Procedure : 2013/2152(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A7-0418/2013

Texts tabled :

A7-0418/2013

Debates :

PV 10/12/2013 - 19
CRE 10/12/2013 - 19

Votes :

PV 11/12/2013 - 4.24
CRE 11/12/2013 - 4.24

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2013)0575

REPORT     
PDF 519kDOC 427k
29 November 2013
PE 516.771v02-00 A7-0418/2013

on the Annual Report on Human Rights in the World 2012 and the European Union's policy on the matter

(2013/2152(INI))

Committee on Foreign Affairs

Rapporteur: Eduard Kukan

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 OPINION of the Committee on Development
 OPINION of the Committee on Womens Rights and Gender Equality
 ANNEX I
 ANNEX II
 RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on the Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2012 and the European Union policy on the matter

(2013/2152(INI))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and other UN human rights treaties and instruments,

–   having regard to the United Nations Millennium Declaration of 8 September 2000 (A/Res/55/2) and the relevant resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly,

–   having regard to Article 21 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU),

–   having regard to the EU Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World in 2012 adopted by the Council on 6 June 2013,

–   having regard to its resolution of 13 December 2012 on the Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2011 and the European Union’s policy on the matter(1),

–   having regard to the EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy (11855/2012), as adopted by the Foreign Affairs Council on 25 June 2012,

–   having regard to its resolution of 13 December 2012 on the Review of the EU’s Human Rights Strategy(2),

–   having regard to Council Decision 2012/440/CFSP of 25 July 2012 appointing the European Union Special Representative for Human Rights(3),

–   having regard to its recommendation of 13 June 2012 on the EU Special Representative for Human Rights(4),

–   having regard to the Council Conclusions of 14 May 2012 on ‘Increasing the Impact of EU Development Policy: an Agenda for Change’,

–   having regard to its recommendation to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, to the Council and to the Commission of 13 June 2013 on the 2013 review of the organisation and the functioning of the EEAS(5),

–   having regard to the European Union’s Guidelines on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law(6),

–   having regard to the European Union’s Guidelines on the Promotion and Protection of Freedom of Religion or Belief, and to Parliament’s recommendation to the Council of 13 June 2013 on the draft EU Guidelines on the Promotion and Protection of Freedom of Religion or Belief,

–  having regard to the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Dialogues adopted by the Council on 13 December 2001 and reviewed on 19 January 2009,

–   having regard to its resolution of 8 October 2013 on corruption in the public and private sectors: the impact on human rights in third countries(7),

–   having regard to its resolution of 7 February 2013 on the 22nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council(8),

–   having regard to its resolution of 17 November 2011 on EU support for the ICC: facing challenges and overcoming difficulties(9),

–   having regard to its resolution of 14 December 2011 on the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy(10),

–   having regard to the Joint Communications of the European Commission and of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of 20 March 2013 on ‘European Neighbourhood Policy: Working towards a Stronger Partnership’ (JOIN(2013)4), and of 25 May 2011 on ‘A new response to a changing Neighbourhood: A review of the European Neighbourhood Policy’ (COM(2011)0303),

–   having regard to the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) Strategy Paper for 2011-2013 and to the Commission‘s proposal for a new financial regulation for the EIDHR 2014-2020 (COM(2011)0844),

–   having regard to its recommendation of 29 March 2012 to the Council on the modalities for the possible establishment of a European Endowment for Democracy (EED)(11),

–   having regard to its resolution of 17 June 2010 on EU policies in favour of human rights defenders(12),

–   having regard to its resolution of 7 July 2011 on EU external policies in favour of democratisation(13),

–   having regard to its resolution of 11 December 2012 on a digital freedom strategy in EU foreign policy(14),

–   having regard to the UN General Assembly resolution 67/176 of 20 December 2012 on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty,

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

–   having regard to the report on the EU indicators for a Comprehensive Approach to the EU implementation of UN Security Council resolutions 1325 and 1820 on women, peace and security, adopted by the EU Council on 13 May 2011,

–   having regard to the UN General Assembly resolutions on the rights of the child, most recently that of 4 April 2012 (66/141),

–   having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2010 on human rights and social and environmental standards in international trade agreements(15),

–   having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2010 on international trade policy in the context of climate change imperatives(16),

–   having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2010 on corporate social responsibility in international trade agreements(17),

–   having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Development and the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (A7-0418/2013),

A. whereas the various transitional processes, including popular uprisings, conflict and post-conflict situations, as well as trapped transitions in authoritarian countries, have posed increasing challenges to the EU’s policies in support of human rights and democracy in the world; whereas the EU Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World in 2012 demonstrates the need for the EU to continue to develop flexible policy responses; whereas the most fundamental policy choice for the EU concerns the resilience and political determination to stay true to the founding values of the European Union in challenging times under the pressure of other policy objectives and interests;

B.  whereas justice, the rule of law, responsibility, transparency and accountability, the fight against impunity, fair trials and an independent judiciary are indispensable elements in the protection of human rights;

C. whereas Article 21 of the TEU further strengthened the EU’s commitment to act on the international scene guided by the principles of democracy, the rule of law, the universality and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms, respect for human dignity, the principles of equality and solidarity, and respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and international law;

D. whereas the Copenhagen political criteria of ‘stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities’ remains a fundamental feature of the enlargement process;

E.  whereas the uprisings in the Arab world prompted the European Union to acknowledge the failure of past policies and to commit itself to a ‘more for more’ approach in the Review of the Neighbourhood Policy, based on a commitment to ‘adapt levels of EU support to partners according to progress on political reforms and building deep democracy’, as well as respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including free and fair elections, freedom of association, expression and assembly, a free press and media, the rule of law administered by an independent judiciary, and freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief;

F.  whereas the Council Conclusions on the European Commission’s Agenda for Change in EU Development Policy, adopted in May 2012, specifically state that ‘support to partners will be adapted to their development situation and commitment and progress with regard to human rights, democracy, the rule of law and good governance’; whereas the latest EU Common Position regarding the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness pledges that systematic reference should be made in development co-operation to ‘democratic ownership’ where partner countries are responsible for promoting an enabling environment for civil society and for strengthening the role of parliaments, local authorities, national audit institutions and the free media;

G. whereas the EU Council, in June 2012, adopted a Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy, committing the EU institutions to the attainment of several tangible policy objectives; whereas the EU Council, in July 2012, created the position and named the first thematic EU Special Representative for Human Rights; whereas the procedure to adopt a new Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy, due to take effect in January 2015 when the current action plan expires, needs to start in the spring of 2014;

H. whereas the European Endowment for Democracy was established in October 2012 with the main purpose of making direct grants to pro-democracy activists or organisations struggling for democratic transition in the European Neighbourhood and beyond;

I.   whereas the establishment of the European External Action Service (EEAS) was accompanied by assurances that support for human rights and democracy would be a silver thread running through the new EU diplomatic service; whereas the network of EU Delegations around the world provide the Vice President of the Commission/EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) with a new capability to carry out EU human rights policy;

J.   whereas in its resolutions on the previous Annual Report and on the review of the EU human rights strategy (both of which were adopted in December 2012), Parliament stressed the need for a reform of its own practices to mainstream human rights in its activities and follow up on its urgent resolutions condemning breaches of democracy, human rights and the rule of law;

K. whereas the European Parliament Eurobarometer survey of public opinion, carried out in the 27 EU Member States in November and December 2012, shows once more that the protection of human rights remains the most important value in the eyes of Europeans; whereas credible implementation of stated EU commitments to support human rights and democracy in its external policies is crucial to maintaining the overall credibility of EU foreign policy;

L.  whereas in December 2012 the European Union received the Nobel Prize for its contribution to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe;

General points

1.  Considers human rights to be at the centre of the EU’s relations with all third countries, including its strategic partners; stresses that EU human rights policy needs to be consistent in complying with the Treaty obligations, ensuring coherence between internal and external policies and avoiding double standards in external policies; calls, therefore, for the adoption of EU Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions on human rights and strategic partners that would establish a common threshold for Member States and for EU officials in terms of the human rights concerns that they have to raise, as a minimum, with their strategic partner counterparts;

2.  Calls on the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security (VP/HR), the EU Special Representative for Human Rights and the EEAS to pursue these commitments and mainstream human rights and democracy in the EU’s relations with its partners, including at the highest political level, by making use of all relevant EU external policy instruments;

3.   Recognises the crucial role played by civil society in the protection and promotion of democracy and human rights; calls on the VP/HR to ensure close cooperation and partnership with civil society, including human rights defenders; considers also that the EU should throw its full weight behind all advocates of human rights, democracy, liberty and transparency throughout the world;

4.  Recognises that EU institutions and all Member States should take a firm and coherent approach to human rights abuses worldwide in a transparent and accountable manner; considers that, when faced with cases of persistent human rights violations, the EU should speak up with one voice and ensure that its message is heard by both abusive governments and their peoples; calls on the Foreign Affairs Council to hold an annual public debate on human rights;

5.   Recalls its determination to be closely associated with and consulted on the implementation of the EU Strategic Framework on Human Rights and Democracy;

The 2012 EU Annual Report

6.  Welcomes the adoption of the EU Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World in 2012; expects a continuous commitment from the VP/HR, with regular reports to Parliament; calls for active and constructive discussions among EU institutions in preparing future reports that will raise the profile of the EU‘s activities in this field;

7.  Believes that the Annual Report should become an essential tool for the communication and discussion of EU activities in the area of human rights and democracy; welcomes therefore the commitment of the VP/HR and the EEAS to use EU annual reports as implementation reports on the EU Strategic Framework and the Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy;

8.  Notes the references to actions by the EU Special Representative on Human Rights in the Annual Report and encourages the VP/HR and the EEAS to include more in-depth analyses, especially when it comes to his role in implementing the Strategic Framework and the Action Plan, in order to provide an adequate description of his role and work;

9.  Acknowledges the efforts made to list the various EU actions in the field of human rights and democracy support in the country reports, which provide a wealth of information about the work of the EU institutions around the world; regrets, nevertheless, that the country reports still seem to lack a systematic, clear and coherent framework that would allow for more rigorous analysis on the impact and efficiency of EU action;

10. Reiterates its view that the country reports should be further strengthened and should reflect the implementation of the human rights country strategies and thus refer to specific benchmarks based on a set of indicators to assess both positive and negative trends, evaluate the efficiency of EU actions and provide grounds for adapting the levels of EU support according to progress on human rights, democracy, the rule of law and good governance;

11. Welcomes the effort to include activities by the European Parliament in the Annual Report, calls for use to be made of Parliament’s achievements and potential, including the numerous studies and analyses carried out by Parliament, and strongly encourages the VP/HR and the EEAS to report on the EU action taken on Parliament’s resolutions, including on urgency resolutions relating to breaches of human rights; calls or a constant flow of information and cooperation between Parliament and the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, particularly in emergency situations;

12. Welcomes the EU Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World in 2012, as it shows the efforts that the EU is deploying to promote the mainstreaming of human rights, gender equality, democracy and good governance in development policies and instruments;

EU Policy Framework

Strategic Framework and the Action Plan

13. Reiterates its appreciation of the EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy as an important milestone in integrating and mainstreaming human rights across all EU external policies; underlines the need for a general consensus and enhanced coordination of the EU‘s human rights policy between the EU institutions and the Member States; calls on the EEAS to step up its efforts to increase the sense of ownership of this Action Plan among Member States; calls for the inclusion of a section on the implementation of the Action Plan by Member States in the Annual Report;

14. Stresses the vital importance of efficient and credible implementation of the stated commitments, both in the Strategic Framework and in the Action Plan; points out that credibility requires adequate resourcing of dedicated human rights policies and consistent mainstreaming at a high political level, such as at ministerial and summit meetings with third countries, including with strategic partners;

15. Regrets the fact that economic, social and cultural rights remain largely neglected by the EU‘s human rights policy in contrast with the EU‘s stated commitment to the indivisibility and interdependence of rights, and calls on the EEAS, the Commission and the Member States to step up their efforts in this direction, including in the field of labour and social rights;

16. Notes that the current Action Plan will be concluded at the end of 2014; expects the VP/HR and the EEAS to engage in a timely review and consultations with the Member States, the Commission, Parliament and civil society, leading to the adoption of a new Action Plan that will take effect in January 2015;

EU Special Representative for Human Rights

17. Recognises the importance of the mandate given to the first EU Special Representative (EUSR) for Human Rights; encourages the EUSR to enhance the visibility, mainstreaming, coherence, consistency and effectiveness of EU human rights policy, in particular on women’s rights, and to strike the right balance between silent and public diplomacy in carrying out his mandate; repeats its recommendation that the EUSR provide Parliament with a regular report on his activities and clarification of his thematic and geographic priorities, and ensure that concerns raised by Parliament are followed up;

18. Commends the EUSR on the openness of the dialogue which he has conducted with Parliament and civil society, thus establishing an important practice that should be continued and consolidated to ensure due transparency and accountability; welcomes the EUSR‘s cooperation with regional bodies and in multilateral fora and encourages him to further expand such activities;

19. Welcomes the fact that cooperation with the EUSR for Human Rights was included in the mandate of the geographic EUSR for the Sahel, and urges the Council and the VP/HR to adopt this practice too, with regard to the mandates of future geographic EUSRs;

EU Guidelines on Human Rights

20. Welcomes the adoption of the EU Guidelines on Freedom of Religion or Belief, and on LGBTI rights; reminds the EEAS, however, to respect good interinstitutional practice and engage in a timely manner and with the proper political bodies within Parliament when developing any new strategic tools such as guidelines or when reviewing existing ones; recalls Parliament’s recommendation to the Council on the Guidelines on Freedom of Religion or Belief, in which Parliament proposed an ambitious set of instruments, providing suggestions for the practical implementation of the Guidelines in order to achieve substantial progress in the protection and promotion of this fundamental and universal freedom; commends the practice adopted by the EEAS and the Council of reviewing and revising older guidelines; encourages the EEAS to adopt a more rigorous review process involving thorough consultation of stakeholders in order to adapt to changing circumstances;

