Document stages in plenary
Document selected : RC-B7-0234/2013

Texts tabled :


Debates :

OJ 23/05/2013 - 162

Votes :

PV 23/05/2013 - 22.1

Texts adopted :

PDF 135kWORD 61k
PE509.853v01-00} RC1
B7-0240/2013} RC1

pursuant to Rules 122(5) and 110(4), of the Rules of Procedure

replacing the motions by the following groups:

Verts/ALE (B7‑0234/2013)

S&D (B7‑0236/2013)

ALDE (B7‑0239/2013)

GUE/NGL (B7‑0240/2013)

on Guantánamo: hunger strike by prisoners (2013/2601(RSP))

Véronique De Keyser, Ana Gomes, Joanna Senyszyn, María Muñiz De Urquiza, Pino Arlacchi, Libor Rouček, Liisa Jaakonsaari, Mitro Repo, Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg, Richard Howitt, Marc Tarabella, Antigoni Papadopoulou on behalf of the S&D Group
Sophia in ‘t Veld, Marietje Schaake, Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, Louis Michel, Johannes Cornelis van Baalen, Ramon Tremosa i Balcells, Marielle de Sarnez, Graham Watson, Sonia Alfano, Sarah Ludford, Kristiina Ojuland, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Robert Rochefort, Hannu Takkula, Anneli Jäätteenmäki, Alexandra Thein on behalf of the ALDE Group
Barbara Lochbihler, Hélène Flautre, Rui Tavares, Raül Romeva i Rueda, Carl Schlyter, Malika Benarab-Attou, Mark Demesmaeker, Nikos Chrysogelos, Catherine Grèze on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group
Marie-Christine Vergiat, Marisa Matias, Alda Sousa on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group
Laima Liucija Andrikienė, Bernd Posselt

European Parliament resolution on Guantánamo: hunger strike by prisoners (2013/2601(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to international treaties and standards on human rights and fundamental freedoms, and notably to the absolute prohibition of torture, ill-treatment, enforced disappearances and summary executions, the right not to be imprisoned without trial and the right to a fair trial,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on Guantánamo, in particular those of 11 September 2012 on alleged transportation and illegal detention of prisoners in European countries by the CIA: follow-up of the European Parliament TDIP Committee report(1), of 18 April 2012 on the Annual Report on Human Rights in the World and the European Union’s policy on the matter, including implications for the EU’s strategic human rights policy(2), and of 9 June 2011 on Guantánamo: imminent death penalty decision(3),

–   having regard to President Obama’s Executive Orders of 22 January 2009, in which he ordered the closure of the Guantánamo Bay detention facility by 22 January 2010,

–   having regard to the Joint Statement of the EU and its Member States and the USA, of 15 June 2009, on the closure of the Guantánamo Bay detention facility, as well as the Conclusions of the Justice and Home Affairs Council of 4 June 2009 and the information exchange mechanism,

–   having regard to the statement of 5 April 2013 by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights,

–   having regard to the statement made on 11 April 2013 by the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer, expressing his opposition to the force-feeding of prisoners staging a mass hunger strike at the Guantánamo prison camp, and urging President Barack Obama to do more to resolve the ‘untenable’ legal plight of inmates held there,

–   having regard to the joint open letter of 11 April 2013, signed by 26 international human rights NGOs, urging the US President to fulfil his 2009 promise to close Guantánamo Bay,

–   having regard to Rules 122(5) and 110(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas a large group of detainees at the Guantánamo Bay prison began a hunger strike on 6 February 2013 to protest against their detention conditions and continued imprisonment in Guantánamo; whereas, according to military authorities, 100 detainees are participating in the hunger strike, 29 are being force-fed and five are being treated in hospital;

B.  whereas, 11 years after the prison was opened, 86 of the 166 detainees have been cleared for release but are still being held indefinitely, and whereas only six people are facing charges;

C. whereas an emergency motion was filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia on 26 March 2013 alleging that guards at Guantánamo had denied prisoners safe drinking water and sufficient clothing in order to undermine the hunger strike action;

D. whereas the EU-US joint statement of 15 June 2009 noted the commitment of President Obama to order the closure of the Guantánamo Bay detention facility by 22 January 2010; whereas, however, in January 2013 the office charged with the closure of Guantánamo was shut down and to date Congress has blocked all efforts by the Obama administration to close Guantánamo; whereas the US administration has stated that it remains committed to the closure of Guantánamo;

E.  whereas on 5 April 2013 the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights stated that the ‘continuing indefinite incarceration of many of the detainees amounts to arbitrary detention’ and constitutes a ‘clear breach of [US] commitments but also of international laws and standards that it is obliged to uphold’ and that Guantánamo prison should be closed;

