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Procedure : 2006/2583(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B6-0355/2006

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 13/06/2006 - 13
CRE 13/06/2006 - 13

Votes :

PV 15/06/2006 - 9.6
CRE 15/06/2006 - 9.6

Texts adopted :


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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B6-0340/2006
12 June 2006
PE 374.634v01
to wind up the debate on statements by the Council and Commission
pursuant to Rule 103(2) of the Rules of Procedure
by Francis Wurtz, Luisa Morgantini and Vittorio Agnoletto
on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group
on Tunisia

European Parliament resolution on Tunisia 

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the human rights situation in Tunisia, in particular the resolutions adopted on 29 September 2005 and 15 December 2005,

–  having regard to the Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreement between the European Union and Tunisia, which entered into force on 1 March 1998,

–  having regard to the Commission Communication of May 2003 on ‘Reinvigorating EU actions on human rights and democratisation with Mediterranean partners’,

–  having regard to the Commission Communication of April 2005 on the ‘Tenth anniversary of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership: A work programme to meet the challenges of the next five years’,

–  having regard to the Commission Communication of 12 May 2004 on the ‘European Neighbourhood Policy’ and its EU-Tunisia action plan launched on 4 July 2005,

–  having regard to the Council guidelines on the protection of human rights activists, adopted in June 2004,

–  having regard to its report on the human rights and democracy clause in EU agreements, adopted on 16 February 2006,

–  having regard to the approaches made by the EU Presidencies between September 2005 and May 2006 concerning human rights in Tunisia,

–  having regard to Tunisia assuming the EMPA Presidency on 1 April 2006,

–  having regard to the meeting of the EMPA Political Committee on 7 June 2006,

–  having regard to Tunisia’s election to the United Nations Human Rights Council and its human rights commitments,

–  having regard to Rule 103(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  recalling that human rights constitute an essential element of the EU’s relations with Tunisia in accordance with Article 2 of the EU-Tunisia Association Agreement and with its action plan under the European Neighbourhood Policy,

B.  recalling, in that connection, that Tunisia undertook in the action plan to promote democracy and respect for fundamental freedoms in accordance with international conventions, and that implementing those undertakings is a fundamental part of the development of relations between the EU and Tunisia,

C.  having regard to the statements by the President-in-Office of the Council and by the Commission during the debate on 13 December 2005 on human rights in Tunisia concerning the severe restrictions on fundamental freedoms, particularly the freedoms of expression and association and the independence of the judiciary in Tunisia,

D.  recalling the three demands put by the Commission to the Tunisian authorities on that same day: the immediate release of EU funds allocated to civil society projects, the implementation of a reform programme in the judiciary and the setting-up of a subcommittee on human rights; noting, in that regard, that the only result obtained by the Commission has been the concluding of a funding agreement for reform of the judiciary,

E.  whereas the Tunisian Parliament adopted in early May a law establishing a law school (Institut supérieur des avocats), as provided for in the funding agreement, without taking into account the results of consultations with the association of barristers, and noting the executive’s consequent control over the training and selection of future Tunisian lawyers; recalling the more or less systematic harassment of Tunisian lawyers working to achieve an independent judiciary and the detention, for more than a year, of Maître Abbou, a lawyer; noting with interest that despite numerous requests to be allowed to visit, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers has not received an invitation from the Tunisian Government,

F.  concerned by the banning of the Tunisian Human Rights League (LTDH) conference planned for 27 and 28 May and by the use of force and acts of violence against human rights activists and international observers; recalling, in this regard, that the LTDH is the oldest human rights organisation in the Arab world and Africa and is a pillar of independent civil society in Tunisia,

G.  whereas the situation concerning rights and freedoms in Tunisia has become very worrying and the approaches made thus far by the Council and the Commission have clearly demonstrated their limitations; recalling, in this connection, the EU’s commitment to apply the guidelines on the protection of human rights activists, and the Commission’s undertaking to reassess the human rights situation in Tunisia in early 2006, together with the Member States, and, in the absence of progress, to determine whether additional measures should be taken,

H.  whereas Tunisia has held the presidency of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly (EMPA) since 1 April 2006 and whereas it therefore has a major responsibility for promoting democracy and human rights in the context of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership,

1.  Recalls that Tunisia and the European Union have been linked since 1998 by a Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreement, Article 2 of which contains a human rights clause that constitutes an essential element of the agreement;

2.  Deplores the deterioration in the situation concerning freedoms and human rights in Tunisia and calls on the Tunisian authorities strictly to adhere to their international commitments with regard to respect for human rights and democracy;

3.  Calls on the EU Presidency to issue a public statement on the banning of the LTDH conference and the acts of violence against human rights activists and Tunisian judges;

4.  Reiterates its call for the Council and Commission to convene an Association Council meeting to discuss the human rights situation in Tunisia; calls for the adoption at that meeting of a binding timetable of reforms as part of the implementation of the action plan adopted by Tunisia and the EU;

5.  Calls, in this connection, on the Council and Commission to take all necessary measures without delay in its approaches to the Tunisian authorities to ensure that EU funds allocated to civil society projects are released, that the harassment and intimidation of human rights activists, the LTDH, judges and the association of barristers cease, that Maître Abbou is released and that the law setting up a law school is suspended and reviewed;

6.  Calls on the Commission to make every effort to ensure that the project to support reform of the judiciary guarantees the independence of the judiciary and the freedom for judges to act independently; calls also on the Tunisian authorities to accept a visit from the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers;

7.  Calls for a ‘human rights’ subcommittee to be set up and made operational, as provided for in the action plan, with a view to monitoring and assessing the implementation of reforms in Tunisia relating principally to promoting freedom of association and expression, the establishment of an independent judiciary and full cooperation with the special mechanisms of the United Nations;

8.  Believes that the implementation of all these reforms must be treated as a priority of the EU-Tunisia partnership and must constitute a fundamental element in the development of relations between the European Union and Tunisia; considers, in that regard, that if Tunisia does not act in accordance with this agenda, the Council and the Commission will have to take appropriate action in the context of the Association Agreement;

9.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and Commission and to the Government and Parliament of Tunisia.

Last updated: 28 June 2006Legal notice