21. Urges the EEAS and the Council to pay particular attention to the issue of proper implementation plans for the Guidelines; recommends further training and awareness-raising among EEAS and EU Delegation staff, as well as among Member State diplomats; expresses its particular concern regarding the implementation of the Guidelines on international humanitarian law and the Guidelines on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment;

Human rights dialogues with third countries

22. Notes the continued difficulties in achieving concrete progress in several of the EU’s human rights dialogues and consultations; encourages the EU to seek new ways of making the dialogues with countries of concern more meaningful; underlines the need to pursue determined, ambitious, and transparent human rights policy in these dialogues; calls, therefore, on the EU to draw clear political conclusions when the human rights dialogue is not constructive and, in such cases or in cases of persistent human rights violations, put more emphasis on political dialogue, démarches and public diplomacy; warns, furthermore, against diverting human rights discussions away from high-level political dialogues;

23. Believes that human rights dialogues and consultations should be strengthening and supporting civil society, human rights defenders, trade unions, journalists, lawyers and parliamentarians who stand up and challenge abuses at home and demand that their rights be respected; calls on the EU to ensure that human rights dialogues and consultations are ambitious and accompanied by clear public benchmarks on the basis of which their success can be objectively measured;

24. Recalls the fact that corruption in the public and private sectors perpetuates and aggravates inequalities and discrimination when it comes to equal enjoyment of civil, political, economic or social and cultural rights, and underlines the fact that it is proven that acts of corruption and human rights violations involve the misuse of power, lack of accountability and various forms of discrimination; requests the highest level of accountability and transparency of external aid and public budgets in relation to the EU budget and external aid;

Human rights country strategies and human rights focal points

25. Notes the efforts made by the EEAS to finalise the first cycle of EU human rights country strategies; reiterates its support for the objective of giving ownership of the country strategy to the EU Delegation and Member States‘ embassies on the ground, while ensuring quality control at headquarters level; regrets, however, the lack of transparency regarding the contents of the country strategies; reiterates its call for public disclosure of, at least, the key priorities of each country strategy, and for Parliament to have access to the strategies so as to allow a proper degree of scrutiny; encourages the EU to produce a public assessment of the lessons learnt during the first cycle of EU human rights country strategies and to identify best practices for the next cycle;

26. Welcomes the nearly complete network of human rights focal points in EU Delegations; calls on the VP/HR and the EEAS to develop a plan on how this network can be used to realise its full potential; invites the EU Delegations to publish the contact details of all human rights focal points and EU Liaison Officers for Human Rights Defenders;

Human rights in the EUs trade policy

27. Supports the practice of including legally binding and non-negotiable human rights clauses in the EU‘s international agreements concluded with third countries, and considers that human rights clauses should also be systematically included in trade agreements; calls for effective monitoring of their application and reporting back to Parliament’s relevant committee on their assessment and suggested response;

28. Points out that Parliament should withhold its consent to international agreements when serious breaches of human rights occur;

29. Recalls that the revised GSP scheme will come into force on 1 January 2014; welcomes the continuation of the GSP+ scheme whereby countries can enjoy additional preferential tariffs once they have ratified and implemented the 27 core human rights, labour and environment conventions; recalls the possibility of suspending GSP, GSP+ and Everything But Arms (EBA) preferences in the event of serious human rights violations; calls on the Commission to make the assessments for GSP+ eligibility publicly available, in order to increase transparency and accountability;

30. Calls, furthermore, on the EU to define and adopt specific policy guidelines on the effective inclusion of human rights in its trade and investment agreements in order to achieve methodological consistency and rigour in the human rights impact assessments;

Human rights in EU development policies

31. Underlines the fact that the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation has called on the international community to adopt a human rights-based approach (HRBA) to international cooperation in order to boost the effectiveness of development efforts;

32. Calls on the Commission to conduct extensive impact assessments of EU development cooperation projects, which should include an assessment of their impact on the human rights situation, in order to ensure that EU development efforts do not contribute to further marginalisation of groups suffering discrimination and that EU funds are distributed fairly among different regions within a country, on the basis of their needs and level of development;

33. Reiterates that the Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) should be accountable for the adoption of a rights-based approach in the future programming exercise;

34. Takes the view that national parliaments and civil society organisations play an important role in implementing human rights provisions effectively, and stresses that appropriate conditions should be put in place for their participation in decision making in order to promote genuine ownership of development strategy policy choices;

European Union policy on transition processes

35. Notes the overwhelming evidence from recent years indicating the crucial importance of EU foreign policy adequately addressing dynamic transition processes in third countries; encourages the EU to continue to learn from past experiences, both positive and negative, to avoid repeating certain policy mistakes, and to establish best practices in order to influence and consolidate democratisation processes; acknowledges the requirement for policy flexibility in diverging situations, and encourages the development of policy tools that could be applied in different transition scenarios in order to integrate human rights and democracy support measures into the EU approach in a flexible and credible manner;

36. Emphasises that political transition and democratisation need to be combined with respect for human rights, the promotion of justice, transparency, accountability, reconciliation, the rule of law and the establishment of democratic institutions, with due regard for gender equality and juvenile justice; stresses the importance of the right to redress concerning human rights abuses committed by former regimes; stresses that the EU should always advocate a context-sensitive approach to transitional justice while strictly upholding the principle of accountability for violations of human rights and international humanitarian law;

37. Emphasises that the EU should give its full support to countries that have dislodged authoritarian regimes and are undergoing a transition to democracy by supporting civil society as a crucial actor in advocating the rule of law, accountability and transparency and in promoting social movements for political change and participation; recalls that the police, the military and the judiciary are often used as mechanisms to perform systematic violations of human rights; stresses, therefore, that institutional reform of these bodies needs to provide for greater accountability and transparency in transition processes;

38. Considers the EU’s external financial instruments an important tool for promoting and defending EU values abroad; welcomes, in this context, the commitment to put human rights, democracy and the rule of law at the core of EU external action; calls for improvements in the coherence and effectiveness of different thematic and geographic instruments in order to achieve this strategic objective;

39. Strongly encourages the EU to support an active and independent civil society worldwide, both politically and financially, in particular through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR); suggests that opening -up European student exchange programmes to young people from non-EU countries and establishing training programmes for young professionals would foster the active participation of young people in democracy-building and would strengthen civil society; regrets that freedom of assembly, as a fundamental condition for any democratic development and as a particularly sensitive issue in transition countries, appears to have been overlooked in the EU‘s Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy; calls on the EEAS and the Member States to draw up Guidelines on freedom of assembly;

40. Welcomes the establishment of the European Endowment for Democracy (EED) and calls for it to engage in providing support for those striving for democratic change by offering them flexible funding tailored to their needs; calls for appropriate financial support for the EED to be guaranteed by the EU and its Member States; recalls the critical importance of avoiding any overlap between the mandate and activities of the EED and those of EU external instruments, especially those in the field of human rights and democracy;

Enlargement policy, democratisation and human rights

41. Stresses the momentous importance of the enlargement process as a means of supporting democratisation and enhancing human rights protection;

42. Welcomes the Commission‘s decision to place the rule of law at the heart of the enlargement process; urges the EU to remain vigilant during the enlargement processes and to demand rigorous implementation of provisions critical to human rights, such as active protection of the rights of persons belonging to national minorities in order to safeguard equal treatment of these minorities with regard to education, healthcare, and social and other public services, the establishment of the rule of law together with vigorous action to combat all forms of corruption, effective access to justice and steps to guarantee fundamental freedoms and full and effective equality between persons belonging to national minorities and those belonging to the national majority, in all areas of social, economic, political and cultural life;

43. Notes with concern that respecting the rights of minorities is one of the key challenges identified in the Commission‘s Enlargement Strategy for 2012-2013; encourages the Member States, as well as the candidate and potential candidate countries, to launch a general public debate on the acceptance of minorities and their inclusion in the education system, civil society engagement, improved living conditions and awareness-raising in general; regrets the fact that the Roma community is particularly disadvantaged throughout the Western Balkans, and that this has an adverse effect on partnership processes; urges the countries concerned to implement effective measures so as to address problems such as discrimination and segregation, and access to housing and healthcare; condemns the fomenting of hatred and prejudices in general, and negative acts and discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation, or against vulnerable groups and people with disabilities; stresses that this is a recurring issue in many enlargement countries and in a majority of the Member States;

44. Notes that media freedom has generally advanced in enlargement countries; deplores, however, the lack of measures to ensure freedom of expression in certain enlargement countries, which often leads to self-censorship, political interference, economic pressures, harassment and the use of violence against journalists; is seriously concerned, in this connection, about increasing violations of freedom of expression and press freedom in Turkey;

Challenge of transitions in the Neighbourhood Policy

45. Recognises the challenges related to democratic transitions in the Southern and Eastern Neighbourhood; notes the increasing divergence in democratic reforms across the EU neighbourhood; reiterates the importance of civil society and human rights organisations in the democratic transition process; encourages, therefore, a differentiation to be made between the Southern and Eastern dimensions of the Neighbourhood Policy in order to target the specific properties and needs of each geographical area more effectively;

46. Welcomes the progress in the negotiations between the EU and certain neighbouring countries as regards Association Agreements, including on the deep and comprehensive free trade areas (DCFTAs); expects the Vilnius Summit in November to be a key moment in further strengthening relations between the EU and the Eastern Partnership countries;

47. Notes the new EU approach aimed at strengthening the partnership between the EU and the countries and societies of its Neighbourhood, based on mutual accountability and shared commitment to the universal values of human rights, democracy, social justice and the rule of law; deplores the policies of the European Union and the Member States aimed at ensuring the policing of the EU’s immigration and asylum policy by third countries participating in its Neighbourhood Policy, which is very often done with contempt for the most basic rights of persons trying by all means to reach Europe; deplores the fact that aid to these countries is often conditional upon the signature of agreements on readmission of their nationals or of people transiting through these countries prior to arriving on EU soil; is concerned that this leads to violations of the right to asylum and infringes international law and in particular obligations regarding rescue at sea; calls on the EEAS and the Commission to ensure the efficient and transparent implementation of this approach, giving due consideration to Parliament’s reports;

48. Notes with concern the fragile state of democratic processes and the deterioration of human rights and fundamental freedoms in most of the Neighbourhood countries; emphasises that good governance, transparency, the freedom of association, expression, thought, conscience, religion and assembly, a free press and free media, the rule of law and an independent judiciary are essential for underpinning democratic transitions; reiterates the importance of upholding and promoting gender equality and women‘s rights, together with social development and the reduction of inequalities; recognises the key role of civil society in building public support for democratic reforms in the Neighbourhood countries;

49. Regrets the fact that in some countries civil society organisations continue to face serious constraints such as obstacles to the freedom of movement, lawsuits against NGO leaders and human rights defenders, cumbersome administrative procedures, the aggressive use of criminal defamation laws against NGOs or a complete ban on their operation, restrictive rules controlling foreign funding or making the acceptance of financial support subject to authorisation; stresses, in this context, the importance of the European Endowment for Democracy as a flexible and discreet means of supporting the pro-democratic potential of societies in countries prior to or during the process of democratic transformation;

50. Regrets the lack of progress in achieving a sustainable political solution as regards ‘frozen conflicts‘; stresses that the political dialogue should give full consideration to and fully respect the territorial integrity and the internationally recognised borders of the countries concerned; urges the EU to engage more actively in this respect;

51. Underlines the importance of national human rights institutions (NHRIs) in the human rights architecture at national level, including in terms of human rights monitoring and awareness raising and ensuring redress for violations; urges the EEAS and the Commission to develop a policy in support of NHRIs, and to support the establishment and strengthening of NHRIs in line with the Paris Principles as a priority in external assistance, notably under the ENPI;

52. Remains concerned about the lack of democracy, rule of law, fundamental freedoms and respect for human rights in Belarus;

53. Notes with concern instances of selective justice in certain Eastern Neighbourhood countries; recalls that the EU has continually asked for the release of political prisoners such as Yuliya Tymoshenko in Ukraine; reiterates that political and criminal responsibility should be clearly separated in countries that are committed to democratic values;

54. Supports all steps leading to political dialogue, which is essential to move the transition in Egypt forward; expresses its deep concern about recent crises and the political polarisation in the country, including the street battles between the army and Muslim Brotherhood supporters, terrorism and violent clashes in the Sinai; condemns the extremist violence against minorities, including Coptic Christian communities; expresses its solidarity with Egyptian people fighting for democracy, welcomes the efforts by the European Union and the VP/HR to find a way out of the crisis, and points once again to the urgent need for a constructive and inclusive political dialogue in order to set up a clear roadmap for transition to a real and sustainable democracy; calls on all political leaders in the country to find a way to break the dangerous stalemate and agree on implementing tangible confidence-building measures in order to avoid the risk of more bloodshed and polarisation in the country; calls for a rapid return to the democratic process, including the holding of free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections in a fully inclusive process; urges the Egyptian authorities to advance the work on an inclusive constitution with equal rights for all;

55. Calls for an immediate end to all acts of violence, sexual assault and other forms of degrading treatment against female protesters and women‘s rights activists and for serious and impartial investigations into all such cases and full accountability for those responsible;

