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C 137 E/114 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.

2003

(2003/C 137 E/128) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2714/02


by Baroness Sarah Ludford (ELDR) to the Council

(26 September 2002)

Subject: The forcible repatriation of North Korean refugees by the People’s Republic of China

In recent years, tens of thousands of North Koreans have fled famine and persecution in the Democratic
People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), clandestinely crossing the border into the north-eastern provinces of
China.

Since 1999, the Chinese Government has been forcibly repatriating thousands of these North Korean
refugees and asylum-seekers, whom it regards as economic migrants and thereby ‘illegal immigrants’.
Over the last year there has been a notable crackdown on these refugees, and an intensification of forcible
repatriations.

This is despite the fact that having fled from a country with such a deplorable human rights record as the
DPRK, many of the refugees will undoubtedly have genuine asylum claims. Once extradited by the PRC,
the North Koreans meet an uncertain fate back in their home country, which might include imprisonment,
torture and in some cases summary execution or death in detention from starvation and disease (source:
Amnesty International).

In forcibly repatriating the refugees, the Chinese Government is denying them access to any refugee
determination procedure. This violates the fundamental principle of non-refoulement embodied in the
1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, to which China is a state party.

What action is the Council taking to ensure that the rights of North Korean refugees and asylum-seekers
are respected, and that they have access to a fair and independent asylum procedure, as embodied in the
1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees? Will the Council agree to raise the issue of the unjust
forcible repatriation of North Korean refugees at the next round of the biannual EU-China Human Rights
Dialogue?

Reply

(6 February 2003)

1. The Council would like to refer the Honourable MEP to its reply to the Parliamentary Question
No 2242/02, which remains valid.

2. The Council has raised the issue again with the Chinese authorities at the next round of the
EU-China human rights dialogue in Beijing in November 2002.

(2003/C 137 E/129) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2728/02


by Konstantinos Hatzidakis (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(30 September 2002)

Subject: Non-payment of aid to Greek organic farmers

Organic farmers in the prefecture of Pireas whose applications were accepted from 1999 under the
relevant EU-funded programme have not received payment in respect of their 2000 and 2001 crops. It
appears that similar problems have arisen in other prefectures in Greece.

Can the Commission give the reasons for non-payment of aid and say what steps it intends to take to
ensure that the farmers in question receive the aid to which they are entitled?
12.6.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 137 E/115

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(5 November 2002)

The Commission’s initial information is that failure to pay the organic farming agri-environmental
premiums to certain recipients in the Pireas prefecture for 2000 and 2001 under Regulation (EEC)
No 2078/92 (1) followed notification to the national authorities by the Pireas agriculture department that
these recipients’ agri-environmental commitments had been made irregularly in that they were given
during 1999 instead of at the beginning of the year (which would have allowed compliance with the
commitments to be thoroughly checked during the various growing stages). This in fact meant that the
payments made at the end of 1999 should have been made at the end of the following year, i.e. the
payments due for 2000 had already been made in 1999 and as long as the legal and control procedure
difficulties engendered by the situation remained unresolved further payments were blocked. The Greek
authorities have informed the Commission that these difficulties have been cleared up and that the
payments for 2001 and 2002 can be made at the end of the year. Given the lack of clarity surrounding
agri-environmental commitments in the Pireas prefecture, the Commission will however be seeking further
information from the Greek authorities.

According to the national authorities the problem arose in this prefecture only.

(1) Council Regulation (EEC) No 2078/92 of 30 June 1992 on agricultural production methods compatible with the
requirements of protection of the environment and maintenance of the countryside (OJ L 215, 30.7.1992).

(2003/C 137 E/130) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2731/02


by Mary Honeyball (PSE) to the Council

(30 September 2002)

Subject: Miss World contest to be held in Nigeria

Would the Council call on all EU Member States and applicant countries to condemn the death sentence
imposed on a young Nigerian woman, Amina Lawal, for giving birth outside marriage? Would it further
call upon all Member States and applicant countries to boycott the Miss World contest to be held in
Nigeria later this year?

Reply

(18 February 2003)

In its Declaration of 21 August 2002, the Presidency on behalf of the European Union expressed deep
concern about the decision of the court of appeal to dismiss the appeal of Ms Amina Lawal against the
death sentence by stoning. The candidate countries associated themselves with this declaration.

Like in a previous case (1), the EU recalled its position on the death penalty and encouraged the
Government of Nigeria to continue to work towards the abolition of the death penalty contributing thus
to the enhancement of human dignity and the progressive development of human rights. This position was
reiterated in the Council Declaration on the death penalty and particularly cruel forms of execution,
adopted on 30 September 2002.

The Council has not dealt with the question of boycotting the Miss World contest to be held in Nigeria
later this year.

(1) Declaration of 27 March 2002 welcoming the acquittal of Safya Husseini.