Procedure : 2016/2219(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0355/2016

Texts tabled :

A8-0355/2016

Debates :

PV 13/12/2016 - 13

Votes :

PV 14/12/2016 - 9.15

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2016)0502

REPORT     
PDF 1239kWORD 175k
28 November 2016
PE 587.429v02-00 A8-0355/2016

on the Annual Report on human rights and democracy in the world and the European Union’s policy on the matter 2015

(2016/2219(INI))

Committee on Foreign Affairs

Rapporteur: Josef Weidenholzer

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

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on the Annual Report on human rights and democracy in the world and the European Union’s policy on the matter 2015

(2016/2219(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Charter of the United Nations, in force since 24 October 1945,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and other United Nations (UN) human rights treaties and instruments, in particular the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights adopted in New York on 16 December 1966,

–  having regard to the core international human rights conventions, including the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to which the EU is a party,

–  having regard to the United Nations Convention of 18 December 1979 on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)(1),

–  having regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and to the Parliament's resolution of 27 November 2014 on the 25th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child(2),

–  having regard to the International Convention of 18 December 1990 on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families(3),

–  having regard to the UN Declaration on the Right to Development(4),

–  having regard to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Outcome document of 25 September 2014 of the high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples(5),

–  having regard to the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, adopted on 25 June 1993(6),

–  having regard to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action of 1995(7) and the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) of 1994(8), and to the outcomes of their review conferences,

–  having regard to the United Nations' Paris Principles on national human rights institutions (NHRI)(9),

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–  having regard to Article 25 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights on the rights of the elderly,

–  having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights,

–  having regard to Articles 2, 3, 8, 21 and 23 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU),

–  having regard to Article 207 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to the document published by the Vice-President of the European Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) on 28 June 2016 entitled ‘Shared Vision, Common Action: A Stronger Europe – A Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy’(10),

–  having regard to the EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy, as adopted by the Foreign Affairs Council on 25 June 2012(11),

–  having regard to the Foreign Affairs Council conclusions of 8 December 2009 on promoting compliance with international humanitarian law (IHL)(12) and the updated EU Guidelines on promoting compliance with IHL(13),

–  having regard to the Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2015-2019, adopted by the Council on 20 July 2015(14),

–  having regard to the European Union’s Human Rights Guidelines,

–  having regard to the EU Guidelines on the Promotion and Protection of Freedom of Religion or Belief(15),

–  having regard to the Guidelines to Promote and Protect the Enjoyment of All Human Rights by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Persons(16), adopted by the Council on 24 June 2013,

–  having regard to the Guidelines for EP Interparliamentary Delegations on promoting human rights and democracy in their visits outside the European Union(17),

–  having regard to the EU Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World in 2015, adopted by the Council on 20 June 2016(18),

–  having regard to the Action Plan on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: Transforming the Lives of Girls and Women through EU External Relations 2016-2020 (GAPII), adopted by the Council on 26 October 2015(19),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 16 June 2016 on LGBTI equality(20) and the List of actions by the Commission to advance LGBTI equality (2016-2019)(21),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 26 May 2015 on Gender in Development(22),

–  having regard to the European Agenda on Migration of 13 May 2015(23) and the Council conclusions on migration of 20 July 2015(24), 14 September 2015(25) and 22 September 2015(26),

–  having regard to Council Decision 2015/260 of 17 February 2015 extending the mandate of the European Union Special Representative for Human Rights(27),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 5 December 2014 on the promotion and protection of children’s rights(28),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 14 May 2012 on ‘Increasing the Impact of EU Development Policy: an Agenda for Change’(29),

–  having regard to the revised EU indicators for the Comprehensive approach to the EU implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820 on women, peace and security, adopted by the Council on 20 September 2016(30),

–  having regard to the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention of 11 May 2011 on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence(31),

–  having regard to the Council Decision of 21 March 2011 on the International Criminal Court and repealing Common Position 2003/444/CFSP(32),

–  having regard to the Joint Communication from the Commission and the VP/HR on the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP)(33),

–  having regard to the Valletta Action Plan of 11-12 November 2015(34),

–  having regard to the UN Security Council Resolution of 13 October 2015 on women, peace and security implementation(35),

–  having regard to the UN Security Council Resolution of 19 June 2008 on sexual violence as war crimes(36),

–  having regard to UN Security Council Resolution of 31 October 2000 on women, peace and security(37),

–  having regard to the UN General Assembly Resolution of 18 December 2014 on the protection of migrants(38),

–  having regard to its urgency resolutions on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law,

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 September 2016 on the EU Trust Fund for Africa: the implications for development and humanitarian aid(39),

–  having regard to its resolution of 5 July 2016 on the fight against trafficking in human beings in the EU’s external relations(40),

–  having regard to its resolution of 28 April 2016 on attacks on hospitals and schools as violations of international humanitarian law(41),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 April 2016 on the situation in the Mediterranean and the need for a holistic EU approach to migration(42),

–  having regard to its resolution of 4 February 2016 on the systematic mass murder of religious minorities by the so-called ‘ISIS/Daesh’(43),

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 December 2015 on the Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2014 and the European Union’s policy on the matter(44),

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 September 2015 on migration and refugees in Europe(45),

–  having regard to its resolution of 8 October 2015 on the renewal of the EU Plan of Action on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Development(46),

–  having regard to its resolution of 8 October 2015 on the death penalty(47),

–  having regard to its resolution of 8 September 2015 on ‘human rights and technology: the impact of intrusion and surveillance systems on human rights in third countries’(48),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 March 2015 on the Annual Report from the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to the European Parliament(49),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 March 2015 on the EU's priorities for the UN Human Rights Council in 2015(50),

–  having regard to its resolution of 18 September 2014 on the situation in Iraq and Syria and the ISIS offensive, including the persecution of minorities(51),

–  having regard to its resolution of 27 February 2014 on the use of armed drones(52),

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 October 2013 on caste-based discrimination(53) and to the report of 28 January 2016 on minorities and caste-based discrimination by the UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues(54),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 June 2013 on the freedom of press and media in the world(55),

–  having regard to its resolution of 11 December 2012 on a Digital Freedom Strategy in EU Foreign Policy(56),

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 November 2011 on EU support for the ICC: facing challenges and overcoming difficulties(57),

–  having regard to its resolution of 7 July 2011 on external policies in favour of democratisation(58),

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 June 2010 on EU policies in favour of human rights defenders(59),

–  having regard to the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs): Implementing the United Nations ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ Framework, endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council in its resolution 17/4 of 6 July 2011(60),

–  having regard to the Annual Report 2015 of the European Endowment for Democracy(61),

–  having regard to Rule 52 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 (A8-0355/2016),

A.  whereas Article 21 TEU commits the EU to a Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) guided by the principles which have inspired its own creation, and which it shall seek to advance in the world: 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 and international law;

B.  whereas Article 207 TFEU requires the EU’s commercial policy to be based on the principles and objectives of the EU’s external action;

C.  whereas Article 3 TEU affirms that "in its relations with the wider world, the Union shall uphold and promote its values and interests and contribute to the protection of its citizens. It shall contribute to peace, security, the sustainable development of the Earth, solidarity and mutual respect among peoples, free and fair trade, eradication of poverty and the protection of human rights, in particular the rights of the child, as well as to the strict observance and the development of international law, including respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter";

D.  whereas respect for and the promotion and safeguarding of the indivisibility and universality of human rights are among the key aims of the EU’s foreign and security policies, as established by the human rights clause in all EU agreements with third countries;

E.  whereas respect for human rights, peace, security and development are closely linked and mutually reinforcing;

F.  whereas human rights and democracy support policies should be mainstreamed across all other EU policies with an external dimension, such as development, migration, security, counter-terrorism, neighbourhood policy, enlargement and trade, in particular through the implementation of human rights conditionalities;

G.  whereas internal and external coherence in the area of human rights is essential for the credibility of the EU’s human rights policy abroad, and whereas increased coherence between EU internal and external policies, as well as among the EU’s external policies is also an indispensable requirement for a successful and effective EU human rights and democratisation policy; whereas improved consistency should enable the EU to respond faster and more efficiently, already in the early stages of human rights violations; and whereas the challenge of coherence is particularly striking in relation to the current migration policy;

H.  whereas the values of freedom, respect for human rights and the principle of holding periodic and genuine elections are essential elements of democracy; whereas, in addition to the holding of free and fair elections, features of democratic regimes include transparent and accountable governance, respect for the rule of law, freedom of expression, respect for human rights, the existence of an independent judicial system, and respect for international law and international agreements on human rights;

I.  whereas respect for human rights is under threat worldwide, and whereas the universality of human rights is seriously being challenged by a number of authoritarian regimes; whereas there are numerous attempts worldwide to shrink the space of civil society, including in multilateral fora; and whereas the non-respect for human rights has negative consequences for the individual, for his or her relatives and for society;

J.  whereas the EU was a key player in the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which seeks to realize human rights of all;

K.  whereas a new Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2015-2019 was adopted by the Council on 20 July 2015, with a view to enabling the EU to meet these challenges through a more focused, systematic and coordinated use of its human rights instruments; whereas this Action Plan should be implemented in coherence with the Gender Action Plan 2016-2020;

L.  whereas the VP/HR has stated that human rights will be one of her overarching priorities and that she intends to use them as a compass with regard to all her relations with third countries; whereas she has also reiterated the EU’s commitment to promote human rights in all areas of foreign relations ‘without exception’;

M.  whereas the EU’s commitment to effective multilateralism, with the UN at its core, is an integral part of the Union’s external policy, based on the belief that a multilateral system founded on universal rules and values is best suited to addressing global crises, challenges and threats; whereas engaging with third countries, in all bilateral and multilateral fora, is one of the most effective tools for addressing human rights issues in third countries;

N.  whereas the regular sessions of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the appointment of Special Rapporteurs, the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism and the Special Procedures addressing either specific country situations or thematic issues all contribute to the international efforts to promote and respect human rights, democracy and the rule of law;

O.  whereas the EU considers close cooperation with civil society and human rights defenders (HRDs) in third countries to be one of its main priorities in advancing human rights and tackling human rights violations;

P.  whereas in its resolution of 22 October 2013 on local authorities and civil society: Europe's engagement in support of sustainable development(62), Parliament expresses great concern at the crackdown on civil society organisations (CSOs), stresses the importance of defining a monitoring system for the evaluation of progress in terms of policy and regulatory provisions, and calls for the promotion of an enabling environment for CSOs; whereas many countries have recently passed strict NGO legislation that declares foreign organisations undesirable when deemed a threat to their constitutional order, defence or security, and whereas only in 2015, 185 environmental human rights activists have been killed in the world, 66 % of which in Latin America;

Q.  whereas travel bans to prevent HRDs from attending international events are being used by a growing number of countries, particularly in Asia, the Middle East and Africa;

R.  whereas Articles 18 and 19 of the UDHR acknowledge that everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and freedom of opinion and expression, which includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers; whereas the number of cases of persecution relating solely to people peacefully exercising their right to freedom of opinion, worship and expression has risen sharply;

S.  whereas Article 20 of the UDHR acknowledges that everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association; whereas UN Human Rights Council Resolution 21/16 reminds States of their obligation to respect and fully protect the rights of individuals to assemble peacefully and associate freely, online as well as offline, and whereas freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief must be supported through interreligious and intercultural dialogues;

T.  whereas the basic rules of IHL and human rights are provided by the Geneva Conventions and the additional protocols, and are at the core of all humanitarian actions; whereas the protection of civilians and of displaced persons in conflict areas must be guaranteed in total neutrality and impartiality, and whereas aid independence must prevail;

U.  whereas illegal occupation of a territory is an on-going violation of international law, triggering under IHL the responsibility of the occupying power for the civilian population of that territory;

V.  whereas evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity is difficult to preserve – especially at a time of unprecedented flows of refugees fleeing violence; whereas the preservation of evidence is essential to bringing perpetrators to justice;

W.  whereas attempts to shut down the US Guantánamo Bay prison failed and only 20 detainees were released or relocated in 2015;

X.  whereas, worldwide, more and more people are fleeing from war, armed conflicts or other degrading conditions, and whereas these refugee flows and various forms of migration represent a significant challenge, both for the EU and in global terms, requiring immediate, effective and sustainable solutions in line with our common European values; whereas the humanitarian aid provided by the Commission, being the leading global donor, helps refugees and displaced people in over 30 countries;

Y.  whereas the fight against migrant smuggling, trafficking and labour exploitation necessitates both short-, medium- and long-term responses, including measures to disrupt criminal networks and to bring criminals to justice, the gathering and analysis of data, measures to protect victims and to return irregularly staying migrants, as well as cooperation with third countries, along with longer-term strategies, to address the demand for trafficked and smuggled persons and the root causes of migration that force people into the hands of criminal smugglers;

Z.  whereas justice is essential to advancing respect for human rights, and the EU and its Member States have been unconditional supporters of the International Criminal Court (ICC) since its inception, while promoting the universality of the Rome Statute and defending its integrity with the purpose of strengthening the Court’s independence;

AA.  whereas substantial progress has been made so far towards abolishing the death penalty, and whereas many countries have suspended capital punishment, while others have taken legislative measures towards this end; whereas 2015 saw a dramatic rise in the overall number of executions, of which nearly 90 %happened in just three countries, namely Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia; whereas Belarus remains the only country in Europe which has not abolished capital punishment;

AB.  whereas gender equality is at the core of European values and is enshrined within the EU’s legal and political framework, as well as being central to the UN Agenda 2030; whereas violence and discrimination against women and girls has dramatically increased in recent years, especially in war zones and under authoritarian regimes;

AC.  whereas, according to UNICEF, 250 million of children around the world are living in countries affected by conflict, and nearly 50 million children have either been forcibly displaced by violence, war and its atrocities, terrorism and insurgency, or have migrated across borders, and many continue to suffer from all forms of discrimination, violence, exploitation, abuse, forced labour, poverty and malnutrition;

AD.  whereas, according to UNICEF, 1 in 200 children in the world is a child refugee, nearly one third of the children living outside their country of birth is a refugee and the number of child refugees doubled between 2005 and 2015;

AE.  whereas Article 25 of the UDHR recognises the right of every person to a 'standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family', in which motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance, which includes medical care; whereas access to education, nutrition and healthcare should be guaranteed for all children; whereas UNHRC Resolution 26/28(36) calls for the next UNHRC Social Forum meeting to focus on access to medicines in the context of the right of everyone to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; whereas the Constitution of the WHO states that the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition;

AF.  whereas according to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, authorities must respect the rights of the child who is separated from one or both parents;

AG.  whereas violence against and unlawful prosecution of minorities, including LGBTI people, continues in many places around the world, and discrimination in health care, education, employment and other sectors is widespread;

AH.  whereas reports of violations of civil and political, economic, labour, social and cultural rights, as well as environmental damage resulting from malpractices by some private sector actors, continue to be heard from around the world; whereas there is a strong link between corruption, tax evasion, illicit capital flows and human rights violations;