56. Remains deeply concerned about the critical situation in Syria; deplores in the strongest possible terms the use of chemical weapons and the excessive use of force and violence against the civilian population and minorities in the country, which cannot be justified under any circumstances, and abhors the scale of state abuses that may constitute crimes against humanity; reiterates its strong endorsement of the call by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for the situation in Syria to be referred to the ICC by the UN Security Council (UNSC) for a formal investigation; calls on all armed factions to put an immediate end to violence in the country; expresses grave concern at the ongoing humanitarian crisis, including the situation of refugees, and the implications for neighbouring countries and stability in the region; stresses again that humanitarian assistance to those in need of basic goods and services in Syria and its neighbours must be an immediate priority for the international community and the European Union; believes that the key to solving the conflict lies in political mechanisms and diplomatic processes; stresses the importance of the strict implementation of the Convention on the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction; welcomes the recent UNSC resolution and the UN Secretary General‘s proposal for a Geneva II conference to be held in December 2013; condemns the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East;

Transitional justice and the challenge of post-conflict peacebuilding

57. Considers accountability for past violations to be an integral element in the process of building sustainable reconciliation; calls on the EU and its Member States to support, and stresses the vital importance of, the systematic participation of women in peace processes and in political and economic decision making, including in democratic transition and conflict resolution situations; calls for war criminals to be brought before the ICC, and calls on the Member States to enhance their cooperation with the ICC in this respect; welcomes the intention of the EEAS to develop a dedicated policy on transitional justice in order to help societies deal with past abuses and fight impunity, and encourages the timely development of such a policy; stresses the need to deal with transitional justice in a manner that is consistent with the EU‘s support for international criminal justice in general, and the ICC in particular; draws particular attention to the EU‘s experience in the Western Balkans as a source of inspiration; calls on the EU to actively support the newly created mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur for the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence;

58. Emphasises that a key element of the EU approach to transitional justice should be support for institutional reform of the judiciary to enhance the functioning of the rule of law in line with international standards; stresses the need for criminals whose crimes were committed some time ago to be prosecuted through national or international courts; emphasises the importance of public dialogue to confront the past and for proper victim consultation and compensation programmes, including reparations; considers that vetting the background of personnel working in the transitional institutions is a credibility test for transitional justice;

59. Notes the particular complexity of developing consistent policies for transitions in post-conflict contexts; emphasises, therefore, the need to enhance compliance with, and monitoring of, international human rights and humanitarian law norms in armed conflict situations, and encourages the EEAS to support civil society organisations dedicated to promoting respect for humanitarian law by armed state and non-state actors, with a special focus on women‘s rights and the best interests of the child;

60. Condemns in the strongest terms serious human rights violations perpetrated in armed conflict situations in recent and ongoing crises such as Syria, Mali, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic, and in particular summary executions, rape and other forms of sexual violence, acts of torture, arbitrary arrests and detentions, especially regarding the situation of women and children, who are particularly vulnerable; calls on the EU to fight against impunity in all of these cases and to support action by domestic judiciaries and the ICC to bring the perpetrators to justice; encourages the EU to integrate torture prevention mechanisms into all EU external relations activities;

61. Calls on the VP/HR and the EEAS to conduct a thorough policy review of the tragic events in Syria, Libya and Mali and other recent conflicts in order to revise the EU Guidelines on International Humanitarian Law (IHL), and to seek more effective implementation of those guidelines; calls on the EU to support the on-going initiative of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Swiss Government to reform the current international governance framework regarding IHL; supports the EU in engaging in a reform of the UNSC, in order to enable it to respond effectively to contemporary crises;

62. Welcomes the launch in January 2014 of the EU Aid Volunteers initiative, which will create opportunities for more than 8 000 EU and non-EU citizens to be trained for and deployed to humanitarian operations worldwide, and notes that another 10 000 people are expected to support the EU Aid Volunteers as ‘online volunteers‘, with tasks that can be carried out from home on a computer;

63. Calls for the EU to develop a common EU position on armed drones,

Trapped transitions and countries of concern

64. Draws attention also to the trapped transitions in countries and regions where reform movements and transitional processes have been stopped or put down by the ruling regime; calls on the EU to continue its efforts to persuade the ruling elites in these countries, as well as in other countries of concern still under authoritarian rule, to initiate a reform process to develop strong and stable democracies in which the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms are upheld; takes the view that this persuasion must take place in all dialogues with its partners, including at the highest political level, by making use of all the relevant fields of EU external policy, i.e. development, trade, etc.;

65. Recalls that countries and regions trapped in transition lack democratic reforms and political accountability; reiterates that all citizens have the right to fully and freely participate in political life in which free, fair and open elections take place with more than one party and with different alternative and independent media sources;

66. Expresses its serious concern about recent repressive laws and their arbitrary enforcement by the Russian authorities, often leading to the harassment of NGOs, civil society activists, human rights defenders, minorities and LGBTI persons, and calls for the EU to express this concern at all political levels; calls for the release of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and other political prisoners, and deplores the political use of justice; urges the Russian authorities to impartially investigate and bring to justice those responsible for the deaths of Sergei Magnitsky, Natalia Estemirova, Anna Politkovskaya, Stanislav Markelov, and Vasily Alexanian; regrets the Council‘s failure to consider Parliament‘s recommendation of 23 October 2012 on the Magnitsky case; calls on the Council, therefore, to adopt a decision establishing a common EU list of officials involved in the death of Sergei Magnitsky; adds that this Council decision should impose targeted sanctions on those officials;

67. Expresses its concern about continued repression of independent journalists and human rights activists and the suppression of political dissent in Cuba; draws attention to the situation of prisoners of conscience in Cuba, who continue to be sentenced on trumped-up charges or held in pre-trial detention; calls on the EEAS and the VP/HR to promote, in the framework of the United Nations, an international and independent committee of inquiry to investigate the circumstances in which the Cuban human rights defenders and peaceful dissidents Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas (Sakharov laureate 2002) and Harold Cepero died in July 2012;

68. Stresses the need for international monitoring of the human rights situation in China and calls on the EU Member States to actively engage in establishing this monitoring in the light of the failure of the EU-China dialogue on human rights to achieve significant and tangible results; remains concerned about the increasing restrictions targeting human rights defenders, lawyers, civil society activists, journalists and bloggers; supports the internal demand among Chinese people for the basic freedoms and rights to which they are entitled; recalls that the EU could serve as a facilitator in this regard by creating greater trust, finding new modalities for dialogue, and improving already existing instruments;

69. Urges the Chinese authorities to engage seriously with the Tibetan people in order to assess the underlying causes of the high number of self-immolations; condemns the non-voluntary resettlement and relocation of Tibetan nomads which is a threat to the survival of a way of life that is integral to Tibetan identity; urges the EEAS , in line with the newly adopted EU Guidelines on Freedom of Religion and Belief, to pay particular attention to the issue of religious repression in Tibet and to call on China to put an end to its restrictive policies on Tibetan Buddhism; stresses the need for improvement of the education system with special regard to bilingual education in the region in order to preserve national identity and heritage and to tackle the causes of youth unemployment;

70. Expresses grave concern regarding the human rights situation in Iran, the continued repression of reformists, the growing number of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience and faith, the discrimination against and persecution of the Baha‘i community, the consistently high number of executions, including of minors, the widespread torture, the unfair trials and exorbitant sums demanded for bail, and the heavy restrictions on the freedom of information, expression, assembly, religion, education and movement; welcomes the release of several prisoners of conscience in Iran, including lawyer and Sakharov Prize winner Nasrin Sotoudeh; calls on the Iranian authorities to release the three opposition leaders held under house arrest with no charges for over two years, Mehdi Karroubi, Zahra Rahnavard and Mir Hossein Mousavi, allow the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran to visit the country, work towards a moratorium on the death penalty, remove internet censorship and allow freedom of expression in Iran; notes the resumption of diplomatic contacts between Iran and the international community and hopes for a satisfactory and mutually acceptable conclusion to negotiations between the E3+3 and Iran on Iran‘s nuclear programme;

71. Expresses its deepest concern regarding the deteriorating human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), draws attention to the relevant urgency resolutions (Rule 122) adopted by the European Parliament, and calls on the DPRK to engage in a meaningful dialogue on human rights with the European Union; calls on the DPRK to put an end to extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, release political prisoners and allow its citizens to travel freely both within and outside the country; calls on the DPRK to allow freedom of expression and press freedom for national and international media, and to allow its citizens uncensored access to the internet; notes that all the provocative actions of the DPRK and the restrictive measures imposed on its citizens have led to widespread poverty and material deprivation;

72. Raises profound concerns with reference to Kashmir, where any act of violence against civilians is to be strongly deplored; is aware that investigations into the issue of unidentified graves have been undertaken; urges, nevertheless, human rights protection mechanisms to be placed at the heart of any attempt to identify responsibility and ensure accountability for abuses against civilians;

73. Calls for the European Union to embark on a coordinated and inclusive strategy in the Sahel to improve security in the region on the one hand and to promote human rights on the other, so that human rights violations such as torture, the often arbitrary arrest of opponents and journalists, the suppression of peaceful demonstrations, acts of violence against women such as rape, forced marriage or genital mutilation, and ethnic or caste-based discrimination come to an end, thereby helping to establish the rule of law guaranteeing fundamental rights and freedoms;

74. Calls on the EU to build an efficient sanctions policy towards all regimes exercising repressive methods towards civilians;

75. Calls on the EU to continue to actively support human rights defenders, including by the timely provision of temporary shelter to those at risk; calls for the EU to extend its policy in support of human rights defenders to whistle-blowers and investigative journalists, who may significantly contribute to the protection and promotion of human rights;

Election observation and democracy support policies

76. Welcomes the EU’s continued support for electoral processes around the globe by deploying Election Observation Missions (EOMs) and Electoral Expert Missions (EEMs) and providing electoral assistance and support for domestic observers; notes that these missions have recently contributed to support for democratic development in the EU’s neighbourhood, and have witnessed the transfer of power to the opposition (Senegal) and the consolidation of democracy emerging from conflict (Sierra Leone);

77. Stresses the importance of following up on the reports and recommendations of Election Observation Missions; highlights its initiative of strengthening the follow-up to EOM recommendations by using them as part of the ‘road map for democracy‘ in the country concerned, and to charge the Chief Observer with a special role to ensure follow-up and implementation of the recommendations with the support of Parliament’s standing bodies;

78. Emphasises the importance of enhancing the operational capacity of parliaments between elections; recalls, in this context, the EU pledge in the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness to base development cooperation on ‘democratic ownership’, with particular reference to the strengthened role of parliaments; urges the EU to work towards a rights-based approach, with the aim of integrating human rights principles into EU operational activities, and to advocate human rights issues on the global development agenda, as undertaken in the Action Plan;

79. Recalls the VP/HR’s commitment to focus on the participation of women and national minorities in election observation and on persons with disabilities both as candidates and voters; requests that the conclusions of EU Election Observation Missions (EOMs) always be taken into account when drawing up programmes to support women’s full and equal participation in electoral processes and in implementing the missions’ recommendations;

Freedom of expression

80. Emphasises the particular importance of freedom of expression, including free media, in transition situations; welcomes the EU’s commitment to producing Guidelines on Freedom of Expression (online and offline), and further recommends that the EU develop a methodology to monitor and react to changes in legislation which restrict pluralism and freedom of the press in third countries;

81. Expresses serious and continuing concern regarding online censorship and its unfortunate prevalence in many countries; stresses that in its policies the EU must prioritise the implementation of the right to participation and the right to access information as core principles of democracy that must also be realised online, and make use of available mechanisms to enhance public accountability, such as the principles of open data; considers that this should be the case at all levels of dialogue with third countries, including in bilateral relations and at the highest levels; emphasises the importance of online media to the operation and effectiveness of civil society, including for human rights defenders, trade unions and whistle-blowers; calls on the Commission and the EEAS to step up efforts to mainstream digital freedom in EU external relations;

EU support for universal human rights

82. Supports fully the affirmative position taken by the EU in the Strategic Framework on Human Rights and Democracy regarding the promotion and protection of all human rights, as well as the pledge to ‘speak out against any attempt to undermine respect for the universality of human rights’; reiterates its full support for, and calls on the EU to uphold, the indivisibility and universality of human rights, which includes the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in conformity with Article 21 of the Treaty on European Union (Title V, Chapter 1 – General Provisions on the Union’s External Action);

UN human rights system

83. Reiterates its support for strengthening the UN human rights system as fundamental to the advancement of universal human rights; acknowledges the EU’s efforts in the Review of the UN Human Rights Council, and calls on all members of the Human Rights Council to uphold the highest standards of human rights and to live up to their pledges made before their election; considers the independence of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and of the UN Special Procedures mandate holders as a key prerequisite to their efficient functioning, and emphasises the need for non-earmarked funding to ensure this;

84. Welcomes the start of the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process, and calls for continued close EU attention to enhancement of the UPR procedure and the degree of implementation of UPR recommendations which countries have accepted and promised to carry out;

85. Calls on the EU Member States to build upon the commitment they made in the EU Strategic Framework to ratify and implement the key international human rights treaties, by ratifying and implementing, in particular, the ten core UN human rights treaties and the optional protocols thereto, and to make the relevant declarations on ensuring the acceptance of all individual complaints and inquiry procedures; stresses the importance of these ratifications for the internal and external credibility of the EU‘s human rights policy; expresses its deep concern at the fact that the persistent failure of certain EU Member States to submit their periodic reports to the relevant UN human rights monitoring bodies in a timely manner is also undermining the credibility of the EU‘s human rights policy towards third countries;

86. Calls on the EU to encourage third countries to fully cooperate with UN Special Rapporteurs and Independent Experts on human rights including through issuing standing invitations and receiving such experts;

