolution on human rights in Serbia adopted in the European Parliament

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STRASBOURG – The European Parliament today adopted an urgent resolution on forced labor in the Linglong factory and environmental protests in Serbia.

The resolution was supported by 586 deputies, 53 against and 44 abstained. The joint motion for a resolution was supported by the European People’s Party, the Socialists and Democrats, Renew Europe, the Greens/EFA and the European Conservatives and Reformists.

The resolution expresses concern over recent findings by human rights organizations regarding the living and working conditions of Vietnamese workers during the construction of the Linglong factory.

The document recalls that there have been serious allegations against the Chinese tire production company Linglong Tire in Zrenjanin, northern Serbia, regarding the working conditions of 500 Vietnamese workers.

“The European Parliament urges the Serbian authorities to carefully investigate this matter and ensure respect for fundamental human rights at the factory, in particular labor rights, to provide the EU with the findings of its investigations and to request accounts to the authors”, we can read in the text.

The report also recalls that massive environmental protests have taken place across Serbia since November 27, 2021.

“The European Parliament also expressed its deep concern at the increasing violence of extremist and hooligan groups against peaceful pro-environment protests; deplores the scale of the force used by the police against the demonstrators; condemns the violent behavior of hooligans towards peaceful demonstrators,” the resolution reads.

The EP also condemned, in this context, the role of hooligan groups in the protection of the fresco of the convicted war criminal Ratko Mladić case in Belgrade, as well as corresponding incidents that exposed the close ties between hooligans and the police.

He expressed concern about the authorities’ lack of will to ensure the permanent removal of the mural, contrary to both the wishes of the tenants and the formal decisions of the municipality.

The EP expressed its deep concern about “serious problems of corruption and the rule of law in the environmental field, the general lack of transparency and environmental and social impact assessments of infrastructure projects, notably those from Chinese investments and loans as well as multinational projects. companies like Rio Tinto.”

During the debate, Miriam Lexmann (PPE) said that the construction of the Linglong tire factory is emblematic of China’s growing influence and economic footprint in the Western Balkans. She added that the protests of the Serbian people show that they care about their country and its environment.

“I welcome the decision to withdraw the expropriation law and investigate working conditions at the Linglong factory,” Lexmann said.

Tonino Picula (S&D) said it is not often that there is an urgent case of human rights violation involving a candidate country.

“In Serbia, we often face cases of foreign investments that do not comply with European standards. Cluster 4 was opened recently and yet we see that the law that was supposed to actually harm the environment. Thanks to the protest, the law was withdrawn,” Picula said.

Klemen Grošelj (Renew Europe) stressed that this was not a resolution against Serbia and the Serbian people, but a warning to the Serbian government.

“This is totally unacceptable for a candidate country. Serbia is preparing to enter the EU and hooligans attacked the protesters, which clearly shows that the Serbian government has difficulty implementing rights such as the right to peaceful protest,” Grošelj said.

According to Viola von Cramon (Greens/ALE), “it is nothing new that Serbia is a captured state with a very weak reform record”. What is new, she says, is the way Vietnamese workers are treated in Serbia.

“This is what we call modern slavery. No water, food and heating. Is this the image the EU wants to send to the world? Another, but related, topic concerns the protests currently taking place. Why the Serbian government and Rio Tinto are keeping secret what to do with lithium mining in Loznica. Citizens are rightly concerned,” von Cramon said.


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