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2. 10.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 304/161

(98/C 304/246) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0873/98


by John Cushnahan (PPE) to the Council
(31 March 1998)

Subject: Human rights in Mexico

Is the Council aware that human rights groups state that 45 unarmed indigenous people in the state of Chiapas,
Mexico, were killed in December 1997 by paramilitary supporters of the ruling PRI party?

Has the Council received details of this incident, and what action does it propose to take in the light of the clause
on the observation of human rights and democracy in the recent trade agreement drawn up between the EU and
Mexico?

Answer
(8 June 1998)

On 24 December 1997, on the basis of information immediately broadcasted by the media, which the Mexican
authorities themselves confirmed, the Presidency, on behalf of the European Union, made the following
statement condemning in the strongest terms the massacre perpetrated by paramilitary groups against Tzotzil
Indians on 23 December 1997 in the Mexican State of Chiapas, causing the death of 46 civilians:

‘The Presidency of the European Union calls on the Government of the United States of Mexico to carry out an
enquiry without delay to ascertain the full details regarding the massacre and to ensure that the perpetrators are
brought to justice. It has noted the undertaking given to this effect by President Zedillo and trusts that it will be
carried out.

The Presidency of the European Union expresses its concern regarding the human rights situation in this region
of Mexico.

It calls on the Mexican authorities to take all the measures necessary to guarantee the safety of the civilian
population in the State of Chiapas.

It would point out in this context that the European Union and the United States of Mexico have recently signed a
cooperation agreement in which the two parties undertake unreservedly to respect democratic principles and
fundamental human rights and the principles of the rule of law.’

The Council continues to follow closely developments in Chiapas, including through its Heads of Mission in
Mexico. In the context of an informal meeting at ministerial level between the Troika of the European Union and
Mexico, held in Panama on 12 February 1998, the Mexican Minister took the opportunity to inform of the steps
taken by the Mexican Government after the tragic events in Chiapas. EU Ministers took note of the assurance
given by the Mexican Minister of the importance attached by the Mexican Government to the peaceful resolution
of the conflict in Chiapas. In this regard, the Mexican Minister reiterated that respect for human rights and
fundamental freedoms, the principles of democracy and political pluralism form the basis for relations between
the EU and Mexico, and the EU Ministers agreed.

(98/C 304/247) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0950/98


by Iñigo Méndez de Vigo (PPE) to the Council
(31 March 1998)

Subject: Fighting on both sides of the border between Rwanda and Congo

The border between the former Zaire and Rwanda has become a battlefield, in which two separate wars are
currently being waged. On one side of the border, in Butembo, 300 people have been killed in the fighting
between the Maimai militia and Kabila’s forces whilst, over the border, near Guitarama, 2 000 Hutu extremists
are surrounded by the Rwandan army whose aim is to exterminate them, having already slaughtered 135 Hutus.
So far, the death toll in the fighting on both sides of the border has reached 435. The situation is extremely
unstable on both fronts and neither Kabila’s forces nor the Rwandan army appear to be in control.