87. Encourages the EU and its Member States to support the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in the implementation of her 2012 report on strengthening the UN Treaty Bodies which play a key role in monitoring the actual implementation of human rights obligations by states which are parties to the UN human rights treaties;

88. Emphasises, in view of the principles of international humanitarian law spell out in the 1907 Hague Regulations (Articles 42-56) and the Fourth Geneva Convention (GC IV, Articles 27-34 and 47-78) and in provisions of Additional Protocol I, the need for the EU to ensure that those partners falling within the occupying power category fulfil their duties towards the population in occupied territories; recalls that, according to international humanitarian law, public health standards and the provision of food and medical care to the population under occupation must be granted by the occupying power; reiterates that any transfer of the civilian population of the occupying power into the occupied territory is prohibited, and that those charged with criminal offences must be afforded proceedings providing internationally recognised judicial guarantees, such as being informed of the reason for their arrest, charged with a specific offence and given a fair trial as quickly as possible;

International Criminal Court

89. Reiterates its strong support for the International Criminal Court (ICC); considers the increasing number of states parties to be an important development in strengthening the universality of the Court; welcomes the ratification of the Rome Statute by Guatemala in April 2012 and by Côte d’Ivoire in February 2013;

90. Calls on the EU Foreign Ministers to adopt Foreign Affairs Council conclusions affirming the strong support of the EU and its Member States for the International Criminal Court, taking note of the EU‘s efforts to continuously review, update, and expand its instruments on the International Criminal Court, and expressing renewed commitment to working towards the universality of the Rome Statute in order to widen access to justice for victims of serious crimes under international law;

91. Regrets that the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court is still not included in the new GSP Regulation’s list of conventions required for GSP+ status; notes that a number of GSP+ applicants are not states parties to the Statute or have not ratified it (e.g. Armenia and Pakistan); reiterates its recommendation that the Rome Statute be added to a future list of conventions;

92. Calls for the EU and its Member States to emphasise the need to ratify and implement the Statute and the Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the Court (APIC) in negotiations and political dialogues with third countries, regional organisations and other regional groups, and to include provisions concerning the ICC and international justice in EU agreements with third countries;

93. Encourages the EEAS to ensure that all EU Delegations and EU Special Representatives are fully informed of the EU Council’s Decision and Action Plan on the ICC, and the EU‘s complementarity toolkit and actively promote the ICC, the enforcement of its decisions and the fight against impunity for Rome Statute crimes;

94. Calls on the EU Delegations and EU Special Representatives, in particular the EU Special Representative on Human Rights, to actively promote the ICC, the enforcement of its decisions, and the fight against impunity for Rome Statute crimes, in political dialogues and meetings with third countries; suggests, furthermore, the strengthening of the financial support provided to the ICC;

95. Welcomes the adoption of the EU Toolkit on Advancing Complementarity and calls on the EEAS and the Commission to take additional steps for its effective implementation; encourages the EU to ensure that support for the ICC is appropriately mainstreamed in all relevant areas of EU foreign policy;

96. Calls on the EU Member States to fully implement the Rome Statute by aligning national legislation with all Statute obligations and to comply with the ICC‘s requests for assistance and cooperation at all stages of the Court‘s proceedings, particularly with regard to preliminary examination, investigation, arrest and surrender, protection of victims and witnesses, interim release and the enforcement of sentences; regrets that contributions to the Trust Fund for Victims remain insufficient and calls on EU Member States to provide the resources required for it to fully fulfil its mandate;

97. Expresses support for appropriately funded outreach and public information activities through the regular budget of the Court and underlines the importance of these activities in ensuring that justice is visible;

98. Calls on the EU Member States to ratify the Kampala Amendments to the Rome Statute and to encourage its ratification by third countries;

99. Calls on the EU and its Member States to increase their efforts to fight impunity within the EU‘s own borders; encourages them in this connection to take into consideration the recommendations of the European Network of contact points in respect of persons responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes;

The death penalty and capital punishment

100.    Reiterates its univocal opposition to capital punishment, and considers implementation of a universal moratorium with a view to the global abolition of the death penalty to be a central objective of the EU‘s policy on human rights; emphasises the fact that the death penalty has never been proved to be an effective deterrent to crime and that, according to the data available, it is the disadvantaged who are punished most by the death penalty; applauds the efforts of the European Union and its Member States at the United Nations that led to the adoption of the General Assembly resolution regarding the moratorium on the use of the death penalty in December 2012; is concerned, however, by the resumption of executions in a number of countries; calls for the EU to continue to undertake targeted campaigns on the death penalty and to intensify engagement with retentionist countries; expects to be appropriately consulted in the course of the review of Regulation 1236/2005 on trade in goods which can be used for capital punishment or torture, which was planned for 2013;

101.    Deplores the fact that Belarus remains the last country on the European continent to retain the death penalty; reiterates again that the executions of Dmitri Konovalov and Vladislav Kovalev are deeply regrettable; repeats its call to Belarus to implement a moratorium on the death penalty, which should ultimately lead to its abolition;

Business and human rights

102.    Reaffirms that European companies should ensure that their activities respect human rights standards, including when operating outside the EU; expresses its concern regarding the reported cooperation of certain EU companies with authoritarian regimes, especially where trade in sensitive goods, e.g. in the field of information technologies and communication, has led to human rights abuses.

103.    Recalls the importance of promoting corporate social responsibility (CSR), including in business operations outside the EU, and ensuring CSR along the whole supply chain; is convinced that European companies and their subsidiaries and subcontractors should play a key role in the promotion and dissemination of the international standards on business and human rights worldwide; stresses the importance of meaningful reporting on the human rights, social and environmental impact of projects supported by the European Investment Bank (EIB) or by export credits granted by European credit agencies; underlines the fact that financing operations carried out by these institutions should contribute to the general principles guiding Union external action, as referred to in Article 21 of the TEU;

104.    Calls on the EEAS to report on implementation of the commitments made in the EU Action Plan on Human Rights with regard to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights; regrets the lack of progress made by the Commission in answering Parliament’s request that it propose legislation requiring EU companies to ensure that their purchases do not support perpetrators of conflicts and grave human rights violations;

105.    Reminds the Commission of its commitment in September 2010 to examine the issue of forced prison labour in third countries and to review the EU response accordingly, and requests that the Commission report to Parliament on the outcome of this process; calls on the Commission to introduce legislation banning imports into the EU of goods manufactured by forced and prison labour;

Eradication of all forms of discrimination

106.    Recalls the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stating that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and are entitled to the rights and freedoms therein without distinction of any kind; stresses the importance of fighting all forms of discrimination, including those based on race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, caste, social origin, culture, age, birth, disabilities or other status; reiterates its call for the EU to combat discrimination and intolerance as a key part of its human rights policy, and to base this policy on an inclusive and comprehensive definition of non-discrimination; emphasises that respect for the rights of minorities is a crucial factor for peace, development and democracy; welcomes and further encourages EU engagement with the United Nations and regional organisations in this cause;

107.    Calls for the EU to pay particular attention to discrimination based on forms of social stratification, such as caste and analogous systems of inherited status, which have a seriously harmful and sometimes destructive impact on the prospects for equal enjoyment of human rights; considers that those countries where a caste system still exists should be urged to prohibit it and ensure that laws against the caste system are genuinely implemented;

Freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief

108.    Stresses that the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief, as encapsulated in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other international human rights instruments, is a fundamental human right, interrelated with other human rights and fundamental freedoms, encompassing the right to believe or not to believe, the freedom to practise theistic, non-theistic or atheistic belief alike, either in private or public, alone or in a community with others, and the right to adopt, change and abandon or return to a belief of one‘s choice; calls for the EU to promote the right to freedom of religion or belief within international and regional fora and in bilateral relations with third countries;

109.    Recalls that the right to conscientious objection to military service constitutes a legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and urges the EEAS and the Member States to call on countries with a system of compulsory military service to allow for an alternative service of a non-combatant or civilian character, in the public interest and not of a punitive nature, and to refrain from punishing, including through prison sentences, conscientious objectors for failure to perform military service;

110.    Condemns in the strongest terms discrimination, intolerance, violence and killings on grounds of religion or belief, wherever and to whomever they occur; is particularly concerned about the increasing attempts to resolve differences within peoples divided along religious lines by resorting to violence and persecution, as these actions constitute an impediment to long-lasting peace and reconciliation; is also concerned about the increasingly hostile attitudes of governments society at large in many countries which continue to deny minority religious or belief groups the freedom to worship or publicly express their religion or belief; notes that social hostility and attacks against religious or belief groups, which have resulted in many deaths and injuries, are on the increase, and that impunity and the lack of protection for minority religious or belief communities remain a concern;

111.    Opposes any legislation that penalises individuals for changing their religion or belief; expresses profound concern at the fact that, as a result of such legislation, individuals in certain countries face imprisonment or even the death penalty; is also concerned at the fact that those who have left or changed their religion are subjected to social hostility, such as violence and intimidation; opposes laws that penalise expressions deemed blasphemous, defamatory or insulting to religion or religious symbols, figures or feelings; states that these laws do not comply with accepted international human rights standards; condemns blasphemy law provisions in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, which allow for imprisonment and the death penalty;

112.    Welcomes recent EIDHR calls for proposals prioritising and supporting civil society actions combating discrimination on the basis of religion or belief; encourages the EU to support inclusive efforts towards intercultural and interfaith dialogue and cooperation at various levels, involving community leaders, women, youth and ethnic minority representatives, and with the aim of promoting peace building and societal cohesion; calls for the EU and the Member States to develop grant schemes for the protection and promotion of freedom of religion or belief in countries where this right is most at risk;

113.    Welcomes the EU‘s commitment to promoting the right to freedom of religion or belief within international and regional fora including the UN, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Council of Europe and other regional mechanisms; encourages the EU to continue tabling its yearly resolution on freedom of religion or belief at the UN General Assembly and supporting the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief;

The rights and empowerment of women and children

114.    Expresses its full support for the UN‘s work to uphold the rights and empowerment of women; encourages the EU to undertake a targeted campaign on the political and economic participation of women and to support initiatives against gender-based violence and feminicide; supports the implementation of the Plan of Action on Gender Equality and Women‘s Empowerment in Development; calls on the EU Delegations to introduce specific measures on the role of external assistance and development cooperation in their local strategies for the implementation of the EU Guidelines on violence against women and girls and combating all forms of discrimination against them, including forced marriages; highlights the fact that the role of the Commission and the Member States in this area, both within and outside the EU, cannot be limited to combating violence against women in all its forms, whether physical, psychological, social or financial, and that priority must be given to non-gender based education from the youngest possible age; urges the Commission and the Council to further encourage third countries to take account of women’s rights when drawing up national legislation and to ensure that all relevant provisions are duly implemented;

115.    Reaffirms its condemnation of abuse and of all forms of violence against women including domestic violence; calls, therefore, on all member states of the Council of Europe to sign and ratify the Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and on the EU to engage in the process of accession to the Convention in order to ensure consistency between EU internal and external action on violence against women; stresses the importance of conducting information and awareness campaigns in communities where female genital mutilation (FGM), sexual abuse of young girls, early and forced marriages, feminicides and other gender-based human rights violations are practised, and of involving human rights defenders already fighting for an end to these practices in the preparation and implementation of these campaigns ; encourages the EEAS and the Member States to continue to address the issue of FGM in their political and policy dialogue with partner countries where FGM is still practised;

116.    Calls for the EU to further protect reproductive rights and stresses the need to place these policies at the heart of development cooperation with third countries; strongly condemns the disgraceful practice of female genital mutilation in certain parts of Africa, honour killings, gender-based abortion and forced marriage; recalls the important conclusions reached at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo;

117.    Supports the ‘Education First‘ initiative of the UN Secretary-General, as access to education increases protection against threats to girls‘ futures, such as early marriage and pregnancy, HIV, poverty, domestic and sexual violence, and also reduces child and maternal mortality;

118.    Calls for efforts to be stepped up to ensure the fullest possible achievement, prior to the expiry of the deadlines, of the Millennium Development Goals as regards gender equality, maternal health and access to adequate health systems, education and sexual and reproductive health rights, especially for the most vulnerable groups such as girls and young women, on the basis of a solid commitment on the part of governments to enhance accountability and monitoring mechanisms for existing human rights obligations, promote access to justice for all and ensure effective participation for all, including the most marginalised and disadvantaged, in development, decision making and implementation; strongly recommends that a stand-alone goal for women’s rights and gender equality be included in the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals, with a strong emphasis on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights;

119.    Urges the EU and its Member States to ensure that the ICPD+20 review process results in a comprehensive review of all aspects related to the full enjoyment of sexual and reproductive rights and to reaffirm a strong and progressive approach to the issue of sexual and reproductive rights for all in conformity with international human rights standards, as well as calling for greater accountability as regards achievement; also calls on them, in particular, to ensure that the review process is conducted in a participatory manner and provides opportunities for the different stakeholders, including civil society as well as women, adolescents and young people to participate in a meaningful manner; recalls that the framework for such a review must be based on human rights and must have a specific focus on sexual and reproductive rights;

120.    Expresses its serious concerns regarding the issue of rape; deplores the extremely high degree of impunity with regard to rape in countries like India and Pakistan;

121.    Condemns the extended use of sexual violence and rape as a weapon of war, especially in the Great Lakes region; draws attention to the fact that gender-related crimes and crimes of sexual violence are included in the Rome Statute among war crimes, crimes against humanity or constitutive acts with respect to genocide or torture; welcomes, in this context, UN Security Council Resolution 2106 (2013) on the prevention of sexual violence in conflict, adopted on 24 June 2013, which reaffirms that the ICC plays a key role in the fight against impunity for sexual and gender-based crimes; calls on the EU to support the implementation of these principles in full; reiterates also the EU’s commitment to mainstreaming human rights and gender aspects in CSDP missions in line with the landmark UN Security Council resolutions 1325 and 1820 on women, peace and security;

122.    Calls for the EU to prioritise the fight against trafficking in human beings; stresses the need to consider both internal and external aspects when addressing human trafficking; encourages the Member States to implement the EU Directive (2011/36/EU ) and Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings 2012-2016;

123.    Calls for the universal ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child; calls on the Commission and the EEAS to take action regarding the rights of the child, with a specific focus on violence against children, specifically on the issues of forced child labour, child marriage, enlistment of children in armed groups, their disarmament, rehabilitation and subsequent reintegration, as well as placing the issue of child witchcraft on the agenda of human rights dialogues with the countries concerned; stresses the importance of prioritising children’s rights within EU external policy;

124.    Stresses the need to step up efforts to implement the Revised Implementation Strategy of the EU Guidelines on Children and Armed Conflict; encourages the EU to further deepen its cooperation with the UN Special Representative for Children Affected by Armed Conflicts; welcomes the launch in 2012 of a new funding line to support children affected by conflict through humanitarian assistance providing access to education in emergencies;

125.    Recalls its earlier recommendations on improving its own procedures in relation to human rights issues and stepping up its efforts to mainstream human rights effectively into its own structures and processes; regrets that no improvements have been made with regard to the plenary debates and resolutions on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, and their follow-up; welcomes efforts to improve cooperation on human rights issues with the national parliaments of the Member States;

126.    Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the European External Action Service, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the EU Special Representative on Human Rights, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the candidate countries, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, and the governments of the countries and territories referred to in this resolution.

