Procedure : 2015/3035(RSP)
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Document selected : B8-0052/2016

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B8-0052/2016

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P8_TA(2016)0020

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0050/2016
14.1.2016
PE575.954v01-00
 
B8-0052/2016

to wind up the debate on the statement by the 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 EU’s priorities for the UN Human Rights Council sessions in 2016 (2015/3035(RSP))


Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Filiz Hyusmenova, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Jozo Radoš, Marietje Schaake, Pavel Telička, Hilde Vautmans, Ivo Vajgl on behalf of the ALDE Group

European Parliament resolution on the EU’s priorities for the UN Human Rights Council sessions of 2016 (2015/3035(RSP))  
B8–0052/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to the UN human rights conventions and optional protocols thereto, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW),

–  having regard to United Nations General Assembly Resolution 60/251 establishing the Human Rights Council (UNHRC),

–  having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Social Charter and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights,

–  having regard to the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2015-2019,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the United Nations Human Rights Council,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the violation of human rights, including its urgency resolutions on the issues,

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 December 2015 on the Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2014 and the European Union’s policy on the matter(1),

–  having regard to Articles 2, 3(5), 18, 21, 27 and 47 of the Treaty on European Union,

–  having regard to the 2015 annual report of the UNHRC to the UN General Assembly,

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

A.  whereas 2015 and 2016 are years of major anniversaries as regards the enjoyment of human rights, peace and security: the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, the 50th anniversary of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the 40th and 20th anniversaries of the UN Declaration on the Right to Development (1986) and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995) respectively, and the 15th anniversary of the landmark UN Security Council resolution on women, peace and security (2000) and the Millennium Development Goals (2000);

B.  whereas upholding respect for human rights irrespective of race, origin, sex or colour is an obligation on all states; reiterating its attachment to the indivisibility of human rights – whether they are civic, economic, social or cultural –, which are interrelated and interdependent, and considering that the deprivation of any one of these rights has a direct and adverse impact on the others; whereas all states have an obligation to respect the basic rights of their respective populations and a duty to take concrete action to facilitate respect for those rights at national level and to cooperate at international level with a view to eliminating obstacles to the realisation of human rights in all areas;

C.  whereas respect for, and the promotion and safeguarding of, the universality of human rights is part of the EU’s ethical and legal acquis and one of the cornerstones of European unity and integrity;

D.  whereas the Union’s action in its relations with third countries is guided by Article 21 of the Lisbon Treaty, which reaffirms the universality and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms and provides for respect for human dignity, the principles of equality and solidarity, and the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law;

E.  whereas respect for human rights should be mainstreamed in all policy areas involving peace and security, development cooperation, trade and investment, humanitarian action, climate change and the fight against terrorism, as these cannot be addressed in isolation from respect for human rights;

F.  whereas the regular sessions of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the appointment of Special Rapporteurs, the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism, and the Special Procedures addressing either the situation in specific countries or thematic issues all contribute to the promotion of and respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law;

G.  whereas, regrettably, some of the current members of the Human Rights Council are acknowledged as being among the worst human rights offenders and have a dubious record in terms of cooperation with the UN Special Procedures and compliance with their reporting requirements vis-à-vis the UN human rights treaty bodies;

UN Human Rights Council

1.  Welcomes the appointment of Ambassador Choi Kyong–lim as President of the UNHRC for 2016;

2.  Welcomes the UNHRC annual report to the UN General Assembly covering its 28th, 29th and 30th sessions;

3.  Reiterates its position that UNHRC members should be elected among states which uphold respect for human rights, the rule of law and democracy, and urges UN member states to apply human rights performance-based criteria when electing members of the UNHRC; expresses its concerns about human rights abuses in some newly elected members of the UNHRC and stresses that it is important to defend the independence of the UNHRC so as to ensure that it can continue to exercise its mandate in an effective and impartial manner;

4.  Reiterates its support for the Special Procedures and the independent status of the mandate holders, which enable them to fulfil their function with full impartiality, and calls on all States to cooperate with these procedures;

