Procedure : 2018/2885(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0500/2018

Texts tabled :


Debates :

Votes :

PV 25/10/2018 - 13.18

Texts adopted :


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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0498/2018

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 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul (2018/2885(RSP))

Barbara Lochbihler, Ernest Urtasun, Ana Miranda, Josep‑Maria Terricabras, Bodil Valero, Jordi Solé, Klaus Buchner, Rebecca Harms, Florent Marcellesi, Margrete Auken, Yannick Jadot on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group

European Parliament resolution on the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul (2018/2885(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Saudi Arabia, notably of 31 May 2018 on the situation of women’s rights defenders in Saudi Arabia(1), of 11 March 2014 on Saudi Arabia, its relations with the EU and its role in the Middle East and North Africa(2), of 12 February 2015 on the case of Mr Raif Badawi, Saudi Arabia(3) and of 8 October 2015 on the case of Ali Mohmmed al-Nimr(4),

–  having regard to the award of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought and Expression to the Saudi blogger Raif Badawi in 2015,

–  having regard to the remarks by VP/HR Federica Mogherini on 9 and 15 October 2018, and to her declaration of 20 October 2018,

–  having regard to the statement of 19 October 2018 by the Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General,

–  having regard to the statement of 16 October 2018 by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet urging Saudi Arabia to reveal all it knows about the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi,

–  having regard to the statement of 19 October 2018 by the Chair of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, Dante Pesce,

–  having regard the statement of 9 October 2018 by UN experts demanding a probe into the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul,

–  having regard to the statement of 18 October 2018 by UN experts expressing deep concern over ‘new practice’ of State-sponsored abductions,

–  having regard to Saudi Arabia’s membership of the UN Human Rights Council,

–  having regard to the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment,

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

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

A.  whereas on 2 October 2018, Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, but there are no recordings of him leaving the building;

B.  whereas 15 Saudi officials flew from Riyadh to Istanbul on 2 October and left the same evening; whereas most of them have been identified as having close ties with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, including his security detail and a forensic doctor who holds a senior position in the Saudi interior ministry; whereas the Turkish staff working for the Saudi consulate were told to take holidays on the day Mr Khashoggi disappeared;

C.  whereas a Turkish forensic team was only allowed to search the Saudi consulate and the residence of Saudi Consul General Mohammed al-Otaibi two weeks after Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance; whereas a cleaning crew was photographed entering the consulate ‘hauling buckets, mops and what appeared to be bottles of cleaning solution’ hours before the Turkish forensic team entered the Saudi consulate;

D.  whereas the Saudi authorities have confirmed the killing of Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate, after having insisted for two weeks that he had left the consulate freely after a brief visit; whereas the information made public until now directly points to a state-sponsored murder; whereas Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud’s complete control over the security services makes it highly unlikely that an operation would have been undertaken without his knowledge;

E.  whereas these serious allegations have caused international uproar; whereas several high profile media organisations, including CNN, the Financial Times and The New York Times, and high-level international guests have cancelled their participation in the Future Investment Initiative, also known as ‘Davos in the Desert’, which is due to take place in Riyadh between October 23 and 25;

F.  whereas the Saudi regime has launched an extensive international public relations campaign to portray Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman as a driving force for modernisation in the country; whereas several lobbying firms have dropped their representation of Saudi Arabia after the disappearance and alleged state-murder of Mr Khashoggi;

G.  whereas Mr Khashoggi’s murder may be linked to his criticism of Saudi policies in recent years; whereas the announcements on social reforms, spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman as part of his much-touted Vision 2030, have paradoxically been accompanied by an increasing crackdown on human rights defenders, journalists and lawyers, who are being subjected to arrest, threats of prosecution and other forms of intimidation; whereas several women’s rights defenders known for their campaign against the ban on women driving and advocacy for the abolition of the male guardianship system have been arrested since May 2018;

H.  whereas the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances has expressed its outrage regarding the new and worrisome practice of extraterritorial abductions of individuals in foreign countries through undercover operations;

I.  whereas the targeting of Mr Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul is a flagrant violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 24 April 1963; whereas Article 41 of the same convention states that diplomatic immunity can be annulled in cases of a ‘grave crime’;

J.  whereas Saudi Arabia ranks 169 out of 180 on the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index 2018, and is included on the NGO’s ‘Enemies of the Internet’ list; whereas, although the internet is widely used in Saudi Arabia and the country has the highest number of active Twitter users in the region, the internet is heavily censored with thousands of websites being blocked, and new blogs and websites requiring a license from the Ministry of Information; whereas Sakharov Prize Laureate Raif Badawi is still in jail solely for peacefully expressing his views;

K.  whereas the brutality of the Saudi-led Coalition in Yemen has caused most of the 16 706 civilian casualties; whereas the UN Group of Independent Eminent International and Regional Experts concluded in August 2018 that Saudi Arabia has committed acts that may amount to war crimes, including cruel treatment and torture, and the use of bombs, rockets and cluster munitions to strike civilian targets, including wedding parties, school buses, medical facilities and residential areas;

L.  whereas Saudi Arabia is one of the five countries in the world carrying out the highest number of executions;

1.  Condemns in the strongest terms the forced disappearance and murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul on 2 October 2018; reminds the Saudi authorities that the systematic practice of enforced disappearances of persons constitutes a crime against humanity;

