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C 137 E/102 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.

2003

The Commission apologises for not having met the deadlines desired by Parliament in the cases referred to
by the Honourable Member. As he will have noted, its answers to his questions E-2165/02, E-2164/02,
E-2163/02 and E-2162/02 have meanwhile been sent to him.

As to the final point raised by the Honourable Member, the Commission considers that it gave its position
in its answer to Written Question E-1540/02.

(2003/C 137 E/115) WRITTEN QUESTION P-2650/02


by Marco Pannella (NI) to the Commission

(13 September 2002)

Subject: Failure to denounce the Cooperation Agreement with Vietnam on the grounds of infringement of
Article 2 resulting from serious, repeated and countless violations of human, political and religious
rights

The Commission concluded a Cooperation Agreement with Vietnam.

Aware that:

 known eye-witnesses state that corpses and human remains have been found along the border
between Vietnam and Cambodia. They belong to Montagnards who presumably tried to flee to
Cambodia in order to escape persecution by the Vietnamese Government;

 many thousands of Montagnards have taken refuge in the jungle to escape persecution but have been
unable to reach refugee camps in Cambodia after the Cambodian Government closed the border;

 between June and the end of August this year at least 29 Montagnards were arrested (their names,
village of origin and time and date of arrest are known) and often tortured by Vietnamese police
because they had taken part in peaceful demonstrations in February 2001;

 on 25 August this year:


 two Montagnards (whose names and village of origin are known) were tortured by the special
Vietnamese police forces (Conga-An) and then escaped into the jungle;
 a Vietnamese meat seller poisoned 42 Montagnards (whose names and village of origin are
known); this is evidence of a form of terrorisation practised by the Communist government of
Vietnam against ethnic minorities, whereby the civilian population is encouraged to take action
against the minorities in return for acquiring ownership of their ancestral lands.

Can the Commission say whether:

 it knows about the events referred to and, if not, whether it intends to obtain testimonies, whether it
can provide the witnesses with guarantees, and if so, what kind;

 in addition to the facts outlined above, it is aware of violations of fundamental rights by Vietnamese
institutions and public bodies committed against the Montagnard population who live in the Central
Highlands and are both practising Christians and political militants;

 it does not consider that the serious, repeated and countless violations of human, political and
religious rights in Vietnam constitute a grave infringement of Article 2 of the Cooperation Agreement
between the Commission and Vietnam, and what body is monitoring respect for the afore-mentioned
article and what its parameters are?

Answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission

(15 October 2002)

The EC-Vietnam Co-operation Agreement, which was signed in 1995, states in its first Article that respect
for human rights and democratic principles is the basis of its co-operation. Questions related to the
12.6.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 137 E/103

respect for and the promotion of human rights are addressed in meetings of the EC-Vietnam Joint
Commission established under the Co-operation Agreement. The Commission, together with the Member
States represented in Vietnam, therefore monitors closely human rights developments in Vietnam as part
of the policy of the Union to encourage and support the continued commitment of the Government of
Vietnam to progress in the field of human rights. The Commission also participates with the Member
States in regular dialogue with and in all démarches to the Government of Vietnam on human rights
issues. Most recently, the Member of the Commission responsible for External Relations raised
Commission’s concerns with the Vietnamese Prime Minister, Mr Phan Van Khai, during his visit to
Brussels on 26 September 2002.

In relation to the particular events mentioned in the question  findings of human remains along the
Cambodia-Vietnam border, torture of 29 Montagnards arrested between June and end-August 2002,
torture of two Montagnards on 25 August 2002 and their subsequent escape from custody, poisoning of
42 Montagnards by a Vietnamese meat seller  enquiries with Union and other partners in both Vietnam
and Cambodia, including those who have visited the regions concerned, have not yielded any reliable
confirmation. Also, while there are some reports of potential asylum seekers on the Vietnamese side of the
border, there are no reports of any persons being prevented from crossing the border. In relation to earlier
developments in the Central Highlands, the Commission would refer the Honourable Member to its answer
to written question P-1502/02 by Mr Gianfranco Dell’Alba (1).

The Commission, together with the Member States represented in Vietnam, will continue to monitor
closely human rights developments in the country and to take appropriate follow-up action.

(1) OJ C 110 E, 8.5.2003, p. 18.

(2003/C 137 E/116) WRITTEN QUESTION P-2655/02


by Robert Evans (PSE) to the Commission

(13 September 2002)

Subject: Maajid Nawaz, Ian Malcolm Nisbett and Reza Pankhurst held captive in Egypt

Maajid Nawaz, Ian Malcolm Nisbett and Reza Pankhurst are three young British Muslim men who have
been detained in Egypt for five months. There have been concerns raised about their treatment, including
allegations of torture and breaches of the Geneva Convention. The British Government has issued a formal
complaint to the Egyptian Government concerning their treatment.

What action is the Commission taking to support the UK Government in this case and end the abuses of
these men’s human rights?

Answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission

(3 October 2002)

The 26 persons of the Al Tahrir group, including the three British nationals referred to by the Honourable
Member, were arrested in April 2002 and eventually charged on 4 August 2002 with belonging to a
banned organisation and propagating its goals, i.a. the overthrow of the present Egyptian government and
the installation of an Islamic Khalifat. The case is due to be heard before an Emergency State Security
Court on 20 October 2002. A fourth Briton arrested at the same time was released without charge.

The Commission is aware of allegations of mistreatment made by members of Al Tahrir in Britain and of
official British contacts with the Egyptian authorities to gain information on this point. There were also
problems of access to the detained British men at their arrest although the Commission understands that