5.  Reaffirms the importance of the universality of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), with a view to reaching a full understanding of the human rights situation in all UN member states, and reiterates its support for the second cycle of the review, which focuses on the implementation of the recommendations accepted during the first cycle; calls again, however, for the recommendations that were not accepted by states during the first cycle to be reconsidered in the continuation of the UPR process;

6.  Stresses the need to ensure that a wide range of stakeholders, notably civil society, participate fully in the UPR process, and expresses its concern that severe limitations and ever-growing restrictions have hampered civil society’s participation in the UPR process;

7.  Calls, in this regard, upon all EU Member States to use the UPR as a means of assessing the human rights situation in EU Member States also, underlining the importance for all EU Member States to actively engage and make recommendations during UPR reviews of EU Member States, and therefore calls for the EU and the Commission to provide technical support to civil society actors in their work related to UPR reviews of EU Member States, including by facilitating meetings in Geneva;

8.  Calls for the EU and the Commission to follow up on the UPR recommendations in all EU policy dialogues with the countries concerned in order to explore ways and means of implementing the recommendations through country and regional strategies;

9.  Welcomes the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Initiative for Change, intended to improve and reinforce the global presence of UN human rights offices with the creation of eight regional hubs to monitor and promote respect for human rights by working directly with partners in order to transform the recommendations of the human rights mechanisms into real changes on the ground;

Civil and political rights

10.  Expresses its concern about the constitutional revisions undertaken in some countries, aimed at changing the limit set on presidential terms of office, an issue which has generated election-related violence in some cases; reaffirms that respect for civil and political rights, including individual and collective freedom of expression, and freedom of assembly and association, are the sole indicators of a democratic, tolerant and pluralistic society;

11.  Reiterates that freely electing political leaders, in periodically held genuine elections on the basis of universal and equal suffrage, is a fundamental right that all citizens should enjoy in conformity with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 21(3)) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Article 25), and reaffirms that freedom of expression and a vibrant and conducive environment for an independent and pluralistic civil society are prerequisites for promoting respect for human rights;

12.  Condemns the continued harassment and detention of human rights defenders and opposition figures by government forces in a number of third countries; expresses its concern about unfair and restrictive legislation, including restrictions on foreign funding, which is resulting in a shrinking space for civil society activities; calls on all governments to promote and support freedom of the media, civil society organisations and the activities of human rights defenders and to allow them to operate without fear, repression or intimidation;

13.  Is extremely concerned about the attacks on humanitarian aid workers and medical facilities, such as the latest attacks on the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) health centres in Kunduz (Afghanistan) on 3 October 2015 and in Razah (Yemen) on 10 January 2016; stresses that any attacks that target humanitarian operations and civilians are clearly prohibited under international humanitarian law (IHL) and calls on the conflicting parties to respect the basic principles of IHL and refrain from deliberately targeting civilian infrastructures; stresses the importance of improving the security of aid workers in order to react more efficiently to the attacks;

14.  Takes the view that contemporary digital technologies offer advantages and challenges for the protection of the right to privacy and for the exercise of freedom of expression online around the world; welcomes, in this context, the appointment of a UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy in the Digital Age, whose mandate includes surveillance and privacy issues that affect people online or offline;

15.  Reiterates its long-standing opposition to the death penalty, torture, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment as punishment in all cases and under all circumstances; emphasises once again that the abolition of the death penalty contributes to the enhancement of human dignity, and reaffirms its attachment to the right to life and human dignity of every individual;

16.  Commends the substantial progress made so far, whereby many countries have suspended capital punishment while others have taken legislative measures towards abolishing the death penalty; expresses, nevertheless, its regret concerning the reinstatement of executions in some countries over the past few years; calls upon those states which have abolished the death penalty or have a long-standing death penalty moratorium not to reintroduce it;

