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Procedure : 2019/2880(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B9-0139/2019

Texts tabled :

B9-0139/2019

Debates :

PV 24/10/2019 - 3.2
CRE 24/10/2019 - 3.2

Votes :

PV 24/10/2019 - 8.2

Texts adopted :

P9_TA(2019)0043

<Date>{22/10/2019}22.10.2019</Date>
<NoDocSe>B9‑0139/2019</NoDocSe>
PDF 169kWORD 52k

<TitreType>MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION</TitreType>

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

<TitreRecueil>pursuant to Rule 144 of the Rules of Procedure</TitreRecueil>


<Titre>on Egypt</Titre>

<DocRef>(2019/2880(RSP))</DocRef>


<RepeatBlock-By><Depute>Miguel Urbán Crespo, Marisa Matias, Pernando Barrena Arza, Helmut Scholz, Idoia Villanueva Ruiz, Eugenia Rodríguez Palop, Anne‑Sophie Pelletier, Leila Chaibi, Manuel Bompard</Depute>

<Commission>{GUE/NGL}on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group</Commission>

</RepeatBlock-By>

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0138/2019
NB: This motion for a resolution is available in the original language only.

B9‑0139/2019

European Parliament resolution on Egypt

(2019/2880(RSP))

The European Parliament,

 

-  having regard to its previous resolutions on Egypt, in particular that of 13 December 2018 on the situation of human defenders, 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 Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, of which Egypt is part and the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders of 1998,

 

-  having regard to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol which Egypt signed on 1981,

 

-  having regard to the Statement by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Egyptian protests: Concerned by widespread arrests, Bachelet urges restraint, on 27 September 2019

 

-  having regard to the Constitution of Egypt, notably articles 52 (prohibition of torture in all forms and types.), 73 (on freedom of assembly) and 93 (binding character of international human rights law),

 

-  having regard to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights,

 

-  having regard to the EU Foreign Affairs Council conclusions on Egypt of August 2013 and  February 2014,

 

-  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 to the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders and on the Death Penalty and on Torture and other Forms of Ill-Treatment,

 

-  having regard to Rule 144 of its Rules of Procedure,

 

 

 

  1. Whereas in response to peaceful demonstrations that started on 20 September 2019, the Egyptian authorities have carried out the most brutal crackdown of the past five years; whereas the public force repressed the protests using ammunition and tear gas; whereas they arrested hundreds of peaceful protesters;

 

  1. whereas after the protests the Egyptian authorities started a campaign of mass arbitrary detentions against journalists, lawyers and human rights defenders, activists, protesters and opposition party members; whereas according to the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, almost 4,300 people have been arrested, including at least 161 women and at least 177 minors, although many of them did not even participate in the protests; whereas the majority of them remain in detention, pending investigation for terrorism-related crimes in relation to the protests;

 

  1. whereas human rights lawyers including Mahinour al-Massry and Mohamed al-Baqer have been arrested and arbitrarily detained in pre-trial detention pending investigation for unfounded criminal charges, for having spoken out about the crackdown, documented cases or provided legal representation for persons detained for demonstrating; whereas pre-trial preventive detention and precautionary measures are being excessively used in order to prevent human rights defenders to do their jobs;

 

  1. whereas woman human rights defenders Mahinour al-Massry, Esraa Abdelfattah, Asmaa Daabees with her family members, as well as human rights lawyer Amr Imam, several other defenders were first subjected to enforced disappearance before detention; whereas housing rights researcher Ibrahim Ezzeddin of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms has been forcibly disappeared since 11 June 2019 and remains in complete incommunicado despite the human rights calls for revealing his detention status and place; whereas enforced disappearances of human rights defenders is becoming a systematic practice of the Egyptian authorities, before most re-appear in the hands of the State Prosecution, such as Eman Al-Helw, Mohamed Ibrahim, Abdelrahman Tarek, Ezzat Ghoneim, Haytham Mohamadeen, Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy; whereas some have still not re-appeared including Ibrahim Ezz El-Din;

 

  1. whereas cases of torture and other cruel and inhuman degrading treatments have been reported during the arrests; whereas prominent Human Rights Defenders and activists as Esraa Abdelfattah, Mohamed al-Baqer and Alaa Abdelfattah have been subjected to torture and ill-treatment in detention; whereas in a 2017 report the UN Committee against Torture already concluded that torture was systematic in Egypt and that, although it was the security forces who applied it, prosecutors and judges were responsible for facilitating it;

 

  1. whereas the many recent torture reports and allegations, including against recently arrested human rights defenders, have received no serious scrutiny and due process for victims of torture is still absent, even in cases which led to death such as that of Giulio Regeni;

