Procedure : 2015/2559(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0142/2015

Texts tabled :


Debates :

Votes :

PV 12/02/2015 - 4.6
CRE 12/02/2015 - 4.6

Texts adopted :


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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0136/2015

to wind up the debate on the statement by Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on the humanitarian crisis in Iraq and Syria, in particular in the IS context (2015/2559(RSP))

Elena Valenciano, Richard Howitt, Josef Weidenholzer, Ana Gomes, Vincent Peillon, Goffredo Maria Bettini, Nikos Androulakis, Gilles Pargneaux, Tonino Picula, Kati Piri, Nicola Caputo, Alessia Maria Mosca, Andi Cristea, Simona Bonafè, Viorica Dăncilă, Victor Negrescu, Marlene Mizzi, David Martin, Arne Lietz, Zigmantas Balčytis, Brando Benifei, Javi López on behalf of the S&D Group

B8‑0142/2015 European Parliament resolution on the humanitarian crisis in Iraq and Syria, in particular in the IS context (2015/2559(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–       having regard to its previous resolutions on Iraq and Syria,

–       having regard to the Foreign Affairs Council conclusions on Iraq and Syria, in particular those of 15 December 2014,

–       having regard to the European Council conclusions on Iraq and Syria of 30 August 2014,

–       having regard to the statements by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) on Iraq and Syria,

–       having regard to UN Security Council resolutions 2139 (2014), 2165 (2014) and 2170 (2014) and UN Human Rights Council resolution S-22/1,

–       having regard to the UN Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, entitled ‘Rule of Terror: Living under ISIS in Syria’, of 14 November 2014,

–       having regard to the statements by the Secretary-General of the United Nations on Iraq and Syria,

–       having regard to the NATO Summit Declaration of 5 September 2014,

–       having regard to the EU Guidelines on the promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief, adopted on 24 June 2013,

–       having regard to the conclusions of the International Conference on Peace and Security in Iraq, held in Paris on 15 September 2014,

–       having regard to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Iraq, of the other, and to its legislative resolution of 17 January 2013 on that partnership(1),

–       having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.     whereas the ongoing violent crisis in Syria has resulted in a humanitarian catastrophe of an unprecedented scale in recent history, with more than 200 000 people killed, most of them civilians, more than 7.6 million people internally displaced, and more than 12.2 million Syrians in desperate need of assistance inside Syria; whereas more than 3.5 million Syrians have fled their country, mainly to Lebanon (1 160 468 refugees), Turkey (1 623 839), Jordan (621 773), Iraq (235 563) and Egypt/North Africa (160 772);

B.     whereas the humanitarian situation in Iraq is continuing to deteriorate and needs are growing; whereas more than 5.2 million people are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance and more than 2.1 million Iraqis are internally displaced; whereas there are 3.6 million people living in areas controlled by IS, 2.2 million of whom are in urgent need of aid, and whereas these people are particularly difficult to reach; whereas Iraq also hosts over 233 000 Syrian refugees;

C.     whereas the Commission is responding to the humanitarian needs by assisting internally displaced Iraqis and Iraqi refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, as well as Syrian refugees in Iraq; whereas in 2014 the EU and its Member States were the second-largest humanitarian donor, providing EUR 163 million; whereas the EU Civil Protection Mechanism was also activated to facilitate the rapid deployment of assistance and expertise to the region;

D.     whereas IS/Daesh has conquered parts of north-western Iraq, including Iraq’s second‑largest city, Mosul, and whereas this has been followed by summary executions of Iraqi citizens, the imposition of a harsh interpretation of Sharia law, including cruel and inhuman punishments against men, women and children, the destruction of Shiite, Sufi, Sunni and Christian places of worship and shrines, and other atrocities against the civilian population, affecting women and children in particular;

E.     whereas IS\Daesh has launched systematic campaigns of ethnic cleansing in northern Iraq and Syria, carrying out war crimes, including mass unlawful killings and abductions, against ethnic and religious minorities; whereas the UN has already reported targeted killings, forced conversions, abductions, the selling of women, slavery of women and children, recruitment of children for suicide bombings, sexual and physical abuse and torture; whereas Christian, Yazidi, Turkmen, Shabak, Kaka’e, Sabaean and Shi’a communities, as well as many Sunni Muslims, have been targeted by IS/Daesh;