Social and Economic Rights

17.  Regrets that, more than 20 years after the adoption of the Vienna Declaration on the universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelated nature of all human rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) is not treated on the same footing and with the same emphasis as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR); recognises the UNHRC’s efforts to put all human rights on an equal footing and give them the same emphasis, through the establishment of Special Procedure mandate holders relating to economic, social and cultural rights;

18.  Expresses its profound concern about the rise of extreme poverty, which jeopardises the full enjoyment of all human rights; welcomes, in this regard, the UNHRC Special Rapporteur’s report on extreme poverty and human rights (A/HRC/29/31) and supports his proposals for the elimination of extreme poverty, which include: giving economic, social and cultural rights the same prominence and priority as are given to civil and political rights; recognising the right to social protection; implementing fiscal policies specifically aimed at reducing inequality; revitalising and giving substance to the right to equality; and putting questions of resource redistribution at the centre of debates on human rights;

19.  Is of the opinion that corruption, tax evasion, mismanagement of public goods and lack of accountability contribute to the violation of citizens’ human rights, as they divert funds from state budgets that should be dedicated to the advancement of human rights in much-needed public services such as education, basic health services and other social infrastructure; considers that action to ensure respect for human rights, in particular the rights to information, to freedom of expression and assembly, to an independent judiciary and to democratic participation in public affairs, is instrumental in fighting corruption;

Business and human rights

20.  Strongly supports the effective and comprehensive implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights within and outside the EU, including through the development of National Action Plans; emphasises the need to take all the necessary measures to address gaps in the effective implementation of the UN Guiding Principles, including access to justice and remedies;

21.  Calls on the UN and the EU to address the question of land rights defenders, who are victims of reprisals, including by threats, harassment, arbitrary arrest, assault and murder, for criticising large-scale land acquisition at the expense of the land and food rights of rural populations in third countries; calls for the UN mechanisms and the EU Action Plan on human rights and democracy to systematically include land rights defenders in their human rights projects;

22.  Welcomes the initiative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to enhance the Accountability and Remedy Project with a view to contributing to a fair and more effective system of domestic law remedies, in particular in cases of gross human rights abuses in the business sector; calls on all governments to fulfil their duties in securing respect for human rights, and access to justice for victims who face both practical and legal challenges in gaining access to remedies at national and international levels, with regard to business-related human rights violations;

23.  Notes that an open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group (IGWG) on the elaboration of an international legally binding instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights, established by a Human Rights Council (HRC) resolution of 26 June 2014, held its first session in July 2015; calls for the EU and its Member States to actively engage in the negotiations on the abovementioned legally binding international instrument;

Migration

24.  Is concerned by the most serious humanitarian crisis since the Second World War, created by the increasing number of individuals forced to leave their homes as a result of persecution, armed conflict and generalised violence, and in search of protection and a better life, and who are risking their lives by taking dangerous journeys;

25.  Calls on all countries to adopt a human rights-based approach to migration, which places migrant rights at the centre of migration policies and management, paying particular attention to the situation of marginalised and disadvantaged groups of migrants, such as women and children; calls on all states to address gender-related violence against women and girls, and stresses the importance of designing migration policy from a gender perspective in order to respond to their particular needs;

26.  Recalls that all states have an obligation to respect and protect the human rights of all individuals under their jurisdiction, regardless of their nationality or origin and regardless of their immigration status; recalls that the return of migrants should only be carried out in full respect of the migrants’ rights, based upon free and informed decisions, and only when the protection of their rights is guaranteed in their country; calls on governments to put an end to the arbitrary arrest and detention of migrants;

Climate change and human rights

27.  Welcomes the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which covers adaptation, mitigation, technology development and transfer, and capacity building; insists that the issue of climate change should be mainstreamed in all economic policy areas; urges all states parties which are signatories to the Agreement to adopt urgent and ambitious mitigation and adaptation measures by mainstreaming climate change in all policy areas;

