EFA MEPs have described as unacceptable the 'censorship' of the European Parliament's report on fundamental rights in the European Union 2018-2019.
The report gives a broad overview of the situation on fundamental rights across the EU, and has been the product of many months of preparation. It deals with a number of important areas, including the erosion of women's rights, and violence against women. It also condemns attacks on media freedom and expresses concern about the treatment of refugees.
But several MEPs have strongly criticised the last minute decision to remove from the final text references to police brutality and the imprisonment of political leaders for having held a democratic plebiscite. Police brutally intervened in Catalonia's independence referendum, and Catalan leaders subsequently received jail sentences in excess on ten years for their role in a peaceful act of self-determination.
This was referenced in the report's explanatory statement from rapporteur Clare Daly. However under pressure from Spanish unionist parties, the text was removed from the final report put before MEPs.
Diana Riba MEP (ERC) is the Greens/EFA shadow rapporteur on the report. She spoke out against the censorship in the Parliament debate:
"We are concerned that the big political groups have sought to block any mention of individual member states in this report. Furthermore, the Chair of the LIBE committee at the request of several parties, deleted the rapporteur's explanatory statement, which indirectly referred to police violence in Catalonia and the imprisonment of Catalan leaders.
"An explanatory statement which reflected what had already been said by the UN working group on arbitrary detention, the Council of Europe's Human Rights Commissioner and Amnesty International, amongst others.
"We regret that in a report on fundamental rights we have to condemn an act of censorship and political cynicism within the European Parliament."