2.  Calls for an international, independent and impartial investigation into the disappearance and extrajudicial killing of Jamal Khashoggi; calls, in this context, on UN Secretary‑General Guterres to establish a dedicated team with extensive experience in international investigations in order to ensure that there is full clarity over the events surrounding Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance, and to produce a public report with its findings and recommendations to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice; calls on Saudi Arabia and Turkey to fully cooperate in the investigation, handing over all pieces of evidence they may have in order to allow a transparent, rapid and effective investigation;

3.  Urges Saudi Arabia to immediately waive diplomatic protection bestowed by the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, including inviolability or immunity, of all relevant premises and officials in order to allow for a transparent investigation into the murder of Mr Khashoggi; calls on the VP/HR to carry out an assessment of the risk of the misuse of diplomatic immunity by the Saudi authorities to target Saudi voices of dissent based in the EU, and to report back to Parliament on her findings;

4.  Calls on the European External Action Service (EEAS) to start drawing up a ‘Khashoggi list’ with a view to enabling the introduction of targeted measures, including a visa ban and asset freezing, against individuals directly or indirectly responsible for the enforced disappearance and murder of Jamal Khashoggi; calls on the VP/HR and the EU Member States to take a strong public stance with regard to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi;

5.  Denounces the involvement of foreign public relations companies in representing Saudi Arabia and handling its public image; expresses its surprise at the lack of listings for Saudi Arabia within the EU Transparency Register, and calls for the Commission and Parliament to look into this matter; urges the lobbying firms which have not yet done so to drop their representation of Saudi Arabia; calls on the various EU lobbying firms to commit to refusing to represent any regime responsible for continuous human rights violations or the persecution of human rights defenders;

6.  Welcomes the decision by a number of European government officials and business executives to cancel their participation in Riyadh’s Future Investment Initiative conference as a reaction to Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance; calls for a full boycott of the event, including by the Chief Executive of Siemens;

7.  Reminds the Saudi regime that, as a party to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Saudi Arabia is obliged to take all measures to prevent torture, enforced disappearances and other serious human rights violations, to investigate allegations of acts constituting these crimes, and to bring to justice those suspected of committing them;

8.  Deplores the significant arms deals by EU Member States, among others Spain, France, Germany, Belgium and the United Kingdom, with Saudi Arabia, which are non-compliant with the legally binding EU Common Position on Arms Exports(5), in particular Criterion Two on respect for human rights in the country of final destination as well as respect by that country of international humanitarian law, which is clearly undermined by the country’s waging of war in Yemen; calls, once again, for an EU-wide ban on the export, sale, update and maintenance of any form of security equipment to Saudi Arabia, which can be or is used for repression; stresses that this ban must include cyber surveillance technology, as established by the European Parliament’s position of 17 January 2018 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council setting up a Union regime for the control of exports, transfer, brokering, technical assistance and transit of dual-use items(6); calls on the High Representative to report on the current state of military and security cooperation by EU Member States with the Saudi authorities;

9.  Calls for the EU to table a resolution on the situation of human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia at the next session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), which, inter alia, should call for the establishment of a UN Special Rapporteur on Saudi Arabia, in line with the other HRC Special Procedures created for the most serious human rights situations worldwide; calls for the EU to take the initiative at the next Human Rights Council meeting to raise the issue of membership by states with deeply questionable human rights records; deplores the vote of several EU Member States in support of Saudi Arabia’s membership in the UN HRC;

10.  Strongly supports the initiative to create an EU global human rights sanctions regime against human rights abusers worldwide, which would entail targeting individuals through, among other things, visa bans and asset freezes; expects concrete deliverables from the conference organised by the Dutch authorities to launch the initiative, scheduled to take place in The Hague in November, and encourages Member States and the EEAS to fully back this proposal;

11.  Calls on the EEAS and Member States to develop an ambitious and tailor-made strategy for supporting civil society and human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia; calls for the European Union to include a discussion on human rights as a permanent item on the agenda of the annual summit between the EU and the Gulf Cooperation Council;

12.  Calls on the Saudi authorities to put a stop to any further flogging of Raif Badawi, and to release him immediately and unconditionally, as he is considered to be a prisoner of conscience detained and sentenced solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression; calls on the VP/HR and the Member States to raise this issue in all contacts they have with the Saudi authorities; recommends, in view of the complete lack of progress towards the release of Raif Badawi since he was awarded the Sakharov Prize, that an ad hoc mission be sent to Riyadh to engage directly with the Saudi Authorities on this case;

13.  Condemns the Saudi authorities’ harassment of human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists, writers and bloggers both inside and outside the country, and insists that the Saudi authorities take the necessary steps to allow everyone to exercise their rights freely without any judicial harassment or other reprisals;

14.  Calls on the Government of Saudi Arabia to immediately and unconditionally release all of the human rights defenders, including the women’s rights defenders who advocated the lifting of the ban on women driving and the abolition of the male guardianship system, and prisoners of conscience detained and sentenced merely for expressing their right to freedom of expression;

15.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the European Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the European External Action Service, the UN Secretary-General, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Human Rights Council, His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Government of the United States.



Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0232.


OJ C 378, 9.11.2017, p. 64.


OJ C 310, 25.8.2016, p. 29.


OJ C 349, 17.10.2017, p. 34.


Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP of 8 December 2008 defining common rules governing control of exports of military technology and equipment, OJ L 335, 13.12.2008, p. 99.


Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0006.

Last updated: 23 October 2018Legal notice