28.  Recalls that the adverse impact of climate change represents an immediate and potentially irreversible global threat to the full enjoyment of human rights, and that its impact on vulnerable groups whose rights situation is already precarious is considerable; notes with concern that climate-related incidents such as the rise of sea levels and extreme weather changes provoking droughts and floods are expected to lead to even more loss of life, displacement of populations, and food and water shortages;

29.  Calls on the international community to address the legal shortfalls in the term ‘climate refugee’, including its possible definition in international law or in any legally binding international agreement;

Women’s rights

30.  Welcomes the UN Security Council’s recent resolution 2242 on women, peace and security, which makes women the central component in all efforts to address global challenges, including rising violent extremism, climate change, migration, sustainable development, peace and security; commends the UN Global Study findings on the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, which stressed the importance of women’s leadership and participation in conflict resolution and peacebuilding and that their involvement has improved humanitarian assistance, strengthened peacekeepers’ efforts, fostered the conclusion of peace talks and helped to counter violent extremism;

31.  Expresses its dismay at the fact that, since the emergence of violent extremist groups such as Daesh in Syria and Iraq, and Boko Haram in West Africa, violence against women has taken on a new dimension which is more terrifying than ever, as sexual violence has become an integral part of the objectives, ideology and source of revenue of these extremist groups, and which places a critical new challenge before the international community; calls on all governments and the UN institutions to step up their commitment to combating these abominable crimes and to restore women’s dignity so that they receive justice, reparation and support;

32.  Considers that guaranteeing women’s autonomy, by addressing the underlying inequalities between women and men which render women and girls vulnerable during times of conflict, is one way of countering extremism; calls on the UN and all its member states to take concrete steps to ensure women’s autonomy and their meaningful inclusion in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in the peace negotiation and peace–building process, by increasing their representation at all decision-making levels, including in national, regional and international institutions and mechanisms;

Children’s rights

33.  Recalls that the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was adopted in 1989 and is the most widely ratified international human rights treaty, sets out a number of children’s rights, including the right to life, to health, to education and to play, as well as the right to family life, to be protected from violence and discrimination and to have their views heard; calls on all signatories to this treaty to honour their obligation;

34.  Welcomes the planned global study to be launched by the UN to map out, through monitoring and evaluation analysis, how existing international laws and standards are being implemented on the ground and to assess the concrete possibilities for states to improve their policies and responses; urges all states to support and participate actively in the study;

Rights of LGBTI persons

35.  Expresses its concern regarding the persistence of discriminatory laws and practices and of acts of violence against individuals in various countries, on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity; encourages close monitoring of the situation of LGBTI people in countries where recently introduced anti–LGBTI laws threaten the lives of sexual minorities; expresses its strong concern regarding the so-called ‘anti-propaganda’ laws limiting freedom of expression and assembly, including in countries on the European continent;

36.  Reaffirms its support for the continuing work of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to promote and protect the enjoyment of all human rights by LGBTI people, in particular through statements, reports and the Free & Equal campaign; encourages the High Commissioner to continue fighting discriminatory laws and practices;

Drones and autonomous weapons

37.  Reiterates its call on the EU Council to develop an EU common position on the use of armed drones, giving the utmost importance to respect for human rights and international humanitarian law and addressing issues such as the legal framework, proportionality, accountability, the protection of civilians and transparency; urges the EU, once again, to ban the production, development and use of fully autonomous weapons, which enable strikes to be carried out without human intervention; insists that human rights be part of all dialogues with third countries on counterterrorism;

EU human rights mainstreaming

38.  Calls upon the EU to promote the universality and indivisibility of human rights, including civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, in accordance with Article 21 of the Lisbon Treaty and the General Provisions on the Union’s External Action;

39.  Reiterates its call for the EU to adopt a rights-based approach and to integrate respect for human rights into trade, investment policies, public services and development cooperation, and into its common security and defence policy; stresses also that the EU’s human rights policy should ensure that its internal and external policies are coherent, in line with the EU Treaty obligation;

