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Procédure : 2018/2968(RSP)
Cycle de vie en séance
Cycle relatif au document : B8-0579/2018

Textes déposés :

B8-0579/2018

Débats :

PV 13/12/2018 - 7.2
CRE 13/12/2018 - 7.2

Votes :

Textes adoptés :

P8_TA(2018)0526

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
PDF 195kWORD 55k
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0568/2018
11.12.2018
PE631.601v01-00
 
B8-0579/2018

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law

pursuant to Rule 135 of the Rules of Procedure


on Egypt, notably the situation of human rights defenders (2018/2968(RSP))


Soraya Post, Elena Valenciano on behalf of the S&D Group
NB: This motion for a resolution is available in the original language only.

European Parliament resolution on Egypt, notably the situation of human rights defenders (2018/2968(RSP))  
B8‑0579/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Egypt, in particular that of 8 February 2018 on executions in Egypt, that of 10 March 2016 on Egypt, notably the case of Giulio Regeni, that of 17 December 2015 on Ibrahim Halawa, potentially facing the death penalty and that of 15 January 2015 on the situation in Egypt,

 

–  having regard to the EU Guidelines on the Death Penalty, on Torture, on Freedom of Expression and on Human Rights Defenders,

 

–  having regard to the EU-Egypt Association Agreement of 2001, which entered into force in 2004, strengthened by the Action Plan of 2007; having regard also to the EU-Egypt Partnership Priorities 2017-2020, adopted on 25 July 2017, to the joint statement issued following the 2017 EU-Egypt Association Council, and to the joint statement on the 5th meeting of the EU-Egypt Subcommittee on Political Matters, Human Rights & Democracy in January 2018,

 

–  having regard to the joint declaration of 10 October 2017 by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, (VP/HR), Federica Mogherini, and the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe on the European and World Day against the Death Penalty, and to the Statement by the EEAS Spokesperson of the 2 November 2018 on attack on Coptic Christian pilgrims in Egypt;

 

–  having regard to the joint statement of 26 January 2018 by UN experts including Nils Melzer, the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, urging the Egyptian authorities to halt imminent executions, to the Statement by UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, Leilani Farha and UN Special Rapporteur Michel Forst on the situation of human rights defenders, of 4 December 2018 and to that of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet of 9 September 2018 condemning the sentencing en masse of 75 people to death;

 

–  having regard to the Constitution of Egypt,

 

–  having regard to the African Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Fair Trial and Legal Assistance, which prohibit military trials of civilians under all circumstances,

 

–  having regard to the new EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights, which aims to place the protection and surveillance of human rights at the heart of all EU policies,

 

–  having regard to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Arab Charter on Human Rights, which have been ratified by Egypt,

 

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Egypt is party, and in particular to its Article 18 and the second optional protocol on the death penalty, as well as its Article 14,

 

- having regard to the joint announcement made in November 2018 in Cairo by the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman al-Saud that “their ongoing blockade  of Qatar would remain in effect until further notice”;

 

- having regard to the decision of Italy's lower house, the Chamber of Deputies to suspend its relations with the Egyptian parliament due to the lack of progress in the probe into the death of Italian student Giulio Regeni;

 

- having regard to the impact on human rights, both at domestic and regional level, of the sanctions put in place by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates against Qatar in June 2017 and the report on the impact of the Gulf Crisis on human rights published by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in December 2017,

 

 –  having regard to Rules 135(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

 

A.Whereas the Egyptian government has intensified its crackdown against civil society workers and human rights defenders, arresting and disappearing several of them and increasingly using counterterrorism and state of emergency laws to prosecute peaceful activists, lawyers, bloggers and journalists;

 

B.Whereas Journalist Hesham Gaafar has been held in pretrial detention for over 3 years in Egypt’s most infamous Scorpion Prison, mainly because of his mediation efforts on behalf of the “Center for Humanitarian Dialogue”, a Swiss independent group working on conflict resolutions; whereas he is suffering from prostate cancer and near-absolute loss of vision and is in urgent need of adequate healthcare, which authorities keep denying;

 

C.Whereas lawyer Ibrahim Metwally, co-founder of the Association of the Families of the Disappeared, has been arrested on his way to Geneva to attend Human Rights Council session in September 2017, and has been held in pretrial detention over charges of “communicating with foreign agents”;

 

D.whereas Ismail al-Iskandarani, prominent journalist and one of the very few ones covering human rights violations in the Sinai, was detained in November 2015 upon his arrival to Egypt from Germany; whereas he was subsequently subjected to renewed detention periods of 45 days until 23 May 2018 when he was sentenced to ten years by a military court; whereas this is only one example of the crackdown on independent media within Egypt;

 

E.Whereas prominent human rights defender and lawyer Ezzat Ghoneim, head of the Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms, has been held in custody since March 2018; whereas his release was ordered by a court on September 4, but he was instead forcibly disappeared and his whereabouts remain unknown;

 