(1)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2012)0503.

(2)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2012)0504.

(3)

OJ L 200, 27.7.2012, p.21.

(4)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2012)0250.

(5)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0278.

(6)

http://www.eeas.europa.eu/human_rights/docs/guidelines_en.pdf.

(7)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0394.

(8)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0055.

(9)

OJ C 59 E, 28.2.2012, p. 150.

(10)

OJ C 168 E, 14.6.2013, p. 26.

(11)

OJ C 257 E, 6.9.2013, p. 13.

(12)

OJ C 236 E, 12.8.2011, p. 69.

(13)

OJ C 33 E, 5.2.2013, p. 165.

(14)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2012)0470.

(15)

OJ C 99 E, 3.4.12, p. 31.

(16)

OJ C 99 E, 3.4.12, p. 94.

(17)

OJ C 99 E, 3.4.12, p. 101.


OPINION of the Committee on Development (6.11.2013)

for the Committee on Foreign Affairs

on the Annual Report on Human Rights in the World 2012 and the European Union’s policy on the matter

(2013/2152(INI))

Rapporteur: Mikael Gustafsson

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Development calls on the Committee on Foreign Affairs, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.  Welcomes the EU Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World in 2012, as it shows the efforts that the EU is deploying to promote the mainstreaming of human rights, gender equality, democracy and good governance in development policies and instruments;

2.  Underlines the fact that the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation has called on the international community to adopt a human rights-based approach (HRBA) to international cooperation in order to boost the effectiveness of development efforts;

3.  Calls on the Commission to conduct extensive impact assessments of EU development cooperation projects, including the impact on the human rights situation, in order to ensure that EU development efforts do not contribute to further marginalisation of groups suffering discrimination and that the EU funds are distributed fairly among different regions within a country, on the basis of their needs and level of development;

4.  Reiterates that the Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) should be accountable for the adoption of a rights-based approach in the future programming exercise;

5.  Calls for the EU to uphold the indivisibility of human rights, including those enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, in conformity with Article 21 of the Treaty on European Union (Title V, Chapter 1 – General Provisions on the Union’s External Action);

6.  Takes the view that national parliaments and civil society organisations play an important role in implementing human rights provisions effectively, and stresses that appropriate conditions should be put in place for their participation in decision making in order to promote genuine ownership of development strategy policy choices;

7.  Supports the design of a toolbox for an HRBA to development cooperation in order to define how this approach applies to EU development cooperation and to develop indicators that should be mainstreamed in human rights, gender equality and democracy policies and instruments with a view to making them mutually reinforcing; recognises the importance of ensuring that civil society organisations are actively involved in the design, implementation and evaluation of the HRBA toolbox;

8.  Calls on the EU to give high priority to respect for human rights, women’s rights and gender equality, children’s rights, good governance and democracy, the rule of the law, social, economic and environmental sustainability, the right to a decent standard of living, including food, clothing, housing, education, medical care, in particular sexual and reproductive health and rights, and social services, in the post-2015 development agenda;

9.  Strongly believes that the EU needs to strengthen its legitimacy as a promoter of human rights and democracy by putting its words into practice, and that recent tragedies, such as that of Lampedusa, which left more than 300 dead, as well as systematic discrimination against Roma, could undermine the EU’s role on human rights issues;

10. Urges the EU institutions and the Member States to take immediate action to prevent the death of migrants at sea and to review the implementation of their asylum, migration and border control policies accordingly.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

5.11.2013

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

22

3

0

Members present for the final vote

Thijs Berman, Corina Creţu, Véronique De Keyser, Nirj Deva, Leonidas Donskis, Charles Goerens, Catherine Grèze, Mikael Gustafsson, Eva Joly, Miguel Angel Martínez Martínez, Gay Mitchell, Bill Newton Dunn, Andreas Pitsillides, Jean Roatta, Birgit Schnieber-Jastram, Alf Svensson, Ivo Vajgl, Daniël van der Stoep, Anna Záborská, Iva Zanicchi

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Eduard Kukan, Isabella Lövin, Cristian Dan Preda

Substitute(s) under Rule 187(2) present for the final vote

María Muñiz De Urquiza, Bogusław Sonik


OPINION of the Committee on Womens Rights and Gender Equality (23.10.2013)

for the Committee on Foreign Affairs

on the Annual Report on Human Rights in the World 2012 and the European Union’s policy on the matter

(2013/2152(INI))

Rapporteur: Mariya Gabriel

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality calls on the Committee on Foreign Affairs, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.  Reiterates that the promotion of women’s rights should be a crucial part of human rights dialogues conducted by the EU with third countries; recognises the positive role played by the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights; encourages the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the Commission to define, in partnership with each country, the problems to be addressed simultaneously so that funds and resources can be targeted in order to better fulfil the objectives;

2.  Points out that the European Union has established a Special Representative for Human Rights and that this function should enable the EU to coordinate its action and to make it more comprehensible and visible, in order to promote human rights in the world, in particular women’s rights;

3.  Reaffirms its condemnation of abuse and all kinds of violence against women, especially the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war, and domestic violence; therefore calls on all member states of the Council of Europe to sign and ratify the Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and on the EU to engage in an accession process to the Convention in order to ensure coherence between EU internal and external action on violence against women; stresses the importance of information and awareness campaigns in communities where female genital mutilation (FGM), sexual abuse of young girls, early and forced marriages, feminicides and other gender-based human rights violations are practised, as well as of including human rights defenders already fighting for an end to these practices in the preparation and implementation of these campaigns ; encourages the EEAS and the EU Member States to continue to address the issue of FGM in their political and policy dialogue with partner countries where the practice is still perpetrated;

4.  Urges the EU to enhance its action to end sex-selective practices by addressing and effectively uprooting all fundamental causes leading to son preference cultures, by combating gendercide, which is a rising and under-reported problem in countries in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas; insists that such preventive policies should be essential elements in the EU’s approach to development cooperation;

5.  Calls on the Commission to make the issue of women’s rights central to the accession negotiations with all candidate countries, without exception;

6.  Calls on the EU and its Member States to support women’s full participation in political and economic decision-making, especially in peace-building processes, democratic transition and conflict resolution;

7.  Encourages the Member States, the Commission and the EEAS to emphasise the economic and political empowerment of women in developing countries by promoting their involvement in small and medium-sized enterprises and agriculture, their access to land and their involvement in rural development projects;

8.  Urges the Commission and Council, therefore, to further encourage third countries to take account of women’s rights when drawing up national legislation and to ensure all relevant implementation;

9.  Calls for efforts to be stepped up to ensure the fullest possible achievement, prior to the expiry of the deadlines, of the Millennium Development Goals as regards gender equality, maternal health and access to adequate health systems, education and sexual and reproductive health rights, especially for the most vulnerable groups such as girls and young women, on the basis of a solid commitment on the part of governments to enhance accountability and monitoring mechanisms for existing human rights obligations, promote access to justice for all and ensure effective participation for all, including the most marginalised and disadvantaged, in development, decision-making and implementation; strongly recommends that a standalone goal for women’s rights and gender equality be included in the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals, with a strong emphasis on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights;

10. Notes that insufficient attention is still being paid to violations of sexual and reproductive rights, and that this undermines the efforts made to act on the commitments under the Cairo Programme of Action (ICPD) and to address discrimination, including gender discrimination and inequality, in population and development strategies; stresses that progress on reproductive health has been limited in some contexts by abuses such as child marriage and early and forced marriage and failure to enforce a legal minimum age of marriage, by coercive practices such as forced sterilisation or FGM, and by the denial to women and girls of the autonomy that would enable them to make decisions about their sexual and reproductive health free of discrimination, coercion or violence;

11. Urges the EU and the Member States to ensure that the ICPD+20 review process results in a comprehensive review of all aspects related to the full enjoyment of sexual and reproductive rights and to reaffirm a strong and progressive approach to the issue of sexual and reproductive rights for all in conformity with international human rights standards, as well as calling for greater accountability as regards achievement; also calls on them, in particular, to ensure that the review process is conducted in a participatory manner and provides opportunities for the different stakeholders, including civil society as well as women, adolescents and young people to participate in a meaningful manner; recalls that the framework for such a review must be based on human rights and must have a specific focus on sexual and reproductive rights;

12. Requests that the conclusions of the EU Election Observation Missions (EOMs) always be taken into account when drawing up programmes to support women’s full and equal participation in electoral processes and in implementing the missions’ recommendations.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

21.10.2013

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

24

0

0

Members present for the final vote

Regina Bastos, Marije Cornelissen, Edite Estrela, Iratxe García Pérez, Zita Gurmai, Mikael Gustafsson, Mary Honeyball, Silvana Koch-Mehrin, Ulrike Lunacek, Elisabeth Morin-Chartier, Norica Nicolai, Antonyia Parvanova, Joanna Senyszyn, Joanna Katarzyna Skrzydlewska, Britta Thomsen, Inês Cristina Zuber

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Minodora Cliveti, Rosa Estaràs Ferragut, Mariya Gabriel, Nicole Kiil-Nielsen, Christa Klaß, Antigoni Papadopoulou, Angelika Werthmann


ANNEX I

INDIVIDUAL CASES RAISED BY THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT BETWEEN JANUARY AND DECEMBER 2012

THE SAKHAROV PRIZE 2012

 

The winner of the Sakharov Prize 2012

 

 

 

Nasrin Sotoudeh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jafar Panahi

 

 

 

Nasrin Sotoudeh and Jafar Panahi

 

 

 

Nasrin Sotoudeh, born in 1963, is an Iranian lawyer and human rights advocate. She has represented opposition activists imprisoned following Iran's disputed June 2009 presidential elections, juveniles facing the death penalty, women and prisoners of conscience. She was arrested in September 2010 on charges of spreading propaganda and conspiring to harm state security and has been held in solitary confinement. Sotoudeh has two children. She recently started a hunger strike in protest against the state's harassment of her family.

 

 

 

Jafar Panahi, born in 1960, is an Iranian film director, screenwriter and film editor. He first achieved international recognition with his film The White Balloon that won the Caméra d'Or at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival. His films often focus on the hardships faced by children, the impoverished and women in Iran. Mr Panahi was arrested in March 2010 and later sentenced to six years in jail and a 20-year ban on directing any movies or leaving the country. His latest film "This Is Not a Film" was smuggled from Iran to the 2011 Cannes Film Festival on a USB stick hidden inside a cake.

 

SHORTLISTED NOMINEES

 

BACKGROUND

 

Ales Bialiatski

 

Ales Bialiatski is a freedom fighter and human rights defender currently imprisoned by the Belarusian regime. Mr Bialiatski has been a lifelong civil society activist fighting for freedom

of thought and expression in Belarus.

 

Pussy Riot

 

Pussy Riot is Russian punk band. Three of its members - Nadezhda Andreyevna Tolokonnikova, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Maria Alyokhina - were arrested after protesting in a cathedral against Russian president Vladimir Putin. They were sentenced to two years in a labour camp.

COUNTRY

Individual

 

BACKGROUND

ACTION TAKEN BY PARLIAMENT

azerbaijan

 

 

 

Farhad Aliyev

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rafiq Aliyev

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Idrak Abbasov

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Khadija Ismaylova

 

 

 

 

 

Anar Bayramli

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ramil Dadashov

 

Vugar Gonagov

 

Zaur Guliyev

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aydin Janiyev

 

Avaz Zeynalli

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bakhtiyar Hajiyev

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vidadi Isganderov

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taleh Khasmammadov

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ramil Safarov

 

 

 

As Minister of Economic Development, Farhad Aliyev openly criticised monopolies, abuse of power by state officials, the corrupt court system and emphasized these problems as being obstacles on Azerbaijan’s state building and development processes.

On the eve of parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan, on October 19, 2005, Farhad Aliyev was detained in his office at the Ministry of Economic Development to the Ministry of National Security (MNS). After being kept there for a few hours, he was told that he was dismissed from his post and detained as a suspect with charges on coup d'état attempt.