AI.  whereas the UNGPs on Business and Human Rights apply to all states and to all business enterprises, whether transnational or other, regardless of their size, sector, location, ownership and structure, but whereas effective control and sanction mechanisms remain a challenge to the worldwide implementation of the UNGPs; whereas the special features of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) must be taken proper account of and integrated in a flexible corporate social responsibility (CSR) approach adapted to their potential;

AJ.  whereas in October 2015, the Commission released its new trade strategy 'Trade for All', in which it sets out its aim to use trade as a means to strengthen human rights in third countries;

AK.  whereas in 2015, the EU started working on legislation to tackle the trade in minerals that fuels conflict;

AL.  whereas national and international sporting events such as the Olympic Games and the football World Cups should not be used for political purposes, but organised in full respect of all human rights, as enshrined in the Olympic Charter, and should aim at a harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human rights and human dignity, and with no discrimination based on any grounds such as nationality, race, religion, politics, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or sex characteristics;

AM.  whereas environmental changes are undermining the most basic human rights such as access to water, natural resources and food;

Centrality of human rights in EU external policies

1.  Expresses its serious concern that the promotion and protection of human rights and democratic values are under threat worldwide, and that the universality of human rights is seriously being challenged in many parts of the world, including under authoritarian regimes as well as by terrorist groups such as Daesh;

2.  Expresses its serious concern at the numerous, ever-increasing attempts made to shrink the space of civil society and HRDs, the increasing limitations on freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, and the growing number of repressive laws affecting civil society adopted throughout the world in countries such as Russia, Turkey and China, including under the pretext of combating terrorism (through the introduction of counter-terrorism laws, emergency situations and security measures), whereas there is often a negative impact on human rights as well as frequent abuse of these laws for repression; recalls that such legislation should not, in any way, serve to shrink the space in which civil society groups are able to operate; calls for a clear condemnation of these abuses and violations;

3.  Stresses firmly that the EU is committed to a CFSP and to all other policies with an external dimension founded on the advancement 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 and international human rights and humanitarian law; reiterates that these principles are also intrinsic to external action beyond the CFSP, including development and humanitarian policies;

4.  Calls on all the EU institutions and the Member States to act on their commitments to promote democracy and the rule of law, protect and realise human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to development by all peaceful means, and to place human rights at the centre of the EU's relations with all third countries – including its strategic partners – and at all levels;

5.  Reiterates its call on the Member States to lead by example, by speaking with one voice in support of the indivisibility, interdependence, interrelation and universality of human rights and, in particular, by ratifying all international human rights instruments set up by the UN;

6.  Emphasises that, in order for the EU to be a credible actor in external relations, it should ensure increased coherence between its internal and external policies with regard to respect for human rights and democratic values (with human rights strategies on the promotion and protection of the rights of LGBTI people being crucial to this end), and it should aim towards a systematically consistent and coherent implementation of the EU’s human rights policy;

7.  Draws attention to its long-term commitment to promote human rights and advance democratic values as reflected, inter alia, in the annual award of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, in the work of the Subcommittee on Human Rights, Democracy Support and Election Observations and of the European Endowment for Democracy, in the monthly plenary debates and resolutions on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, and in the many parliamentary delegations;

8.  Is deeply concerned that many human rights defenders are under attack nowadays; calls on the EU, and the VP/HR in particular, to adopt a policy to denounce, systematically and unequivocally, the killing of HRDs and any attempt to subject them to any form of violence, persecution, threat, harassment, disappearance, imprisonment or arbitrary arrest, to condemn those who commit or tolerate such atrocities, and to step up public diplomacy in open and clear support of HRDs, also when it comes to their testimony in multilateral fora; calls on the EU to issue guidance on this policy, as this adds consistency to the EU's current priorities as set out in the various existing EU Guidelines; encourages the EU Delegations and the Member States' diplomatic representations to continue actively to support HRDs, notably by systematically monitoring trials, visiting HRDs in jail and issuing statements on individual cases, where appropriate; calls for the establishment of a system to monitor civil society space effectively and with clear benchmarks and indicators; reiterates the importance of the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) in providing urgent direct financial and material support for HRDs at risk and the emergency fund that allows the EU Delegations to give direct ad-hoc grants to defenders whose lives are under imminent threat;

9.  Calls on the EU and its Member States to encourage the establishment of national human rights institutions (NHRIs), in accordance with the United Nations' Paris Principles, with sufficient mandate, resources and expertise to fulfil the safeguarding and respect for human rights;

10.  Highlights the need to further inter-parliamentary relations between the Union and its partner countries in a framework of honest dialogue underpinned by mutual understanding and trust, with the aim of promoting human rights effectively;

EU Strategic Framework and the new Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy

11.  Welcomes the adoption of the second EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy (2015-2019), and urges the EU and its Member States to fully, consistently, transparently and in a timely manner implement the actions therein, and to strengthen democracy support; underlines that consensus and coordination between the EU and its Member States are needed for the coherent implementation of the Action Plan, and strongly encourages the Member States to take greater ownership of the implementation and review of the Action Plan; stresses that the Member States should report back on their implementation of the Action Plan;

12.  Stresses that, in order to fulfil the ambitious objectives set out in the second Action Plan, the EU must set aside sufficient resources and expertise, both in terms of dedicated human resources in delegations and at the Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS), and in terms of funds available for projects;

13.  Considers a free civil society to be one of the foundations for the protection and support of human rights and democratic values, and is therefore concerned that the public space for civil society is shrinking, and that HRDs and journalists are increasingly under attack worldwide; welcomes the inclusion in the Action Plan of an objective to address threats to civil society space, and urges the EU to implement outlined actions; encourages all parties involved in EU external action to identify and address existing gaps in the protection of human rights and democratic freedoms, and to step up cooperation with civil society, parliaments, political parties and local authorities, and with regional and international organisations on the ground; draws attention to the fact that the Action Plan does not include a separate objective on fostering democratic standards in partner countries; calls on the Commission to develop EU guidelines for democracy support;

EU Annual Report

14.  Welcomes the attempts made to improve and make the thematic part of the Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy more concise and systematic, and to make it more widely available to the general public; reiterates its belief that the Annual Report should be strengthened by a more objective approach whereby, in addition to achievements and best practices, the report would highlight very specific challenges and constraints faced in third countries, as well as make recommendations for corrective action and information of measures taken by the EEAS to overcome these challenges; reiterates its view that country reports that form part of the Annual Report should be as little descriptive as possible and should reflect the implementation of Human Rights and Democracy Country Strategies and give an overview of the impact of the EU's actions on the ground;

15.  Reiterates its call for systematic and comprehensive reporting on the steps taken, the results achieved and the political conclusions drawn from action in response to resolutions adopted by Parliament on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law; insists on the need to ensure a rapid and appropriate responses to human rights infringements, even in the early stages of such violations; welcomes, in this regard, the follow-up made by the EEAS within the Subcommittee on Human Rights on resolutions concerning debates on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law; recalls its request for a comprehensive written response from the Commission and the EEAS to Parliament's resolution on the Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy, which play an important role in a systematic and in-depth follow-up to all the points raised by Parliament, and in parliamentary scrutiny; reiterates its invitation to the VP/HR to participate in a debate with the Members of the European Parliament in two plenary sessions per year, one at the time the EU Annual Report is presented, and the other in response to Parliament's report;

EU Special Representative (EUSR) for Human Rights

16.  Recalls the importance of a stronger and more flexible mandate for the EUSR in enhancing the EU’s effectiveness, consistency and visibility in advancing human rights and democratic principles around the world; reiterates its call for this mandate to become a permanent one; considers, moreover, that the EUSR should have the right to speak publicly, and to have own-initiative powers, higher public visibility and adequate resources and expertise;

17.  Stresses the importance of systematic support for, and genuine and in-depth consultation with, civil society in preparation of the EUSR’s visits to partner countries; welcomes in this respect the EUSR's strong engagement with HRDs and civil society, including local representatives, youth and children, as well with relevant international organisations, ahead of, during and in follow-up to their visits to third countries, and stresses the importance of continued and ever-stronger engagement on these lines, as well as the need for clear and transparent follow-up mechanisms; fully supports the EUSR's focus, as a key priority during his mandate, on the promotion and protection of an open space for civil society and HRDs; calls on the EUSR regularly to report to Parliament after his visits; regrets that the work and the impact of the EUSR can only be partially accessed through a review of the Annual Report on Human Rights, his social media accounts and available speeches; regrets as well that there is no official information on his activities and plans, nor any progress reports or reviews;

18.  Encourages the EUSR to continue systematically to advocate for the EU's human rights priorities, and to enhance the EU's engagement with all relevant regional and international human rights organisations and mechanisms; calls on the Council to adopt as a general principle the practice of systematically including cooperation with the EUSR in the mandate of future geographic EUSRs;

Human Rights and Democracy Country Strategies (HRDCSs) and the role of EU Delegations

19.  Welcomes the addition of democracy to the HRDCSs as a necessary element of any comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights and democracy in partner countries;

20.  Reiterates the importance of taking into account HRDCSs at all levels of policy-making vis-à-vis third countries, including in the preparation of high-level political dialogues, Human Rights Dialogues, country strategy papers and annual action programmes;

21.  Reiterates that the HRDCSs should correspond to EU actions to be implemented in each country depending on specific situations, and should contain measurable progress indicators and the possibility to adjust them if necessary; points to the need continuously to assess HRDCSs; calls for further improvements in cooperation, communication and the exchange of information between EU Delegations, Member States' embassies and EU institutions when drawing up and implementing the HRDCSs; reiterates its demand that the Members of the European Parliament be given access to the HRDCSs and to obtain information on how the EU implements these strategies, and that these are to be presented in a format that enables the Members to fulfil their duty of scrutiny properly;

22.  Stresses the need to implement a coherent and visible EU policy on civil society, and stresses the need for a more articulated understanding of the use of public diplomacy; encourages the publication of HRDCSs and roadmaps, and the establishment of an effective feedback, follow-up on cases and the sharing of information;

23.  Welcomes the nomination of human rights and/or gender focal points in all EU Delegations, and recalls its recommendation to the VP/HR and the EEAS to develop clear operational guidelines as to the role of human rights focal points; insists that the work of the human rights focal points should also be supported by Member States' diplomatic staff; requests that the work of the human rights focal points be independent and free of political interference and harassment from national authorities of third countries, especially in their contacts with human rights activists and civil society; insists on the importance of training all EU Delegations staff on the contents of the EU Guidelines on Human Rights;

24.  Welcomes the increased budget and streamlined procedures of the EIDHR 2014-2020, and calls for the foreseen allocation to the EIDHR mid-term review to be maintained for the remainder of the current Multiannual Financial Framework period; reiterates the need for coherence and complementarity between the different EU funding instruments and the need to ensure that such reinforcement is applicable to all instruments that serve human rights;

25.  Calls for an annual adoption of EIDHR Annual Action Programmes, rather than, as most recently, a biennial one (2016-2017), to ensure maximum flexibility in response to developing situations, and optimal complementarity with the other EU External Financing Instruments;

Human Rights Dialogues and consultations

26.  Reiterates its support for dedicated Human Rights Dialogues and acknowledges that they can be an efficient and effective tool for bilateral engagement and cooperation, provided they allow counterparts to engage on issues of substance, send meaningful political messages and are result-oriented, with consistent follow up, that should go beyond merely exchanging information on best practices and challenges; invites the EU systematically to include discussions on the situation of the rights of women and children in all Human Rights Dialogues;

27.  Recognises the importance of engaging in human rights-specific dialogues also with countries with serious human rights problems; underlines, however, the need for the EU to draw clear political conclusions when these Human Rights Dialogues do not lead to positive outcomes; warns against side-lining human rights discussions in high-level political dialogues;

28.  Insists that discussions about human rights should never be subordinated to other interests in high-level political discussions; reiterates its call for the EEAS to develop a mechanism for reviewing Human Rights Dialogues, with a view to improving them; believes that, if such dialogues persistently fail, alternative tools to support the advancement of human rights in the country concerned should be used;

29.  Urges the EEAS systematically to carry out preparatory dialogues with civil society, also at local level, with the purpose of feeding directly into the Human Rights Dialogues; stresses the importance that the VP/HR and the EEAS systematically raise individual cases of HRDs during Human Rights Dialogues; calls on the EEAS systematically to follow up on the commitments made during Human Rights Dialogues and to systematise debriefing meetings with CSOs;

EU Guidelines on human rights

30.  Welcomes the EU Guidelines on human rights as a valuable EU human rights foreign policy tool providing practical guidance for EU Delegations and for the Member States’ diplomatic representations; reiterates its call for the adoption of new EU Guidelines for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of the Child without further delay;

31.  Underlines firmly the importance of a continuous assessment of the implementation of the Guidelines by using clear benchmarks; urges the Commission to conduct and publish a thorough evaluation of the implementation of the Guidelines by EU Delegations and Member States' diplomatic representations in all third countries in order to detect possible differences and gaps in implementation and remedy them; considers that, in order to ensure a proper implementation of the Guidelines, systematic and effective training is needed among EEAS and EU Delegation staff;

Fight against all forms of discrimination

32.  Condemns in the strongest terms all forms of discrimination, including those based on race, colour, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, language, culture, religion or belief, social origin, caste, birth, age, disability or any other status; reiterates its call for a strengthened EU policy and diplomacy that should aim to eradicate all forms of discrimination, and to use every opportunity to express its grave concern over such discriminations; urges, furthermore, that the EU continues to promote the ratification and full implementation of all relevant UN conventions, such as the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; welcomes the EEAS work on an anti-discrimination handbook;

Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions and operations

33.  Recalls the EU’s commitment to mainstream human rights and gender aspects in common security and defence policy missions, in line with the landmark UN Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820 on women, peace and security, and the recently adopted UN Security Council resolution 2242 making women a central component in all efforts to address global challenges; reiterates, in this context, its call on the EU and its Member States to support, in the process of building sustainable reconciliation, the systematic participation of women as a vital component of peace processes; calls, in this regard, on the EU to support, at the international level, the recognition of the added value of women’s participation in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, as well as in peacekeeping operations, humanitarian assistance and post-conflict reconstruction;

34.  Stresses that the CSDP is an instrument that not only ensures European security, but is part of the EU's foreign policy instruments and must therefore be used towards the strengthening of furthering human rights and democracy in third countries;

35.  Calls for further European military integration to improve European armed forces' readiness and flexibility, in order to allow them to respond to threats and to instances of grave violations of human rights, genocide or ethnic cleansing; stresses, in this regard, that the concept of 'Responsibility to Protect' should be consolidated into international law and that the EU, as a community of values, should lead initiatives and meaningful actions to protect civilians also when they are threatened by their own state;

36.  Stresses that migrant smuggling is linked to human trafficking and is a serious violation of human rights; points out that CSDP missions such as European Union Naval Force – Mediterranean Operation Sophia (EUNAVFOR MED) are an effective way of tackling migrant smuggling; calls on the EU to continue and step up operations of this kind;

37.  Calls on the Foreign Affairs Council and the VP/HR to request that the EU Heads of Mission and appropriate EU representatives (heads of EU Civilian Operations, Commanders of EU Military Operations and EU Special Representatives) report on cases of serious violation of IHL, and to promote the Code of Conduct regarding Security Council action against genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes, committing UN Member States to support action by the Security Council aimed at preventing or ending such crimes; calls for the integration of child safeguarding policies in the operations of all EU civilian and military operations in contact with children;