F.whereas on 8 September 2018 photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid, known as “Shawkan”, was sentenced to five years which he has already served but still remains in detention and his health has been deteriorating; whereas he was condemned in a mass trial alongside 612 people by the Cairo Criminal Court which handed down 75 death sentences, 47 life sentences, and heavy prison sentences ranging from 15 to 5 years related to participation in the Rabaa sit-in on 14 August 2013; whereas the Rabaa trial is just one example of mass trials in Egypt which are depriving individuals of their right to a fair trial;

 

G.whereas woman human rights defender Amal Fathi is in prison awaiting an appeal hearing on 30 December 2018 for criticising the government’s failure to address sexual violence; whereas Fathy was originally arrested in May 2018 due to a Facebook video she posted in which she speaks out against sexual harassment; whereas the prosecution alleges she has been "using the internet to call for terrorist acts”; whereas Amal Fathy's detention has been renewed multiple times since her detention; whereas there are serious concerns regarding her physical and mental health first voiced in July 2018 when she was deemed in urgent need of medical attention in detention in Qanater women’s prison in Cairo;

 

H.Whereas Ms Ola al-Qaradawi, a Qatari national, and her husband Mr. Hosam Khalaf, an Egyptian national, have been detained in appalling conditions in Egypt since 30 June 2017, with no charges formulated against either of them; whereas in June 2018 the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that they have been subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment that may amount to torture, declared their detention arbitrary and called on the Egyptian government to release them;

 

I.whereas Egypt opened a legal front against NGOs last year with a law requiring state security agencies to approve their funding, foreign or domestic, thus virtually banning them; whereas on 15 November 2018 President Al-Sisi called for a review of the NGO law to make it more ‘balanced’; whereas the retrial of 16 defendants of the ‘foreign funding case’ 173/2011 is scheduled for 20 December 2018 and the accused face charges of establishing and operating branches of international organisations without a license from the government;

 

J.Whereas since now-President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi came to power in July 2013, Egyptian courts have recommended at least 2,443 preliminary death sentences--including for at least 12 children--and confirmed at least 1,451 death sentences; whereas during the same period, Egypt has carried out at least 144 executions; at least 1,991 preliminary death sentences and 926 confirmed death sentences occurred in mass trials of 15 or more people simultaneously; whereas the death penalty, particularly in mass trials, has frequently been applied against persons exercising fundamental rights, including the right to assembly, in support of democracy and human rights;

 

K.whereas there has been an ongoing state of emergency in Egypt, in place since April 2017 and extended for three months from 21 October 2018, introduced, according to the state media, to help tackle the ‘dangers and funding of terrorism’ and undermining fundamental freedoms and granting the President and those acting on his behalf the power to refer civilians to State Security Emergency Courts for the duration of the three-month period; whereas the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has criticised attempts to bestow immunity from prosecution for crimes allegedly committed by members of the security forces which undermines the faith of the Egyptian people in the Government’s capacity to deliver justice for all’;

 

L.whereas companies based in several EU Member States have continued to export surveillance technology to Egypt facilitating hacking and malware as well as other forms of attacks on human rights defenders and civil society activists on social media; whereas this activity has led to the repression of freedom of expression online;

 

M.whereas the EU-Egypt Association Council is due to take place on 20 December 2018; whereas a European Parliament DROI mission to Egypt has been scheduled prior to the meeting of the Council; whereas Egypt has not officially extended an invitation to the delegation showing little interest in engaging with the European Parliament regarding Human Rights;

 

N.whereas the new 2017-2020 EU-Egypt Partnership Priorities adopted in July 2017 are guided by a shared commitment to the universal values of democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights, and constitute a renewed framework for political engagement and enhanced cooperation, including on security, judicial reform and counter-terrorism, on a basis of due respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; whereas the Subcommittee on Political Matters, Human Rights and Democracy of the Association Agreement between Egypt and the European Union held its fifth session in Cairo on 10 and 11 January 2018, addressing cooperation in the areas of human rights, democracy and the rule of law;

 

1.Calls on the Egyptian government to immediately and unconditionally release Ola al Qaradawi and Hosam Khalaf, journalist Hesham Gaafar and Ismail Iskandrani, photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zaid (known as Shawkan), lawyers Ibrahim Metwally and Ezzat Ghoneim, activist Amal Fathy, and all others detained solely for the peaceful exercise of their freedom of expression, in violation of Egypt’s constitution and international obligations; pending their release, calls on Egypt to allow them full access to their families, lawyers of their choice and adequate medical care, and to conduct credible investigations into any ill-treatment or torture allegations”

 

2.Strongly condemns the ongoing restrictions on fundamental democratic rights, notably freedom of expression, association and assembly, political pluralism and the rule of law in Egypt; calls for an end to all acts of violence, incitement, hate speech, harassment, intimidation, enforced disappearances or censorship directed at political opponents, protesters, journalists, bloggers, students, women’s rights activists, civil society actors, LGBTI people, NGOs and minorities, including Nubians, by state authorities, security forces and services and other groups in Egypt; condemns the excessive use of violence against protesters; calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all those detained for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association, and calls for an independent and transparent investigation into all human rights violations;