Rafiq Aliyev, brother of Farhad Aliev is the former chief executive of Azpetrol, the country’s main petrol retailing and oil transport company. He has been facing charges of tax evasion and an attempt to smuggle cash out of Azerbaijan.

 

Both men have been held in solitary confinement since October 2005 and have been pleading innocent on all counts. They have been detained without trial for longer than is allowed under Azerbaijan’s criminal code.

Even though the European Court of Human Rights has ruled on violations of the European Convention on Human Rights during their arrest, Farhad and Rafiq Aliyev remained imprisoned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Azerbaijani journalist who works for the newspaper Zerkalo, one of Azerbaijan's few newspapers not controlled by the government of President Aliyev. Known for his reporting on forced evictions in Baku, Abbasov was badly beaten in 2012, allegedly by SOCAR security personnel.

The journalist Khadija Ismayilova from Baku is one of the most important investigative journalists in Azerbaijan. In various newspapers and radio shows she talks about corruption, abuse of power and human rights violations in the country.

Anar Bayramli is an Azerbaijani journalist for Iran's Fars News Agency and Sahar television station. In June 2012, an Azerbaijan court sentenced him to two years' imprisonment on a charge of drug possession. Bayramli's family and several human rights organizations have described the charges as politically motivated. Bayramli's arrest came in a year of growing tension between Azerbaijan and Iran.

 

 

Vugar Gonagov, executive director and Zaur Guliyev, editor in chief of Khayal TV were arrested on March 13, 2012 on the charge of organising mass disorder. They were both convicted to a three year suspended sentence by the Khachmaz District Court in northeastern Azerbaijan on March 15.

 

 

 

Zeynalli, Khural newspaper editor-in-chiefwho has been in detention since October 2011 and accused of politically motivated charges of extortion, tax evasion and failure to implement a court decision. The charges were based on Member of Parliament Gular Ahmadova’s claims that Zeynalli attempted to blackmail her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bakhtiyar Hajiyev is an Azerbaijani activist and blogger. On 4 March 2011, Hajiyev was questioned by police about Facebook activity related to an upcoming anti-government protest, scheduled for 11 March. Later in the day, he was arrested on charges of having disobeyed a police order not to leave the city of Ganja while charges that he had evaded military service were being investigated.

Isgandarov stood unsuccessfully for office in the 2010 Azerbaijani parliamentary election. In November 2010, the government of Azerbaijan opened a criminal investigation of Isgandarov for "prevention of voting rights by threatening, using force" and "interfering or influencing the work of the election commissions by threatening, using force or threatening to use force". The charges were later dropped due to lack of evidence, but were reinstated in May 2011, one month after Isgandarov was arrested at an anti-government rally on 17 April. After the rally, he was sentenced to fifteen days' administrative imprisonment for an "attempt to hold protest action". A new arrest warrant was issued for Isganadarov on 3 May 2011, one day after he was scheduled to be released from detention.[5] On 27 August, Isganadarov was sentenced to three years' imprisonment for the vote-tampering charges.

 

 

The activist, Bakhtiar Hajiyev, had been imprisoned after using social media to promote peaceful demonstrations.

 

 

 

Ramil Safarov was a convicted officer of the Azerbaijani army who, while participating as a lieutenant in a NATO-sponsored course of studies in Budapest in 2004 killed a fellow attendee, Armenian Army lieutenant Gurgen Margaryan, in his sleep with an axe. In 2006, Safarov was sentenced to life imprisonment in Hungary with a minimum incarceration period of 30 years. After his request under the Strasbourg convention, he was extradited on August 31, 2012 to Azerbaijan where he was greeted as a hero, pardoned by Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev despite contrary assurances made to Hungary, promoted to the rank of major and given an apartment and over eight years of back pay.

 

 

 

 

A letter of concern was sent on 27 April 2012.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In its resolution adopted on 24 May 2012, the European Parliament:

 

- Condemns the brutal beating of Idrak Abbasov, journalist for the ‘Zerkalo’ newspaper and the ‘Institute for the Freedom and Safety of Reporters’

- Condemns the campaign of blackmail and intimidation carried out against the investigative journalist Khadija Ismaylova due to her investigations into the alleged business interests of President Aliyev's family

- Takes note of the ongoing investigations launched by the Azerbaijani authorities into the attacks on the journalists; calls on the authorities to ensure effective investigation of these incidents and prosecution of the perpetrators of these attacks

-  Calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to allow peaceful protests and to prohibit police interference in the work of journalists covering demonstrations

- Condemns the harassment, intimidation, and violence against journalists and others peacefully expressing their opinions; calls on the authorities to immediately release from prison or pre-trial detention those detained on politically motivated charges, including six journalists – Anar Bayramli, Ramil Dadashov, Vugar Gonagov, Zaur Guliyev, Aydin Janiyev and Avaz Zeynalli – ,social media activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev, lawyer and NGO leader Vidadi Isganderov, human rights activist and lawyer Taleh Khasmammadov, and activists imprisoned on various politically motivated charges relating to peaceful protests in April 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In its resolution adopted on 13 September 2012, the European Parliament:

- Deplores the decision by the President of Azerbaijan to pardon Ramil Safarov, a convicted murderer sentenced by the courts of a Member State of the European Union; regards that decision as a gesture which could contribute to further escalation of the tensions between two countries, and which is exacerbating feelings of injustice and deepening the divide between those countries, and is further concerned that this act is jeopardising all peaceful reconciliation processes within the societies concerned and may undermine the possible future development of peaceful people-to-people contact in the region;

- Considers the presidential pardon granted to Mr Safarov as a violation of the diplomatic assurances given to the Hungarian authorities in Azerbaijan's request for transfer on the basis of on the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons;

- Deplores the hero's welcome accorded to Mr Safarov in Azerbaijan and the decision to promote him to the rank of major and pay him eight years' back salary upon his arrival, and is concerned about the example this sets for future generations and about the promotion and recognition he has received from the Azerbaijani state;

bahrain

 

 

Abdulhadi al-Khawaja

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mahdi Abu Dheeb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nabeel Rajab

 

 

 

 

Abdulhadi Abdulla Hubail al-Khawaja is one of the most prominent Bahraini human rights activists. He is former president and co-founder of the Bahrain Human Rights Centre, a nonprofit non-governmental organisation which works to promote human rights in Bahrain. He has held a number of positions and played various roles in regional and international human rights organizations.

On 9 April 2011, al-Khawaja was arrested and tried as part of a campaign of repression by the Bahraini authorities following pro-democracy protests in the Bahraini uprising. Front Line Defenders expressed fear for his life following allegations of torture and sexual assault in detention. Al-Khawaja was sentenced on 22 June 2011, along with eight other activists, to life imprisonment. On 8 February 2012, he started an open-ended hunger strike until "freedom or death", protesting continuing detentions in Bahrain. The strike lasted for 110 days, and resulted in his being force-fed by authorities.

 

Due to his role in the Bahraini uprising, Mahdi Abu Dheeb, founder and leader of Bahrain Teachers' Association, was arrested, brutally tortured, and sentenced to 10 years in prison. His sentence was later reduced to five years by an appeals court. Amnesty International designated him a prisoner of conscience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The director of the Bahrain Human Rights Centre, a nonprofit non-governmental organisation which works to promote human rights in Bahrain. Mr Rajab, who is a highly respected human rights defender, was arrested on the evening of 5 May after he landed at Bahrain International Airport.

 

Mr Nabeel Rajab has been detained solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression as enshrined in the UN Convention on Civic and Political Rights, which has been ratified by the Kingdom of Bahrain.

 

 

 

In its resolution adopted on 15 March 2012, the European Parliament:

- Reiterates its call for the immediate and unconditional release of all peaceful demonstrators, political activists, human rights defenders, doctors and paramedics, bloggers and journalists, in particular Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, and Mahdi Abu Dheeb, President of the Bahrain Teachers' Association, who have been detained or convicted for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly or complying with their professional obligations;

- Stresses that demonstrators have expressed their legitimate democratic aspirations and urges the Bahraini authorities to achieve the process of reconciliation within an inclusive and constructive dialogue, which is essential for the democratic stability of Bahrain's diverse society, in which the rights of each citizen should be equally guaranteed both by the letter of the law and in practice

- Urges the Bahraini authorities to conduct thorough, impartial and independent investigations into the human rights violations by the police and security forces and as a result of the military presence in Bahrain during and after the pro-democracy protests against peaceful protestors and citizens, to ensure accountability and prevent impunity for those responsible, regardless of position or rank, and to adopt measures to deter future human rights violations.

 

 

A letter of concern was sent on 24 May 2012.

 

BELARUS

 

Dzmitry Kanavalau Uladzislau Kavalyou

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ales Bialiatski

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mikalai Statkevich

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andrei Sannikau

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pavel Seviarynets

 

 

 

 

 

Dzmitry Bandarenka

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Syarhey Kavalenka

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andrzej Poczobut

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mykola Statkevych

 

 

The Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus sentenced Dzmitry Kanavalau and Uladzislau Kavalyou to death for committing terrorist attacks in 2005 in Vitebsk, in 2008 in Minsk, and in the Minsk metro in April of 2011. These court orders follow unfair trials which disregarded the rule of law.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ales Bialiatski is a Belarusian political activist known for his work with Viasna Human Rights Centre, of which he is currently the head. He is the vice president of the International Federation for Human Rights. Bialiatski has received the Homo Homini Award and the Per Anger Prize for his efforts in promoting human rights and democracy. He was arrested by Belarusian authorities on tax evasion charges in 2011.

 

 

In 2010 Mikola Statkevich was one of many democratic candidates at the presidential election. After the crackdown of the opposition demonstration he was arrested and put in prison. On 26 May 2011, he was sentenced to 6 years in a medium security penal colony.

 

 

Andrei Sannikau was a candidate at the 2010 presidential election in Belarus, and had the second highest percentage of the popular votes after incumbent Alexander Lukashenko. He was incarcerated in a Minsk KGB facility for peacefully protesting at a demonstration after the elections, and faced up to a 15-year imprisonment

 

 

Co-head of the Belarusian Christian Democracy party Pavel Seviatynets, was arrested for participating in the rally on December 19, 2010 in Minsk.

 

Dzmitry is a civil activist and  member of the Belarusian Association of Journalists. He was an active member of Andrei Sannikov’s campaign team in the 2010 elections. Dzmitry was arrested on 20 December 2010 at his apartment and taken into custody at the KGB pre-trial prison

Belarusian opposition activist, in January 2010, Kavalenka was sentenced to three years of "limited freedom" for "the illegal hanging of the banned Belarusian national flag" in a public place.

 

 

 

A correspondent for the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, Poczobut has been arrested more than a dozen times by the government of Belarus. In 2011, he was sentenced to a fine and fifteen days in prison for "participation in the unsanctioned protest rally" following the 2010 presidential election. In 2011 and 2012, he was arrested and detained for allegedly libeling President Alexander Lukashenko in his reports.

 

 

In 2010 Mikola Statkevich was one of many democratic candidates at the presidential election. After the crackdown of the opposition demonstration he was arrested and put in prison. On 26 May 2011, he was sentenced to 6 years in a medium security penal colony.

 

 

A letter of concern was sent on 26 January 2012 echoing the plenary declaration of the President of the European Parliament on 24 January 2012.

 

A second letter of concern was sent on 07 February 2012.

 

In its resolution adopted on 16 February 2012 the European Parliament:

 

- Condemns the death sentences handed down to Mr Kavalyou and Mr Kanavalau and urges Alyaksandr Lukashenka to pardon both men and establish moratorium on all death

sentences and executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty from the penal system by ratifying the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in compliance with international standards;

 

- Calls on the competent authorities in Belarus to carry out a full, fair and impartial

investigation of the allegations made in this context and to provide true justice for the

victims of the heinous acts of terrorism in question.

 

 

 

In its resolution adopted on 29 March 2012 the European Parliament:

 

- Condemns the continuous persecution of human rights defenders and members of the democratic opposition and the harassment of civil society activists and the independent media in Belarus for political reasons;

- Demands the unconditional and immediate release of all political prisoners; reiterates that there cannot be any progress in the EU-Belarus dialogue without progress by Belarus in terms of democracy, human rights and rule of law and until all political prisoners, including Ales Bialiatski, Chair of the Human Rights Centre ‘Viasna’ and Vice-President of the FIDH, two ex-presidential candidates Mikalai Statkevich and Andrei Sannikau, heads of the presidential campaigns of democratic opposition candidates Pavel Seviarynets and Dzmitry Bandarenka, and Syarhey Kavalenka, a political prisoner detained for an alleged breach of house arrest, who has been on a prolonged hunger strike, which has led to a critical deterioration in his health and directly threatens his life, are unconditionally released and their civil rights are fully rehabilitated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In its resolution adopted on 5 July 2012, the European Parliament:

- Strongly condemns the recent arrest of, and allegations against, Andrzej Poczobut, a journalist for the Polish daily ‘Gazeta Wyborcza’;

- Welcomes the release of Mr Poczobut from custody, and demands that the investigation and all the charges against him be dropped;

- Expresses its deep concern over the deteriorating situation of human rights defenders in Belarus, and condemns all threats against journalists and individuals making use of their right of freedom of expression;

- Calls for the end of judicial harassment of journalists, civil society activists and human rights defenders; calls on the Belarusian authorities to reverse their current repressive policies;

- Considers the transfer of Mykola Statkevych to solitary confinement to be an act of repression and an attempt to force him to sign a request for clemency; calls, therefore, on the Commission and the EEAS to intervene in his case

Burma/myanmar

 

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

 

 

Leader of the oposition in Burma/Myanmar, the Sakharov Prize winner from 1990 could not be officially be presented with the prize. She was detained under house arrest for almost 15 years.