 

  1. Whereas the Egyptian Authorities have reduced significantly and hardly cooperate with the Italian prosecution hindering progress in investigating and revealing the truth around the Kidnap, toture and killing of the Italian research Giulio Regeni; whereas the Parliament of Italy, has suspended its diplomatic relations with the Egyptian Parliament and called on the Member States Parliament to follow in solidarity;

 

  1. whereas many of the people detained were prevented from contacting their relatives and lawyers, that they were questioned if the presence of their lawyers and that collective interrogations were carried out; that the authorities have refused to officially reveal the whereabouts of the detained persons;

 

  1. whereas Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, expressed her concern about the lack of procedural safeguards in the arrests; who recalled that under international law, people have the right to protest peacefully and to express their opinions, even on social networks and that they should never be arrested, "much less accused of serious crimes, simply for exercising those rights";

 

  1. whereas the Supreme Media Regulation Council confirmed that the BBC News website had been blocked by the "inaccurate" coverage of the demonstrations; whereas another 513 websites were already blocked in Egypt and that messaging applications have also been blocked which makes communication and access to information difficult; whereas according to the press freedom index 2018 of Reporters Without Borders, Egypt is ranked 161 out of 180 countries, and considers that Egypt is now one of the world’s biggest prisons for journalists;

 

  1. whereas State reprisals have continued against independent Human Rights organisations and defenders in Egypt–including for engaging in UN human rights mechanisms and processes; whereas at least 31 rights defenders are banned from travel, at least 10 human rights defenders and seven rights NGOs have had their assets frozen, and over 37 human rights defenders have been interrogated in case 173/2011 known as the Foreign Funding Case against NGOs; while woman human rights defender Dr Aida Seif el Dawla of El Nadeem Center has been subjected to renewed judicial harassment and intimidation;

 

  1. whereas the timing of this massive crackdown and egregious violations, have started barely a month before Egypt’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR); whereas previously some human rights defenders faced reprisals for his work on Egypt’s previous UPR and with other UN Instruments;

 

  1. whereas the new legislative project on NGOs approved in August by the Egyptian president, which replaces the 2017 NGO law, retains some of the most restrictive measures of the previous law; whereas it continues to prohibit NGOs from receiving or raising funds, carrying out certain legitimate human rights activities, conducting investigations and publishing conclusions without government authorization; whereas the government can oppose the registration of an NGO and gives the authorities the power to dissolve an NGO and prosecute its staff on the basis of inaccurate accusations;

 

  1. whereas the independence of the Egyptian Judicial System has been continuously eroded during the last five years and could hardly provide for its essential role in the country constitutional and legal framework; 

 

  1. whereas accountability remains almost entirely absent for serious human rights violations, and there is no proper investigation of corruption allegations against the military; whereas in Rabaa Square protests, at least 900 people were killed by the Egyptian security forces and none of those responsible for the massacre has yet been tried; whereas the court ratified death sentences of 75 people and life imprisonment to another 47; whereas numerous irregularities were denounced during the trial, and the High Commissioner of the United Nations for Human Rights described it as a serious miscarriage of justice;

 

  1. whereas in August 2013, following the massacre at Rabaa Square, the EU condemned the disproportionate use of force by the Egyptian security forces and announced that the Member States had agreed to suspend export licenses to Egypt of any weapon that could be used for internal repression; whereas, despite the many complaints of human rights violations committed by the Egyptian authorities, several Member States (such as Germany, France, Spain, Cyprus, Italy and UK) continue to supply military or security equipment to Egypt which could be used for internal repression; whereas vehicles such as MIDS of French manufacture and armored vehicles IVECO of Italian manufacture, were used by the Egyptian public force during the repression of the demonstrations in September 2019; whereas France alone has become Egypt's main supplier in the defense sector, way beyond American sales, while annual reports from the minister of defense to Parliament fails to indicate the categories and quantities of equipment exported;

 

  1. whereas the death penalty, particularly in mass trials, has frequently been applied against persons exercising fundamental rights even sentencing children; whereas dozens of prisoners, including former president Mohamed Morsi have lost their lives in places of detention due to wilful medical neglect, alongside endemic torture and inhumane prison conditions;

 

  1. whereas military operations continue to escalate in North Sinai since late 2013, and the government has conducted mass demolitions and forced evictions of tens of thousands of residents and prevented independent reporting, imposing a near-absolute media blackout and restrictions on the movement in and out of Sinai;

 

  1. whereas Egypt is a country of destination, transit and source of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers; whereas the repression of human rights NGOs in Egypt also deprives migrants and refugees of legal services necessary for their defence and protection; whereas facilities used for immigration detention—including police and border guard stations, and prisons—are mostly overcrowded and far from fulfill the basic conditions; whereas people with a solid case for refugee status still frequently face a choice between indefinite administrative detention or deportation from Egypt or even have to face a trial in a military courts;