38.  Requests that the EU strengthens its cooperation with the UN in the context of formulating a common strategic vision on security on the basis of, on the one hand, the new EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy and, on the other, the UN’s revision of its peace operations and its peacebuilding architecture; insists that there be cooperation with the UN in strengthening the role and capacity of regional and sub-regional organisations in peacekeeping, conflict prevention, civilian and military crisis management, and conflict resolution, and that procedures for the use of the CSDP in support of UN operations be developed further, including through the deployment of EU battlegroups, or through capacity-building and Security Sector Reform initiatives, while human rights and gender are mainstreamed into the work of the mission and operation;

Multilateral engagement for human rights

39.  Firmly reiterates that human rights, as enshrined in UN conventions, are universal, indivisible, inter-dependent and inter-related, as agreed in the 1993 Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, and that respect for these rights must be enforced; recalls the Union’s commitment to promote and develop international law under the UN; stresses that it is important that the Member States ratify all international human rights instruments established by the UN, including those enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and, notably, the Optional Protocol establishing complaints and inquiry mechanisms, in conformity with Article 21 TEU;

40.  Underlines the need for the EU leadership to push for reforms of the UN with the goal of strengthening the impact and strength of the rules-based multilateral system, and of ensuring more efficient human rights protection and the advancement of international law; reiterates, furthermore, the importance of ensuring that the EU engages actively and consistently in UN human rights mechanisms, in particular with the Third Committee, the General Assembly (UNGA) and the UNHRC, in order to improve its credibility; supports efforts made by the EEAS, the EU Delegations in New York and Geneva, and the Member States further to increase EU coherence on human rights issues at the UN; encourages the EU to intensify the practice of cross-regional initiatives, to initiate and co-sponsor resolutions, and to closely follow the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) procedure; condemns the fact that seats on the UNHRC are often occupied by countries with proven track record of grave human rights violations, and calls on the EU Member States to publicise their UNHRC votes; calls, in this regard, on the EU and its Member States to reflect the equal importance of rights in their voting patterns, and to determine their vote on UNHRC resolutions on the basis of the substance rather than on the authors of these texts; stresses the importance of, and the need for, permanent EU representation in all multilateral forums and for stronger visibility of EU action;

41.  Calls on the EU to bear particular attention to the disputed territories of its Eastern neighbourhood, where around five million people live without real human rights protection and access to justice; calls on the EU to put this issue on top of the bilateral agenda for solutions with the concerned States and to use the full range of its instruments to support concrete solutions to advance human rights in these entities and to support the work of HRDs there;

Promoting a free space for civil society and supporting human rights defenders (HRDs)

42.  Strongly condemns any attack, intimidation, arrest, killing, harassment or repression of prosecutors, judges, lawyers, academics and journalists, or of members of any other profession whose independence and professional freedom are essential to the building of a democratic society;

43.  Regrets the increasing number of attacks against environmental and HRDs worldwide; strongly condemns impunity towards their murders and calls on the EEAS to advocate demands that those responsible be brought to justice;

44.  Strongly condemns the fact that many countries worldwide have recently passed strict NGO laws that debilitate civil society and lead to their arbitrary application, with punishments including imprisonment, the freezing of assets and access bans for NGO staff members, especially towards those receiving foreign public funds;

45.  Strongly condemns the issuing of travel bans by authorities as a tool to intimidate and silence independent voices of HRDs and activists, as well as of lawyers and journalists, and emphasises that these measures are often taken arbitrarily and without judicial grounds;

46.  Highlights the role of EU Delegations in reaffirming and promoting the crucial role civil society plays in a democracy, and in creating an enabling environment for civil society, requiring a maximum of transparency and inclusion in their cooperation with CSOs and HRDs; regrets, therefore, that, ten years after the adoption of the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders, the contact information of Human Rights Focal Points / Liaison Officers for Human Rights Defenders are still not included on the websites of all EU Delegations;

47.  Calls on the VP/HR and the EU foreign ministers to place on the agenda of the Foreign Affairs Council, on a regular basis, a discussion of EU efforts to pursue the release of HRDs, aid workers, journalists, political activists and others, and to arrange a public annual Foreign Affairs Council with an agenda that includes the shrinking space for civil society and the jailing of HRDs, as well as to address these cases with relevant counterparts on all occasions, including those raised in Parliament’s resolutions concerning debates on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law;

48.  Calls on the international community to bring political leaders to justice when they abuse police and military force in a structural way to silence protests against (the prolonging of) their leadership;

Migrants, refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons (IDPs)

49.  Expresses its solidarity with the refugees and migrants who suffer grave human rights violations in high numbers, as victims of conflicts, governance failure and trafficking networks; condemns the dramatic number of deaths at sea in the Mediterranean; is extremely concerned about the growing number of human rights abuses against refugees, irregular migrants and asylum seekers on their route to Europe; highlights the fact that women and child refugees, asylum seekers and undocumented migrants are particularly vulnerable on migrant routes and within the EU itself; calls urgently for measures to improve the coherence of the migration policies, and stresses the need for a holistic approach to find sustainable, long-term and coherent solutions, based on international human rights standards and principles while tackling the root causes of the refugee crisis; underlines the need for solidarity in order to protect migrants and refugees, in line with human rights-based EU policies; highlights, in this regard, the importance of differentiating between refugees and migrants;

50.  Underlines the fact that conflicts, wars, failures of governance and the lack of respect for human rights and democracy constitute key causes for migration and displacement; stresses that full access to free, public and quality education and healthcare services, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, and access to the labour market, and to housing that meets the needs of refugees, should be provided by host countries; emphasises that the migrants’ and refugees’ willingness to integrate, together with appropriate welfare policies, are key to integration; calls on the EU to increase efforts to support Lebanon and Jordan, which shelter unprecedented numbers of refugees, who often face multiple threats;

51.  Highlights the need to strengthen cooperation with countries of origin and transit with a view to facilitating both the structured management of migration flows and action to address the underlying causes of emigration; stresses that it is vital to combat the groups involved in migrant smuggling; points out that the EU needs to encourage the countries concerned to sign the Palermo Protocol against migrant smuggling; recalls the commitments agreed on at the Valletta summit;

52.  Stresses the urgent need to develop and introduce a comprehensive, coherent and well-coordinated Common European Asylum System, sharing the responsibility among the Member States;

53.  Calls on the EU and the Member States to establish full transparency concerning the funds allocated to third countries for cooperation on migration, and to communicate the safeguards set to ensure that such cooperation does not benefit, directly or indirectly, security, police and justice systems involved in human rights violations;

54.  Acknowledges the recent Commission proposal for a Union list of safe countries of origin, amending the Asylum Procedures Directive;

55.  Acknowledges that, in the light of the fact that, in 2014, 36 % of third country nationals who were ordered to leave the Union were effectively returned, there is a need to improve the effectiveness of the Union's return system;

56.  Considers that, in order to increase the efficiency of readmissions and to ensure the coherence of returns at a European level, it will be necessary to adopt new EU readmission agreements, which should take preference over bilateral agreements between Member States and third countries;

57.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that implementation of the Returns Directive goes hand in hand with respect for the procedures, standards and fundamental human rights which allow the EU to ensure humane and dignified treatment of returnees, in line with the principle of non-refoulement; urges the EU and the Member States to pay particular attention to asylum cases relating to possible political persecution, so as to prevent any return that could potentially entail a violation of human rights in the country of origin or a third country;

58.  Reiterates its call on the EU to ensure that all migration, cooperation and readmission agreements with non-EU states comply with international human rights, refugee law and international maritime law, as well as with EU principles and values; calls on the Member States to respect the international principle of non-refoulement, in accordance with international law; requests that monitoring mechanisms be integrated in such a way that allows the human rights impact of cooperation on migration with non-EU states, and border control measures, to be evaluated; insists that human rights need to be mainstreamed and monitored in all activities carried out by Frontex; calls on the EU actively to participate in the debate on the term "climate refugee", including its possible legal definition in international law;

59.  Calls, furthermore, for a clause to indicate that these agreements could be suspended until the parties effectively grant sufficient guarantees regarding the individual examination of asylum claims and, more generally, the respect for the human rights of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees;

60.  Recalls the need to respect the principle of non-refoulement in European and international waters, as upheld by the European Court of Human Rights and existing EU legislation; recalls the commitment to develop adequate legal and safe migration channels while better protecting the EU's external borders; calls on the EU and more developed third countries to conclude partnership agreements with other nations to facilitate family reunification and mobility for persons of all skills levels, including the least qualified;

61.  Calls on the Member States to respect and fully implement the adopted EU common asylum package and the common migration legislation, particularly to safeguard vulnerable asylum seekers such as children, women, elderly people and LGBTI people, against violence and discrimination during the asylum process, and to provide appropriate training to Member States to enable appropriate and sensible proceedings; calls on the Member States to participate in resettlement programmes, giving access to family reunification and granting humanitarian visas; stresses the importance of addressing administrative and political obstacles to a speedy implementation of relocation commitments; understands that the safe return of those who, following individual assessment of their asylum application, are not eligible for protection in the Union must be carried out;

62.  Is deeply concerned about the growing numbers of child refugees and about the situation of unaccompanied, missing or separated children; urges the Member States to make it an absolute priority swiftly to reunite unaccompanied minors with family members; stresses the importance of providing children with access to health care and education as part of EU programmes to address the root causes of migration; calls on states to end the detention of children, as well as to take into account the best interest of the child in all procedures and ensure protection for children according to international law; highlights the importance of allocating adequate resources to the protection of refugee and migrant children from violence, exploitation and abuse; calls on the Commission to ensure that unaccompanied minors do not disappear, and to design a strategy for avoiding that, in the future, unaccompanied migrant minors go missing on EU-territory and for finding the whereabouts of missing children;

63.  Recognises that during their journey and on arrival in the country where they seek asylum, LGBTI asylum seekers are often at risk of additional dangers, which can take the form of harassment, exclusion, sexual violence or other forms of violence; recalls that a number of third countries deemed 'safe' for asylum seekers discriminate against LGBTI people or even criminalise homosexuality; emphasises that vulnerable groups require additional safeguards, and calls on states to ensure that LGBTI refugees are protected as required by IHL;

64.  Highlights the importance of investing in preventive measures, namely through the development of strategies of integration and social inclusion; stresses the need to implement specific de-radicalisation and re-integration programmes targeting returnees;

65.  Draws attention to the problematic situation concerning refugees in Syria’s neighbouring states, and considers it important for the EU to do everything in its power to help ensure that refugees in these countries are guaranteed decent living conditions, and, in particular, access to healthcare, education and employment possibilities;

66.  Highlights the dramatic situation of IDPs, especially of the enormous number of IDPs in Iraq and Syria, as well as of the increasing number of IDPs in Ukraine, together totalling 1.4 million in 2015; stresses that programmes on refugees in a region need to acknowledge and incorporate the potential fate of IDPs as well; calls on the Commission, the Member States and the international community to take steps to improve their situation on the ground and to ensure that displaced persons have access to housing, food, healthcare and education;

67.  Recalls how, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), 19.3 million people were displaced in 2015 alone in the wake of environmental disasters; recalls that this displacement above all concerns regions of the South; points out that 85 % of these displacements occur in developing countries, primarily within one country or parts of countries;

Trafficking in human beings

68.  Calls on the EU to make the fight against trafficking in human beings a priority in its external policies, addressing both the demand and supply side of the phenomenon, to pay particular attention to the protection of victims and to increase communication and cooperation with relevant actors in the fight against trafficking in human beings; reiterates the need for all Member States to implement EU Directive (2011/36/EU) and the EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings;

69.  Recalls that criminal networks are taking advantage of the increasing migration pressures, the lack of safe migration channels and of the vulnerability of migrants and refugees, especially women, girls and children, in order to subject them to smuggling, trafficking in human beings, slavery and sexual exploitation;

70.  Urges the EU and its Member States to pay attention to the identification of refugees and migrants as victims of trafficking in human beings or as victims of violations and abuse as part of smuggling; calls, in this context, for training of border guards to ensure accurate identification, which is fundamental to the realisation of the rights to which victims are legally entitled;

71.  Welcomes the increase in resources for the Triton and Poseidon operations; notes the launch of the EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia against smugglers and traffickers in the Mediterranean and supports the reinforcement of the management of the Union's external borders;

72.  Calls on the EU and its Member States to ratify and implement the International Convention on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families;

The links between development, democracy and human rights

73.  Expresses its profound concern over the rise of extreme poverty and inequality across certain parts of the world, which jeopardises the full enjoyment of all human rights; believes that respect for human rights and the right to development are intrinsically linked; stresses that respect for human rights, including social and economic rights, gender equality, good governance, upholding democracy and the rule of law, and peace and security are prerequisites for eradicating poverty and inequalities;

74.  Welcomes the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; emphasises that EU development cooperation with third countries should aim at creating an international environment conducive to the realisation of social and economic rights, and calls for the implementation of the 1986 UN Declaration on the Right to Development; recalls the crucial importance of the principle of Policy Coherence for Development (PCD), as enshrined in Article 208 TFEU, in achieving respect for human rights; calls on the EU to ensure that the necessary guidelines, impact assessments and monitoring and reporting mechanisms make PCD a reality in EU policies and in those of its Member States; believes that the implementation of Policy Coherence for Development (PCD), as enshrined in Article 208 TFEU, and clearly defined results frameworks in all EU instruments and human rights mechanisms are crucial to fulfil the 2030 Agenda, ensure the inclusion of marginalised and vulnerable groups, and mainstream a human rights-based approach (RBA); insists on strengthening coherence and coordination among all EU external policies and instruments while implementing the RBA; calls on the Member States to take action within the scope of their powers and in keeping with the development commitments entered into and with EU policies in this area; calls on the Commission to carry out an evaluation of the use of the RBA toolbox in Delegations and to provide Parliament with an overview of that evaluation;

75.  Recalls the introduction of an RBA in EU development policy aimed at integrating human rights principles into EU operational activities for development, covering arrangements, both at headquarters and in the field, for the synchronisation of human rights and development cooperation activities; calls for greater dissemination of the RBA toolbox among our partners, including local authorities, civil society and the private sector, and for its implementation to be closely monitored by the Commission;

76.  Takes the view that human rights for all must be a cross-cutting feature in the achievement of all goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda; calls for an inclusive human-rights-sensitive and rights-based Sustainable Development Goal indicator framework to be established at national and international level in order to ensure strong transparency and accountability in this regard, so that the resources allocated to development really reach people in need;

77.  Reaffirms the urgent need properly to address the global challenge of poverty and of malnutrition-related and neglected diseases; calls for an ambitious long-term political strategy and plan of action on global health, innovation and access to medicines that includes, inter alia, investment in research and development, so as to safeguard the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and wellbeing of every human being, without discrimination on grounds of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition, gender identity or sexual orientation;

78.  Is concerned about any attempts to use funding earmarked for action to combat poverty and foster development – which also gives practical effect to policies whose ultimate aim is to uphold human rights – for non-development-related purposes; stresses that development aid should aim at eradicating poverty, and not merely become an instrument aimed at controlling migration, and recalls the importance of Sustainable Development Goal 16 on Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions for pursuing improvements in human rights and effective democratic governance; believes that in order to ensure the transparency of EU aid and the accountability of the recipient countries, an anti-corruption clause should be introduced in all development programmes, and that consolidation of the rule of law, good governance, institutional capacities with the use of budget support, democratic participation and representative decision-making, stability, social justice, and inclusive and sustainable growth, allowing fair redistribution of the wealth produced, should be key objectives of all EU external policies; warns against populism, extremism and constitutional abuses that legitimise breaches of human rights;

79.  Notes the persistent financing gap, due to increasing humanitarian needs, with regard to humanitarian aid, and the shortcomings in the World Food Programme resulting in the cutting of food supplies; calls on the UN Member States, and on the EU and its Member States to, at the very least, honour their financial pledges; notes, in this regard, that most EU Member States have not reached their 0.7 % GDP commitment to development aid, but welcomes the EU’s commitments with regard to humanitarian aid and civil protection, the EU and its Member States being the largest donor;

80.  Welcomes the new European External Investment Plan (EEIP) and the Africa Trust Fund that aim to address the root causes of poverty, inequalities and irregular migration by creating sustainable growth and jobs, and to encourage respect for human rights and private investment in Africa and the EU Neighbourhood; requests that the European Regional Development Fund be temporarily used in the EU neighbouring countries so as to contribute to their stabilisation;

81.  Welcomes the inclusion of a development chapter in the EU Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World in 2015 and calls for this to become standard practice for future years’ reports.