International Criminal Court

40.  Recalls paragraph 6 of the Council conclusions of 16th November 2015, and reiterates its firm support for the International Criminal Court (ICC), to promote accountability and avoid a culture of impunity, and, in this regard, welcomes the role of the ICC in the establishment of regional peace on the African continent and enforcing the rule of law;

Countries under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR)

Georgia

41.  Welcomes Georgia’s membership of the UNHRC and the recent UPR on Georgia; takes note of the legislative reforms which have resulted in some progress in the justice and law enforcement sector, the Prosecutor’s Office, the fight against ill–treatment, children’s rights, and the protection of privacy and personal data and internally displaced persons (IDPs); notes, though, that the lack of progress in most of these sectors is due to the fact that political and business elites are deeply interlinked in the country;

42.  Notes, however, that further efforts are needed with regard to full independence of the judiciary and to ill-treatment, especially regarding pre-trial detention and rehabilitation of victims; stresses the responsibility of the Government under international human rights law to protect all children from violence, and calls for scrutiny of all the children’s charitable institutions, including the Georgian Orthodox Church, by the Georgian Government and parliament; remains concerned about freedom of expression and the media and the lack of access by monitors to the occupied regions of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, where human rights violations remain widespread; calls on the Georgian Government to take appropriate measures with a view to ensuring a follow–up to the recommendations made in the UPR process;

Lebanon

43.  Commends Lebanon for the open border and reception policy which it has had for years regarding refugees from Palestine, Iraq and Syria, and calls on the EU to allocate more resources and to work closely with the Lebanese authorities to help the country uphold the protection of the rights of refugees and asylum seekers; is concerned, in this context, about the reportedly significant number of cases of child and/or forced marriages among Syrian refugees; encourages the Lebanese Government to consider a reform of the law regulating entry into, residence in and exit from Lebanon, which does not distinguish between asylum seekers and refugees on the one hand and migrants on the other;

44.  Supports the recommendations of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in calling for measures to raise awareness among women migrant domestic workers of their human rights under the CEDAW Convention, to which Lebanon is a state party; emphasises, in particular, the need to abolish the ‘Kafala system’ and ensure effective access to justice for women migrant domestic workers, including by guaranteeing their safety and residence during legal and administrative procedures related to their status;

Mauritania

45.  Stresses that while progress has been made by the Mauritanian Government in taking legislative measures aimed at fighting all forms of slavery and slavery-like practices, the lack of effective implementation contributes to the persistence of such practices; calls on the authorities to enact an anti-slavery law, to initiate nationwide, systematic and regular collection of disaggregated data on all forms of slavery and to conduct a thorough evidence-based study on the history and nature of slavery in order to eradicate the practice;

46.  Urges the Mauritanian authorities to allow freedom of speech and assembly, in accordance with international conventions and Mauritania’s own domestic law; calls also for the release of Biram Dah Abeid, Bilal Ramdane and Djiby Sow so that they may continue their non-violent campaign against the continuation of slavery without fear of harassment or intimidation;

Myanmar

47.  Welcomes the holding of competitive elections on 8 November 2015, an important milestone in the country’s democratic transition; recognises the progress made so far as regards human rights, while identifying a number of remaining areas of major concern, including the rights of minorities and freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly;

48.  Condemns the discrimination against the Rohingya, which is exacerbated by the fact that this community lacks legal status, and by the rise of hate speech against non-Buddhists; calls for full, transparent and independent investigations into all reports of human rights violations against the Rohingya and is concerned about the four laws adopted by the parliament in 2015 aimed at ‘protecting race and religion’, as they may lead to discrimination as regards gender; repeats its request that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) be permitted to establish an office in the country; stresses the need for a full sustainability impact assessment to be carried out before negotiations on the EU-Myanmar investment agreement are finalised;

Nepal

49.  Welcomes the entry into force on 20 September 2015 of Nepal’s new constitution, which should lay the foundations for the country’s future political stability and economic development; hopes that the remaining concerns around the political representation of minorities, including the Dalits, and citizenship laws will be addressed in the near future;

