Index 
 Previous 
 Next 
 Full text 
Procedure : 2018/2098(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0373/2018

Texts tabled :

A8-0373/2018

Debates :

PV 11/12/2018 - 17
CRE 11/12/2018 - 17

Votes :

PV 12/12/2018 - 12.17
CRE 12/12/2018 - 12.17
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2018)0515

Texts adopted
PDF 207kWORD 84k
Wednesday, 12 December 2018 - Strasbourg Provisional edition
Annual report on human rights and democracy in the world 2017 and the European Union’s policy on the matter
P8_TA-PROV(2018)0515A8-0373/2018

European Parliament resolution of 12 December 2018 on the annual report on human rights and democracy in the world 2017 and the European Union’s policy on the matter (2018/2098(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other UN human rights treaties and instruments, notably the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), both adopted on 16 December 1966 by the United Nations General Assembly in New York,

–  having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights,

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–  having regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC),

–  having regard to Articles 2, 3, 8, 21 and 23 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU),

–  having regard to Article 207 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to the Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2015-2019, adopted by the Council on 20 July 2015, and to its mid-term review of June 2017,

–  having regard to the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,

–  having regard to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights,

–  having regard to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, adopted in 1976 and revised in 2011,

–  having regard to the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence of 11 May 2011 (the Istanbul Convention), which was signed by the EU on 13 June 2017,

–  having regard to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) of 18 December 1979,

–  having regard to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, which entered into force on 18 January 2002,

–  having regard to the joint staff working document of the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy entitled ‘Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: Transforming the Lives of Girls and Women through EU External Relations 2016-2020’, adopted in 2015 (SWD(2015)0182),

–  having regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD),

–  having regard to UN Security Council resolutions 1325 (2000), 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009), 1889 (2009), 1960 (2010), 2106 (2013), 2122 (2013) and 2242 (2015) on women, peace and security,

–  having regard to UN Security Council resolutions 2250 (2015) and 2419 (2018) on youth, peace and security,

–  having regard to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination,

–  having regard to UN Security Council resolution 1820 (2008) on women, peace and security, which addresses sexual violence in terms of war crimes,

–  having regard to the Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy presented by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) Federica Mogherini on 28 June 2016, and to the first report on its implementation entitled ‘From Shared Vision to Common Action: Implementing the EU Global Strategy’, published in 2017,

–  having regard to the Council Conclusions on Indigenous Peoples of 15 May 2017,

–  having regard to Council Decision 2011/168/CFSP of 21 March 2011 on the International Criminal Court and repealing Common Position 2003/444/CFSP(1),

–  having regard to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the outcome document of 25 September 2014 of the high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples,

–  having regard to the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, adopted by the UN General Assembly on 19 September 2016,

–  having regard to UN General Assembly Resolution 69/167 of 18 December 2014, which reiterates the need to protect and promote the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all migrants regardless of migration status, and to the 1990 International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families;

–  having regard to UN General Assembly Resolution 67/139 of 20 December 2012, creating the Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing with a mandate to consider proposals for an international legal instrument to promote and protect the rights and dignity of older persons,

–  having regard to the report of the Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of All Human Rights by Older Persons to the 33rd session of the UN Human Rights Council of 8 July 2016(2),

–  having regard to the report of the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing on its eighth working session of 28 July 2017(3),

–  having regard to the 2017 Lisbon Ministerial Declaration entitled ‘A Sustainable Society for All Ages: Realizing the potential of living longer’, adopted at the 4th Ministerial Conference on Ageing of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) on 22 September 2017,

–  having regard to the European Agenda on Migration of 13 May 2015 (COM(2015)0240) and to the Commission communication of 7 June 2016 on establishing a new Partnership Framework with third countries under the European Agenda on Migration (COM(2016)0385),

–  having regard to the set of EU thematic guidelines on human rights, including on human rights defenders,

–  having regard to the EU Human Rights Guidelines on Freedom of Expression Online and Offline, adopted by the Council in 2014,

–  having regard to the EU Guidelines on Promoting Compliance with International Humanitarian Law (IHL), adopted in 2005 and revised in 2009(4),

–  having regard to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights,

–  having regard to the EU Guidelines for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of the Child, adopted in 2007 and reviewed in 2017, as well as the 'EU-UNICEF Child Rights Toolkit: Integrating child rights in development cooperation',

–  having regard to the EU Guidelines to promote and protect the enjoyment of all human rights by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons, adopted by the Council in 2013,

–  having regard to the Yogyakarta Principles (‘Principles and State Obligations on the Application of International Human Rights Law in Relation to Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics’) adopted in November 2006 and the 10 complementary principles thereto (‘plus 10’) adopted on 10 November 2017,

–  having regard to the EU Guidelines on the promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief, adopted by the Council in 2013,

–  having regard to the joint statement by the Council and the representatives of the governments of the Member States meeting within the Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission entitled ‘The new European Consensus on Development: “Our World, Our Dignity, Our Future”’, adopted by the Council, Parliament and the Commission on 7 June 2017,

–  having regard to the EU Guidelines on the death penalty, adopted by the Council in 2013,

–  having regard to the EU Guidelines to EU policy towards third countries on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, adopted in 2001 and revised in 2012,

–  having regard to its resolution of 4 July 2018 entitled 'Towards an EU external strategy against early and forced marriages - next steps'(5),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 4 December 2017 on the follow-up to the EU Strategy on Trafficking in Human Beings (COM(2017)0728),

–  having regard to its resolution of 3 May 2018 on the protection of migrant children(6),

–  having regard to the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognised Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (Human Rights Defenders) of December 1998,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2017/821 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 May 2017 laying down supply chain due diligence obligations for Union importers of tin, tantalum and tungsten, their ores, and gold originating from conflict-affected and high-risk areas(7),

–  having regard to International Labour Organisation Convention No 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, adopted on 27 June 1989,

–  having regard to its resolution of 4 July 2013 on ‘Arms exports: implementation of Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP’(8),

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 October 2013 on caste-based discrimination(9) and to the report of 28 January 2016 on minorities and caste-based discrimination by the UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues and the UN Guidance tool on descent-based discrimination,

–  having regard to the EU Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2017,

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 December 2017 on the Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2016 and the European Union’s policy on the matter(10), and to its previous resolutions on earlier annual reports,

–  having regard to its resolutions on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law in 2017,