Trade, business and human rights

82.  Calls for the swift, effective and comprehensive implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights; urges all UN Member States, including the EU Member States, to develop and implement national action plans; considers that trade and human rights can go hand in hand and that the business community has an important role to play in promoting human rights and democracy;

83.  Reaffirms the urgent need to act in a continuous, effective and coherent manner at all levels, including national, European and international, in order effectively to address human rights abuses and corruption by international corporations when they occur, and to ensure that they can be held accountable, including by addressing the legal problems resulting from the extra-territorial dimension of companies and their conduct;

84.  Calls on the UN, and on the EU and its Member States, to raise with multinational and European enterprises the issues of land grabbing and the treatment of land rights defenders, who are often victims of reprisals, including threats, harassment, arbitrary arrest, assault and murder;

85.  Warmly welcomes the work initiated in preparation for a binding UN Treaty on Business and Human Rights; regrets any obstructive behaviour in relation to this process, and calls on the EU and its Member States to engage constructively in these negotiations;

86.  Recalls the different but complementary roles of states and companies with regard to human rights protection; strongly reiterates that, where human rights abuses occur, states must grant the victims access to effective remedy; recalls, in this context, that respect for human rights by third countries, including guarantees of effective remedy for all victims of such abuses, constitutes an essential element of the EU’s external relations with these countries; welcomes the fact that the EU has played a leading role in negotiating and implementing a number of initiatives for global responsibility, which go hand in hand with the promotion of, and respect for, international standards; welcomes the Council’s conclusions on business and human rights adopted on 20 June 2016 and the fact that they invite the National Action Plans (NAPs) on Business and Human Rights to include access to remedy;

87.  Reiterates that attention needs to be drawn to the special features of SMEs, which mainly operate at local and regional level inside specific sectors; considers it essential, therefore, for Union CSR policies, including national CSR action plans, to take proper account of the specific requirements of SMEs, to be in keeping with the 'think small first' principle, and to recognise the informal, intuitive SME approach to CSR; voices again its opposition to all measures that could result in additional administrative or financial constraints for SMEs, and its support for measures enabling SMEs to take joint action;

88.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to guarantee policy coherence on business and human rights at all levels, in particular in relation to the Union’s trade policy; invites the Commission and the Member States to report regularly on the steps taken to ensure effective protection of human rights in the context of business activity;

89.  Reiterates its strong call for the systematic introduction of human rights clauses in all international agreements, including trade and investment agreements concluded and to be concluded between the EU and third countries; sees a need, moreover, for ex ante monitoring mechanisms before any framework agreement is concluded, and on which such conclusion is made conditional as a fundamental part of the agreement, and for ex post monitoring mechanisms that enable tangible action to be taken in response to infringements of these clauses, such as appropriate sanctions as stipulated in the human rights clauses of the agreement, including (temporary) suspension of the agreement;

90.  Calls for the setting up of mechanisms aimed at ensuring respect for human rights by states and companies alike, and for the setting up of complaint mechanisms for people whose rights are violated by trade and investment agreements;

91.  Notes the Commission’s legislative proposal of 28 September 2016 amending Regulation (EC) No 428/2009 for the control of exports of dual-use items and technologies, which seeks to strengthen this control in view of the fact that certain items and technologies can be misused to commit serious human rights violations;

92.  Welcomes the agreement to update the EU's export controls with regard to goods that could be used for capital punishment, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and calls for the effective and full implementation of this key legislation; encourages the EU and its Member States to encourage third countries to consider adopting similar legislation, as well as to launch an initiative to promote an international framework on tools of torture and capital punishment; welcomes the initiative for a regulation setting up a system of supply chain due diligence for responsible sourcing of minerals from conflict-affected areas; welcomes the Commission's proposal to update the EU's dual-use export control legislation; stresses that human rights as a criteria for export licences is a priority for Parliament, and calls on the Member States finally to agree to move towards a more modern, flexible and human rights-based export policy; calls on the Member States to exercise stricter and more human rights-based arms export controls, especially when it comes to countries with proven track records of violent internal repression and human rights violations;

93.  Welcomes the adoption of the Commission's new trade strategy 'Trade for All', in which it aims to mainstream human rights in trade policy and use the EU's position as a trading bloc to leverage human rights in third countries; stresses that this will need full consistency and complementarity of trade and foreign policy initiatives, including close cooperation between the different Directorate Generals, the EEAS and Member States authorities; notes the Commission's plans to strengthen European economic diplomacy and stresses that trade policy should also contribute to sustainable growth in third countries; calls on the Commission to engage all stakeholders in the discussion on the regulatory framework and business obligations in countries where private and public investment are likely to increase; urges the Commission to ensure that the projects supported by the EIB are in line with EU policies, and recommends improving ex-post controls assessing the economic, social and environmental impact of EIB-supported projects;

94.  Welcomes the new Generalised Scheme of Preferences Regulation (GSP), which entered into force on 1 January 2014, as a key EU trade policy instrument to promote human and labour rights, environmental protection and good governance in vulnerable developing countries; welcomes, in particular, that GSP+ trade benefits are inherently and legally conditional upon the continued implementation of international human rights conventions; welcomes the publication of the Commission’s first biennial status report on the implementation of the GSP+, and the dialogue on this report with Parliament before its publication; notes that infringements of core labour standards have been reported in several countries with GSP+ status, and urges the genuine enforcement of GSP+ to be implemented; calls on the Commission to explore possibilities to include the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in the list of conventions required for GSP+ status, and calls on GSP+ applicants that are not state parties to the Statute to ratify it;

95.  Welcomes the fact that 14 countries have been granted especially advantageous trade preferences under the new GSP+, in force since 1 January 2014, and welcomes as well the much-urged compliance with 27 international conventions (including conventions on fundamental human rights and labour rights);

96.  Reiterates its strong call for comprehensive, prior human rights impact assessments that in a substantive way take into account the views of civil society for all trade and investment agreements;

97.  Welcomes the adoption of new guidelines on the analysis of human rights impacts in impact assessments for trade-related policy initiatives(63), but is deeply concerned by the quality of the human rights considerations in the Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA) of the EU-Myanmar Investment Protection Agreement, and by the fact that the Commission did not carry out a human rights impact assessment for the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement; reiterates its support for a comprehensive assessment to be conducted as part of the ex-post evaluation of these agreements;

98.  Calls on the EU to include respect for Freedom of Religion or Belief in Human Rights Impact Assessments that are carried out before the EU decides to conclude new trade and investment agreements;

Sport and human rights

99.  Is concerned about the awarding of the hosting of mega-sporting events to countries with very poor human rights records, such as the FIFA World Cup in Russia in 2018 and in Qatar in 2022, and the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2022, and human rights abuses caused by mega-sporting events, including forced evictions without consultation or compensation of the populations concerned, the exploitation of vulnerable groups such as children and migrant workers, which may amount to slavery, and the silencing of CSOs denouncing such violations of human rights; calls on the International Olympic Committee and the International Association of Football Federations (FIFA) to align their practices with the ideals of sport by putting in place safeguard mechanisms to prevent, monitor and provide remedy to all human rights abuses connected to mega sporting events; calls for the development of an EU policy framework on sport and human rights; calls on the EU and its Member States to engage with national sports federations, corporate actors and CSOs on the modalities of their participation in such events;

Persons with disabilities

100.  Welcomes the new Objectives 12 and 16, especially sub point 16f, in the Council Conclusions on the Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2015-2019, and calls on the Commission to ensure that implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is raised systematically in human rights dialogues with third countries; notes that the specific nature of the needs of persons with disabilities in the context of non-discrimination efforts have to be taken into account; urges the thorough examination of the effectiveness of disability-related projects and of the proper involvement of disabled persons’ organisations in the planning and implementation of these projects;

101.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that people with a disability have genuine freedom of movement in public spaces and thus equality of opportunity to participate in public life;

102.  Strongly urges the mainstreaming of the human rights of persons with disabilities in all EU external policies and actions, especially in EU migration and refugee policies, providing an appropriate response to their specific needs, as they suffer from multiple discrimination; recalls that women and children with disabilities experience multiple discrimination and are often at greater risk of suffering violence, abuse, maltreatment or exploitation; strongly supports the recommendation to mainstream a gender perspective in all the EU's disability strategies, including its external policies and action;

103.  Encourages the VP/HR to continue to support the process of ratification and implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by those countries that have not ratified or implemented it as yet; notes that the EU should lead by example through the domestic effective implementation of the UN CRPD; calls for the EU to take a leading role in the implementation of an inclusive 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which would ensure that no one is left behind, as advised by the CRPD Committee in the Concluding Observations to its review of the implementation of the Convention in the EU;

Rights of women and children

104.  Welcomes the adoption of the Gender Action Plan (2016-2020) which provides a comprehensive list of actions to improve the situation of women with regard to equal rights and empowerment; stresses that it should be implemented together with the Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy, to ensure the recognition of women’s rights as such; welcomes as well the adoption of the Strategic Engagement for Gender Equality (2016-2019), which promotes gender equality and women’s rights across the world; reaffirms that women’s rights cannot be compromised in deference to specific proscriptions by any religion or belief; requests that the EU step up its support to the implementation of the obligations and commitments in the area of women’s rights arising from the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Beijing Platform for Action, the Cairo Declaration on Population and Development and their respective outcome reviews, and the Sustainable Development Goals; stresses the importance of not undermining the acquis of the Beijing and Cairo Platforms for Action regarding access to education and health as a basic human right, and the protection of sexual and reproductive rights, and to ensure that all necessary safe medical and psychological assistance and services are provided to female war rape victims, including safe abortion, as foreseen under IHL; points out that family planning, maternal health, easy access to contraception and safe abortion, and the full range of sexual and reproductive health services are important elements in saving women’s lives, as well as in reducing infant and maternal mortality; highlights the need to place these policies at the core of development cooperation with third countries; stresses that upholding all rights of women, safeguarding the respect of their human dignity, and eliminating violence and discrimination against them are essential to realizing their human rights; stresses the right of every individual to decide freely on matters related to their sexuality, sexual and reproductive health; recognises, in this regard, the inalienable rights of women to autonomous decision-making, including on access to family planning;

105.  Reaffirms its condemnation of all forms of abuse and violence against women and children, and gender-based violence, including the harmful practices of early and forced marriages, female genital mutilation (FGM), exploitation and slavery, domestic violence, as well as the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war; considers that violence towards women is also expressed psychologically, and stresses the need to integrate gender considerations that, inter alia, promote the active participation of women in humanitarian aid, and incorporate protection strategies against sexual and gender-based violence, as well as basic health measures comprising sexual and reproductive health services; stresses that the Commission and the Member States must not only combat all violence perpetrated against women, but must also, as a matter of priority, promote access to education and fight gender stereotyping for girls and boys from an early age; calls on the EU and its Member States swiftly to ratify the Istanbul Convention in order to ensure coherence between EU internal and external action on violence against women and girls, and gender-based violence; welcomes the proposal put forward by the Commission on 4 March 2016 for the EU to accede to the Istanbul Convention, the first legally binding international instrument seeking to prevent and combat violence against women; believes that this will lend greater effectiveness and coherence to EU internal and external policies, and strengthen the EU’s responsibility and role in combating violence against women and gender-based violence at the international level; urges the Commission and the Council to do their utmost to enable the EU to sign and conclude the Convention, while also encouraging the 14 Member States which have not yet done so to sign and ratify the Istanbul Convention and ensure that the Convention is properly implemented; points to the need to ensure that health professionals, police forces, prosecutors, judges, diplomats and peacekeepers, both within the EU and in non-member countries, are properly trained to help and support victims of violence, especially women and children, in conflict situations and operations on the ground;

106.  Is deeply concerned about human rights violations affecting women and children in refugee camps and reception centres, including reported cases of sexual violence and unequal treatment of women and children; urges the EEAS to push for stricter rules and good practices in third countries; stresses the need for access to health and psychological care for women and children abused in conflict, in line with international law, and the need for continuity in the education, healthcare and food supply of children in refugee camps, in conflict areas, and in areas affected by extreme poverty and environmental extreme areas;

107.  Notes that measures to tackle gender-based violence must also address online violence, including harassment, bullying and intimidation, and work to create an online environment that is safe for women and girls;

108.  Welcomes the adoption, and supports the implementation, of the UN Security Council’s recent Resolution 2242 making women a central component in all efforts to address global challenges and calling for additional efforts to integrate the women, peace and security agendas in all the different dimensions of peacekeeping; stresses the importance of women’s equal, full and active participation in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, and in the peace negotiation and peace-building process; recommends that a quota system be introduced in order to provide a way of promoting women's participation at all political levels;

109.  Deeply regrets that Roma people, and in particular Roma women, continue to suffer from widespread discrimination and anti-Gypsyism, which feeds the cycle of disadvantage, exclusion, segregation and marginalisation; calls on the EU and its Member States to respect in full the human rights of Roma people by ensuring the right to education, health services, employment, housing and social protection;

110.  Strongly regrets the lack of gender equality in the political sphere and women’s under-representation in political, social and economic decision-making, which undermines human rights and democracy; considers that governments should aim for gender equality in democracy-building and maintenance processes, and should combat all forms of gender discrimination within society; stresses that the electoral observation missions’ reports offer precise guidelines for the EU’s political dialogue with third countries with a view to improving women’s participation in the electoral process and the democratic life of the country;

111.  Deplores the fact that some countries still restrict women’s participation in elections;

112.  Deplores the fact that women worldwide continue to face enormous challenges in finding and keeping decent jobs, as demonstrated by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) report ‘Women at work 2016’;