50.  Regrets the widespread lack of accountability for human rights abuses committed by both sides during the civil war despite the adoption in May 2014 of the Truth, Reconciliation and Disappearance Act; urges the Government of Nepal to accede to the International Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance; condemns the limitations placed on the fundamental freedoms of Tibetan refugees; urges India to lift its unofficial blockade on Nepal’s economy which, coupled with the devastating earthquake of April 2015, is causing a humanitarian crisis and pushing almost one million more Nepalis into a poverty-related impasse;

Oman

51.  Commends Oman for the setting-up of the governmental National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the invitation which allowed the ground-breaking visit of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Peaceful Assembly in September 2014; expresses the hope that these constructive steps will lead to a more intensive engagement by Oman with UN human rights representatives and independent human rights organisations;

52.  Encourages Oman to take the necessary steps to alleviate what the UN Special Rapporteur described as a pervasive climate of fear and intimidation in the country, when he stated that individuals were ‘afraid to speak their minds, afraid to speak on the telephone, afraid to meet’; remains concerned about, and calls on the government to reconsider, in this context, the ban on all political parties and the new nationality law adopted in August 2014, which stipulates that citizens joining groups deemed harmful to national interests could have their citizenship revoked; calls on the EU institutions and the Member States to offer technical and legal assistance to help Oman create a safe and enabling environment for civil society organisations;

Rwanda

53.  Expresses its concern about the human rights situation in Rwanda, including the restrictions on freedom of expression and association, the shrinking of the democratic space for opposition political parties and independent civil society activities, and the absence of a conducive environment for the independence of the judiciary; calls on the Rwandan Government to open up a democratic space in which all segments of society may operate freely;

54.  Is concerned by the proposed constitutional change aimed at allowing the incumbent President to run for a third term; encourages the Government of Rwanda to uphold the African Charter of Democracy, Elections and Governance;

South Sudan

55.  Welcomes the UNHRC resolution of June 2015 and the deployment of an OHCHR mission to monitor and report on the situation of human rights in South Sudan, and to conduct a comprehensive assessment of allegations of violations and abuses of human rights with a view to ensuring accountability;

56.  Supports the adoption, at the Human Rights Council’s 31st session, of a follow-up resolution establishing a mandate of Special Rapporteur for South Sudan, as envisaged in the June 2015 resolution, to assist the government in implementing the recommendations to be made by the OHCHR mission on ways to improve the human rights situation and provide support to the regional and international efforts towards accountability, linking international funds given to the government with the overall level of respect for human rights in the country;

57.  Calls on the Human Rights Council to support the appointment of a Special Rapporteur for South Sudan with a mandate to monitor and publicly report on violations, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, as well as on military use of schools, and make recommendations for achieving effective accountability;

Syria

58.  Expresses its deep concern at the continued deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation in Syria; strongly condemns the abuses, massacres, torture, killings and sexual violence to which the Syrian population is being subjected by IS, the Assad regime and other terrorist organisations and militias; reiterates its call for a sustainable solution to the Syrian conflict through a Syrian-led political process leading to a genuine political transition that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people and enables them to independently and democratically determine their own future;

59.  Urges the Human Rights Council to call on the UN Security Council (UNSC) to take appropriate action in order to ensure that those responsible for human rights violations, including violations that may amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes, are held to account, including through referral of the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court;

Venezuela

60.  Is concerned about Venezuela’s membership of the UNHRC for the three-year term beginning on 1 January 2016; notes the intervention by President Maduro during the special session on 12 November and recalls that membership of the council comes with the responsibility to promote and protect human rights in one’s own country, as clearly stated by the High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein;

61.  Expresses its deep concern about the deteriorating situation in Venezuela and the use of violence against protesters; calls on the Venezuelan authorities to immediately release the opposition leaders and all peaceful protesters, students and opposition leaders arbitrarily detained for exercising their right to freedom of expression and fundamental rights, in line with the demands made by several UN and international organisations;