–  having regard to its Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, which in 2017 was awarded to the Democratic Opposition in Venezuela: the National Assembly (Julio Borges) and all political prisoners as listed by Foro Penal Venezolano represented by Leopoldo López, Antonio Ledezma, Daniel Ceballos, Yon Goicoechea, Lorent Saleh, Alfredo Ramos and Andrea González,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation)(11),

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2017/541 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2017 on combating terrorism and replacing Council Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA and amending Council Decision 2005/671/JHA(12); having regard to the work of the Special Committee on Terrorism (TERR), which the European Parliament decided to establish on 6 July 2017, and which was appointed on 14 September 2017,

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (A8-0373/2018),

A.  whereas respect for and the promotion, indivisibility and safeguarding of the universality of human rights, as well as the promotion of democratic principles and values including the rule of law, respect for human dignity and the principle of equality and solidarity, are the cornerstones of the EU’s ethical and legal acquis and its common foreign and security policy (CFSP), as well as of all its external action; whereas the EU should continue to strive to be the leading global actor in the universal promotion and protection of human rights, including on the level of multilateral cooperation, in particular through an active and constructive role in diverse UN bodies and in compliance with the UN Charter, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and international law, as well as the obligations in the area of human rights and of the commitments assumed under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals;

B.  whereas civil society plays a central role in building and strengthening democracy, scrutinising state power and promoting good governance, transparency and accountability; whereas civil society organisations play a crucial role as a vital force in society; whereas there is a link between weakened civil society, restricted political and civic space, increased corruption, social and gender inequality, low levels of human, social and economic development and social conflicts; whereas appropriate resources must be made available and deployed in the most efficient manner in order to enhance the promotion of human rights and democracy in third countries, and civil society should not be hampered by restrictive laws, funding caps, restrictive licensing procedures or prohibitive taxes;

C.  whereas many countries in the world are facing impunity and injustice, and offer insufficient effective treatment, victim support services and financial assistance for victims of terrorism, particularly those countries where a large proportion of citizens have been confronted by terrorism;

D.  whereas in 2017 a very large number of civil society actors, among them lawyers, intellectuals, journalists, religious figures and human rights defenders, including environmental activists, around the world have faced shrinking civil society space and have been subject to increasing attacks, persecution, harassment, arbitrary arrest or detention and even killings; whereas ProtectDefenders.eu, the support mechanism for EU human rights defenders, has provided effective assistance to hundreds of activists but is facing growing needs; whereas the EU and its Member States should devote more resources to greater participation by civil society and step up their efforts in the protection and support of human rights defenders;

E.  whereas policies in support of human rights and democracy should be mainstreamed across all other EU policies with an external dimension, such as development, migration, security, counter-terrorism, women's rights and gender equality, enlargement and trade, in particular through the implementation of human rights conditionality; whereas increased coherence between the EU’s internal and external policies, as well as among the external policies themselves, is a fundamental requirement for a successful and effective EU human rights policy;

F.  whereas illegal occupation of a territory or a part of it is an ongoing violation of international law, which triggers the responsibility of the occupying power towards the civilian population under international humanitarian law;

General considerations

1.  Expresses profound concern at the pushback against democracy, human rights and the rule of law worldwide in 2017, and urges the EU and its Member States to pursue unconditionally the mainstreaming of the European and international standards regarding human rights, the rule of law, democracy and the rights of minorities to which they are bound, and to ensure increased coherence between the EU’s internal and external human rights policies and greater coordination between the external policies of the Member States, in fields such as migration, counter-terrorism and trade, as the EU’s influence as a credible and legitimate international actor is greatly shaped by its ability to advance respect for human rights and democracy, both internally and externally;

2.  Reaffirms that states have the ultimate responsibility to safeguard all human rights through enacting and implementing international human rights treaties and conventions, monitoring human rights violations and ensuring effective remedy for victims; points out that peace, security and development are mutually reinforcing and depend on the capacity to address abuse, crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide; warns against restrictions on freedom of movement, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression;

3.  Recalls that equality between men and women is a core principle of the EU and the Member States, as referred to in Article 3(3) TEU, and that its promotion via gender mainstreaming, including in other countries around the world through external policies, is one of the EU’s principal objectives;

4.  Emphasises that the EU is committed to promoting gender equality and ensuring gender mainstreaming in all of its actions, which is an obligation laid down in the Treaties, so that gender equality becomes a key priority in all EU guidelines, working relations, policies and actions, including external actions; supports accordingly the related coordinated efforts in the multilateral dialogues and activities of EU delegations such as election observation missions; stresses the need to reinforce the work in third countries of the EEAS Principal Advisor on Gender, aimed at promoting peace, security and fundamental freedoms, by ensuring a specific budget dedicated to her area of competences;

5.  Considers that a truly independent, pluralistic and dynamic civil society contributes to development and stability, ensures democratic consolidation including separation of powers, social justice and respect for human rights, and promotes transparency, accountability and good governance, in particular through measures to combat corruption and extremism; stresses the vital and central role played by human rights defenders and NGOs in promoting and supporting the application of the rights enshrined in the core international human rights treaties, including by carrying out educational programmes and raising awareness of the activities of international organisations; underlines the importance of the implementation of the EU’s Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders and its capacity to maintain adequate support, through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), for human rights defenders and NGOs in situations where they are most at risk, notably by ensuring the enhanced capacity of the ProtectDefenders.eu mechanism;

6.  Notes the importance of providing emergency support to human rights defenders and that the treatment of all prisoners must meet international standards; underlines its concerns for the safety of human rights defenders and that perpetrators must be brought to justice; welcomes the European Endowment for Democracy’s consistent efforts to promote democracy and respect for fundamental rights and freedoms in the eastern and southern neighbourhoods of the EU; recognises the risks faced by human rights defenders, including women human rights defenders who face specific risks and threats due to their gender, as well as environmental activists, and calls on the EEAS and the Member States to pay special attention to them in the EU Guidelines for Human Rights Defenders; underlines the need for strong EU coordination on engagement with third- country authorities regarding human rights defenders and civil society, and praises the individual initiatives of the Member States in addition to EU action;

7.  Welcomes the EU’s active participation in the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), which has seen it sponsor and co-sponsor resolutions, issue statements, intervene in interactive dialogues and debates, and call for special sessions on the situation regarding human rights; recognises the EU’s commitments to addressing country situations in the UNHRC; stresses the importance of the EU’s engagement in dialogues and cooperation on human rights at a multilateral level; fully supports the UNHRC’s activities and engagement when defending human rights worldwide; commends the work of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights under the leadership of Zeid al-Hussein; looks forward to a close dialogue and active cooperation with the newly appointed High Commissioner, Michelle Bachelet; calls on the Commission and the Member States to step up their support to the functioning of the OHCHR and the Special Procedures;

