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EU urged to back human rights talk with action

Written by: Staff
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BRUSSELS, May 13 (Reuters) The European Union must devote more resources to help end human rights abuses in Iran, Russia and elsewhere and plug a gap between the bloc's policy and its implementation, an EU report said.

''Europe is better at issuing statements than in following them up,'' said the report on EU human rights policy by British labour MEP Richard Howitt.

The report, due to be discussed by the European Parliament next Wednesday, condemned the Iranian president's call for Israel to be wiped off the map and urged the United States to immediately close the Guantanamo detention centre, with the prisoners given a fair trial.

It noted that the EU had a long history of championing human rights around the world, and praised the bloc's efforts to fight the death penalty.

But it criticised the EU for refusing to sponsor resolutions against China and Russia while pushing for United Nations action against smaller countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo Sudan and Uzbekistan.

''It does suggest that the EU has one rule for small countries, and applies a different one for large countries -- hardly compatible with the principle of universality of human rights,'' the report said.

The report demanded more money for the parliament's human rights committee to fund field trips to ''human rights black spots'', and for member states to draw up a list of countries of particular concern each year, along with a clear system of sanctions.

The parliament calls on the European Commission to designate at least one permanent post in each third-country delegation to monitor human rights.

Reuters SY RN2034

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