113.  Regrets that the glass ceiling for women in business, the gender pay gap and the societal discouragement of female entrepreneurship are still global phenomena; calls for initiatives to empower women further, especially in the areas of self-employment and SMEs;

114.  Recalls that access to education, professional training and microcredit are essential tools for empowering women and preventing violations of their human rights;

115.  Encourages women to become actively involved in trade unions and other organisations, as this will do much to introduce gender aspects into working conditions;

116.  Urges the Member States, the Commission and the EEAS to focus on the economic and political emancipation of women in developing countries by promoting their involvement in business and in the implementation of local and regional development projects;

117.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to implement gender budgeting in all relevant EU funding;

118.  Calls for investment in women and young people, since this is an effective way to combat poverty, and female poverty in particular;

119.  Is deeply concerned that the rapidly growing antimicrobial resistance (AMR) threat is expected to become the world's largest cause of death, victimising in particular the vulnerable and the weak in developing countries; calls on the Commission to develop without delay a truly effective public health strategy that includes the following:– identification of the causes of diseases, diagnostics and the ways of distribution of resistant bacteria through tourism and trade,

– identification of optimal international, national and regional emergency response actions following an 'outbreak' of unstoppable bacteria, and the integrated and coordinated preparation of such actions,– development of the toughest volume-oriented regulations on the use of antibiotics in all world regions, combined with adequate and effective enforcement measures;

– development and implementation of the largest-ever information programme on the threat of AMR using all resources and, in particular, social media;

Children’s rights

120.  Reaffirms the urgent need for universal ratification and effective implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Child and its Optional Protocols, requests that the EU systematically consult with relevant local and international child rights organisations, and raises, in its political and human rights dialogues with third countries, the issue of State parties’ obligations to implement the Convention; welcomes the ratification of the Convention by South Sudan and Somalia; reiterates its call to the Commission and the VP/HR to explore ways and means for the EU to accede to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child;

121.  Requests that the EU continue to promote the EU-UNICEF Child Rights toolkit ‘Integrating child rights in development cooperation’ through its external Delegations, and to train EU Delegations staff adequately in this field; highlights the serious issue of non-registered children born away from their parents' home country, an issue particularly serious in relation to refugees, and calls on the EU to raise the issue in its political dialogues with third countries, where relevant; calls on the Commission to develop policies on, and promote in international fora, the protection of children of imprisoned parents, in order to overcome their discrimination and stigmatisation; stresses that millions of children continue to suffer from malnutrition, with large numbers facing irreversible, long-term consequences and even death; calls on the Commission and the international community to introduce innovative ways to address malnutrition effectively, particularly among children, through the fullest use of the entire food chain, and thus including public-private-people partnerships (PPPPs), as well as all other available resources, in particular social media;

122.  Expresses the need for international assistance in efforts to search for and liberate women and children who still remain in the captivity of Daesh and other terrorist groups and paramilitary organisations, and in promoting special programmes for the treatment of former captives within the EU and worldwide; expresses concern over the recruitment of children and their participation in terrorist and military activities; stresses the need to establish policies to guide the search for, and the liberation, rehabilitation and reintegration of these children; stresses the need to promote policies for the disarmament, rehabilitation and reintegration of child soldiers; reiterates its request that the Commission proposes a comprehensive Child Rights Strategy and Action Plan for the next five years, in order to prioritise children’s rights within both EU external and internal policies, and to promote children’s rights, in particular by contributing to ensuring children’s access to water, sanitation, healthcare and education, including in conflict zones and refugee camps;

Rights of the elderly

123.  Welcomes Objective 16g in the Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2015-2019 that aims at increasing awareness of the human rights and specific needs of older persons; is concerned about the negative effects of age discrimination; underlines the particular challenges older persons face in the enjoyment of their human rights, such as when accessing social protection and healthcare; invites the Member States to use the current review of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing to map the implementation of existing instruments and to identify potential gaps; calls on the EU and its Member States to be actively involved in the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing and to step up their efforts to protect and promote the rights of older people, including by considering the elaboration of a new legal instrument;

Rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons

124.  Is deeply concerned about the increase in violence and discrimination against LGBTI people; firmly condemns the recent increase in discriminatory laws and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics, and the fact that 73 countries still criminalise homosexuality (including by charges of ‘debauchery’ against LGBTI people), of which 13(64) countries allow the death penalty, while 20 countries still criminalise transgender identities; expresses strong concern over so-called 'propaganda laws' that seek to limit the freedom of expression and assembly of LGBTI people, and of those who support their rights; calls on all states with such laws to withdraw these provisions; strongly condemns the increasing restrictions of, and the challenging operating conditions on, the freedom of assembly and association of LGBTI groups and rights defenders, and events and protests such as Pride marches, where in some instances protesters have been met with violent responses from authorities; reaffirms the crucial role of these fundamental freedoms in the functioning of democratic societies, and the responsibility of states in ensuring that such rights are upheld and that those exercising them are protected; requests that the EEAS prioritise and strengthen its actions in countries with a prevalence of violence, killings, abuse and discrimination directed against LGBTI people, by condemning these practices in accordance with the EU Guidelines on the Death Penalty and the EU Guidelines on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and by continuing to work with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in this field; stresses the importance of supporting the work of LGBTI HRDs, through increased support and resources for effective programming, by launching awareness campaigns, also financed via the EIDHR, among the general public on the discrimination and violence directed against LGBTI people, and by ensuring the provision of emergency assistance to those in need of such support; calls on the EU Delegations and the relevant institutions actively to promote these rights and fundamental freedoms;

125.  Welcomes the Foreign Affairs Council Guidelines to promote and protect the enjoyment of all human rights by LGBTI persons, adopted on 24 June 2013; calls on the EEAS and the Commission to push for a more strategic and systematic implementation of the guidelines, including through awareness raising and training of EU staff in third countries, in order to effectively raise the issue of LGBTI rights in political and human rights dialogues with third countries, and in multilateral fora; emphasises the importance of making the EU Guidelines to Promote and Protect the Enjoyment of all Human Rights widely available to LGBTI persons; calls for concrete actions to increase coherence between internal and external EU policies on LGBTI rights;

126.  Encourages the EU institutions and the Member States to contribute further to reflections on the recognition of same-sex marriages or same-sex civil unions as a political, social, human and civil rights issue; welcomes the fact that an increasing number of countries respect the right to found a family through marriage, civil partnership and adoption without discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, and calls on the Commission and the Member States to elaborate proposals for the mutual recognition of these unions and of same-sex families across the EU so as to ensure equal treatment with regard to work, free movement, taxation and social security, protecting the incomes of families and children;

Rights of indigenous people and of persons belonging to minorities

127.  Is deeply concerned that indigenous peoples are still in particular danger of being discriminated against, and are especially vulnerable to political, economic, environmental and labour-related changes and disturbances; notes that most live below the poverty threshold and have little or no access to political representation and decision-making, contrary to their right to free, prior and informed consent, as ensured in the United Nations Declaration for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and recognised in the 2005 European Consensus on Development; is particularly concerned about reported widespread and growing human rights abuses against indigenous peoples, such as the persecution, arbitrary arrests and killings of HRDs, and forced displacement, land-grabbing and corporate violations;

128.  Notes with deep concern that indigenous peoples are particularly affected by human rights violations related to resource extraction; calls on the Commission and the EEAS to support rigorous legal frameworks and initiatives aiming at ensuring transparency and good governance in mining and other resource sectors, and thereby respect for local people's free, prior and informed consent and for the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; calls on the EU Delegations to strengthen the dialogue with indigenous peoples on the ground further in order to identify and prevent human rights violations;

129.  Emphasises that as national minority communities have specific needs, full and effective equality between persons belonging to a national minority and those belonging to the majority should be promoted in all areas of economic, social, political and cultural life; urges the Commission to follow closely the implementation of provisions protecting the rights of persons belonging to national minorities throughout the enlargement process;

Rights of persons affected by caste discrimination

130.  Condemns the continuing human rights violations committed against people suffering from caste hierarchies and caste-based discrimination, including the denial of equality and of access to the legal system and to employment, and the continued segregation and caste-induced barriers to the achievement of basic human rights and development; is deeply concerned by the alarming rate of caste-based violent attacks on Dalits and of institutionalised discrimination with impunity; reiterates its call for an EU policy development on caste discrimination, and calls on the EU to use every opportunity to express its grave concern over caste discrimination;

International Criminal Court (ICC) / transitional justice

131.  Recalls the universality of the ICC and reiterates its full support for its work; stresses the important role it plays in ending impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community, and in providing justice for the victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide; remains vigilant against any attempts to undermine the ICC’s legitimacy or independence;

132.  Recalls its resolution calling on the members of the UN Security Council to support a referral by the Security Council to the ICC in order to investigate violations committed in Iraq and Syria by the so-called ISIS/Daesh against Christians (Chaldeans/Syriacs/Assyrians), Yazidis and other religious and ethnic minorities;

133.  Welcomes the declaration issued by Ukraine accepting the jurisdiction of the ICC for crimes committed in the country since 20 February 2014, as this declaration paves the way for the ICC prosecutor to consider whether the court could investigate abuses committed during the armed conflict, even though Ukraine is not yet an ICC member country;

134.  Welcomes the Council conclusions on the EU’s support to transitional justice, and welcomes the EU’s Policy Framework on support to transitional justice, the EU being the first regional organisation to adopt such a policy; calls on the EU, its Member States and its Special Representatives actively to promote the ICC, the enforcement of its decisions and the fight against impunity for Rome Statute crimes, and expresses serious concern about the fact that several arrest warrants have still not been executed; urges the EU and its Member States to cooperate with the Court, and to continue to provide strong diplomatic and political support to efforts to strengthen and expand the relationship between the ICC and the UN, in particular in the context of the UN Security Council, and to take steps to prevent and respond effectively to instances of non-cooperation with the ICC; reiterates its call on the EU to adopt a common position on the crime of aggression and on the Kampala Amendments, and calls on the Member States to align their national legislation with the definitions set out in the Kampala Amendments, and to enhance cooperation with the Court; deplores the defiance towards the ICC shown by several countries by withdrawing or threatening to withdraw from the ICC’s jurisdiction;

135.  Reiterates its call for the creation of an EU Special Representative on International Justice and International Humanitarian Law in order to give these topics the prominence and visibility they deserve, to advance the EU agenda effectively and to mainstream the EU's commitment to the fight against impunity and for the ICC across EU foreign policies;

136.  Calls on the EU and its Member States to provide the ICC with adequate funding and to enhance their support for the international criminal justice system, including transitional justice;

International humanitarian law (IHL)

137.  Condemns the lack of respect for IHL, and expresses its grave concern over the alarmingly increasing rate of collateral damage in armed conflicts around the world, and of deadly attacks against hospitals, schools, humanitarian convoys and other civilian targets; expresses its serious concerns about the rising influence of non-state actors' actions in conflicts around the world, and urges the EU to use all instruments at its disposal to enhance compliance by state and non-state actors with IHL; welcomes the pledge of the EU and the Member States to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to strongly support the establishment of an effective mechanism for strengthening compliance with IHL, and asks the VP/HR to report to Parliament on the objectives and strategy devised in order to deliver on this pledge; urges the international community to convene an international conference to prepare a new international mechanism for tracking and collecting data, and for publicly reporting on violations of IHL, including attacks on hospitals, medical workers and ambulances; takes the view that such a mechanism could build on the existing mechanism for Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC); asks the VP/HR to present, on an annual basis, a public list of alleged perpetrators of attacks on schools and hospitals, for the purpose of defining appropriate EU action to halt such attacks;

138.  Deplores the fact that seven Member States have yet to ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions; calls on the EU and its Member States to support a global ban on the use of white phosphorus, notably through the conclusion of a new protocol to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons banning the use of such weapons;

139.  Calls on the Member States to ratify the principal IHL instruments and other relevant legal instruments that have an impact on IHL; acknowledges the importance of the EU Guidelines on promoting compliance with IHL, and reiterates its call on the VP/HR and the EEAS to revise their implementation in the light of the tragic events in the Middle East, notably in the context of widespread and systematic impunity for gross violations of IHL and human rights law; calls on the EU to support initiatives aiming at spreading knowledge of IHL and good practices in its application, and calls on the EU to seize all bilateral tools at its disposal effectively to promote compliance with IHL by its partners, including through political dialogue; reiterates its call on the Member States to join international efforts to prevent attacks against, and the military use of, schools by armed actors by endorsing the Safe Schools Declaration, which is designed to help end widespread military attacks on schools during armed conflict;

140.  Urges the international community to convene an international conference to prepare new international binding rules conceived to re-adapt IHL to the new reality of wars, with a view to strengthening the effectiveness of international humanitarian rules;

141.  Reiterates its call to the VP/HR to launch an initiative aimed at imposing an EU arms embargo against countries that are accused of serious allegations of breaches of IHL, notably with regard to the deliberate targeting of civilian infrastructure; stresses that the continued licensing of weapons sales to such countries represents a breach of the Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP of 8 December 2008; calls on the Member States to consider accepting Guantanamo inmates in the EU; emphasises the need to close the Guantanamo Bay prison as soon as possible;

Freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief

142.  Condemns, in line with Article 10 TFEU, all acts of violence and persecution, intolerance and discrimination on the basis of ideology, religion or belief; expresses its serious concern over the continued reports of violence and persecution, intolerance and discrimination against religious and belief minorities around the world; stresses that the rights to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief are fundamental rights, interrelated with other human rights and fundamental freedoms, and encompassing the right to believe or not to believe, the right to manifest or not to manifest any religion or belief, and the right to adopt, change and abandon or return to a belief of one's choice, as enshrined in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and in Article 9 of the European Convention of Human rights; calls on the EU and its Member States to engage in political discussions to repeal blasphemy laws; calls on the EU and its Member States to ensure that minorities are respected and protected worldwide, including in the Middle East, where Yazidis, Christians, Muslim minorities and atheists are being persecuted by Daesh and other terrorist groups; deplores the abuse of religion or belief for terrorist purposes;

143.  Supports the EU's commitment to promote the right to freedom of religion or belief within international and regional forums including the UN, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and other regional mechanisms, and encourages the EU to continue tabling its yearly resolution on freedom of religion or belief at the UN and supporting the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief; encourages the VP/HR and the EEAS to engage in a permanent dialogue with NGOs, religious or belief groups and religious leaders;

144.  Fully supports the EU practice of taking the lead on thematic resolutions at the UNHRC and at the UNGA on freedom of religion and belief, encourages the EU to support the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief and urges countries not currently accepting requests for visits from the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief to do so;

145.  Calls on the EU to reinforce its existing instruments, and to adopt any other within its mandate, to ensure that the protection of religious minorities is effective worldwide;

146.  Calls for concrete action to ensure the effective implementation of the EU Guidelines on the Promotion and Protection of Freedom of Religion or Belief, including: systematic and consistent training of EU staff at Headquarters and in Delegations; reporting on country and local situations; and engaging in close cooperation with local actors, especially leaders of religious or belief groups;

147.  Is deeply concerned that in some parts of the world the position of religion or belief communities is endangered, with entire religious communities disappearing or fleeing;

