You are on page 1of 2

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.
C 304/162 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 2. 10. 98

Is the Council aware of the severity of the situation? Has it taken, or will it be taking, any initiatives in connection
with it?

Answer
(8 June 1998)

The Council shares the concern of the Honourable Member over the continued instability and resumption of
fighting on both sides of the border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The
European Union is determined, through partnership with governments and others in the region, and including
through the good offices of its Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region, to promote political stability,
democratisation and economic and social development. The EU Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region,
Mr Ajello, reported to the Council on 30 March 1998 on his latest mission to the area and has since been on a
further mission to the Great Lakes Region.

On the DRC, the European Union remains concerned in particular about the fragile situation in the Kivu region.
The DRC Government has recently sent a large number of troops to the Kivu provinces to restore order and
prevent rebel groups from using DRC territory to stage raids into neighbouring countries. It appears that the
neighbouring countries have made it clear that they could settle the problem on their own, if the DRC is not able
to assert its control over its border areas. Little is known about the origins of the Mai Mai uprising. The Mai Mai
were one of the earliest supporters of Kabila’s uprising against Mobutu in late 1996, but their forces have refused
to become integrated in the new DRC army, which has never been able to effectively control their tribal
homelands. Mai Mai traditional warriors, former Mobutu’s government troops, local tribesmen protesting at the
presence of Rwandan Tutsi troops in DRC, and Hutu rebels from neighbouring Rwanda and Burundi may be
fighting alongside one another.

The action of Hutu extremists, ex-FAR and Interahamwe militia in Rwanda is a different problem which involves
primarily the Rwandan Government. The Council uses every opportunity to bring across the message to the
Rwandan Government that only a political solution can bring lasting peace and reconciliation in Rwanda. On
30 March 1998 the Council adopted a Common Position setting out the political principles on which the EU will
base its future relations with Rwanda. It also adopted conclusions on the Great Lakes Region. The Heads of
Mission of the Troika in Kigali submitted the Common Position to the Rwandan Government, which agreed that
its aims were unity and national reconciliation, rule of law, respect for human rights, promotion of democracy
and power-sharing.

The Council works closely with other interested parties, such as the UN, OAU, the regional leaders and with the
United States to promote political solutions to the conflicts of the region. In due course the idea of an
international conference under the auspices of the UN and the OAU on peace, security and development should
be considered. The Council will continue to follow the situation in the Great Lakes Region closely.

(98/C 304/248) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0975/98


by Carlos Robles Piquer (PPE) to the Council
(31 March 1998)

Subject: Political prisoners in Cuba

Regarding the Council’s reply to my written question E-3519/97 (1) on relations with Cuba, I should like to know
whether the phased dialogue beginning at technical level referred to will strictly observe the conditions laid down
in the current Joint Position with regard to the Cuban Government; and whether there has been a request that the
political prisoners released in tribute to his holiness Jean Paul II should include Felix Antonio Boné Carcasses,
René Gómez Manzano, Vladimiro Roca Antúnez and Mrs Marta Beatriz Roque Cabello, all of whom are being
held in prison for the simple crime of having written that ‘the motherland belongs to everybody’?

(1) OJ C 158, 25.5.1998, p. 138.