8.  Expresses its appreciation for the work done by the human rights services of the Commission and the EEAS at headquarters and in EU delegations, and for that of the EU’s Special Representative for Human Rights (EUSR), Stavros Lambrinidis, in increasing the effectiveness, cohesion and visibility of human rights in EU foreign policy, and recalls its request for this mandate to be made permanent and more accountable; welcomes the recent approach represented by the EU’s ‘Good Human Rights Stories Initiative’, which focuses on the best practices employed by various countries; calls once more for a revision of the mandate so as to grant the EUSR own-initiative powers, adequate resources and the ability to speak publicly in order to report on achievements of visits to third countries and to communicate the EU's positions on human rights topics;

9.  Welcomes the EU Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2017 and notes that it was adopted much earlier this year, in line with Parliament’s requests expressed in its previous reports; asks the Council to continue its efforts to finalise these annual reports earlier in the year; encourages the Council to ensure that the adoption of the next annual report is based on an adequate consultation process; considers the annual report to be an indispensable tool for scrutiny, communication and debate on the EU’s policy on human rights and democracy in the world, and asks for it to be promoted publicly worldwide;

10.  Recognises the progress made in terms of the report’s procedure and format, but expects the Council and the VP/HR to take even greater account of the positions of the relevant resolutions and/or recommendations of Parliament in order to ensure deeper and more effective interaction between the EU institutions on human rights issues;

11.  Reiterates the importance of an overview of key positive and negative trends in order to evaluate the efficiency of the EU’s actions; considers, in this sense, that more thorough public reporting, where appropriate based in particular on the priorities and indicators identified in the EU’s human rights country strategies, inter alia, would encourage greater consistency in implementing human rights conditionality clauses and assessing and adjusting the human rights impact of EU policies; emphasises the need to monitor and fully implement the existing EU Guidelines;

12.  Acknowledges that the EU Human Rights Dialogues (HRDs) constitute a valuable mixed diplomacy tool for the promotion of human rights and democracy in bilateral relations with third countries; notes, however, the enduring obstacles to the achievement of concrete results via HRDs, such as the prevalence of double standards, and calls in this regard for a more unified stance among the Member States; calls on the Commission and the EEAS to seek ways to make the HRDs more effective and meaningful and to react swiftly and complement them when they are not constructive, by utilising political dialogue or public diplomacy; encourages the Commission and the EEAS to increase transparency in dialogues, also through the enhanced participation of civil society actors, and to use clear benchmarks for the purposes of evaluating the success of each dialogue; emphasises the importance of the EU raising at the HRDs the cases of individual human rights defenders at risk, pressing for the release of imprisoned defenders and the protection of those under threat; advises the EU institutions, moreover, to provide adequate resources and training on human rights and democracy for EU delegation officials and staff at all levels;

13.  Reiterates that the 2015-2019 Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy and its mid-term review of 2017 must be the guiding instruments for human rights action, and underlines, in this connection, the need to plan for sufficient resources and expertise in order to properly implement the EU’s key priorities; calls on the EU institutions and the Member States to ensure the efficient and coherent implementation of the current Action Plan, including through genuine collaboration with civil society organisations;

14.  Calls on the EU to strengthen its instruments and policies regarding institutional development and the rule of law, and to include benchmarks for ensuring accountability and seek to prevent impunity for human rights violations; calls for the effective deployment of adequate resources to further promote human rights and democracy;

15.  Recalls, in this regard, the crucial support provided by EIDHR in the implementation of the EU’s Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy and its Human Rights Guidelines and country strategies, which has enabled the EU to act more strategically in this area and has ensured accountability, visibility and effectiveness; calls strongly for EIDHR’s inclusion as a separate and independent instrument in the architecture of the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework, in order not to dilute its clear diversity into a larger external action fund; strongly encourages cooperation between the EU's external funding instruments, to avoid duplication and overlap and help identify possible gaps and funding needs;

16.  Recalls that the experience gained and the lessons learned from transitions to democracy within the framework of the enlargement and neighbourhood policies could contribute positively to the identification of best practices that could be used to support and consolidate other democratisation processes worldwide; expresses its conviction that the revised European neighbourhood policy should support economic, social and political reform, protect human rights, and help establish the rule of law while maintaining the EU’s commitments to its partners; reiterates that the promotion of human rights and democracy are in the interest of both partner countries and the EU; highlights the need to further interparliamentary relations between the EU and its partner countries, in a framework of honest dialogue underpinned by mutual understanding and trust, with the aim of promoting human rights effectively;

17.  Highlights the work of its Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI), which maintains close working relations with other EU institutions, the EUSR, the EEAS, civil society including NGOs, and multilateral human rights institutions; notes that in 2017 DROI drafted three reports which were adopted as resolutions by plenary, on statelessness in South and South East Asia(13), on addressing human rights violations in the context of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including genocide(14), and on corruption and human rights in third countries(15);

18.  Proposes to launch, within the first trimester of 2019, an internal task force to carry out a review of the promotion and mainstreaming of human rights by its committees with an external mandate and by its delegations for relations with third countries during the 2014-2019 term; intends to draw recommendations from this review for enhanced parliamentary action in the field of human rights in the next parliamentary term, including in terms of scrutiny of the activity of the EEAS and the Commission, the internal institutional set-up, and mainstreaming of human rights within its bodies;

19.  Believes that the role of the urgency resolutions based on Rule 135 of Rules of Procedure, can be further developed to strengthen human rights and democracy through increased timely reflection, targeting and efficiency;

Specific human rights challenges

20.  Expresses its grave concern at the gradual shrinking of civil society space in 2017, and deplores the fact that human rights defenders, journalists and NGOs are too often the targets of harassment, intimidation and violence, including killings; is concerned at the continued imposition of travel bans on human rights activists who wish to attend sessions of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and other international institutions, and firmly condemns these bans, calling on the governments concerned to lift them; emphasises that it is unacceptable that representatives of civil society and the media are prevented from participating in the work of international bodies, and insists that the fundamental human and political rights of civil society representatives be respected; is concerned that some human rights activists have been detained on returning to their countries after being heard in international institutions;