 

 

In its resolution adopted on 20 April 2012, the European Parliament:

 

- Expresses its great respect for the long struggle over decades of opposition leader and Sakharov Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, congratulates her on her party's victory in the April by-elections and applauds her courage and tenacity as an example of selfless courage and struggle for freedom and democracy in the face of tyranny

-  Welcomes the mutual rapprochement between President U Thein Sein and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and the dialogue between the government and opposition

 

Cambodia

 

 

Sam Rainsy

 

 

A Camobian politician, in October 2009, Rainsy led local residents at the Cambodia-Vietnam border in a protest against alleged Vietnamese encroachment on Cambodian territory. On October 25, Rainsy was charged with racial incitement and destruction of property, and the Cambodian parliament stripped Rainsy of his immunity from prosecution in November. On January 1, 2010, the Svay Rieng provincial court issued an arrest warrant for Rainsy after he failed to appear in court. Rainsy had fled the country at this point and was residing in France in self-imposed exile. In September 2010, Rainsy was tried in absentia and sentenced to 10 years in prison for charges widely believed to be politically motivated.

 

 

In its resolution adopted on 26 October 2012, the European Parliament:

- Is concerned about the situation of Sam Rainsy, the leader of the Sam Rainsy Party, who has been convicted on charges that are allegedly politically motivated; urges the Cambodian Government and opposition parties to work towards reconciliation in order to enable the opposition to play a full role in Cambodian politics and in the forthcoming elections

CHINA

 

 

Feng Jianmei

 

 

 

In Shanxi Province, Feng Jianmei was forced to abort at seven months of pregnancy on June 3, 2012. According to a report by a China-based human rights organization, the woman, Feng Jianmei, was beaten and dragged into a vehicle by a group of Family Planning Officials while her husband, Deng Jiyuan, was out working.  The officials asked for 40,000-yuan fine for breaking birth-control rules from Feng Jianmei’s family.  When they did not receive the money, they forcibly aborted Feng at seven months, laying the body of her aborted baby next to her in the bed. 

 

 

 

 

In its resolution adopted on 5 July 2012, the European Parliament:

- Strongly emphasises that, according to the International Conference on Population and Development Plan of Action, the aim of family planning programmes must be to enable couples and individuals to make free, responsible and informed decisions about childbearing and to make available a full range of safe, effective and acceptable methods of family planning of their choice, and any form of coercion has no part to play;

- Strongly condemns the decision to force Ms Feng to have an abortion and condemns the practice of forced abortions and sterilisations globally, especially in the context of the one-child policy;

THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

 

Dr Denis Mukwege

 

 

 

 

Renowned Congolese doctor, Denis Mukwege, has been for a long time now a saviour for the victims of sexual violence in his native country. His hospital has become a refuge for thousands of women. Dr. Mukwege acknowledged that his patients often suffer in silence and he has become a voice for them. He travels around the world –often at his own expense– to tell their stories and raise awareness about the use of rape as a weapon of war. He has been awarded by the United Nations with the 2008 prize for human rights for his tireless work at Panzi hospital. Dr. Mukwege was also named “African of the Year” by a Nigerian newspaper and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize twice.

 

 

 

 

 

In its resolution adopted on 13 December 2012, the European Parliament:

 

- Condemns the attempt to assassinate Dr Mukwege and calls for an independent judicial inquiry to shed light on this attack, which caused the death of his bodyguard;

- Considers it vital to conduct an impartial, in-depth investigation into all past and present cases of human rights violations, and calls on all states in the Great Lakes region to place efforts to put an end to impunity at the heart of the process of improving the rule of law;

Iran

 

Hadi Rashedi, Hashem Shaabani(nejad), Mohammad-Ali Amouri(nejad), Seyed Mokhtar, and Seyed Jaber Alboshokeh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Narges Mohammadi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sattar Beheshti

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nasrin Sotoudeh

Jafar Panahi

 

 

Members of the Iran's ethnic Arab minority, Hadi Rashedi, Hashem Shaabani(nejad), Mohammad-Ali Amouri(nejad), Seyed Mokhtar, and Seyed Jaber Alboshokeh were arrested in February 2011 and convicted in July 2012 of "enmity with God", "corruption on earth" and "acting against national security." They were sentenced to death sentences following closed trials in Iran's revolutionary court in Khuzestan. Since then, the five have been frequently taken from their cells and held for days at secret prisons run by the intelligence services, where they have been tortured.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accounts from several reliable sources indicated in April 2012 that Ms Narges Mohammadi, a highly respected journalist and human rights defender, has been placed in the Evin prison to finish a six-year sentence despite credible reports of her deteriorating health.

 

Ms Mohammadi and 30 students have been imprisoned at the same time solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression

 

 

 

 

Sattar Beheshti was an Iranian blogger who died in early November 2012 several days after being arrested by the Iranian Cyber Police unit for criticizing the government of the Islamic Republic on Facebook and after making a signed complaint of being tortured while in custody. His reported death has drawn international condemnation and led to the dismissal of the commander of Iran's cybercrimes police unit.

 

 

 

 

Prisoners of conscience, Sakharov Laureates 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

In its resolution adopted on 14 June 2012, the European Parliament:

 

- Calls on the Iranian authorities to ensure that the arrested members of Iran's Ahwazi Arab minority – Mohammad Ali Amouri, Rahman Asakereh, Hashem Sha'bani Amouri, Hadi Rashidi, Sayed Jaber Alboshoka and Sayed Mokhtar Alboshoka – are tried in accordance with international fair-trial standards, with due protection from torture and other ill-treatment, and without recourse to the death penalty

- Urges the Iranian authorities to release all activists who are currently imprisoned for their peaceful advocacy of minority rights

- Calls on the Iranian authorities to respect the right of ethnic minorities to use their own languages, in private and public, and in particular to guarantee education in minority languages, in accordance with the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran

A letter of concern was also sent on 12 October 2012.

 

 

A letter of concern was sent on 24 May 2012.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In its resolution adopted on 22 November 2012, the European Parliament:

 

-  Is deeply concerned about the death in prison of Sattar Beheshti; urges the Iranian authorities to conduct a thorough enquiry into the case, in order to establish the exact circumstances of his death

- Is deeply concerned by the reports indicating that Sattar Beheshti was tortured in prison

-  Deeply deplores the lack of fairness and transparency of the judicial process and the denial of due-process rights in Iran; calls on the Iranian authorities to guarantee a stringent respect of fair trial and due process to all detainees, as stipulated in the ICCPR

- Urges the Iranian authorities to release all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, including Nasrin Sotoudeh, co-Sakharov Prize winner together with Jafar Panahi, and to allow them to come to the European Parliament in December 2012 to collect their prizes; expresses its concern about the deteriorating health condition of Nasrin Sotoudeh; calls on Iran's judiciary and prison authorities to end the mistreatment of Nasrin Sotoudeh; expresses its sympathy and full solidarity with the requests of Nasrin Sotoudeh; calls on Iran's authorities to allow all prisoners access to lawyers of their choice, necessary medical care and family visits, to which they are entitled under international human rights law, and to treat them with dignity and respect

MAURITANIA

 

Biram Ould Abeid

 

 

Biram Ould Abeid and 6 other people, members of the Initiative pour la Résurgence du Mouvement Abolitionniste en Mauritanie – IRA (Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement in Mauritania), an organisation working for the eradication of slavery in Mauritania, were arrested with violence on 29 April and detained, after they had set fire to Maliki legal writings which they consider to be a legitimization of the practice of slavery.

 

The charges brought against the IRA members - which included terrorism and apostasy in the case of Mr Biram Ould Abeid - carried extremely severe punishments, including the death penalty.

 

In September 2012, human rights defender Biram Ould Dah Ould Abeid and his colleagues were released on bail.

 

 

 

 

A letter of concern was sent on 30 August 2012.

NiGERIA

 

Osmond Ugwu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raphael Elobuike

 

 

Nigerian trade union leader Osmond Ugwu was detained in October 2011 and imprisoned for three months on trumped-up charges.

The arrest, which happened during a prayer meeting about ongoing labour negotiations in the south-eastern city of Enugu, was sudden and brutal.

Ugwu spent the first two days in police detention without any food or water, in agony from the injuries he sustained to his legs, back, waist and hands.

Together with fellow union member Raphael Elobuike, Ugwu was charged with attempted murder and assault, in an apparent bid by the police and prosecution to silence the activists.

 

Neither the police nor the state prosecutors have presented any evidence against the two on the attempted murder charge, and the assault charge was based on the claim by the police that Ugwu held on to a police officer’s uniform and tore it while he was being dragged away.

In its resolution adopted 15 March 2012, the European Parliament:

 

- Calls on the government to release labour union leader Osmond Ugwu and union member Raphael Elobuike due to the lack of evidence in the prosecution's case against them

 

Kazkhstan

 

Vladimir Kozlov

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Igor Vinyavskiy

 

 

 

Leader of the unregistered Alga party and a vocal critic of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Vladimir Kozlov was convicted to seven and a half years of imprisonment for inciting unrest in Zhanaozen in december 2011, when government troops killed 15 after a labor strike.

 

Journalist and editor for Vzglyad. He was arrested on 23 January 2012 for allegedly distributing leaflets demanding an insurrection and imprisoned, seen as a threat to national security by the government. The government indicted him for "making public calls through mass media to violently overthrow Kazakhstan's constitutional regime", in connection with pamphlets distributed two years earlier by people whose connection with Vinyavsky has yet to be established. On 15 March the Kazakh government was criticized by the European Parliament for his detainment (see resolution in next column); he was released later that day.

 

 

 

In its resolution adopted 15 March 2012, the European Parliament:

 

-  Expresses its indignation at the incarceration of opposition leaders and journalists since January 2012, and calls on the Kazakh authorities to end the clampdown on the opposition and the independent media in the country and release all persons incarcerated on political grounds, including the leader of the Alga party Vladimir Kozlov and the editor-in-chief of the Vzglyad newspaper Igor Vinyavskiy, as well as all persons mentioned in recent EU statements in the OSCE Permanent Council who are still in detention; calls for Mr Kozlov to be given access to his immediate family, including his wife, and for an independent assessment of his medical condition; welcomes the release of Natalya Sokolova, lawyer for the Karazhanbasmunai oil company's labour unions, who was previously sentenced to six years in prison, now reduced to a three-year probation; regrets nevertheless that Ms Sokolova is still prohibited from participating in trade union activities during her probation.

 

KUWAIT

 

Hamad al-Naqi

 

 

 

A member of Kuwait’s Shi’a Muslim minority accused of blasphemy, he was arrested on 27 March and taken to Kuwait Central Prison. A case was brought against him with Dowaem al-Mowazry as a civil plaintiff, who called for al-Naqi to be executed as an example to blasphemers. The letter of concern was sent when a few members of the National Assembly of Kuwait called for capital punishment for blasphemy.

 

In June 2012 Hamad Al-Naqi was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment for charges pertaining to provoking sectarian tensions and blasphemous tweets against the prophet Mohammed.

 

 

A letter of concern was sent on 08 May 2012.

pakistan

 

Malala Yousafzai

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On 9 October 2012 Malala Yousafzai, a 14-year-old girl from the Swat Valley, was singled out in the school bus on her way home, shot in the head and neck and severely wounded, while two other girls also sustained wounds in the attack. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have claimed responsibility for the attack and issued a statement after the attacks, claiming it was obligatory to kill anyone leading a campaign against Islamic law and announcing that the movement would attempt to kill Yousafzai again if she recovers from her injuries. The security forces have reacted by arresting many suspects of the crime, and the Pakistani Parliament has debated a motion condemning the attack, which has, however, met with resistance from the main opposition party, the Pakistan Muslim League-N.

Malala Yousafzai had become a national symbol of resistance against the Taliban’s efforts to deprive girls of an education through blogs she wrote since the age of 11, receiving in December 2011 the National Youth Peace Prize, which has been renamed in her honour the National Malala Peace Price.

In Pakistan and many other Muslim countries protests have taken place in admiration of and solidarity with Malala Yousafzai and in condemnation of the brutal attack by the Taliban.

 

 

 

In its resolution adopted on 26 October 2012, the European Parliament:

 

- Strongly condemns the violent attack on Malala Yousafzai and the serious injuries inflicted on two of her classmates

 

- Calls on the Government of Pakistan to ensure the safety of Malala Yousafzai and her family and to bring to justice those responsible for the assault

 

- Calls on the Government of Pakistan to ensure the safety of other human rights activists – particularly women and girls who become active in society and politics – who have received threats from the Taliban and other extremist groups

 

- Urges the Pakistani authorities to prosecute those individuals and groups inciting violence, in particular those calling for the killing of individuals and groups with whom they disagree

RUSSIA

 

Elena Milashina

Ella Asoyan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taisia Osipova

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alexei Navalny

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boris Nemtsov

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sergey Udalcov

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Ekaterina Samutsevitch

 

 

In the early morning of April 5, 2012, Elena Milashina,a prominent journalist and human rights defender was attacked by two unknown assailants in the Balashika neighborhood of Moscow, along with friend Ella Asoyan who was visiting her in Moscow.

After the brutal murder of Anna Politkovskaya, Novaya Gazeta’s star correspondent, in 2006, Milashina picked up her mantle, reporting on human rights abuses in Russia’s turbulent North Caucasus region, including Chechnya. When Natalia Estemirova, a leading Chechen human rights defender and Milashina’s close collaborator, was brazenly murdered in July 2009, she started an independent investigation into the killing. Novaya Gazeta did not exclude the possibility that the attack on Milashina was linked to her professional activity.

