Double standards: European Parliament ignores Kyrgyz human rights abuses


Kyrgyzstan is about to be granted GSP + status under the European Union's Generalised Scheme of Preferences for developing countries. This will enable the serial human rights abuser to benefit from trade incentives with EU member states, supposedly on condition of implementing core international conventions on human and labour rights, sustainable development and good governance.
The European Parliament had a chance to veto the move, whose conditionality, if previous examples are anything to go by, will be flouted, yet it voted down a motion from the United Left Group objecting to this preferential status being granted by 530 to 125.
The granting of GSP+ comes despite a report on Kyrgyzstan by the European Commission itself, which lists serious cases of systematic torture in police custody, neglect of women's and children's rights and discrimination against minority Uzbeks.
In addition, the Kyrgyz Parliament is about to adopt two highly problematic draft laws: one which will indiscriminately define all NGOs receiving international funding as ‘foreign agents’, and the second on ‘propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations' which will discriminate against the LGBT population in the country, with even harsher punishments than in Russia.
The only chance of the conditionality achieving its stated aim would be for the implementation of international conventions on human rights in the countries benefiting from the GSP+ to be properly monitored, yet this is also being prevented. A representative of Human Rights Watch  was recently declared 'persona non grata' by Kyrgyz authorities and denied access to the country.  
Helmut Scholz, MEP, of Germany’s Die Linke (The Left), who is trade policy coordinator for the United Left Group, is demanding that “the Commission closely follow developments in Kyrgyzstan. The approval of the two laws against NGOs and against the freedom of sexual orientation should be considered as a serious failure to respect human rights conventions and principles, and this should lead to the suspension of GSP+."