21.  Deplores the fact that the increasing global phenomenon of shrinking civil society space might also occur in established democracies and middle- and high-income countries; calls on the EU and its Member States to lead by example; condemns legislation that restricts the activities of civil society, e.g. the closing of NGOs or the freezing of their assets; calls for the repeal of legislation imposing arbitrary or intrusive requirements on the operations of NGOs, including provisions on restrictions on foreign funding; condemns the diffusion of public narratives that increasingly undermine the role of civil society organisations; encourages the EU delegations and the Member States’ diplomatic representations to continue to monitor and raise cases of violations of freedom of assembly and association, including the various forms of bans and limitations on civil society organisations and their activities or the promotion of fake NGOs sponsored by some governments; encourages them to continue to actively support human rights defenders by systematically monitoring trials, visiting detained activists and issuing statements regarding individual cases where appropriate;

22.  Denounces the fact that media freedom has been strongly threatened in 2017, with, according to the annual index by Reporters Without Borders, attacks against the press attaining unprecedented levels in 2017; emphasises the need to uphold the principles of freedom of opinion and expression, as laid down in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; reiterates the importance of freedom of expression, both online and offline, as key for the proper functioning of democratic communities, as it fosters a culture of pluralism that empowers civil society and citizens to hold their governments and decision-makers to account and strengthens respect for the rule of law; strongly condemns the threats, intimidation and attacks against journalists, independent media, bloggers and whistle-blowers, as well as hate speech, defamation laws and incitements to violence, as they constitute a threat to the rule of law and the values embodied in human rights; underlines that in 2017 hundreds of peaceful protesters and journalists were arrested, many of whom were mistreated, detained arbitrarily and forced to pay heavy fines in trials where minimum procedural standards were not guaranteed; urges the EU to step up its efforts to protect the right to freedom of opinion and expression in all its relations with third countries; emphasises the importance of ensuring effective and systematic implementation of the EU Guidelines on Freedom of Expression Online and Offline and of regularly monitoring their impact;

23.  Emphasises the core importance of academic freedom, as a human right protected by international treaties; strongly condemns any attack on academic freedom such as killings, forced disappearances, violence, imprisonment, cessation of employment, attacks on reputation and wrongful prosecution; stresses the gravity of all attacks on academic freedom, since it is essential to the creation of a pluralistic and democratic society;

24.  Strongly condemns the fact that so many human rights defenders faced digital threats in 2017, including compromised data through the confiscation of equipment, remote surveillance and data leakages; condemns the practice of online surveillance and hacking for the purposes of gathering information which can be used for legal cases or defamation campaigns; expresses its deep concern at the ever-increasing use of certain cybersurveillance dual-use technologies against politicians, activists, bloggers and journalists; in this regard, strongly calls on the EU institutions to urgently and effectively update the dual-use export control regulation;

25.  Reaffirms that the independence of the judiciary and the absolute transparency of a system for the administration of justice in which all operators are required to carry out their roles in an upright and independent manner are prerequisites for the development of a democratic state and legal protection for human rights; condemns roundly all attempts to place restrictions on the freedom of judges, public prosecutors and lawyers, and all forms of direct and indirect violence employed against them; calls on the EU to pay the utmost attention to this point in the context of its diplomatic relations with non-EU countries;

26.  Acknowledges that the open internet and technological advances have enabled human rights abuses to be reported more swiftly; criticises the attempts by some governments to control mass communication tools, including the internet; is concerned at the prevalence of fake news and disinformation generated by state and non-state actors in 2017, which have contributed to the spreading of anti-human rights narratives, limited access to free, accurate and impartial information, incited violence, hatred or discrimination against certain groups or individuals, and affected the outcomes of elections, thus undermining democracies; stresses in this regard the need for the EU to develop a stronger positive narrative on human rights, to stand firm in the face of governments sponsoring disinformation or challenging the universality and indivisibility of human rights, and to increase its efforts to support free and independent media worldwide; stresses the centrality of education, culture, knowledge, and critical thinking in fighting fake news and its propagation;

27.  Calls for the VP/HR to appoint an EU cyber envoy who should coordinate the EU’s diplomatic efforts to advance, in its external policies, an open, interoperable, secure and reliable internet, in which human rights are respected and norms for responsible state behaviour online are promoted;

28.  Reaffirms that freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief, including the freedom to believe or not to believe, to practise or not to practise the religion of one’s choice, to give up or change religion, and the rights to apostasy and to espouse atheistic views, must be enhanced unconditionally through interreligious and intercultural dialogue; condemns discrimination based on thought, conscience, religion or belief, and the persecution of and attacks against all ethnic and religious groups in 2017; calls for the instrumentalisation of religion for political ends to be avoided; deplores the attempts by state and non-state actors to limit freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression by adopting and implementing blasphemy laws, among other means; requests that further action be taken to protect religious minorities, non-believers and atheists, including the victims of blasphemy laws; calls for the EU and its Member States to increase their engagement in political discussions to repeal such laws, to step up their efforts to enhance respect for freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief and to promote interreligious and inter-convictional dialogue when engaging with third countries; calls on the Commission and the EEAS to play an active role in helping to safely return, on a voluntary basis, people who have been forced to flee their homes as a result of persecution on grounds of religion or belief; requests concrete action towards the effective implementation of the EU Guidelines on the promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief; supports the EU practice of taking the lead on thematic resolutions on freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief at the UNHRC and the UN General Assembly (UNGA); supports the work of the EU Special Envoy for the promotion of freedom of religion or belief outside the EU, Ján Figel;

29.  Considers it deeply regrettable that torture, inhuman or degrading treatment and the death penalty continue to be applied in many countries all over the world, and calls for the EU to intensify its efforts to eradicate these practices; considers that detention conditions, including access to care and medicines, and the state of prisons in a number of countries are a matter of grave concern; welcomes the formal launch of the Alliance for Torture-Free Trade on 18 September 2017 and the establishment of the EU Anti-Torture Coordination Group, which is tasked with following its implementation; welcomes, in this regard, updates to EU legislation on trade in certain goods which could be used for capital punishment, torture or other inhuman treatment or punishment; notes that in 2017 the number of executions carried out worldwide fell by 4 % compared with the previous year; calls on countries that have not already done so to establish an immediate moratorium on the death penalty as a step towards its abolition; considers it essential to combat all forms of torture and ill-treatment of detainees, including psychological torture, and to step up efforts to ensure compliance with the relevant international law and ensure compensation for victims;

