03/31/2005, 00.00
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Human Rights Annual Report approved by EU Foreign Affairs Committee

The report by MEP Simon Coveney calls for arms embargo to China to remain intact and accuses Iran and Iraq.

Brussels (AsiaNews) – The Foreign Affairs Committee of the European parliament yesterday approved the Human Rights Annual Report.

The report, which was prepared by Irish MEP Simon Coveney, passed by 63 votes to three.

It gives an overview of EU human rights policy and looks at human rights issues in 70 countries in order to inform member countries about abuses and progress where they are visible.

It focuses on human rights violations in China, Iran and Iraq and warns against lifting the arms embargo to China.

To this point, Coveney writes: "In November of last year, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to maintain the embargo on the sale of arms to China. Given its lack of progress in the area of human rights I am appalled and very disappointed that both the European Commission and Council have once again put trade before human rights, with the announcement that the EU may lift the arms embargo on China [. . .]. The report strongly recommends that the arms embargo remain intact until greater progress is made on human rights issues."

The report will be officially tabled in parliament on April 27.

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