 

  1. whereas the second meeting of the dialogue on migration between the European Union and Egypt took place in July 2019; whereas the EU is deriving funds to Egypt on migration issues through instruments such as the Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, or the European Union Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian crisis, (Madad Fund); whereas Frontex carries out training projects on the matter with Egyptian authorities;

 

  1. whereas no official, strong and united public response has been forthcoming from the EU and its Member States to the September-October 2019 crackdown in Egypt; whereas the 2017-20 EU-Egypt Partnership Priorities are not being implemented in the areas of accountability and rule of law, and in fact there is a clear regression of democracy and human rights in Egypt; whereas there is no sign of review of EU and Member State cooperation and financial support to Egypt, as the feasibility of EU-Egypt trade agreement is currently being explored;

 

  1. whereas it is over seven years since Hosni Mubarak stepped down after the demonstrations in Tahir Square and the uprisings throughout Egypt calling for fundamental reforms in the country’s political, economic and social system, for an end to the corrupt regime, and for democracy, respect for human rights and better living conditions; whereas Egypt's stabilization and its future security require the presence of a free civil society, free trade unions, able to play their full role as interlocutors of governmental institutions by underlining urgent issues of national concern, for democracy, freedoms and fundamental rights and notably social rights;

 

 

1.  Calls on the Egyptian authorities to put an end to all acts of harassment and repression, including at judicial level;

2.  Expresses its concern about the arbitraries detentions and calls for the release of all detained for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly including those currently detained since September in connection with Case 1338 and Case 1356 of 2019;

3.  Calls on the Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all human rights defenders detained and sentenced merely for carrying out their legitimate and peaceful human rights work, including Eman Al-Helw, Mohamed Ibrahim, Mohamed Ramadan, Abdelrahman Tarek, Ezzat Ghoneim, Haytham Mohamadeen, Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy, Ibrahim Ezzeddin, Mahienour El-Masry, Mohamed El-Baqer, Esraa Abdel Fattah, including Alaa Abdelfattah, Asmaa Daabees, Amr Imam, Mohamed Abdellatif and all detainees in the Case 930 of 2019 known as “the hope coalition”;

4.  Urges the Egyptian authorities to permanently cease the abusive investigations against human rights organisations, to close Case 173 of 2011 and lift all travel bans imposed on at least 31 human rights defenders and staff of rights NGOs within the case—as well as all other arbitrarily-imposed travel bans; allow Egyptian rights defenders to travel and safely participate in Egypt’s upcoming Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council and other human rights events, without any fear of repercussions for them or their families;

5.  Reminds Egypt of its international obligations under the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Commission on Human Rights and People's Rights to uphold the right to a fair trial for all citizens before independent courts of law;

6.  Strongly condemns the enforced disappearance and arbitrary detention of journalists, lawyers and human rights defenders, activists, protesters and opposition party members in Egypt, and expresses utter shock at the credible reports of instances of torture on Esraa Abdel Fattah, Alaa Abdelfattah and Mohamed el Baqer;

7.  Calls on Egyptian authorities to put an end to the abominable use of torture, which is a crime under the Constitution of Egypt and international human rights law, and open investigations into all allegations of torture to make those responsible accountable; asks to introduce the necessary amendments to the Penal Code and Criminal Procedures Code so they comply with Article 52 of the Constitution, which prohibits torture in all forms and types;

8.  Asks the Egyptian authorities to criminalize enforced disappearances in Egyptian law and make them subject to no statute of limitations, to ratify the UN International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance and the Optional Protocol of the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT);

9.  Demands to the authorities immediately disclose the place of detention and the fate of the hundreds subjected to enforced disappearance by security forces in Egypt, including former parliamentarian Dr Mustafa Al-Naggar and researcher Ibrahim Ezz El-Din of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF);

10.  Urges the Egyptian Authorities for International and National Independent inspection of the Detention Facilities in the Country;

11.  Emphasises that the treatment of all detainees, including human rights defenders, while in detention, must adhere to the conditions set out in the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment adopted by means of UN General Assembly Resolution 43/173 of 9 December 1988;

12.  Urges the Egyptian authorities to lift the block on more than 513 websites, including those of local and international news, media and human rights organisations; release all media workers detained for doing their journalistic work;

13.  Expresses its concern about the new NGOs Law as well as the Law on Counter-Terrorism (Law 94/2015), the Law on Terrorist Entities (8/2015) and Emergency Law of 1958, severely restricting the right to freedom of expression and association and to peaceful assembly and closing of workspace of several human rights organizations;

