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Texts adopted
Thursday, 18 January 2001 - Strasbourg OJ edition
Council priorities for the meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva
B5-0040, 0041, 0042, 0044 and 0046/2001

European Parliament resolution on the EU human rights priorities and recommendations for the upcoming session of the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva

The European Parliament,

-  having regard to the EU Treaty and its provisions on human rights,

-  having regard to Regulations (EC) Nos 975/1999 and 976/1999 of 29 April 1999 on the development and consolidation of democracy and the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms under Articles 179 and 308 of the EC Treaty, which provide a legal basis for all human rights and democratisation activities of the EU under Chapter B7-70 of the Budget,

-  having regard to the 57th session of the UN Commission on Human Rights, which will take place in Geneva from 19 March to 27 April 2001,

-  having regard to its earlier resolutions on the UN Commission on Human Rights adopted on 27 March 1996(1) , 20 February 1997(2) , 23 October 1997(3) , 19 February 1998(4) , 11 March 1999(5) and 16 March 2000(6) ,

A.  whereas the promotion and the defence of human rights is a high priority for EU Common Foreign and Security Policy and one of the fundamental principles of the Union;

B.  whereas the EU, in its Declaration on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, stated that its policies in the field of human rights must be 'continued and, when necessary, strengthened and improved',

C.  whereas all 15 EU Member States subscribed to the obligation to "respect and ensure respect for" international humanitarian law when they ratified the four Geneva conventions, as complemented by the additional protocols of 1977,

D.  whereas the European Parliament has the ambition to strongly influence the human rights strategy and the human rights priorities of the EU, with regard to thematic issues as well as concerning specific regions or countries,

E.  whereas the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has shown an impartial and consistent commitment to safeguarding and promoting respect for human rights of all individuals and groups worldwide,

F.  whereas the UN Commission on Human Rights is the main forum of debate on human rights within the UN system, and whereas human rights violations in specific countries are a legitimate matter of concern for it,

G.  whereas a negative human rights situation is often caused and/or exacerbated by the absence of democracy and inefficient and corrupt government structures,

H.  whereas - for a considerable number of States - the gap is widening between human rights instruments they signed and ratified and the treatment they inflict upon their citizens,

I.  welcoming the growing number of people's demands for freedom and democracy throughout the world, but deploring the persistence of flagrant violations of human rights in many countries,

J.  whereas a permanent and constructive dialogue with the representatives of civil society, NGOs, grass-roots organisations, in particular human rights organisations, is fundamental for effective action in favour of the promotion and defence of human rights around the world,

1.  Reaffirms that respecting, promoting and safeguarding human rights is the 'acquis éthique' of the EU and one of the cornerstones of European cooperation;

2.  Welcomes the fact that more and more countries sign and ratify human rights conventions, but regrets the growing gap between the legal situation and daily practice in some countries; stresses the need for full implementation of such conventions as well as effective inspection and control mechanisms;

3.  Calls on the Council and the Member States to work for the universal ratification of the main human rights instruments available to countries, in particular the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the Convention against Torture, and calls on all governments, as a matter of urgency, to ratify those conventions without reservation and to implement them;

4.  Calls on the Member States to appeal to all UN members to sign and ratify the treaty setting up the International Criminal Court;

5.  Calls on the Council and the Member States to reaffirm their commitment to the abolition of the death penalty and welcomes the diplomatic efforts undertaken by the EU and its Member States in favour of a universal moratorium on capital punishment and its definitive abolition; calls on the EU, to this end, to renew its pressure on the UN to obtain a declaration by the General Assembly in favour of a universal moratorium and the abolition of the death penalty;

6.  Calls for immediate measures to be taken to protect homosexual persons from the degrading and inhuman treatment to which they are still subjected in certain parts of the world;

7.  Calls on the EU to continue firm action against all forms of trafficking of human beings, especially trafficking of women and abuse of children and minors; requests the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights (UNHCHR) to organise a special workshop to examine violence against children;

8.  Calls upon the Council and the UN Commission on Human Rights to fully support the adoption of a resolution endorsing the Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, urging all states concerned to put an end to recruitment and/or deployment of any person under the age of 18 years for the purpose of taking part in armed conflict;

9.  Welcomes the entry into force of the 182nd ILO Convention on child labour and asks the Council to urge all states to ratify this Convention as soon as possible;

10.  Requests the EU to fully support prompt action on complex issues such as protection of refugees and asylum seekers in accordance with the 4th Geneva Convention;

11.  Calls on the EU to support the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights (UNHCHR) and the other international organisations and NGOs in the fight against repression of the independent media, journalists and writers, to urge all states to end censorship, to protect the right of access to official information, and to stop the restriction on access to modern information technology;

12.  Proposes that its President make the necessary arrangements to send an EP Delegation to participate in the 57th session of the UN Human Rights Commission;

13.  Calls upon the Council and the UN Commission on Human Rights to give its full support to the drafting of the International Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance;

14.  Condemns the continued and severe violation of human rights in Tibet and the ongoing discrimination practised against Tibetan people by the authorities of the People's Republic of China on the basis of race or ethnic origin, or religious, cultural or political beliefs;

15.  Calls on the Council to discourage countries represented in the UN Commission on Human Rights from voting in favour of a no-action motion on China and to express its concern at the widespread human rights violations in China;

16.  Urges the Council and the UN Commission on Human Rights to condemn the systematic discrimination and constant repression, particularly against women, by the Taliban regime in Afghanistan;

17.  Calls upon the Council and the UN Commission on Human Rights to support the adoption of a resolution expressing concern about gross and systematic human rights violations in Saudi Arabia;

18.  Urges the Council and the UN Commission on Human Rights to support the adoption of a resolution condemning the torture and ill-treatment of political prisoners and ethnic minorities in Burma (Myanmar), calling on the Rangoon government to unconditionally release all political prisoners and to allow freedom of movement for Ms Aung San Suu Kyi;

19.  Calls on the Council and the UN Commission on Human Rights to support the adoption of a resolution on Indonesia, urging the Indonesian authorities to promote a durable peace in Timor, Aceh, the Moluccas Islands and Irian Jaya-Papua, to restore human rights in these regions and to ensure that all parties guilty of human rights violations will be punished;

20.  Calls on Council and the UN Commission on Human Rights to support the full investigation of systematic and gross human rights abuses in Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone, especially as regards war crimes and crimes against humanity;

21.  Calls on the Council and the UN Commission on Human Rights to support the adoption of a resolution on the deepening human rights violations and humanitarian crisis in Colombia;

22.  Calls on the Council and the UN Commission on Human Rights to support the adoption of a resolution expressing its concern at the violation of the principles of humanitarian law by Russia in connection with its military campaign in Chechnya;

23.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and of the applicant countries, the UNCHR, and the governments of other countries named in this resolution.

(1) OJ C 117, 22.4.1996, p. 13.
(2) OJ C 85, 17.3.1997, p. 143.
(3) OJ C 339, 10.11.1997, p. 154.
(4) OJ C 80, 16.3.1998, p. 237.
(5) OJ C 175, 21.6.1999, p. 254.
(6) OJ C 377, 29.12.2000, p. 335.

Last updated: 2 June 2004Legal notice