F.  whereas on 13 April 2013, shortly after a visit by a delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross, violent clashes occurred between prison guards and detainees, involving non-lethal shots and improvised weapons, following the decision to move prisoners from Camp 6 to the more isolated Camp 5;

G. whereas on 30 April 2013 President Obama reiterated his stance that Guantánamo Bay ‘needs to be closed’ and stated that the prison camp hurt the United States in terms of international standing and was a recruitment tool for extremists;

H. whereas an important reason for the hunger strike given by defence lawyers and the ICRC is the inmates’ distress over the lack of any prospect of being released, in particular after President Obama renewed in January 2013 the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA), which included provisions maintaining Guantánamo Bay for the foreseeable future;

I.   whereas the NDAA has made it virtually impossible for inmates to return home, stating that detainees cannot return to a country facing a ‘threat that is likely to substantially affect’ the government’s ability to ‘exercise control’ over the repatriated individual;

J.   whereas, in the case of the five alleged ‘high-value detainees’ for whom proceedings are already underway, the confidentiality of the defence has been completely compromised, with material and thousands of emails disappearing from computers and listening devices being disguised as smoke detectors; whereas, as a result, the proceedings have been postponed indefinitely by the responsible judge; whereas the Chief Defence Counsel has ordered defence lawyers to stop using computers for privileged and confidential work;

K. whereas there is now only one civilian flight into Guantánamo, which operates on a severely curtailed schedule, thus limiting access for the press, lawyers and human rights workers;

1.  Notes the close transatlantic relationship based on shared core values and respect for basic, universal and non-negotiable human rights, such as the right to a fair trial and the ban on arbitrary detention; welcomes the close transatlantic cooperation on a wide range of international human rights issues;

2.  Expresses concern for the well-being of the hunger striking detainees and those being force- fed, and expresses its grave concern over the mental and physical condition of the prisoners, a number of whom have been subjected to torture or inhuman and degrading treatment;

3.  Reiterates its call on the US authorities to close the Guantánamo Bay detention camp immediately and prohibit the use of torture and ill-treatment in all circumstances; calls for those inmates who have been cleared for release to be released, transferred to their home countries or other countries for resettlement, and for the remaining detainees to be charged in a civil court with fair trial standards;

4.  Requests that the US authorities guarantee independent medical assessment and care of the detainees and supports the position of the ICRC rejecting force-feeding as a violation of basic individual freedoms; asks the US authorities to ensure that the prisoners’ lawyers are kept fully informed about developments relating to the health and well-being of their clients and allow UNHRC experts, NGOs and the media access, as appropriate;

5.  Agrees with the statements made by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights that, while international law requires that there must be no impunity for acts of terrorism, crimes or atrocities, human rights are universal and apply to all persons, including those suspected of having committed the most serious crimes and that people deprived of their liberty must be treated with humanity and with respect for their inherent dignity;

6.  Points out that the continuing detention without charge or trial of these men is contrary to basic principles of justice; stresses that the arbitrary detention is in clear breach of international law and that this severely undermines the United States’ stance as an upholder of human rights;

7.  Is deeply concerned at the continued obstacles which the NDAA has placed in the way of the closure of the detention facility and of the trial of detainees in civilian courts, where warranted, or their release; takes the view that those Guantánamo detainees against whom charges have been brought should be tried in civilian courts, particularly as the military commissions do not meet international fair trial standards;

8.  Urges President Obama to appoint someone within the White House to assist with the repatriation or resettlement of those detainees who have been cleared for release;

9.  Recalls the Member States’ readiness to help the United States close down Guantánamo and calls on the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to coordinate a joint Member States’ initiative to urge the US President to act, as well as offering to receive additional Guantánamo inmates on European soil, especially the dozen men cleared for release who cannot return to their home countries;

10. Recalls also the willingness of the United States to contribute to the costs incurred by EU Member States in relation to receiving ex-detainees, as stipulated in the EU-US joint statement of 15 June 2009, and calls on the US administration to meet its responsibility to support former detainees not only during resettlement but also thereafter;

11. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the US President, the US Congress and Senate, the US Secretary of State, the Office of the Military Commissions, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the UN Secretary-General, the UN High Representative for Human Rights, the President of the UN General Assembly and the governments of the UN member states.


Texts adopted, P7_TA(2012)0309.


Texts adopted, P7_TA(2012)0126.


OJ C 380 E, 11.12.2012, p. 132.

Last updated: 22 May 2013Legal notice