30.  Strongly condemns all heinous crimes and human rights violations committed by state and non-state actors, including against citizens peacefully exercising their human rights; is horrified at the vast range of crimes committed, including murder, torture, rape, enslavement and sexual slavery, the recruitment of child soldiers, forced religious conversions, and systematic killings targeting religious and ethnic minorities; urges the EU and its Member States to fight crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, and to ensure that their perpetrators are brought to justice; calls for the EU to provide support for organisations and the UN investigative teams that collect, keep and protect evidence – digital or otherwise – of the crimes committed by any parties to these conflicts, in order to facilitate their prosecution at an international level; notes that internet platforms have deleted video evidence relating to potential war crimes as part of their work of removing terrorist content and propaganda;

31.  Supports the key role played by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in cases where the states concerned are unable or unwilling to exercise their jurisdiction; calls for the EU and its Member States to provide diplomatic and financial support to the ICC; calls for the EU and its Member States to encourage all UN member states to ratify and implement the Rome Statute of the ICC, and is dismayed at the withdrawals from the Statute and the threats to do so; calls also on all the signatories of the Rome Statute to coordinate and cooperate with the ICC; calls on all Member States to ratify the Kampala amendments on the crime of aggression and to add ‘atrocity crimes’ to the list of crimes for which the EU has competence; reiterates the importance of other key mechanisms aimed at ending impunity, including the use of universal jurisdiction, and calls on Member States to adopt the necessary legislation; recalls, in this regard, that victims’ rights must be at the heart of all action; reiterates its call for the VP/HR to appoint an EU Special Representative on International Humanitarian Law and International Justice with a mandate to promote, mainstream and represent the EU’s commitment to the fight against impunity;

32.  Welcomes the EU’s efforts to support the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) set up by the UN in Syria to assist in the investigation of serious crimes; emphasises the need to set up a similar independent mechanism in other countries; calls for the EU and the Member States that have not already done so to contribute financially to the IIIM;

33.  Reiterates that states can bring other states before the International Court of Justice for violations of international treaties, such as the United Nations Convention against Torture, in order to establish state liability as an indirect means for judicial determination of individual criminal responsibility at a later stage;

34.  Deeply regrets the lack of respect for IHL and expresses its strong condemnation of the deadly attacks that were carried out with such alarming frequency against hospitals, schools and other civilian targets in armed conflicts around the world in 2017; believes that the international condemnation of attacks must be backed up by independent investigations and genuine accountability; commends the work done by aid workers when delivering humanitarian aid; calls for the Member States, the EU institutions and the VP/HR to ensure that EU policies and actions relating to IHL are developed coherently and effectively, and to use all the instruments at their disposal to address this matter; concludes that more detailed reporting by the EU and its Member States on the implementation of the Guidelines on Promoting Compliance with International Humanitarian Law in specific conflict situations should have been made available, including and not least the EU Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy; calls on the international community to set up instruments to minimise the warning/response gap in order to prevent the emergence, re-emergence and escalation of violent conflict, along the same lines as the EU’s early warning system; calls for the EU and its Member States to increase their financial contribution to humanitarian and development aid; notes the 2.4 % cut in official development assistance (ODA) from 2016 to 2017 and that ODA falls short of the target of 0.7 % of GNI;

35.  Recalls its resolution of 27 February 2014 on the use of armed drones(16); expresses its grave concern over the use of armed drones outside the international legal framework; calls once again for the EU to urgently develop a legally binding framework for the use of armed drones in order to ensure that Member States, in conformity with their legal obligations, do not perpetrate unlawful targeted killings or facilitate such killings by other states; calls on the Commission to keep Parliament properly informed about the use of EU funds for all research and development projects associated with the construction of drones; calls for human rights impact assessments in respect of further drone development projects;

36.  Calls on the VP/HR and the Member States to expand the EU’s regime of restrictive measures to include an EU human rights sanctions regime under which CFSP sanction decisions could be based on grave human rights violations, in the same vein as the Magnitsky Act;

37.  Urges the VP/HR and the Member States to work towards an international ban on weapon systems that lack human control over the use of force, as requested by Parliament on a number of occasions, and, in preparation for relevant meetings at UN level, to urgently develop and adopt a common position on autonomous weapon systems, speak at relevant forums with one voice and act accordingly;

38.  Stresses that corruption undermines the rule of law, democracy and the competitiveness of economies, and puts human rights at risk; emphasises the need for support for human rights defenders and whistle-blowers fighting corruption; calls for improvements to anti-corruption mechanisms and practices, such as the imposition of sanctions on those individuals and countries that commit serious corruption offences; calls on the EEAS and the Commission to devise joint programming on human rights and the fight against corruption, in particular initiatives for improving transparency, fighting impunity, strengthening anti-corruption agencies and ensuring greater transparency and traceability in the use of EU funds; calls on the Commission to negotiate provisions on combating corruption in future trade agreements; recalls the recommendations on corruption and human rights issued in its resolution of 13 September 2017 on corruption and human rights in third countries(17) and calls for follow-up from the EU institutions and Member States;

39.  Expresses its concern at the destruction, illicit looting and vandalism of cultural heritage sites, and strongly supports fact-finding and heritage protection and rescue initiatives;

40.  Emphasises the significance of free and fair elections for democratic processes and is concerned at the growing number of illegitimate elections around the world; recalls that independent media and diversity of opinion are essential in guaranteeing free and fair elections; calls for the EU not to recognise the results of rigged or falsified elections and to use all the diplomatic, economic and policy tools at its disposal to uphold the credibility of elections around the world and compel countries to meet the free and fair election criteria; considers that the support the EU provides for electoral processes and democracy around the world – its electoral missions and subsequent follow-up, its electoral assistance and, in particular, the active role played by Parliament in this regard – is of the utmost importance; stresses the importance of electoral observation in the context of peaceful democratic transitions, of strengthening the rule of law, of political pluralism and increasing the participation of women in electoral processes, and of transparency and respect for human rights; recalls the importance of involving local civil society organisations in the election observation process and in the implementation of the recommendations issued by election observation missions; considers that interference in other countries’ elections through cyber operations violates the right of people to freely elect their representatives;