F.     whereas the UNHCR has stated that almost 50 % of all Syrians have lost their homes and 40 % of the refugees are forced to endure sub-standard living conditions; whereas, according to the UN, three out of four Syrians live in poverty and the unemployment rate is over 50 %; whereas two-thirds of the Syrian refugees in Jordan are living below the poverty line and 55 % of the refugees in Lebanon live in sub-standard shelters; whereas violence and discrimination against refugees have risen in the host countries;

G.     whereas a severe winter is sweeping across the Middle East and the UNHCR has stepped up its winter assistance, launching a USD 206 million winter plan to help millions of vulnerable people in the region; whereas, despite the efforts made, many refugees are forced to live in unfinished buildings and inadequate shelters that expose them to sub-zero temperatures, heavy snow and strong winds; whereas approximately 740 000 internally displaced Iraqis are sheltering in sub-standard housing and the UNHCR is taking steps to provide 600 000 of the displaced persons with winter support in Iraq;

H.     whereas UNICEF is delivering winter assistance in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey to 916 000 of the 1.3 million targeted children; whereas UNICEF and the World Food Programme launched a winter cash assistance campaign in January 2015 to provide 41 000 vulnerable refugee children in the Za’atari and Azraq camps with 14 Jordanian dinars to allow their family to buy them winter clothes;

I.      whereas in November 2014 Human Rights Watch estimated that more than 3 133 Yazidis, including children, had been kidnapped and/or killed by IS/Daesh since the IS/Daesh assaults of early August; whereas more than 50 000 Yazidis are displaced and whereas 300 of those abducted, mostly women and children, have managed to escape IS captivity; whereas Yazidi women are suffering systematic sexual violence and enslavement; whereas, according to recent reports, women have committed suicide after being raped or forced to marry IS/Daesh militants;

J.      whereas, despite the various appeals, the international community is failing to meet the needs of Syrians and Iraqis and of the countries harbouring refugees; whereas, according to Kyung-wha Kang, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, UN operations are suffering from a lack of funding, with just 39 % of the required USD 2.3 billion having been received; whereas the UNHCR has stated that it remains very difficult to operate within the areas to provide civilians and refugees with the aid they need;

1.      Strongly condemns the systematic and widespread human rights violations and abuses committed by IS/Daesh in Iraq and Syria, including the killing of hostages, all acts of violence against persons based on their religious and ethnic affiliation, and violence against women and children; expresses its deep sympathy to the victims of the atrocities committed by IS/Daesh and calls for the immediate release of all hostages;

2.      Stresses that IS/Daesh poses a vital threat to the people of Iraq and Syria, and the broader Middle East; emphasises the need for an integrated approach, combining military, political, humanitarian and development dimensions, to deal with the IS/Daesh threat;

3.      Takes the view that, given the genocidal and expansionist nature of IS/Daesh and the threat it represents globally, and to European security in particular, mere containment of this threat is not an option, and that all the territories currently under the control of IS/Daesh should be liberated; supports, therefore, the global campaign against IS/Daesh and stresses the need to work with all the regional and local actors committed to its defeat under a common, multifaceted, and long-term strategy; emphasises, in this regard, that any military campaign of liberation of the territories under IS/Daesh control should adhere strictly to international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law, so as to avoid causing more loss of lives and feeding the extremist agenda, and also to prevent new waves of refugees and internally displaced persons;

4.      Takes the view that defeating the extremist terrorist threat that is gaining ground across the Middle East and North Africa region and beyond is crucial to combating terrorism inside the European Union, since its advance actually feeds home-grown radicalisation;

5.      Emphasises that in the long term only a genuine and inclusive process of national reconciliation between different ethnic and religious groups in Syria and Iraq, including Sunni Muslims, can create conditions that would deny IS/Daesh, al-Qaeda, al‑Nusra and associated extremist organisations support among the Sunni Arab population; calls on the Iraqi authorities and the international community to avoid taking revenge against the Sunni population of the areas currently under the control of IS/Daesh after these areas are liberated from IS/Daesh;