 

Taisiya Osipova is a Russian opposition activist from the unregistered National Bolshevik Party and "The Other Russia" party. She is the wife of opposition activist Sergei Fomchenkov. In 2011 Osipova was sentenced by the Russian courts to 10 years in prison for possession of heroin. In 2012 the sentence was reduced to 8 years in a retrial ordered by a higher court, after President Dmitry Medvedev had called her original sentence "too harsh". Osipova claims the heroin had been planted in a police raid. Mikhail Fedotov, head of Russia's council on human rights, has called the verdict a "legal mistake".

 

Alexei Anatolievich Navalny is a Russian lawyer, political and financial activist, and politician. Since 2009, he has gained prominence in Russia, and in the Russian and international media, as a critic of corruption and of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He has organized large-scale demonstrations promoting democracy and attacking political corruption, Putin, and Putin's political allies; and has run for political office on the same platform. In 2012, The Wall Street Journal described him as "the man Vladimir Putin fears most."

 

 

Boris Efimovich Nemtsov is a Russian statesman and liberal politician. He was a Minister of fuel and energy (1997), Vice Premier of Russia and Security Council member from 1997 to 1998. After a split in the Union of Right Forces in 2008, he co-founded Solidarnost. In 2010, he co-formed coalition For Russia without Lawlessness and Corruption (was refused in registration as party). Since 2012 Nemtsov has been co-chair of Republican Party of Russia – People's Freedom Party (RPR-PARNAS), a registered political party.

 

Sergei Udalcov is a Russian political activist and leader of the Left Front movement. In 2011 and 2012, he helped lead a series of protests against Vladimir Putin.

 

 

 

Pussy Riot is Russian punk band. Three of its members - Nadezhda Andreyevna Tolokonnikova, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Maria Alyokhina - were arrested after protesting in a cathedral against Russian president Vladimir Putin. They were sentenced to two years in a labour camp.

 

 

A letter of concern was sent on 05 May 2012.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In its resolution adopted on 13 September 2012, the European Parliament:

 

-  Expresses its deep concern regarding other politically motivated trials, in particular the criminal prosecution of scientists accused of espionage for cooperating with foreign scientific institutions, the conviction of opposition activist Taisia Osipova to eight years of penal colony in a trial referred to as politically motivated, using dubious and possibly fabricated evidence and not meeting the standards of a fair trial, the detention of, and politically motivated criminal charges against, more than a dozen participants in the protest demonstration in Moscow on 6 May who were wrongly accused in connection with the alleged ‘mass riots’, and the criminal investigation into opposition activists, such as Alexei Navalny, Boris Nemtsov and Sergey Udalcov;

- Expresses its deep disappointment with the verdict and the disproportionate sentence issued by the Khamovnichesky District Court in Russia in the case of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Ekaterina Samutsevitch, members of the punk band ‘Pussy Riot’;

 

Saudi Arabia

 

 

Hamzi Kashgari

 

 

A Saudi poet and a former columnist for the Saudi daily newspaper al-Bilad , he became the subject of a controversy after he had posted a series of poetic tweets, sharing an imaginary conversation he was having with the Prophet Mohammed. The tweets were deemed blasphemous, prompting a severe backlash, with over 30,000 responses and a Facebook page calling for his execution.

Kashgari deleted the tweets, apologising repeatedly, but to no avail. He fled to Malaysia, with the intention of seeking asylum in New Zealand, but was deported home, where he faced charges of apostasy, which is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A letter of concern was sent on 16 February 2012 echoing the plenary declaration of the President of the European Parliament on 13 February 2012.

 

SyriA

 

 

Mazen Darwish

Dr Mohamad Osama Al-Baroudi

Dr Mahmoud Al-Refaai

 

 

 

 

 

Director of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression, Mazen Darwish' arrest and detention were in clear violation of international law.

 

Dr Mohamad Osama Al-Baroudi and Dr Mahmoud Al-Refaai have been held in conditions amounting to enforced disappearance since 18 February and 16 February 2012 respectively.

 

All three were at the time of the writing of this letter prisoners of conscience and it was required therefore that they were released unconditionally, and access to their families and lawyers be granted by the Syrian authorities.

 

 

 

 

A letter of concern was sent on 24 May 2012.

UKRAINE

 

Yulia Tymoshenko

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yuri Lutsenko

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Valery Ivashchenko

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Former Prime Minister of Ukraine. She was charged of abuse of power in connection with the conclusion of gas contracts in 2009. The Prosecutor General's Office in Ukraine brought charges against her on 24 May 2011 and on 11 October 2011 she was sentenced to seven years in prison.

 

 

Former high-ranking official from the Tymoshenko, Yuri Lutsenko (former Interior Minister, one of the leaders of the People's Self-Defence Party), was charged with abuse of office and misappropriation of funds and was arrested on 26 December 2010 for alleged non-cooperation with the prosecution. On 27 February 2012 Lutsenko was sentenced to four years in jail for embezzlement and abuse of office. On 7 April 2013 he was released from prison as the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych pardoned him for health reasons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Former Acting Defence Minister in Yulia Tymoshenko’s government, Valery Ivashchenko has been sentenced to 5 years imprisonment. on 12 April 2012. Valery Ivashchenko has been in detention since August 2010.  He was charged with having, in November 2009 while Acting Minister of Defence abused his position by signing a plan to sell the Feodosia Marine Engineering Works which was property of the Ministry of Defence. On 14 February, Denmark has granted him asylum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In its resolution adopted on 24 May 2012, the European Parliament:

 

- Deplores the sentencing of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko; stresses that strengthening the rule of law and an independent judiciary, as well as initiating a credible fight against corruption, are essential not only to the deepening of EU-Ukraine relations but also to the consolidation of democracy in Ukraine;

- Calls on the Ukrainian authorities to guarantee the impartiality and transparency of the cassation process in Ms Tymoshenko's case, which should take place in line with the fair and just legal standards and practices common in Europe, and demands an end to the use of selective justice targeting political and other opponents; deplores the fact that the High Specialised Court of Ukraine on Criminal and Civil Cases has postponed its ruling on the cassation appeal in Ms Tymoshenko's case against the decision of Pechersk District Court in Kyiv; notes the adjournment of the cassation hearing on the case of Yulia Tymoshenko to 26 June 2012, considers this delay regrettable, and warns against protraction of due legal process;

- Urges the Ukrainian authorities to ensure full respect for the right of all prisoners sentenced on politically motivated grounds, including Ms Tymoshenko, Mr Lutsenko and Mr Ivashchenko, to adequate medical assistance in an appropriate institution, for their right of unrestricted access to their lawyers and for the right to be visited by relatives and other people such as the EU ambassador; stresses the need for Ukraine to respect fully the legal and human rights of defendants and detainees, including the right to medical care, in line with international standards; condemns the use of force by prison guards against Yulia Timoshenko, and recalls the obligation of Ukraine to examine promptly and impartially any complaints of torture or other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment;

 

In its resolution adopted on 13 December 2012, the European Parliament:

- Makes a strong appeal to the Ukrainian authorities to find, together with the European Parliament's envoys, Aleksander Kwasniewski and Pat Cox, a reasonable and just solution to the Tymoshenko case; urges the Ukrainian Government to respect and implement the final decisions of the European Court of Human Rights on the ongoing case of Yulia Tymoshenko and Yuri Lutsenko;

- Calls on Ukraine to end the selective application of justice in Ukraine at all levels of government and to make it possible for opposition parties to participate in political life on the basis of a level playing field; calls on the authorities, in this context, to free and rehabilitate politically persecuted opponents, including Yulia Tymoshenko, Yuri Lutsenko and others.

WEST BANK and EAST JERUSALEM

 

Marwan Barghouti

 

 

 

 

 

Nabil Al-Raee

 

 

 

Marwan Barghouti is one of the most prominent Fatah leaders in the West Bank. He was arrested on April15, 2002, in Ramallah, by the Israeli authorities. He is in detention since that date.

 

 

Nabil Al Raee, the artistic director of The Freedom Theatre in Jenin, was arrested overnight on 5 June by the Israeli authorities "on suspicion of illegal activity". The Freedom Theatre is a cultural venue dedicated to the children, youth and adults of Jenin Refugee Camp and beyond and employees of the Theatre are often under harassment of the Israeli side.

 

 

 

 

In the resolution adopted on 5 July 2012, the European Parliament:

 

- Calls for an end to the administrative detention without formal charge or trial of Palestinians by Israeli authorities, for access to a fair trial for all Palestinian detainees, and for the release of Palestinian political prisoners, with special regard for members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, including Marwan Barghouti, and administrative detainees; calls also for the immediate release of Nabil Al-Raee, the artistic director of the Freedom Theatre in Jenin Refugee Camp, arrested on and detained since 6 June 2012


ANNEX II

LIST OF RESOLUTIONS

List of resolutions adopted by the European Parliament during the year 2012, and relating directly or indirectly to human rights violations in the world.

Country

Date of adoption in plenary

Resolution title

AFRICA

 

 

Africa

05.07.2012

Violence against lesbians and LGBT rights in Africa

Democratic Republic Of Congo

14.06.2012

Follow-up of the elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Democratic Republic Of Congo

13.12.2012

Situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Egypt

16.02.2012

Recent developments

Egypt

15.03.2012

Human trafficking in Sinai, in particular the case of Solomon W.

Libya

22.11.2012

Situation of migrants in Libya

Mali

20.04.2012

Situation in Mali

Sahel Region

14.06.2012

Human rights and the security situation in the Sahel Region

South Africa

13.09.2012

Massacre of striking miners

Sudan And South Sudan

14.06.2012

Sudan and South Sudan

AMERICAS

 

 

Venezuela

24.05.2012

Possible withdrawal from the Inter-American Commission in Human Rights

ASIA

 

 

Azerbaijan

24.05.2012

Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan

13.09.2012

Azerbaijan: the case of Ramil Safarov

Bahrain

15.03.2012

Human Rights violations in Bahrain

Burma/ Myanmar

20.04.2012

Situation in Burma/Myanmar

Burma

13.09.2012

Persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Burma

Burma

22.11.2012

Situation in Burma, particularly the continuing violence in Rakhine State

Cambodia

26.10.2012

Situation in Cambodia

China

05.07.2012

Forced abortion scandal in China

Israel

05.07.2012

EU policy on the West Bank and East Jerusalem

Israel

13.12.2012

Israeli governments decision to expand settlements in the West Bank

India

13.12.2012

Caste discrimination in India

Japan

16.02.2012

Death penalty in Japan

North Korea

24.05.2012

Situation of North Korean refugees

Pakistan

26.10.2012

Discrimination against girls in Pakistan, in particular the case of Malala Yousafzai

The Philippines

14.06.2012

Cases of impunity in the Philippines

The United Arab Emirates

26.10.2012

Human right situation in the United Arab Emirates

EUROPE

 

 

Belarus

16.02.2012

Death penalty in Belarus, in particular the cases of Dzmitry Kanavalau and Uladzislau Kavalyou

Belarus

29.03.2012

Belarus

Belarus

05.07.2012

Freedom of expression in Belarus, in particular the case of Andrzej Poczobut

Belarus

26.10.2012

Elections in Belarus

Georgia

26.10.2012

Elections in Georgia

Russia

16.02.2012

Situation in Russia

Russia

13.09.2012

Political use of justice in Russia

Russia

13.12.2012

New EU-Russia agreement

Ukraine

13.12.2012

Situation in Ukraine

MIDDLE EAST

 

 

Bahrain

15.03.2012

Human rights violation in Bahrain.

Iran

02.02.2012

Situation in Iran

Iran

14.06.2012

Situation of ethnic minorities in Iran

Iran

22.11.2012

Human rights in Iran, mass executions and death of blogger Sattar Beheshti

Palestine

15.03.2012

Palestine: raids by Israeli forces on Palestinian TV stations

Palestine

22.11.2012

Situation in Gaza

Syria

16.02.2012

Situation in Syria

Syria

13.09.2012

Situation in Syria

THEMATIC

 

 

Women’s Situation In War

2.02.2012

Womens situation in war

Female Genital Mutilation

14.06.2012

Female genital mutilation

UN Human Rights Council

16.02.2012

UN Human Rights Council


RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

21.11.2013

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

49

0

4

Members present for the final vote

Elmar Brok, Tarja Cronberg, Arnaud Danjean, Mário David, Michael Gahler, Marietta Giannakou, Ana Gomes, Andrzej Grzyb, Anna Ibrisagic, Liisa Jaakonsaari, Tunne Kelam, Nicole Kiil-Nielsen, Andrey Kovatchev, Paweł Robert Kowal, Eduard Kukan, Vytautas Landsbergis, Krzysztof Lisek, Marusya Lyubcheva, Francisco José Millán Mon, Alexander Mirsky, María Muñiz De Urquiza, Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck, Norica Nicolai, Raimon Obiols, Kristiina Ojuland, Justas Vincas Paleckis, Pier Antonio Panzeri, Ioan Mircea Paşcu, Alojz Peterle, Bernd Posselt, Hans-Gert Pöttering, Cristian Dan Preda, Libor Rouček, Tokia Saïfi, José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, György Schöpflin, Adrian Severin, Marek Siwiec, Davor Ivo Stier, Charles Tannock, Inese Vaidere, Nikola Vuljanić, Karim Zéribi

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Reinhard Bütikofer, Véronique De Keyser, Kinga Gál, Elisabeth Jeggle, Barbara Lochbihler, Jean Roatta, Helmut Scholz

Substitute(s) under Rule 187(2) present for the final vote

Hiltrud Breyer, Chrysoula Paliadeli, Marie-Christine Vergiat

Last updated: 2 December 2013Legal notice