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Procedure : 2017/2830(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0522/2017

Texts tabled :

B8-0522/2017

Debates :

PV 14/09/2017 - 5.2
CRE 14/09/2017 - 5.2

Votes :

PV 14/09/2017 - 8.3

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2017)0349

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
PDF 274kWORD 52k
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0512/2017
12.9.2017
PE611.442v01-00
 
B8-0522/2017

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

pursuant to Rule 135 of the Rules of Procedure


on Gabon : repression of the opposition (2017/2830(RSP))


Charles Tannock, Karol Karski, Urszula Krupa, Ruža Tomašić, Anna Elżbieta Fotyga, Monica Macovei, Branislav Škripek, Notis Marias, Angel Dzhambazki, Geoffrey Van Orden, Jan Zahradil, Raffaele Fitto, Jadwiga Wiśniewska, Ryszard Antoni Legutko, Ryszard Czarnecki on behalf of the ECR Group
NB: This motion for a resolution is available in the original language only.

European Parliament resolution on Gabon : repression of the opposition (2017/2830(RSP))  
B8‑0522/2017

The European Parliament,

-having regard to its previous resolutions on the rule of law crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Gabon;

-having regard to its resolution of 14 December 2016 on the Annual Report on human rights and democracy in the world and the European Union’s policy on the matter 2015;  

-having regard to the statement of 17 September 2016 by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR), Federica Mogherini, on Gabon;

-having regard to the joint statement issued on 17 September 2016 by the VP/HR and the Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, following the announcement by the Gabonese Constitutional Court of the official results of the presidential election;

-having regard to the final report of the European Union electoral observation mission (EOM);

-having regard to the statement on Gabon issued by the VP/HR’s spokesperson on 11 September 2016;

-having regard to the press release issued by the African Union on 1 September 2016 condemning the violence of the post-electoral conflict in Gabon and calling for its peaceful resolution;

-having regard to the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Republic of Gabon and the European Union concerning the EU’s election observation mission (EOM);

-having regard to the EU Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World in 2015, adopted by the Council of the European Union on 22 June 2016;

-having regard to the 11th European Development Fund 2014-2020 National Indicative Programme, which prioritises strengthening democracy, governance and the rule of law;

- having regard to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights of June 1981;

-having regard to the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance;

-having regard to the UN International Charter of Human Rights;

-having regard to the Gabonese Constitutions;

-having regard to the Cotonou Agreement;

-having regard to the African Union’s Declaration on the Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa (2002);

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

A. whereas the rule of low, humans rights, respect for the Constitution and peaceful free, fair and fully transparent elections are crucial characteristics of democracy;

B. whereas Ali Bongo, who took over as president of Gabon after the death of his father, Omar Bongo, in 2009, was declared the winner of the 2016 presidential election; whereas international observers including the EU EOM identified irregularities in the compilation of the election results;

C. whereas the runner-up in the presidential election Jean Ping, who got 48% of the vote, immediately challenged this result; whereas an appeal alleging electoral irregularities and calling for a recount that was lodged with the Constitutional Court, failed and the result confirmed; whereas Jean Ping and his party still disputes the result;

 

D. Whereas Ali Bongo has called for a national dialogue but the leader of the opposition, Jean Ping, has refused to take part instead wanting to launch his own national dialogue;

 

E. whereas there was violence after President Ali Bongo was declared winner in the August 2016 elections; whereas there were street demonstrations which were violently suppressed, leaving a number of people dead; whereas hundreds of bodies have been found recently in four mass graves in Libreville;

F. whereas Gabon is a party to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances and is in the process of implementing its provisions into its national law and has the obligation to share with the United Nations information concerning the progress made since the ratification of the Convention in 2011 and about the post-electoral events in 2016;

 

G. whereas human rights groups report on the worsening situation with regard to human rights and freedom of expression and assembly; whereas excessive force has been used repeatedly against peaceful demonstrators, arbitrary arrests have been made and many people detained without trial, and politically motivated trials have been held;

 

H. whereas the freedom of the press has been seriously restricted, journalists have been attacked and independent press and radio have been shut down by the authorities; whereas social media has been restricted and internet service arbitrarily turned off;

 

I. whereas a Gabonese opposition activist was arrested after he threatened to bomb state buildings if President Ali Bongo doesn’t step down in 72 hours;

J. whereas Gabon’s opposition leader Jean Ping urged Germany and other countries to consider submitting a United Nations resolution about last year’s contested election in the African country;

K. whereas Gabonese opposition leader Jean Ping other close aides have been banned from leaving Gabon after calling for a uprising to remove Gabon’s president Ali Bongo Ondimba; whereas the National Council of Communication of Gabon suspended the right of the private television network Radiotélévision Nazareth (RTN) on 18 August 2017 to broadcast for a month, after the speech of Jean Ping calling for demonstrations against the election results of 2016, using administrative sanctions to prevent so-called “abuse of freedom of expression.”

L. whereas both EU and African partners have a strong common interest in the continued development of democracy and the establishment of properly functioning constitutionalism;

 

1. Condemns the restrictions of freedom of expression, free speech and freedom of the press and considers these restrictions as serious interference in the political life of Gabon and a retrograde step away from democracy; notes the crackdown on social media and arbitrary restriction of access to the internet; calls for all restrictions on the media to be lifted and for all political detainees to be released;

 

2. Expresses its concern about the post-electoral events in August 2016 and the serious allegations of arbitrary arrests, killings, and enforced disappearances that have occurred; condemns all the violence, the breaches of human rights, arbitrary arrests and illegal detentions; notes the voluntary referral of Gabon to the prosecutor of the ICC by the Minister of State, Minister of Justice and Human Rights, and Keeper of Seals of the Gabonese Republic;

3. Calls for an independent investigation into the violence since the elections of August 2016 and for urgent efforts to be made to identify the hundreds of remains found in the mass graves in Libreville and determine if they are related to the post-election violence; calls on the Gabonese authorities to identify those responsible for these deaths and all post-electoral violence and to bring the perpetrators to justice;

4. Condemns the decision of the Gabonese authorities to refuse to allow the leader of the opposition and presidential candidate, Jean Ping, and several others to leave the country and urges them to immediately overturn this decision;

5. Urges the leaders of all sides to take part in a national dialogue recognising that this is an indispensable step to restoring stability and peace to the country;

6. Calls on all parties to show restraint in speech and not to exacerbate the situation by calling for violence;

7. Urges the Council to initiate a consultation process under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement; calls on the Council, if no agreement can be reached within the consultation process, to consider imposing targeted sanctions on those responsible for the post-electoral violence and human rights abuses, and for undermining the democratic process in the country;

 

8. Calls on the UN Human Rights Council to investigate the serious human rights violations which have occurred in Gabon recently;

9. Calls on the Gabonese authorities to ratify the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance at the earliest opportunity

10. Calls on the EU Delegation to use all appropriate tools and instruments to support human rights defenders and pro-democracy movements, and to conduct an enhanced political dialogue with the authorities, as enshrined in Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement;

11. Calls, moreover, for the EU and ACP countries, in collaboration with the UN and the African Union, to continue to monitor closely the overall situation in Gabon;

12. 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 African Union, the President, Prime Minister and Parliament of Gabon, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the UN Human Rights Council and the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly

 

 

Last updated: 12 September 2017Legal notice