41.  Welcomes the EU’s signature of the Istanbul Convention and stresses the need to prevent and combat violence against women, including domestic violence, by all means; calls on the Member States that have not yet done so to ratify and implement this Convention as soon as possible; supports, in this connection, the joint EU-UN Spotlight Initiative; urges countries to step up their legislation in order to tackle, at the earliest possible stage, gender-based violence, female genital mutilation and sexual violence; recalls that violence against women is deeply rooted in gender inequality and therefore needs to be addressed comprehensively, and stresses the importance of social services and protection; stresses that reliable statistics on the prevalence, causes and consequences of all types of violence against women are essential to develop effective legislation and strategies to combat gender-based violence; calls, therefore, for the EU to help countries to improve data collection in this area and meet international legal obligations; asks the EU to work with other countries to step up funding and programming to prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence worldwide; condemns all forms of physical, sexual and psychological violence and exploitation, mass rape, trafficking and the violation of women’s sexual and reproductive rights; emphasises that proper and affordable healthcare and universal respect for and access to sexual and reproductive rights and education should be guaranteed for all women and that they should be able to make free and responsible decisions about their health, body and sexual and reproductive rights; points out that education is an essential tool for combating discrimination and violence against women and children; condemns the reimposition of the ‘global gag’ rule;

42.  Highlights the need for the EU to remain committed to the full implementation of the obligations and commitments to women’s rights entered into in CEDAW, the Beijing Platform for Action and the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, and to respect the outcomes of their review conferences;

43.  Recalls the publication in August 2017 of the first Annual Implementation Report for 2016 on the EU Gender Action Plan 2016-2020 (GAP II), which highlights a number of positive trends in transforming the lives of girls and women by ensuring their physical and psychological integrity, promoting their economic and social rights and strengthening their voice and participation; believes that the EU should continue mainstreaming support for women in common security and defence policy (CSDP) operations, conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction; reiterates the importance of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) of 31 October 2000 on women, peace and security; emphasises that greater public and private sector involvement is essential in upholding the rights of women and their participation in public and private institutions, policymaking, economic life and peace processes; stresses that the business sector has an important role to play in strengthening women’s rights; urges the Commission to take the lead in tackling sexual exploitation and abuse in the humanitarian and development aid sectors, as these sectors should have the highest standards of responsibility and accountability for their work; stresses the importance of reviewing and reinforcing safeguarding procedures and rules of engagement;

44.  Calls on the EEAS to ensure that the outcomes of the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) will be included in its policies and will provide a renewed impetus in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls;

45.  Stresses the importance of making education and training in STEM subjects, as well as in the humanities, accessible to women and girls, with particular emphasis on developing their talents and competences and increasing their participation in STEM sectors;

46.  Calls on the Commission to explore ways and means for the EU to accede unilaterally to the UNCRC, considering that all Member States have ratified it and that primary and secondary EU law contains substantive provisions on the protection of the rights of the child; calls on countries that have not yet ratified the UNCRC to do so as a matter of urgency; welcomes the adoption of the revised EU Guidelines for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of the Child, and highlights the need to ensure that all children are reached, including the most marginalised and those in vulnerable situations; underlines the fact that children are often exposed to specific forms of abuse, such as child marriage, child prostitution, use of child soldiers, genital mutilation, child labour and child trafficking, especially in humanitarian crises and armed conflicts, and therefore require enhanced protection; calls for the EU to cooperate with third countries in order to end early, child and forced marriages by making 18 the legal minimum age for marriage, requiring the verification of the age of both spouses and of their full and free consent, introducing compulsory marriage records, and ensuring compliance with those rules; stresses the need to step up the EU’s engagement when it comes to addressing the protection of children, especially unaccompanied minors, and to devote particular attention to education and psycho-social support; calls for proper implementation of the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict; calls for an urgent solution to the issue of stateless children within and outside the EU, in particular those born outside their parents’ country of origin, and migrant children, in accordance with international law; urges the EU and its Member States to develop an action plan to stop children being detained as a result of their migratory status, in line with the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants; recalls the right to special protection in the best interests of the child;

47.  Calls for the EU and its Member States to establish full transparency and monitoring as regards the funds allocated to third countries for cooperation on migration and to ensure that such cooperation is not to the benefit, either directly or indirectly, of the security, police and justice systems involved in human rights violations in this context; emphasises the possibility of separating development cooperation from cooperation on readmission and migration management; is concerned about the possible instrumentalisation of EU foreign policy as ‘migration management’, and emphasises that all attempts to work with third countries, including countries of origin and transit, on migration must go hand in hand with improving human rights conditions within these countries and complying with international human rights and refugee law; expresses its profound concern at and solidarity with the large number of refugees, migrants and internally displaced persons who suffer grave human rights violations as the victims of conflicts, persecution, governance failures, and trafficking and smuggling networks; stresses the urgent need to tackle the root causes of migration flows and therefore to address the external dimension of the phenomenon of migration, including by finding sustainable solutions to conflicts and economic underdevelopment, in our neighbourhood and worldwide, by developing cooperation and partnerships with the third countries concerned that comply with international law, ensure respect for human rights and maintain the EU’s credibility both within and outside the EU; calls for the EU and its Member States to provide humanitarian assistance in the fields of education, housing, health and other areas in which migrants and refugees need support, and for return policies to be properly implemented; points out that the EU needs to encourage the countries concerned to sign the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air; notes that the UN recorded some 258 million people living in a country other than their country of birth in 2017; calls on the Commission to continue to treat the protection and promotion of the rights of migrants and refugees as a priority in its policies; insists on the need to develop and better implement protection frameworks for migrants and refugees, in particular through safe and legal migration routes and by granting humanitarian visas; calls for Parliament to have oversight of migration agreements; regrets any attempt to encumber, tarnish or even criminalise humanitarian assistance, and insists on the need for greater search and rescue capacities for people in distress at sea and on land in order to fulfil the primary obligations of international law; underlines that the number of people residing in a Member State with citizenship of a non-member country on 1 January 2017 was 21.6 million, representing, 4.2 % of the population of the EU-28; calls on Member States to engage in a serious dialogue to establish a common, inclusive understanding, shared responsibilities and a unity of purpose with regard to migration; welcomes the UN initiative on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, the UNHCR Global Compact on Refugees and the pivotal role assigned to human rights in these compacts;