 

3.Reiterates its call on the Egyptian authorities to ensure the physical and psychological safety of all accused persons while imprisoned; denounces the use of torture or ill-treatment; calls on the Egyptian authorities to ensure that those detained receive all medical attention that they may require; calls on the EU to implement in full its export controls vis-à-vis Egypt, in particular with regard to goods that could be used for torture or capital punishment;

 

4.Reiterate its call on Egypt to sign and ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights aimed at the abolition of the death penalty, and the UN International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance; encourages the Egyptian government to issue an open invitation to the relevant UN Special Rapporteurs to visit the country;

 

5.Expresses its serious concern at the mass trials by Egyptian courts and the large number of death sentences handed down by them; calls on the Egyptian judicial authorities to uphold and respect the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Egypt is a party, and notably Article 14 thereof on the right to a fair and timely trial based on clear charges and ensuring the respect of the defendants’ rights;

 

6.Calls on Egypt to cease applying the death penalty against individuals in the context of mass trials and for the exercise of protected, fundamental rights, with a view to establishing a moratorium on the death penalty; to cease applying the death penalty against children and commute all death sentences handed down to persons under the age of 18 at the time of their alleged offence; to stay all pending executions immediately and conduct a review of its death row for all individuals whose death sentences were not handed down in full compliance with international law;

 

7.Recalls its continued outrage at the torture and killing of the Italian researcher Giulio Regeni, and denounces, once again, the lack of progress in the investigation into this brutal murder; stresses that it will continue to press the European authorities to engage with their Egyptian counterparts until the truth is established on this case and the perpetrators are held accountable;

 

8.Calls on the Egyptian authorities to drop all existing criminal investigations into NGOs and to repeal the NGO law in accordance with its domestic and international obligations to protect freedom of association;

 

9.Calls on the Egyptian Parliament to review Egypt’s Criminal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, counter-terrorism legislation and Military Code, and calls on the government to review the relevant decrees so as to ensure that civilians accused of crimes punishable by death are not referred to exceptional or military courts on any grounds, since such courts do not meet the fair trial standards endorsed by Egypt in its international rights commitments and guaranteed in its Constitution; calls on the Egyptian authorities to cease trying civilians in military courts;

 

10.Is extremely concerned about the harassment, intimidation and reprisals against individuals that collaborate with different UN bodies; condemns the attacks against individuals who met or provided information to UN Special Rapporteur Ms. Farha and her delegation during their visit to Egypt in September 2018, including the forced eviction of a number of families from two communities, and the demolition of several multi-storey houses, furniture being thrown into the street, and residents made homeless; expresses its concern over the UN experts view that Egypt is not ready to host further UN visits as it cannot ensure human rights defenders and victims of human rights violations can interact with UN human rights envoys without fear of reprisal;

 

11.Urges the Egyptian government, to stop all discriminatory measures put in place after the blockade in June 2017 against Qatari nationals, in particular those restricting the freedom of movement of mixed families, students and property owners; is seriously concerned about cases of arbitrary detention and enforced disappearance occurred this year to four Qatari citizens: Mohsin Al- Korbi; Abdulaziz Abdullah; Nawaf Al- Rasheed; Ahmed Khalid Meqbel; welcomes the positive statement made on 15th of November by the Egyptian Minister of Manpower Mohamed Saafan   on Egypt - Qatar relations;

 

12.Calls on the HR/VP and the Member States to ensure that human rights are not undermined by migration management or counter-terrorism actions under the EU-Egypt Partnership Priorities; underlines the importance that the EU attaches to its cooperation with Egypt as an important neighbour and partner; strongly urges Egypt to respect its commitment made in the EU-Egypt Partnership Priorities adopted on 27 July 2017 to promote democracy, fundamental freedoms and human rights, in line with its Constitution and international standards;

 

13.Urges the HR/VP and the Member States to maintain a strong position on the EU’s stance on human rights in the upcoming EU Association Council with Egypt scheduled for 20 December 2018 and to articulate clear consequences Egypt´s government will face should it fail to revert its abusive trend, such as targeted sanctions against individuals responsible for human rights violations; reiterates its call for a clear, strong and unified EU position on human rights in Egypt in all human rights fora and in bilateral and multilateral meetings;

 

14.Calls on the EU Member States to halt exports of surveillance technology and security equipment to Egypt that can facilitate attacks on human rights defenders and civil society activists, including on social media;

 

15.Deeply regrets the unwillingness shown by the Egyptian authorities to organise a mission of the Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI) to Cairo;

 

16.Instructs its president to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the VP/HR of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the parliaments and governments of the Member States, and to the Egyptian government and parliament.

 

Dernière mise à jour: 11 décembre 2018Avis juridique