Priority countries

Ukraine

62.  Expresses its grave concern over the continued indiscriminate attacks in civilian areas, in particular in Eastern Ukraine; condemns continued human rights violations in the conflict, and fully supports the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission and the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine; calls for EU Member States to support all possible efforts at UN level to fight impunity and to conduct impartial investigations into the violent events and human rights violations linked to the crackdown against the Maidan demonstrations and into the possible use of cluster munitions by pro-government forces and Russia-backed militants during the armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine, and to address the human rights situation in Crimea and other violations related to the armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine;

Belarus

63.  Expresses its profound concern at the continued restrictions to freedom of expression and freedoms of association and peaceful assembly, condemns harassment of independent and opposition journalists and the harassment and detention of human rights activists and condemns the continued use of the death penalty; calls for the renewal of the UN Special Rapporteur’s mandate on the human rights situation in Belarus at the 32nd session of the Council, and calls on the government to fully cooperate with the Special Rapporteur and commit to engaging in long-overdue reforms to protect and protect human rights, including by implementing the recommendations made by the Special Rapporteur and other human rights mechanisms;

Azerbaijan

64.  Welcomes the joint statement on the human rights situation in Azerbaijan delivered during the 29th session of the UN Human Rights Council, but regrets that a number of EU Member States did not support this joint statement; calls on the EU Member States and other members of the Council to closely monitor the human rights situation in Azerbaijan and work towards the adoption of a resolution calling for the immediate release of human rights defenders, political and civil activists, journalists and bloggers who have been arrested or imprisoned on politically motivated charges, full investigation of allegations of torture in detention, and the repeal of laws that unduly restrict freedom of expression, assembly and association in Azerbaijan;

Bahrain

65.  Welcomes the joint statement made by 33 countries on 14 September 2015, the fifth on the human rights situation in Bahrain, which expressed concern about reports of harassment and imprisonment of persons exercising their rights to freedom of opinion and expression and of peaceful assembly and association, including human rights defenders, the lack of sufficient guarantees of fair trial, the lack of accountability for human rights violations and reports of torture and ill-treatment in detention;

66.  Reiterates the call on the government to expedite the full implementation of the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI);

67.  Reiterates the call on the government to cooperate fully with the OHCHR and the Special Procedures, including by formalising the agreement regarding cooperation with the OHCHR;

Burundi

68.  Expresses deep concern about the targeted attacks on human rights defenders, journalists and their family members; strongly condemns political violence, summary executions, human rights violations and abuses, and incitement to violence on political, ethnic or other grounds in Burundi, as well as the ongoing impunity enjoyed by perpetrators, including police and security forces, youth groups affiliated with political parties, and officials;

69.  Urges the Burundian authorities to end these violations and abuses as a matter of critical and urgent priority, including by immediately halting killings and attacks on human rights defenders, journalists and real or suspected opponents and critics, and by conducting thorough, impartial and independent investigations with a view to bringing those responsible to justice and providing victims with redress;

70.  Welcomes the holding of a Special Session of the Human Rights Council on 17 December 2015 on preventing further deterioration of the human rights situation in Burundi, but regrets the delay in holding it;

71.  Calls for the expeditious deployment of the mission by independent experts, and urges the Burundian authorities to fully cooperate with this mission;

Saudi Arabia

72.  Reiterates that UNHRC members should be elected from among states which uphold human rights, the rule of law and democracy; strongly disagrees with the decision taken by the UN to hand over a key human rights role to Saudi Arabia’s ambassador at the UN in Geneva, who was elected chair of a panel of independent experts on the UN Human Rights Council;

73.  Is extremely concerned about the increase in death penalty executions and condemns these intolerable executions; asks Saudi Arabia to impose a moratorium on the death penalty;

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74.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the UN Security Council, the UN Secretary-General, the President of the 69th UN General Assembly, the President of the UN Human Rights Council, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Secretary-General of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

(1)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0470.

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