48.  Deplores the persistence of trafficking in human beings; underlines the fact that trafficking in human beings commodifies people and constitutes one of the worst forms of human rights violations; emphasises, in this respect, the importance of a consistent approach to the internal and external dimensions of the EU’s policies for combating trafficking in human beings at all levels; calls for the EU and its Member States to increase cooperation with third countries in order to investigate all stages of trafficking in human beings, including all forms of exploitation of persons, especially women and children, such as trafficking in organs, forced labour and sexual exploitation, and to cooperate with the UN and civil society in the field; calls for clear principles and legal instruments addressing human rights abuses related to surrogacy; expresses its profound concern at the extreme vulnerability of migrants and refugees, especially women and children, to exploitation, smuggling and trafficking in human beings, including in migration hotspots; underlines the need to promote victim-centred policies, prevent and reduce this type of crime, and crack down on profits stemming from trafficking in human beings;

49.  Encourages all countries, including the Member States, and the EU to engage in the negotiations to adopt a legally binding international human rights instrument for transnational corporations and other companies, through active participation in the UN-established open-ended intergovernmental working group; insists once again on the need for the swift implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), particularly with regard to the third pillar on access to remedy; recognises the major importance of the UN Global Compact and the National Action Plans on Business and Human Rights; stresses the importance of an EU Action Plan on Business and Human Rights, and urges the Commission to speed up its development with the aim of achieving the full implementation of the UNGPs; encourages all companies, including EU-based companies, to exercise due diligence, and reaffirms the importance of promoting corporate social responsibility and of European enterprises playing a leading role in promoting international standards on business and human rights; calls on all countries to effectively and swiftly implement the UNGPs and guarantee that businesses abide by human rights and social labour standards in their jurisdictions; encourages all countries to tackle companies that use raw materials or other commodities originating from conflict zones; reiterates its call for the inclusion of rules on corporate liability for human rights violations in agreements between the EU and third countries; emphasises that the victims of business-related human rights abuses should be guaranteed appropriate and effective access to remedies; reaffirms the urgent need to address human rights abuses and corruption by corporations when they occur and to ensure that the corporations can be held accountable; regrets that the Commission did not act according to the calls made in Parliament’s resolution of 25 October 2016 on corporate liability for serious human rights abuses in third countries(18); calls for measures to be taken that bind industry to eradicating child labour and preventing human rights violations; calls on the Commission to establish an interinstitutional task force on business and human rights and to explore an EU-level duty of care initiative;

50.  Recalls the EU’s commitment to placing human rights and democracy at the centre of its relations with third countries; stresses, therefore, that the advancement of human rights and democratic principles, including the implementation of human rights conditionality clauses in international agreements, needs to be supported through all EU policies with an external dimension, including trade policy; highlights the role that trade relations can play in fostering growth in developing countries and the preservation of their local markets; notes that support for democratic systems and aspirations for the freedom of peoples should continue to be guiding principles for the EU’s economic interests; recalls that policy coherence is essential for development, and stresses the importance of mainstreaming human rights into trade and development policies in all their phases; calls for the EU to ensure that goods circulated in its territory under ethical certification schemes are free from forced and child labour; calls for the introduction of an instrument specifically designed to monitor and strengthen gender policy in trade agreements; welcomes the EU’s programmes, projects, and funding in third countries, and emphasises the need to assess and prevent any violations by creating a complaints mechanism for individuals and groups;

51.  Considers sustainable development and good governance (GSP+) trade schemes to be one of the main EU trade policy instruments for promoting democracy, human rights, sustainable development and environmental standards with third countries; calls on the Commission to review and better monitor GSP+ schemes in order to ensure that human rights standards are upheld by beneficiary countries; stresses that, within the framework of a reviewed GSP+, the Commission should aim to increase the transparency and accountability of this mechanism, establishing clear procedures for the meaningful and enhanced participation of civil society organisations, and carrying out effective human rights impact assessments before granting trade preferences and during implementation; calls for the possible inclusion of the Rome Statute of the ICC in the list of conventions required for GSP+ status; urges the Commission to continue to fund civil society initiatives that monitor the implementation of this scheme; stresses the importance of implementing forms of cooperation to facilitate the economic and social development of third countries, with a special focus on the needs of their people;

52.  Calls on all the Member States to strictly observe the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports, and in particular to halt all transfers of weapons, surveillance and intelligence equipment and material that could be used by governments to crack down on human rights and attack civilians; points out that the global trade in weapons and war materials contributes to their use in numerous conflicts in third countries; notes that the EU Member States are among the biggest arms exporters at the global level and considers it essential that international standards governing arms sales be enforced and reinforced at the global level;

53.  Strongly condemns all forms of discrimination, including on grounds of race, religion, caste or similar systems of inherited status, sexual orientation and gender identity, disability or any other status; is alarmed by the many manifestations of racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance and the lack of political representation for the most vulnerable groups, such as ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities, people with disabilities, the LGBTI community, women and children; calls for the EU to enhance its efforts to eradicate, without distinction, all forms of discrimination and to promote awareness, a culture of tolerance and inclusion, and special protection for the most vulnerable groups by means of human rights and political dialogues, the work of EU delegations and public diplomacy; calls on all countries to ensure that their respective institutions provide effective legal protection within their jurisdictions; stresses the importance of developing education strategies in schools in order to raise awareness among children and provide them with the tools they need to identify all forms of discrimination;

54.  Stresses the need to mainstream credibly the principle of universal accessibility and the rights of persons with disabilities in all relevant EU policies, including in the area of development cooperation, and underlines the prescriptive and horizontal nature of this issue; calls for the EU to incorporate the fight against discrimination on grounds of disability into its external action and development aid policies; calls on the governments of third countries to review all legislation with a view to harmonisation in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD); calls for all countries to ratify the CRPD and reiterates the importance of its efficient implementation;

55.  Welcomes the participation of the EU and its Member States in the eighth session of the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing, and in particular their joint submissions and statements on equality, non-discrimination, violence, abuse and neglect of older people; remains concerned about the prevalence of ageism and other barriers to the fulfilment of older people’s human rights; calls for the EU and the Member States to fully support the process of the Working Group, including by allocating and/or supporting the allocation of adequate resources for its functioning, and also to respond to upcoming calls for submissions, consult and involve older people in preparing them, and include older people in their respective delegations;

56.  Welcomes the EU’s active participation in the meeting to review the Regional Implementation Strategy for Europe of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA) that took place in Lisbon in 2017; stresses that the MIPAA can contribute significantly to the better realisation of the rights of older people;

