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CFSP Statements


Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union on the Declaration on Prisoners of Conscience of 17 June 2008

The 27 Member States of the European Union, together with 37 countries from all parts of the world, have co-sponsored a Declaration on Prisoners of Conscience, which was circulated to all United Nations Member States on 17 June 2008.

This Declaration avails of the opportunity presented by 60th anniversary year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to reaffirm the right of everyone to freedom of opinion and expression, the right of everyone to freedom of peaceful assembly and association and the right of everyone to freedom of thought, conscience and religion

The European Union, together with the other co-sponsors of this Declaration, commit themselves to work for the freedom of prisoners of conscience and to make their release a priority in our relations with other states.

The European Union deeply regrets that there remain many examples of governments employing imprisonment as a strategy for dealing with their political opposition or with human rights defenders. In numerous instances prisoners of conscience are detained, often in very poor conditions, for long periods of time to prevent them from speaking to or assembling with others.

The European Union calls upon all Member States of the United Nations to join in working to ensure the release of all prisoners of conscience.

The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as  the Republic of Moldova, Armenia and Georgia align themselves with this declaration.


* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.


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Date: 20.06.2008