Janice Atkinson, Independent MEP for the South East of England, has accused the European Parliament of being biased and selective in its support of human rights after MEPs voted against holding an emergency debate on the murders of scores of South Africa’s predominately white farmers.
Backing a proposal put forward by the Parliament’s right-wing ENF (Europe of Nations and Freedom) group, Janice told the opening plenary session of the EP in Strasbourg that at least 72 people had died in farm attacks since the start of the year. Being a farmer in South Africa was “one of the most dangerous professions in the world”, she added.
Asking that the violence be discussed in the Parliament in an urgent human rights abuse debate, Janice told MPs: “The situation remains serious.
“I was in South African on Monday the 30th of October, when thousands of South Africans were standing up to crime… They were mourning together – wearing black – in memory of all those who have died in violent crimes, including farmers.
“At least 72 people have died in farm attacks in South Africa since the start of this year. Being a farmer in South Africa is one of the most dangerous professions in the world. And it’s not only the farmers who are at risk.
“Every day an average of 52 people are murdered in South Africa and there are huge concerns about the functioning of the police. Strangely enough, this doesn’t seem to be an issue for the international community. My proposal is to have a debate with a statement of the Commission and the Council, and have it as a first item this evening.”
Commenting, after the Parliament voted and rejected her debate, she said:
“The European Parliament believes it holds the moral high ground on human rights. Yet MEPs are selective in their support for human rights depending on who it is abusing them.
“Their level of support for fundamental human rights varies dramatically depending which country acts in breach of them and the political beliefs of MEPs who raise the abuses.
My colleagues in the ENF believe that human rights are identical for all people, regardless of colour creed or the political leanings of the governments of the countries which abuse them. Refusing to debate human rights violations in South Africa is a shameful decision by the EU.”