14.  Urges the Egyptian authorities to protect freedom of expression, association and assembly by immediately repealing or amending, in compliance with the 2014 Constitution and international standards, the deeply restrictive Protest Law (Law 107/2013) to allow gatherings by notifying the authorities in advance and to  limit the use of force by security forces, the Assembly law (Law 10/1914) which forbids more than five people from peacefully assembling if the authorities order them to disperse, and enforces collective liability by holding all participants in the assembly criminally responsible for any crime committed by an individual participant, providing the basis for the imprisonment of tens of thousands of peaceful demonstrators;

15.  Demands to the authorities to amend, adopt and effectively implement legislation to eliminate all forms of discrimination and criminalise all forms of violence against women and girls, including by amending the Personal Status Law and introducing legal provisions prohibiting gender based violence, as well as sexual harassment, assaults and rape; Further, the authorities should effectively carry out the National Strategy to Combat Violence Against Women in partnership with independent civil society organisations with recognised expertise in the field;

16.  Urges the Egyptian authorities and security forces to ensure the security of all citizens, irrespective of their political views, affiliation or confession, to uphold the rule of law and respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, to protect the freedoms of association, of peaceful assembly, of expression and of the press, to commit to dialogue and non-violence, and to respect and fulfil the country’s international obligations; calls again on the authorities to guarantee that domestic and international civil society organisations, independent trade unions and journalists can operate freely, without interference;

17.  Insists on the fact that the fight against terrorists groups could be efficient only if we address the causes and specifically problems related to inequality, unemployment and poverty; highlights the fact that the terrorist attacks shouldn’t be a pretext to derogate from the rules of the rule of law and restrict human rights and fundamental freedoms, they must not be used to combat any form of opposition or to commit crimes especially extra judiciaries; call on the army to immediately halt home demolitions and land dispossessions until further consultations with local communities; urges the Egyptian authorities to immediately open North Siani to independent observers and journalists, to provide residents with essential needs and to allow independent relief organizations to provide aid for people in need;

18.  Urges the Egyptian Authorities to allow independent investigation of the incidents against civilians in Northern Sinai;

19.  Reiterates its strong opposition to the use of the death penalty in all cases and under all circumstances; considers that the death penalty violates human dignity and can constitute cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and therefore urges the Egyptian authorities to introduce a moratorium on executions as a first step towards the abolition of capital punishment;

20.  Calls the EU and it´s Member States to facilitate their access to European asylum and ensure human rights to all migrants; strongly condemns all readmission policies, especially those relating to countries where these people risk their lives and face ill-treatment contrary to the Geneva Convention, which may be particularly the case in Egypt; calls on the EU and its Member States to suspend any expulsion to Egypt; criticise the financial support of the EU for policies whose aim it is to externalise border controls without changing the current situation of the people in need in those countries; Calls for ensuring rights and a save passage to both migrants and displaced; stresses further that European politics must not be made conditional on cooperation in migration matters such as border management or readmission agreements; recalls its concerns about the increasing use of trust funds, such as limited transparency, lack of consultation and regional ownership;

21.  Calls on the EU Member States Parliament to consider the Italian Parliament decision and re assess their cooperation with the Egyptian Parliament and Authorities;

22.  Regrets the EU and its Member States have not responded in a resolute manner to the current crackdown and the egregious human rights violations committed under President al-Sisi’s rule; notes with concern that this approach has not led to progress in the country’s ever deteriorating human rights record;

23.  Deeply regrets that the Foreign Affairs Council has to date failed to issue an implementing act following its 23 August 2013 conclusions announcing the suspension of export licences for any equipment which might be used for internal repression in line with Common Position 2008/944/CFSP and the persistent non-compliance of EU Member States with these commitments.

24.  Reiterates its call on EU and EU Member States to adopt a Council Decision prohibiting the sale, supply, transfer or export of any form of security equipment and military aid that could be used for internal repression in Egypt, including surveillance technology and security equipment that can facilitate attacks on human rights defenders and civil society.

25.  Further insists on revising Common Position 2008/944/CFSP, in accordance with Article 7 of the Arms Trade Treaty, in order to clarify the legal obligation to refuse an export licence where there is a risk that the military technology or equipment will be used to commit or facilitate serious violations of human rights or international humanitarian law (Article 2.2 of the Common Position) and to include a formal mechanism to monitor Member States' compliance with Common Position to ensure its rigorous and consistent application;

26.  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 parliaments and governments of the Member States, the President and Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt and the African Commission on Human Rights and Peoples' Rights, the UN general secretary and UN relevant bodies.

 

 

Last updated: 22 October 2019Legal notice