148.  Highlights the fact that Christians are currently the religious group most harassed and intimidated in countries throughout the world, including in Europe, where Christian refugees routinely suffer religiously motivated persecution, and that some of the oldest Christian communities are in danger of disappearing, especially in North Africa and the Middle East;

149.  Encourages the international community and the EU to provide protection for minorities and to install safe zones; calls for the recognition, self-administration and protection of ethnic and religious minorities living in areas where they have historically had a strong presence and lived peacefully alongside each other – for example in the Sinjar mountains (Yazidis) and the Nineveh plains (Chaldean-Syrian-Assyrian peoples); calls for special assistance in efforts to preserve (mass) graves in areas of current or recent conflicts, with the aim of exhuming and forensically analysing the human remains therein, in order to allow for decent burial, or release to the family, of the victims' remains; calls for the establishment of a dedicated fund that can help finance initiatives to preserve evidence, in order to enable investigation and prosecution of suspected crimes against humanity; calls for actions from the EU and its Member States to set up, as a matter of urgency, a group of experts tasked with collecting all evidence of any on-going international crime, including genocide, against religious and ethnic minorities, wherever they may happen, including the preservation of mass graves in areas of current or recent conflicts, with the aim of preparing international prosecution of those responsible;

Freedom of expression online and offline, and through audiovisual and other media sources

150.  Stresses that human rights and fundamental freedoms are universal and need to be defended globally in every dimension of their expression;

151.  Stresses the role of freedom of expression, media independence and pluralism as fundamental elements towards democracy, and the need to empower citizens as well as civil society to ensure transparency and accountability in the public sector;

152.  Expresses concern at the increasing arrests and intimidation of journalists in many countries, and stresses that these practices seriously impede the freedom of the press; urges the EU and the international community to protect independent journalists and bloggers, reduce the digital divide and facilitate unrestricted access to information and communication, and uncensored access to the internet (digital freedom);

153.  Expresses its serious concern at the proliferation and spread of monitoring, surveillance, censoring and filtering technologies, which represent a growing threat to human rights and democracy activists in autocratic countries;

154.  Strongly condemns the increasing number of HRDs facing digital threats, including compromised data through confiscation of equipment, remote surveillance and data leakages; condemns the practice of online surveillance and hacking to gather information that can be used in legal cases or defamation campaigns, as well as in defamation trials;

155.  Strongly condemns authorities' control of the internet, media and academia, and the increased intimidation, harassment and arbitrary arrests faced by HRDs, lawyers and journalists;

156.  Condemns restrictions on digital communication, including the closing down of websites and the blocking of personal accounts by authoritarian regimes in order to restrict freedom of expression and as a means to silence opposition and suppress civil society; calls on the EU and its Member States to publicly condemn regimes that restrict the digital communication of their critics and opposition;

157.  Highlights the importance of promoting unrestricted access to the internet in all forms of contact with third countries, including in accession negotiations, trade negotiations, human rights dialogues and diplomatic contacts, and of making information about human rights and democracy as accessible as possible to people all around the world;

158.  Is concerned about the growth of hate speech, especially on social media platforms; calls on the Commission to involve representatives of CSOs to ensure that their views are taken into account in negotiations on codes of conduct; firmly condemns the dissemination of hate messages that incite violence or terror;

159.  Calls for increased support in the areas of promoting media freedom, protecting independent journalists, bloggers and whistleblowers, reducing the digital divide and facilitating unrestricted access to information and communication, and safeguarding uncensored access to the internet (digital freedom);

160.  Calls for the active development and dissemination of technologies that help protect human rights, and that facilitate people’s digital rights and freedoms as well as their security and privacy;

161.  Calls on the EU to adopt free and open-source software, and to encourage other actors to do so, as such software provides for better security and for greater respect for human rights;

162.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to raise the issues of freedom of expression online, digital freedoms and the importance of a free and open internet, in all international fora, including the UN Internet Governance Forum, the G8, the G20, the OSCE and the Council of Europe;

Counter-terrorism

163.  Reiterates its unequivocal condemnation of terrorism and its full support for actions aimed at eradicating terrorist organisations, in particular Daesh, which poses a clear threat to regional and international security, while recalling that such actions should always be in full respect of international human rights law; supports the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2178 (2014) on countering threats posed by foreign terrorist fighters, and of the Madrid Guiding Principles on stemming the flow of foreign terrorist fighters;

164.  Recalls that the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy underlines the need to ensure that respect for freedom of opinion and expression are integrated into the development policies and programmes relating to terrorism, including the use of digital surveillance technologies; stresses that Member States should make full use of existing instruments to address the radicalisation of European citizens, and should develop effective programmes for countering terrorist and extremist propaganda and recruitment methods, notably online, and for preventing radicalisation; stresses that concerted EU action is required, as a matter of urgency, and insists that Member States cooperate in sensitive areas, in particular information and intelligence sharing;

165.  Requests that the EU continue to work with the UN in combating the financing of terrorism, including through the use of existing mechanisms to designate terrorist individuals and organisations, and to strengthen asset-freezing mechanisms worldwide, while upholding international standards on due process and the rule of law; calls on the Commission and the Member States effectively and urgently to raise this matter with those states that finance or support terrorist organisations, or that allow their citizens to do so;

The death penalty

166.  Recalls the EU’s position on zero tolerance for the death penalty, and reiterates its long-standing opposition to the death penalty, torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment, in all cases and under all circumstances;

167.  Welcomes the abolition of the death penalty in Fiji, Suriname, Mongolia and the US State of Nebraska;

168.  Is deeply concerned about the reinstatement of executions in some countries in recent years; deplores that political leaders in other countries are also considering reintroducing the death penalty; expresses its grave concern at the reported rise in the number of death sentences handed down worldwide in 2015, in particular in China, Egypt, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia; reminds the authorities of these countries that they are state parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which strictly prohibits the death penalty for crimes committed by anyone below the age of 18;

169.  Is particularly concerned about the increasing number of death sentences imposed in mass trials, without guarantees of the minimum fair trial standards required by international law;

170.  Strongly denounces the increase in the handing down of the death sentence for drug-related offences, and calls for the exclusion of the use of capital punishment and summary executions for such offences;

171.  Calls on those states that have abolished the death penalty, or that have a long-standing moratorium on it, to uphold their commitments and not to reintroduce it; calls on the EU to continue to use cooperation and diplomacy in all possible forums worldwide to advocate against the death penalty, while seeking to ensure that the right to a fair trial is fully respected for each and every person facing execution; stresses the importance of the EU continuing to monitor the conditions under which executions are carried out in those countries that still impose the death penalty, in order to ensure that the list of persons sentenced to death is made public and that their bodies are returned to their families;

172.  Insists that it is important that the EU maintains a high-profile policy aimed at the global abolition of the death penalty, in line with the 2013 revised EU Guidelines on the Death Penalty, and that it continues to advocate against the death penalty; calls on the EU to work further towards its universal abolition, to explore new ways of campaigning toward that end and to support actions, in the context of the EIDHR, aimed at preventing death sentences or executions; requests that the EU Delegations continue to organise awareness-raising campaign activities to this end;

Fight against torture and ill-treatment

173.  Expresses its grave concern at the continued use of torture and ill-treatment of persons held in detention, inter alia in order to extract confessions that are then used in criminal trials that fall manifestly short of international standards of fairness;

174.  Deplores the widespread use of torture and ill-treatment against dissenting members of society in order to silence them, and against vulnerable groups, such as ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities, LGBTI persons, women, children, asylum-seekers and migrants;

175.  Condemns in the strongest possible terms the torture and ill-treatment caused by Daesh and other terrorist or paramilitary organisations; expresses its solidarity with the families and communities of all victims affected by such violence; condemns the practices of Daesh and other terrorist or paramilitary organisations involving discrimination and targeting of minority groups; calls on the EU, its Member States and the international community to step up their efforts to address the urgent need to prevent further suffering in an effective way;

176.  Considers that the detention conditions and the state of prisons in a number of countries are a matter of grave concern; considers it essential to combat all forms of torture and ill-treatment of detainees, including psychological torture, and to step up efforts to ensure compliance with the relevant international law, particularly as regards access to health care and medicines; strongly condemns the violations of this law and believes that the refusal to treat detainees for diseases such as hepatitis or HIV is tantamount to failure to assist persons in danger;

177.  Urges the EEAS, in the light of continued reports of widespread practice of summary executions, torture and ill-treatment around the world, to step up, at all levels of dialogue and in all fora, the EU’s efforts in the fight against summary executions, torture and other ill-treatment, in line with the Guidelines to EU Policy towards third countries on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;

178.  Urges the EEAS to continue to raise concerns, in a systematic way, about torture and ill-treatment in political and human rights dialogues with the countries concerned, and in public statements, and calls on the EU Delegations, and on Member State embassies on the ground, to monitor torture and ill-treatment cases, to take concrete steps to promote their complete eradication, to follow relevant criminal trials and to use all instruments at their disposal to assist the individuals concerned;

Drones

179.  Expresses its grave concern over the use of armed drones outside the international legal framework; urges the Member States to articulate clear policy and legal positions on armed drones, and reiterates its call for an EU common position on the use of armed drones, which upholds human rights and IHL, and which should address issues such as a legal framework, proportionality, accountability, protection of civilians and transparency; urges once again that the EU ban the development, production and use of fully autonomous weapons that enable strikes to be carried out without human intervention; calls for the EU to oppose and ban the practice of extrajudicial and targeted killings, and to commit to ensuring appropriate measures, in accordance with domestic and international legal obligations, where there are reasonable grounds for believing that an individual or entity within its jurisdiction may be connected to unlawful targeted killings abroad; calls on the VP/HR, the Member States and the Council to include armed drones and fully autonomous weapons in relevant European and international disarmament and arms control mechanisms, and urges the Member States to engage with and strengthen these control mechanisms; calls on the EU to guarantee greater transparency and accountability on the part of its Member States, not least vis-à-vis third countries, in the use of armed drones with regard to the legal basis for their use and to operational responsibility, to allow for judicial review of drone strikes and to ensure that victims of unlawful drone strikes have access to effective remedies;

180.  Emphasises the EU ban on the development, production and use of fully autonomous weapons, which enable strikes to be carried out without human intervention; calls for the EU to oppose and ban the practice of unlawful targeted killings;

181.  Calls on the Commission to keep Parliament properly informed about the use of EU funds for all research and development projects associated with the construction of drones, for civil as well as military purposes; calls for human-rights impact assessments to be conducted of future drone development projects;

182.  Stresses that the impact of technologies on the improvement of human rights should be mainstreamed in EU policies and programmes, in order to advance the protection of human rights and the promotion of democracy, the rule of law, good governance and peaceful conflict solution;

Support for democracy and elections, and election observation missions

183.  Recalls that open space for civil society, freedom of expression, assembly and association and due respect for the rule of law are key elements of fair and democratic elections; calls on the EU to ensure that local NGOs have space for legitimate observation and monitoring of the conduct of elections; underlines that corruption is a threat to the equal enjoyment of human rights and undermines democratic processes; considers that the EU should emphasise the importance of integrity, accountability and proper management of public affairs in all dialogues with third countries, as stipulated in the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC); recalls the need for the EU to maintain the commitment it has made to its partners, especially in its neighbourhood, to support economic, social and political reform, to protect human rights and to help establish the rule of law, as the best means of strengthening the international order and ensuring the stability of its neighbourhood; emphasises, in this regard, that the review of the ENP provided an opportunity to restate that the defence of universal values and the promotion of human rights are key objectives of the Union; recalls that the experience gained by the EU, politicians, academics, the media, NGOs and civil society, and the lessons learned from transitions to democracy in the framework of the enlargement and neighbourhood policies, could also contribute positively to the identification of best practices that could be used to support and consolidate other democratisation processes worldwide; welcomes, in this context, the work of the European Endowment for Democracy and of EU programmes in support of CSOs, notably the EIDHR;

184.  Recommends that the EU develop a more comprehensive approach to democratisation processes, as observing elections is only one dimension of a longer and broader cycle; reiterates that political transition and democratisation can only be sustainable and successful when combined with respect for human rights and equal access to the democratic process for women, persons with disabilities and other marginalised groups, the promotion of justice, transparency, accountability, reconciliation, the rule of law, economic and social development, measures to combat extreme poverty, and the establishment of democratic institutions; stresses that fighting corruption in countries undergoing democratisation processes should be made a priority by the EU as this phenomenon hinders the protection and promotion of good governance, fuels organised crime and is linked to electoral fraud;

185.  Welcomes the Joint Communication on the Review of the European Neighbourhood Policy and recalls that, as stipulated in the TEU, the EU's relation with its neighbouring countries should be founded on the values of the Union, which include human rights and democracy; underlines that contributing to the stabilisation of the neighbourhood and promoting democracy, the rule of law, good governance and human rights, go hand in hand;

186.  Stresses that the EU should continue to support democratic and effective human rights institutions and the civil society of neighbouring countries; is pleased to note in this context the European Endowment for Democracy's consistent engagement in the EU's Eastern and Southern neighbourhood in promoting respect for fundamental rights and freedoms, and democratic principles;

187.  Stresses that enlargement policy is one of the strongest tools for reinforcing respect for democratic principles and human rights; calls on the Commission to continue to support the reinforcement of democratic political cultures, the respect of the rule of law, the independence of media, as well as of the judiciary, and the fight against corruption in candidate and potential candidate countries;

188.  Calls on the Commission and the EEAS to continue to provide full support to on-going democratic processes in third countries, as well as to political dialogue between ruling and opposition parties, and civil society; insists on the importance of consistently following up on recommendations of election observation missions as part of the EU’s engagement in democracy support, and as part of the human-rights country strategies for the countries concerned; calls for closer coordination and cooperation between Parliament and the Commission / EEAS to ensure a follow up of the implementation of these recommendations, as well as the use of the targeted financial and technical assistance that the EU could offer; calls on the Commission to provide global assessment on electoral monitoring processes;

189.  Calls on the Council and the EEAS to include in the geographical part of the EU Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World a specific section – in the countries concerned – addressing the issue of implementation of the recommendations adopted in the framework of election observation missions; recalls the commitment made in the Action Plan by the EEAS, the Commission and the Member States to engage more firmly and consistently with election management bodies, parliamentary institutions and CSOs in third countries, in order to contribute to their empowerment and, thereby, to the strengthening of the democratic processes;

190.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that its work on elections – observation and assistance – is combined with similar support for other important actors within a democratic system such as political parties, parliaments, local authorities, independent media and civil society;

191.  Calls on the EU to continue to work for the definition of best practices in this area, including in the context of conflict prevention measures, mediation and facilitation of dialogue, in order to develop a coherent, flexible and credible EU approach;

192.  Recognises the successful work of the EEAS and EU Delegations in completing the second generation of Democracy Analyses, and the progress made on Democracy Action Plans, and calls on the VP/HR to ensure that the Action Plans translate into concrete support to democracy in the field;

193.  Calls on the EEAS to build on the experience of the Democracy Analyses to prepare the ground for streamlining such analysis into its foreign action, and notes that while the addition of democracy to Human Rights and Democracy Country Strategies is welcome, it is not sufficient for a truly comprehensive understanding of democracy in a partner country;

194.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission, the High Representative/Vice-President, and to the EU Special Representative for Human Rights.

