Beleid China in Afrika: Europarlementsleden alert

Met dank overgenomen van Europees Parlement (EP), gepubliceerd op woensdag 27 februari 2008.

In a report on the effects of China's growing presence in Africa, the EP Development Committee points the finger at investments made by China with no strings attached in African countries ruled by oppressive regimes. This policy helps perpetuate human rights violations, say MEPs, who also highlight Beijing's role in the spread of arms and the conditions under which natural resources are being exploited.

The report, drafted by Ana Gomes (PES, PT), urges the EU to call on China "to suspend military cooperation and arms trade deals with those governments that are responsible for human rights violations, are involved in conflicts or on the brink of war", such as Zimbabwe, Sudan, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Eritrea.

In addition, says the report, China should increase the transparency of its national arms export control regime, namely by ensuring complete reporting on exports to the UN Register on Conventional Arms Exports.

The EU should maintain its arms embargo on China, adds the committee, for as long as China continues to export arms to armed forces and armed groups in countries, many of them in Africa, that fuel and perpetuate conflicts and perpetrate gross violations of human rights.

Peacekeeping and non-interference

MEPs call on the EU to encourage China to continue increasing its participation in UN or African Union (AU) peacekeeping missions in Africa "by also supplying combat troops, when necessary". The EU is also urged to encourage China to assume its responsibilities as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, including the "responsibility to protect" civilians.

However, the report stresses that the EU should avoid generalisations about China's role, should regard it with an "open and constructive attitude".  MEPs also call for joint projects (EU, China, Africa) to fight climate change and develop renewable energies.

In addition, the EU should devise a strategy to meet the new challenges raised by emerging donors in Africa, such as China, including a coordinated approach between different Member States and EU institutions. It should also enter into a dialogue with China, in order to discuss methods and aims of development policy.

Investment in Africa

Unlike the EU, which ties its investment to respect for human rights and good governance, China makes most of its investments without laying down any particular conditions. Such investment in countries suffering from bad governance by oppressive regimes helps perpetuate human rights abuses, say MEPs.

The EU should encourage Chinese export-credit agencies, including the Exim Bank, to conduct systematic environmental assessments of infrastructure projects in Africa, such as dams, roads and mines, believes the committee.

The report also calls on the EU to actively promote transparency regarding revenue generated by natural resources. MEPs argue that a clause requiring the investment of "a percentage of profit in local community development" should be included in international conventions on energy resources extraction or exploration.

Role of parliaments

Lastly, the Development Committee stresses that the European Parliament is willing to engage with the Chinese National People's Congress, the Pan-African Parliament and African national parliaments in a dialogue aimed at fostering sustainable development and enhancing their scrutinising capabilities.

26/02/2008

Committee on Development

Chair : Josep Borrell Fontelles (PES, ES)

Procedure: Own-initiative

Plenary vote: April, Strasbourg

 

REF.: 20080225IPR22120