In a statement to the European Parliament, Estonian MEP Urmas Paet (Reform/ALDE) said that the EU needed to keep the case in mind in its dealings with India. No progress had been made in the case of the 14 men.
At a plenary sitting this week, the European Parliament adopted a resolution concerning the EU’s political relations with India. Paet emphasized that the case of the 14 Estonian ship guards was no closer to getting solved, and that India wasn’t moving in the matter. The partnership between the EU and India needed to be based on shared values, like democracy and the respect for human rights.
“A significant area of concern in relations with India cannot be overlooked. Namely, 14 Estonian and six British ship guards have been imprisoned in India for approximately four years and there seems to be no progress,” Paet said. “The court in Tamil Nadu has for the last ten months postponed a court sitting for the announcement of the final judgment. In respect to the laws and court systems of India it is also important that India respect the right to trials within a reasonable amount of time. Especially when it comes to foreigners, who for approximately four years have been waiting for their fate away from home in India,” Paet’s statement reads.
Paet said that the unsolved issue of the ship guards needed to be on the agenda in the communication between the EU and India until the issue is resolved.
“The next opportunity for this will be in the framework of the dialogue on human rights between the EU and India and at the EU-India summit,” Paet said. “Therefore, even though the relations between the EU and India are important and the development of them in the interest of both parties, we must remember that the responsibility of the EU is to stand for the interests of its citizens abroad and ensure that they will be able to return to their loved ones at home as quickly as possible.”
Editor: Dario Cavegn