(1)

  http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/cedaw.htm.

(2)

  Texts adopted, P8_TA(2014)0070.

(3)

  http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CMW.aspx.

(4)

  A/RES/41/128.

(5)

  http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/69/2.

(6)

  http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/Vienna.aspx.

(7)

  http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/beijing/pdf/BDPfA%20E.pdf.

(8)

  http://www.unfpa.org/sites/default/files/pub-pdf/programme_of_action_Web%20ENGLISH.pdf.

(9)

  http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/PTS-4Rev1-NHRI_en.pdf.

(10)

  https://europa.eu/globalstrategy/en/global-strategy-foreign-and-security-policy-european-union.

(11)

  http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-11855-2012-INIT/en/pdf.

(12)

  https://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cmsUpload/111817.pdf.

(13)

  http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A52009XG1215(01).

(14)

  http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-10897-2015-INIT/en/pdf.

(15)

  http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A52013IP0279.

(16)

  http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/foraff/137584.pdf.

(17)

  http://www.europarl.europa.eu/document/activities/cont/201203/20120329ATT42170/20120329ATT42170EN.pdf.

(18)

  http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-10255-2016-INIT/en/pdf.

(19)

  http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/fac/2015/10/st13201-en15_pdf/.

(20)

  http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2016/06/16-epsco-conclusions-lgbti-equality/.

(21)

  http://ec.europa.eu/justice/discrimination/files/lgbti_actionlist_en.pdf.

(22)

  http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-9242-2015-INIT/en/pdf.

(23)

  http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/european-agenda-migration/background-information/docs/communication_on_the_european_agenda_on_migration_en.pdf.

(24)

  http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2015/07/20-fac-migration-conclusions/.

(25)

  http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-12002-2015-REV-1/en/pdf.

(26)

  http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-12098-2015-INIT/en/pdf.

(27)

  http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32015D0260.

(28)

  http://register.consilium.europa.eu/doc/srv?l=EN&f=ST%2015559%202014%20INIT.

(29)

  http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/EN/foraff/130243.pdf.

(30)

  http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-12525-2016-INIT/en/pdf.

(31)

  https://rm.coe.int/CoERMPublicCommonSearchServices/DisplayDCTMContent?documentId=090000168008482e.

(32)

  http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2011:076:0056:0058:EN:PDF.

(33)

  http://eeas.europa.eu/enp/documents/2015/151118_joint-communication_review-of-the-enp_en.pdf.

(34)

  http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/international-summit/2015/11/action_plan_en_pdf/.

(35)

  http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-6D27-4E9C-8CD3-CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/s_res_2242.pdf.

(36)

  http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-6D27-4E9C-8CD3-CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/CAC%20S%20RES%201820.pdf.

(37)

  http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/RES/1325(2000).

(38)

  http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/69/167.

(39)

  Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0337.

(40)

  Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0300.

(41)

  Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0201.

(42)

  Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0102.

(43)

  Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0051.

(44)

  Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0470.

(45)

  Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0317.

(46)

  Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0350.

(47)

  Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0348.

(48)

  Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0288.

(49)

  Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0075.

(50)

  Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0079.

(51)

  Texts adopted, P8_TA(2014)0027.

(52)

  Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0172.

(53)

  Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0420.

(54)

  http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session31/Documents/A_HRC_31_56_en.doc.

(55)

  Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0274.

(56)

  Texts adopted, P7_TA(2012)0470.

(57)

  Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0507.

(58)

  Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0334.

(59)

  Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0226.

(60)

  A/HRC/RES/17/4.

(61)

  https://www.democracyendowment.eu/annual-report/.

(62)

  Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0432.

(63)

  http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2015/july/tradoc_153591.pdf.

(64)

  (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, Somalia, Mauritania, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Qatar, Iran and the Maldives).


OPINION of the Committee on Development (9.11.2016)

for the Committee on Foreign Affairs

on the Annual Report on human rights and democracy in the world and the European Union’s policy on the matter 2015

(2016/2219(INI))

Rapporteur: Cristian Dan Preda

SUGGESTIONS

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

1.  Firmly believes that development and human rights are interdependent, and that respect for and protection and fulfilment of human rights, including social, economic and political rights, are prerequisites for reducing poverty and inequalities and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for all; considers, reciprocally, that poverty and underdevelopment impede any effective enjoyment of human rights;

2.  Underlines that the international community is currently faced with one of its biggest challenges with regard to the refugee crisis; welcomes the creation of new EU instruments to address the root causes of migration and underlines the importance of putting human rights and dignity at the centre of EU migration policies; recalls that the right to leave one’s country is enshrined in Article 13 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that the human rights of migrants must be fully respected in origin, transit and destination countries, including in detention centres;

3.  Takes the view that human rights for all must be a cross-cutting feature in the achievement of all goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda; calls for an inclusive human-rights-sensitive and rights-based SDG indicator framework to be established at national and international level to ensure strong transparency and accountability in this regard, so that the resources allocated to development really reach people in need;

4.  Highlights the paramount importance of SDG 16 on ensuring peace, justice and inclusive societies; stresses that respect for human rights is key to any successful democratisation process, and that consolidation of the rule of law, good governance, institutional capacities with the use of budget support, democratic participation and representative decision-making, stability, social justice, and inclusive and sustainable growth, thereby allowing fair redistribution of the wealth produced, should be key objectives of all EU external policies; warns against populism, extremism and constitutional abuse which legitimise breaches of human rights;

5.  Recalls the introduction of a rights-based approach (RBA) in EU development policy aimed at integrating human rights principles into EU operational activities for development, covering arrangements both at headquarters and in the field for the synchronisation of human rights and development cooperation activities; calls for greater dissemination of the RBA toolbox among our partners, including local authorities, civil society and the private sector, and for its implementation to be closely monitored by the Commission;

6.  Is concerned about any attempts to use funding earmarked for action to combat poverty and foster development – which also gives practical effect to policies whose ultimate aim is to uphold human rights – for non-development-related purposes;

7.  Recalls the crucial importance of the principle of Policy Coherence for Development (PCD), as enshrined in Article 208 TFEU, in achieving respect for human rights; calls on the EU to ensure that the necessary guidelines, impact assessments and monitoring and reporting mechanisms make PCD a reality in EU policies and in those of its Member States; insists on strengthening coherence and coordination among all EU external policies and instruments while implementing the RBA; calls on the Member States to take action within the scope of their powers and in keeping with the development commitments entered into and with EU policies in this area;

8.  Strongly calls on the Council, the Commission and the Member States to include human rights for all systematically in political dialogues and trade negotiations conducted with developing countries, and to ensure that cooperation with third countries is linked to the progress made as regards the effective promotion of democracy and human rights; urges the Commission to further promote the inclusion of non-negotiable human rights and social and environmental clauses while negotiating international agreements, including EPAs, and to consider a system of sanctions and a redress mechanism for the victims when failure to respect human rights is demonstrated; notably insists that the future agreement with the ACP States must reinforce the existing dialogue on human rights; calls on the EU to actively engage NGOs and civil society in policy-making to ensure the effectiveness of human rights provisions, to guarantee ownership, and to prevent any potential instrumentalisation of human rights;

9.  Recognises the crucial role that EU Delegations play as regards the promotion of human rights in third countries and the effective implementation of the EU’s external human rights policy; calls on the Commission to carry out an evaluation of the use of the RBA toolbox in delegations and provide Parliament with an overview of that evaluation;

10.  Recalls that the private sector is an important partner in achieving the SDGs; stresses the importance of ensuring multinational companies’ accountability and alignment with human rights and social and environmental standards and principles when undertaking activity in a country; believes that this can be maximised by the conclusion of more public-private partnerships; calls, in this regard, on the EU and the Member States to regularly assess the human rights impacts of the private sector’s development-related activities, and to engage actively in the work of the UN Human Rights Council on an international treaty to hold transnational corporations accountable for human rights abuses;

11.  Recalls that conflict and fragility negatively affect the lives of millions of people and that human rights abuses through terrorism have gained widespread prevalence; stresses the need to better link foreign policy security response, humanitarian relief and long-term development responses; urges the EU to include the protection of victims of crime and violence within development programmes with third countries and to prioritise exchanges of best practices on anti-corruption, as corruption is often a gateway for impunity and the root of injustice to victims;

12.  Stresses the need to promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity or religion, including fair access for all to strengthened national health systems; calls on the EU institutions to address caste discrimination on a par with other causes of discrimination; reiterates the EU’s commitment to supporting vulnerable and marginalised groups, including people with disabilities in compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and urges the thorough examination of the effectiveness of disability-related projects and the proper involvement of disabled persons’ organisations in the planning and implementation of these projects; stresses, furthermore, the importance of SDG 5 on ending all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls, and of giving particular attention to the important role of women human rights defenders;

13.  Recalls the need to strengthen the legal arsenal, upstream and downstream of mining, to ensure better traceability of minerals; calls on the EU to prevent any violations of human rights related to the exploitation of natural resources by EU multinationals in developing countries and to support rigorous legal frameworks and initiatives aiming at transparency and good governance of mining and other resource sectors; supports global initiatives to tackle corruption, such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI); recalls that indigenous peoples are particularly affected by human rights violations related to resource extraction and that their free, prior and informed consent must be respected;

14.  Notes with great concern that according to the ILO around 21 million men, women and children around the world are trapped in a form of slavery and that repeated infringements of core labour standards have been reported in several countries with GSP+ status; highlights the obligation to respect international labour standards, in line with the ILO Decent Work Agenda, and takes the view that labour rights should have a more central place in the EU’s external relations; urges the effective implementation and enforcement of GSP+, monitored by civil society and through a transparent reporting mechanism; calls, furthermore, on the EIB to pay greater attention to the impact its operations have on human rights and labour rights and suggests, for this purpose, the inclusion of human rights benchmarks in its project evaluations;

15.  Welcomes the inclusion of a development chapter in the EU annual report and calls for this to become standard practice for future years’ reports.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

8.11.2016

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

19

3

1

Members present for the final vote

Louis Aliot, Nicolas Bay, Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Ignazio Corrao, Raymond Finch, Enrique Guerrero Salom, Maria Heubuch, György Hölvényi, Teresa Jiménez-Becerril Barrio, Arne Lietz, Linda McAvan, Norbert Neuser, Cristian Dan Preda, Elly Schlein, Eleni Theocharous, Bogdan Brunon Wenta, Anna Záborská

Substitutes present for the final vote

Marina Albiol Guzmán, Agustín Díaz de Mera García Consuegra, Bernd Lucke, Judith Sargentini, Patrizia Toia

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Maria Grapini


OPINION of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (10.11.2016)

for the Committee on Foreign Affairs

on the annual report on human rights and democracy in the world and the European Union’s policy on the matter 2015

(2016/2219(INI))

Rapporteur: Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea

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 into its motion for a resolution:

–  having regard to Protocol No 1 to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) on the role of national parliaments in the European Union and to Protocol No 2 to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality,

–  having regard to its resolution of 8 March 2016 on the situation of women refugees and asylum seekers in the EU,

–  having regard to the Commission’s joint staff working document on ‘gender equality and women’s empowerment: transforming lives of girls and women through the EU external relations 2016-2020’,

–  having regard to the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (the Istanbul Convention),

–  having regard to UN Security Council Resolutions 1325, 2242, 1820, 1888, 1889 and 1960 on women, peace and security,

–  having regard to the 1979 UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW),

–  having regard to the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees,

–  having regard to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child,

–  having regard to the report of 2015 by the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Rashida Manjoo,

–  having regard to the outcomes of the sixtieth session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 14 to 24 March 2016,

–  having regard to a report drawn up by the World Health Organization in 2013 on ‘global and regional estimates of violence against women’,

Α.  whereas violence against women and girls is one of the world’s most widespread human rights violations, affecting all levels of society, regardless of age, education, income, social position or country of origin or residence, and representing a decisive barrier to gender equality; whereas in certain countries a substantial increase in the number of such cases has been observed;

B.  whereas women and girls in many parts of the world continue to be victims of gender-based violence, including rape, trafficking in human beings, forced marriage, honour crimes, female genital mutilation, slavery, cruel and inhuman punishments amounting to torture and other violations of their fundamental rights to life, liberty, justice, dignity, security and freedom, and their right to psychological and physical integrity and self-determination in sexual and reproductive matters;

C.  whereas not all women and children who have been victims of domestic violence or sexually based crime have access to adequate support networks, mental health services or justice systems prepared to handle these types of misconduct;

D.  whereas, according to the World Health Organization, around 35 % of women in the world have experienced physical and/or sexual violence, bearing in mind that this number does not include cases unreported by women and data that have never been collected;

E.  whereas in countries where the death penalty is practised the methods used on women are akin to torture and involve abasement of the victim’s body;

F.  whereas respect for human rights and women’s and girls’ rights in particular is under threat worldwide, and whereas the universality of human rights is being increasingly, and seriously, challenged by a number of authoritarian governments; whereas there are numerous attempts by far right and anti-gender movements to constrain women’s rights to their bodies, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) rights and the fundamental rights of refugees and asylum seekers;

G.  whereas the EU is committed to promoting gender equality and ensuring gender mainstreaming in all of its actions;

H.  whereas gender equality is a precondition for women and girls to enjoy their human rights and is key to the implementation of gender mainstreaming through national strategic programmes;

I.  whereas the EU gender equality strategy already provides for gender mainstreaming in EU commercial policy;

J.  whereas during armed conflicts female and child refugees, asylum seekers and stateless persons are among the most vulnerable groups in society, and whereas the risks to teenage girls displaced in times of humanitarian crises are significantly heightened;

K.  whereas some European countries have in recent years been taking a less tolerant attitude towards migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers; whereas the EU must lead by example and follow a consistent line in its internal and external policies; and whereas Member States must transpose European into national legislation;

L.  whereas sexual and reproductive health and rights are grounded in basic human rights and are essential elements of human dignity; whereas, furthermore, these have not yet been secured in all parts of the world;

M.  whereas women all over the world are especially affected by the consequences of climate, environmental and energy policies, making the fight against gender inequality interdependent with the fight against climate change;

N.  whereas women and girls with disabilities or belonging to cultural, traditional, linguistic, religious, gender or sexual orientation minority groups are more at risk from violence, abuse, negligence and multiple forms of discrimination based on their disability, minority status and gender;

O.  whereas women and girls make up two thirds of the world’s 960 million illiterate people(1); whereas girls continue to be seriously disadvantaged and excluded from the educational systems of many countries; and whereas women and girls are denied access to high-quality education and are forced to abandon their studies when they marry or have children;

P.  whereas in a statement of 2005 the UN Security Council called on UN member states to continue to implement its Resolution 1325 through the development of National Action Plans (NAPs) or other national-level strategies; whereas to date, only 60 UN member states, of which 17 are EU Member States, have developed and launched such NAPs;

Q.  whereas three fifths of the billion people living below the poverty line are women;

R.  whereas economic empowerment of women is a way to widen and enhance the exercise of their fundamental rights in reality;