6.      Stresses the need for the international community to increase its efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to the populations in need; calls on all donors to fulfil their promises and to deliver assistance as swiftly as possible; welcomes the commitments made by Member States, as the biggest donor of financial aid and future pledges; calls for an increase in the EU’s contributions to the UN’s humanitarian programmes and to strengthen its cooperation with international organisations;

7.      Stresses that, in view of the unprecedented scale of the crisis, alleviating the suffering of millions of Syrians and Iraqis in need of basic goods and services must be a priority for the EU and the international community at large; condemns the consistent thwarting of attempts to deliver humanitarian aid and calls on all the parties involved in the conflict to respect universal human rights, to facilitate the provision of humanitarian aid and assistance through all possible channels, including across borders and conflict lines, and to ensure the safety of all medical personnel and humanitarian workers, in line with the various UN Security Council resolutions;

8.      Calls on all the parties to the conflict to comply with IHL and ensure that civilians are protected, have unhindered access to medical facilities and humanitarian assistance, and are able to leave areas affected by violence safely and with dignity;

9.      Is convinced that immediate humanitarian assistance and protection need to be complemented by long-term strategies in support of the social, economic and cultural rights and livelihood opportunities of returnees, internally displaced persons and refugees, and of enhanced leadership and participation, with a view to empowering them to choose durable solutions that can deliver human development and human security; considers that there is a need to address the specific risks faced by and the particular needs of different groups of women and children who are subjected to multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination;

10.    Is particularly appalled by the increase in all forms of violence against women, who are imprisoned, raped, sexually abused and subjected to trafficking by the members of IS/Daesh; calls on the European External Action Service, the Commission and the Member States to specifically address the needs of Yazidi women who are/were enslaved by IS/Daesh and, in particular, to establish a mechanism that will enable traumatised women from Syria and Iraq to receive special post-traumatic treatment and counselling tailored to their needs, including in the Member States; insists that more pressure should be brought to bear on the countries to which some of these women have been moved, such as Saudi Arabia, in order to ensure that they are released and relocated to countries where they can live in freedom and security;

11.    Welcomes the efforts of the Commission’s Humanitarian and Civil Protection department (ECHO) office in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region in Iraq, to address the humanitarian situation in the region; stresses that more and better coordination is needed between ECHO and the Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO), in order to serve the populations in need in the best possible and most effective way;

12.    Reiterates its condemnation of violence against and the killing of LGBT people carried out by IS/Daesh and in the broader region, which have been taking place with total impunity; points out that LGBT people in the region are in a particularly vulnerable position, given the limited family and community support and government protection available to them and the fact that their safety remains at risk in refugee communities and certain host societies; calls on the Iraqi Government, the EU delegation to Iraq and the embassies of Member States in the region to provide protection for LGBT people and to expedite the direct resettlement of those LGBT individuals fleeing on account of safety concerns;

13.    Calls on the Member States to expedite the processing of asylum applications from the increasing number of Syrian refugees fleeing the conflict zones; calls for the EU to address the issue of the often fatal journeys across the Mediterranean and to implement a coordinated strategy aimed at saving lives and, also, provide support to the Member States most affected by the mass arrival of irregular migrants and asylum seekers on their shores;

14.    Encourages the Member States to show solidarity with neighbouring countries, inter alia by: providing and stepping up life-saving assistance to refugees through resettlement and other forms of legal admission; considers that the most vulnerable refugees should be prioritised and guaranteed their full rights in line with the 1951 Refugee Convention;

15.    Supports the Human Rights Council’s request to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights for a mission to be dispatched to Iraq as a matter of urgency to investigate crimes against humanity, violations and abuses of international humanitarian law and international human rights law committed by IS and associated terrorist groups, and to establish the facts and circumstances of such abuses and violations, with a view to avoiding impunity and ensuring full accountability;

16.    Calls for the opening of the EU office in Erbil in order to improve the effectiveness and visibility of EU action on the ground, including better coordination of humanitarian and development assistance;

17.    Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council, the Commission, the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Government and Council of Representatives of Iraq, the Regional Government of Kurdistan, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the United Nations Human Rights Council and all the parties involved in the conflict in Syria.


Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0023.

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