57.  Condemns the arbitrary detention, torture, persecution and killings of LGBTI people; acknowledges that sexual orientation and gender identity can increase the risks of discrimination, violence and persecution; notes that in a number of countries around the world, LGBTI people still face persecution and violence on the basis of their sexual orientation; condemns violations against women and minority groups which are in breach of the fundamental right to bodily integrity and identity, such as female genital mutilation and intersex genital mutilations; notes that 72 countries still criminalise same-sex relationships and that in 13 of those countries they are treated as a capital offence; urges these states to immediately change their legislation; welcomes the EU’s efforts to improve the rights of and legal protection for LGBTI people; urges EU delegations and Member State embassies to fully implement the EU’s LGBTI Guidelines; calls on the Commission to carry out annual reporting on the implementation of Council conclusions to this end; notes that, according to the assessment of the first year of the Gender Action Plan 2016-2020 (GAP II), a third of delegations promoted LGBTI rights;

58.  Condemns the continuing human rights violations committed against people suffering from caste hierarchies and caste-based discrimination, segregation and caste-induced barriers, including the denial of access to employment and the legal system and other basic human rights; is deeply concerned by the ensuing institutionalised discrimination and by the alarming frequency of caste-based violent attacks; calls for the EU and its Member States to intensify efforts and support initiatives at UN and delegation level to eliminate caste discrimination;

59.  Stresses the importance of pursuing equality policies that enable all national, ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, as well as indigenous peoples, to enjoy their fundamental rights; welcomes UN General Assembly Resolution 71/178 of 19 December 2016 on the rights of indigenous peoples, which proclaims 2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages; recalls that according to the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, recent years have seen a worrying increase in discrimination, attacks and threats against indigenous peoples and the criminalisation and killing of those defending their land, territories and resources, and in particular of women; emphasises the need for the EU to ensure the protection of these defenders, and that any crimes are investigated and the perpetrators held accountable; urges the EU and its Member States to actively seek full recognition, protection and promotion of the rights of indigenous peoples; calls on countries to ratify the provisions of ILO Convention 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples;

60.  Takes note of the manifold benefits the internet provides; is concerned, however, at large commercial operators’ mass collection, for marketing purposes and without users’ full awareness and/or consent, of users’ personal data, which could then be used in potentially harmful ways, for example to repress the activities of human rights defenders, undermine their freedom of expression, and affect electoral outcomes and political decision-making; calls on data companies to undertake human rights assessments; deplores business models that are based on human rights violations, and calls for personal data to be collected in accordance with data protection rules and human rights; calls on the international community, including the EU and its Member States, to enhance and implement effective legislation in this field as a matter of urgency;

61.  Recognises that terrorism and radicalisation pose acute threats to democracy and human rights and in doing so harm society, and regrets the fact that the attacks perpetrated in 2017 often targeted the very individuals or groups that embody these values; strongly condemns the fact that more than 1 000 terrorist attacks took place worldwide in 2017 and resulted in approximately 6 123 deaths; supports the EU’s efforts to prevent and combat terrorism and radicalisation, including EU-wide initiatives and networks such as the Radicalisation Awareness Network, but reiterates that all efforts must comply with international human rights law; points out that education is the best instrument for tackling radicalisation; stresses the need for terrorism victims to be given special attention and support, including psychological support, individual assessments for each victim, legal support, access to justice, translation and interpretation services and effective victim support services in general; stresses the need for counter-terrorism strategies to abide by the rule of law and ensure respect for human rights; recommends that cooperation with third countries on matters of counter-terrorism include the thorough assessment of risks to fundamental liberties and human rights, and safeguards in the case of violations; calls on the Commission to improve the exchange and coordination of information via its channels and agencies with a view to swiftly preventing and identifying terrorist threats and bringing those responsible to justice;

62.  Recalls that sanctions are an essential tool of the CFSP; urges the Council to adopt the sanctions provided for in EU legislation when they are deemed necessary to achieving the objectives of the CFSP, in particular with a view to protecting human rights and consolidating and supporting democracy, while ensuring that they do not have an impact on the civilian population; asks that these sanctions be focused on officials identified as responsible for human rights violations in order to punish them for the crimes and abuse perpetrated by them;

63.  Takes the view that sport can play a positive role in the promotion of human rights; regrets the fact, however, that there is a specific correlation between certain human rights abuses and major sporting events in countries hosting such events or which are candidates for such hosting; recalls that these abuses include evictions, the silencing of civil society and human rights defenders, and the exploitation of workers for the construction of large sporting facilities; calls for the EU to develop a Union-level policy framework on sport and human rights and to engage with national sports federations, corporate actors and civil society organisations on the modalities of their participation in such events; calls on international and domestic sporting bodies and organisations and the host countries of major events to commit to good governance and the protection of human rights, including labour rights, media freedom and environmental protection, to implement anti-corruption measures in the lead-up to and during major sporting events, and to provide remedies for all human rights abuses; welcomes the decision taken in November 2017 by the International Labour Organisation to close a case over the treatment of migrant workers within the framework of the preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup; notes the agreement of reforms that, if effectively implemented, will give workers better protection;

64.  Urges the EU to introduce effective and sustainable policies to counter global climate change; stresses that climate change is one of the main causes of increasing internal displacement and forced migration; calls on the international community to develop measures to combat it and protect those affected; notes that EU foreign policy should develop capacities to monitor climate change-related risks, including crisis prevention and conflict sensitivity; believes that consequential and rapid climate action essentially contributes to the prevention of social and economic, but also security risks, conflicts and instability, and ultimately of major political, social and economic costs; stresses, therefore, the importance of mainstreaming climate diplomacy in EU conflict prevention policies, and broadening and adapting the scope of EU missions and programmes in third countries and conflict areas; stresses the need, therefore, to rapidly implement policies to reduce the impact of climate change in line with the Paris Agreement;

o
o   o

65.  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 70th session of the UN General Assembly, the President of the UN Human Rights Council, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the EU Heads of Delegation.

(1) OJ L 76, 22.3.2011, p. 56.
(2) A/HRC/33/44.
(3) A/AC.278/2017/2.
(4) OJ C 303, 15.12.2009, p. 12.
(5) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0292.
(6) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0201.
(7) OJ L 130, 19.5.2017, p. 1.
(8) OJ C 75, 26.2.2016, p. 111.
(9) OJ C 181, 19.5.2016, p. 69.
(10) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0494.
(11) OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 1.
(12) OJ L 88, 31.3.2017, p. 6.
(13) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0247.
(14) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0288.
(15) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0346.
(16) OJ C 285, 29.8.2017, p. 110.
(17) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0346.
(18) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0405.

Last updated: 19 March 2019Legal notice