1.  Believes that women should play a greater role in the processes and national and international institutions involved in conflict prevention and in promoting human rights and democratic reform, and stresses the importance of supporting the systematic participation of women as a vital element in peace processes and post-conflict reconstruction; underlines that women’s participation in conflict resolution talks is crucial to promoting women’s rights and participation and that it is a first step towards their full inclusion in future transitional processes; calls on the Commission, the High Representative and Member States to promote the role of women in every conflict-resolution and peace-building framework where the EU is represented;

2.  Strongly condemns the continued use of rape and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls as a weapon of war; calls on all countries, and in particular EU Member States which have not yet done so to develop NAPs implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1325 immediately, together with strategies to combat violence against women directly; calls for a global commitment to ensuring that UN Security Council Resolution 1325 is implemented; underlines that Common Security and Defence Policy missions and EU training, technical and assistance missions in third countries must contribute to combating sexual and gender-based violence; stresses the need to use peaceful means of conflict resolution which include women at the core of the negotiations and actions;

3.  Recognises that girls and women are particularly disadvantaged and at risk, and that a specific focus is needed to ensure girls’ and women´s access to education, to sexual and reproductive health and rights, to allow them to live lives free from all forms of violence, to remove discriminatory legislation and practices, and to empower girls and young women globally;

4.  Calls for a global commitment to preventively ensuring the safety of women and girls from the start of every emergency or crisis, by adequately addressing the risk of sexual and gender-based violence, raising awareness, improving access to justice for women and girls in conflict and post-conflict situations, increasing accountability and the effective prosecution of the perpetrators of such violence, since impunity, including of the official armed forces, remains one of the obstacles to breaking the vicious circle of sexual violence in some countries, and ensuring the full range of sexual and reproductive health services, including safe and legal abortion for victims of war rape;

5.  Condemns the fact that in countries where capital punishment is practised, methods that are equivalent to torture (such as stoning to death) and involve bodily humiliation (such as public hanging) are used to execute women in order to intimidate other women; strongly condemns all forms of gender-specific torture, in particular stoning and honour killing;

6.  Maintains that violence against women and gender-based violence constitute a violation of fundamental rights and an extreme form of discrimination, which is at once the cause and the consequence of gender inequalities within and outside the EU;

7.  Condemns the fact that women and girls make up 98% of victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation; calls on the Member States to do more to combat this practice that violates the fundamental rights of women and children;

8.  Stresses that religious, cultural and traditional differences can in no way justify discrimination or any form of violence, especially against women and girls, such as female genital mutilation, sexual abuse, femicide, early or forced marriage, domestic violence, honour killings or violence, or any other means of torture and death such as stoning;

9.  Reaffirms that female genital mutilation (FGM) is a serious violation of human rights that should be given special attention in the EU’s dialogue with third countries where the prevalence of this practice is significant; recalls that FGM has serious and lasting health consequences for women and thus for development;

10.  Notes that measures to tackle gender-based violence must also address online violence, including harassment, bullying and intimidation, and work to create an online environment that is safe for women and girls;

11.  Reiterates its longstanding opposition to the death penalty under all circumstances, and calls for an immediate moratorium on executions in those countries where the death penalty is still applied;

12.  Calls for region-specific data pertaining to gender-based violence to be analysed in order to better tailor the actions taken to improve the condition of women in specific regions;

13.  Welcomes the proposal put forward by the Commission on 4 March 2016 for the EU to accede to the Istanbul Convention, the first legally binding international instrument seeking to prevent and combat violence against women; believes that this will lend greater effectiveness and coherence to EU internal and external policies and strengthen the EU’s responsibility and role in combating violence against women and gender-based violence at the international level; urges the Commission and the Council to do their utmost to enable the EU to sign and conclude the Convention, while also encouraging the 14 Member States which have not yet done so to sign and ratify the Istanbul Convention and ensure that the Convention is properly implemented;

14.  Calls on the Commission to draft as a matter of urgency a European strategy for combating gender-related violence that includes a legal instrument to combat and prevent all forms of violence against women in the EU;

15.  Deplores the lack of prevention policies on gender-based violence, the lack of victim support and the high rate of impunity for offenders in a large number of countries; asks the EEAS to exchange good practices with third countries on law-making procedures and training programmes for police, judicial personnel and civil servants; urges the EU to support civil society organisations working to defend human rights and promote gender equality in third countries, and to cooperate closely with international organisations active in the gender equality field with a view to creating synergies and promoting women’s empowerment;

16.  Recognises that the average age of entering into prostitution worldwide is between 12 and 14 years old, and that prostitution and sexual exploitation are highly gendered issues and a form of gender-based violence that is contrary to human rights principles, of which gender equality is a core principle; calls on the international community to develop concrete measures to decrease the demand for women, girls, men, and boys in prostitution as a key strategy for the prevention and reduction of trafficking in human beings;

17.  Calls for the implementation of laws and policies that target perpetrators directly in order to reduce demand for sexual exploitation while decriminalising individuals in prostitution and providing them with support services, including high-quality social, legal and psychological assistance for those who wish to exit from prostitution;

18.  Stresses that gender stereotypes are among the main reasons for violations of women’s rights and inequalities between men and women, and stresses the importance of combating those that reinforce women’s subordinate position in society and constitute a principal cause of inequality between men and women, human rights violations against women and gender violence; highlights the importance of awareness-raising campaigns targeting all levels of society, strategies to encourage women and involve men, a greater involvement of the media, and the inclusion of gender issues in education and in all EU policies and initiatives, especially those relating to external action, cooperation and development and humanitarian aid; calls on the EEAS and the Commission to emphasise the involvement of men and boys in information and awareness-raising campaigns on women’s rights, both as targets and agents of change; notes that particular attention must be paid to constitutional, legislative and regulatory provisions which discriminate against women on the basis of their sex;

19.  Reiterates that child marriage, early and forced marriage and the failure to enforce a legal minimum age of marriage constitute a violation of children’s rights and an obstacle to women’s empowerment;

20.  Maintains that the authorities must undertake to pursue education campaigns aimed at men and younger generations, with a view to involving men and boys as partners while preventing and gradually eliminating all types of gender-based violence and promoting women’s empowerment;

21.  Stresses the need to enhance women’s and girls’ access to all levels of education and to remove all barriers to learning, especially in the poorest and most marginalised communities, and for support to be given to vocational training for women and gender equality training programmes for education professionals in third countries, as educating women and girls has proved to significantly improve their future prospects; urges the EU to include this priority in all its diplomatic, trade and development cooperation activities and recommends that gender budgeting be considered and applied in all programmes and measures that offer funding in the field of education and training for women and girls; points to the need for continuity in the education of children, young people and women in refugee camps and conflict zones, as well as in hospitals;

22.  Urges all the Member States to step up the implementation of the obligations and commitments related to women’s rights arising from the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, part of the Beijing Platform for Action, and to support civil society organisations working to promote gender equality;

23.  Is concerned about the surrogacy industry, which treats women’s bodies as commodities on the international reproductive market, and deplores the fact that the surrogacy industry largely exploits vulnerable women, primarily from the global south;

24.  Condemns the fact that each year more than 500 000 women across the world die in childbirth(2) and that women’s sexual and reproductive rights are frequently violated; emphasises that proper, affordable health care and universal respect for and access to sexual and reproductive education and services contribute to prenatal care and the ability to avoid high-risk births, and reduce infant and child mortality;

25.  Urges the EU and its Member States to recognise the inalienable right of women and girls to protection from physical injury and to take decisions freely, not least as regards the right of access to voluntary family planning, maternal health and safe and legal abortion services, which are important ways of saving women’s lives, and the right to be free from violence, including female genital mutilation, early and forced marriage, and marital rape;

26.  Calls on the EU and the international community to actively work on and increasingly fund the new sustainable development goal on gender equality (SDG 5), while maintaining the importance of access to comprehensive sex education and universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights;

27.  Deplores the fact that women worldwide continue to face enormous challenges in finding and keeping decent jobs, as demonstrated by the International Labour Organisation report ‘Women at work 2016’;

28.  Regrets that the glass ceiling to women in business, the gender pay gap and the societal discouragement of female entrepreneurship are still global phenomena; calls for initiatives to further empower women, especially in the areas of self-employment and SMEs;

29.  Regrets that, all too often, women are discriminated against in favour of men when it comes to accessing financial resources such as bank loans; underlines the fact that women’s empowerment in the entrepreneurial realm has been proved to be a vital factor in boosting the economy and, in the long term, combating poverty;

30.  Recommends considering the development and adoption of a binding international instrument at UN level on gender-based violence, with its own dedicated monitoring body; recommends that gender budgeting be considered and applied in all programmes and measures that offer funding in the field of education and training for women and girls;

31.  Calls on the Commission and the EU Member States to implement gender budgeting in all relevant EU funding;

32.  Points to the need to ensure that health professionals, police forces, prosecutors, judges, diplomats and peacekeepers, both within the EU and in non-member countries, are properly trained to help and support victims of violence, especially women and children, in conflict situations and operations on the ground;

33.  Deplores the fact that in some third countries marriages between adults and minors are legal and in some cases involve brides under the age of nine (child brides);

34.  Points out that gender equality does not apply only to men and women, but must encompass the whole LGBTI community;

35.  Is concerned that in recent years far right and anti-gender equality movements have gained public ground in a number of countries; these movements challenge existing achievements in the area of women’s rights, gender equality and migrants’ rights, and aim to block laws and policies protecting LGBTI people against hate crime and discrimination;

36.  Deplores and condemns the fact that in some third countries homosexuality is a crime, and one that is in some cases punishable by death; calls on the EU and the Member States to strongly promote and protect the enjoyment of all human rights by LGBTI persons in their foreign policy;

37.  Points to the need to mainstream gender issues more strongly in EU humanitarian aid;

38.  Strongly regrets the lack of gender equality in the political sphere and women’s under-representation in political, social and economic decision-making, which undermines human rights and democracy; considers that governments should aim for gender equality in democracy-building and maintenance processes and combat all forms of gender discrimination within society; underlines that the electoral observation missions’ reports offer precise guidelines for the EU’s political dialogue with third countries with a view to improving women’s participation in the electoral process and the democratic life of the country;

39.  Recalls that the EU Plan of Action on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Development (GAP) is one of the EU’s fundamental tools for improving gender equality in third countries, and therefore believes that GAP2 should take the form of a Commission communication; calls on the Commission to take into account Parliament’s resolution on the renewal of the GAP;

40.  Calls for the EU to revise its international trade policies and adopt an approach where human, labour, consumer and environmental rights are put at the forefront and guide transnational and national trade and investment;

41.  Urges the EU to ensure that gender equality and fundamental human rights safeguards, in particular for women and girls, are included in national human rights strategies and political dialogues and included in all EU economic and trade agreements with countries outside the EU as legally binding clauses; calls for conformity with EU core values to be made a criterion for budget support;

42.  Points out that European companies which operate globally have a key role to play in promoting gender equality, since they can act as models;

43.  Stresses the importance of introducing positive measures such as quota systems in order to promote women’s participation in political bodies and the democratic process and in economic decision-making;

44.  Calls for the use of gender-sensitive quantitative and qualitative indicators and systematic and timely collection of gender-disaggregated data as part of the monitoring and evaluation process of the new GAP;

45.  Deplores the fact that some countries still restrict women’s participation in elections;

46.  Stresses that the international community has identified the situation of women with disabilities as a priority; recalls the conclusions of the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, which stated that policies and programmes to address violence against women and girls with disabilities should be developed in close partnership with those people who have disabilities, recognising their autonomy, and with disability organisations; underlines the need for regular oversight of institutions and appropriate training for caregivers; calls on the EU to incorporate the fight against disability discrimination into its external action, cooperation and development aid policies, including the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights;

47.  Condemns the human rights abuses, principally involving harassment and sexual violence, inflicted on women living under occupation in the Euro-Mediterranean region and used by the occupying forces as a mechanism for intimidating the whole of their society in its struggle for its legitimate right to self-determination; draws attention to the role played by women in peace-keeping, in promoting dialogue and in conflict resolution with the aim of confronting violations of women’s rights in the Euro-Mediterranean area and protecting them from all forms of violence, including that inflicted by foreign occupying forces;

48.  Calls on Member States in which the migration crisis has led to a significant deterioration in the protection of women’s rights to monitor refugee centres and their immediate surroundings in order to prevent acts of violence, including sexual violence, and to bring the perpetrators to justice;

49.  Points to the vulnerability of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, especially those who are women, young people or members of marginalised groups, and to the urgent need to develop safe and legal entry routes for migration, while guaranteeing access to family reunion, free public education, healthcare services, especially sexual and reproductive health care, employment, housing and psychological support, and allowing humanitarian visits; calls on the Member States to ensure that migrant or refugee women’s rights, such as access to visas, legal residence rights and social rights, are granted individually and not on the basis of their marital status or spousal relationship;

50.  Underlines the fact that the massive movement of migrants and asylum seekers exposes women and girls disproportionately to gender-based violence and gender-based discrimination in transit and destination countries; notes that some women and girl refugees and migrants are victims of sexual violence by migrant smugglers and also become victims of trafficking in human beings; calls on the EU agencies and the Member States’ law enforcement authorities to train their staff adequately in taking account of the specific needs and vulnerabilities of women and girl refugees;

51.  Deeply regrets that Roma people, and in particular Roma women, continue to suffer from widespread discrimination and anti-Gypsyism, which feeds the cycle of disadvantage, exclusion, segregation and marginalisation; calls on the EU and the Member States to fully respect the human rights of Roma people by ensuring the right to education, health services, employment, housing and social protection;

52.  Calls for investment in women and young people, since this is an effective way to combat poverty, and female poverty in particular;

53.  Points to the importance of continuing to combat the gender pay gap and of speeding up the process towards reaching the Commission’s percentage targets for women in top-level positions;

54.  Rejects any laws, regulations or government pressure imposing undue restrictions on freedom of expression, especially for women and other gender categories;

55.  Deplores the fact that women are underrepresented in economic, political and social decision-making; considers women’s representation in political, economic and social decision-making to be a fundamental rights and democracy issue; recommends that parity systems and gender quotas be introduced as lawful temporary means of promoting women’s participation in political bodies and the democratic process, especially as candidates, and that legislation be passed to enable the same goal to be achieved by large public and private companies;

56.  Urges the Member States, the Commission and the EEAS to focus on the economic and political emancipation of women in developing countries by promoting their involvement in business and in the implementation of local and regional development projects;

57.  Encourages women to become actively involved in trade unions and other organisations, as this will do much to introduce gender aspects into working conditions;

58.  Calls for the rights of older people, and older women in particular, to be strengthened by combating all forms of discrimination and helping them to live decent, secure lives as full members of society;

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

8.11.2016

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

26

5

1

Members present for the final vote

Daniela Aiuto, Maria Arena, Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Malin Björk, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, Iratxe García Pérez, Anna Hedh, Teresa Jiménez-Becerril Barrio, Agnieszka Kozłowska-Rajewicz, Florent Marcellesi, Krisztina Morvai, Maria Noichl, Marijana Petir, Pina Picierno, João Pimenta Lopes, Liliana Rodrigues, Ernest Urtasun, Ángela Vallina, Elissavet Vozemberg-Vrionidi, Jadwiga Wiśniewska, Anna Záborská, Jana Žitňanská

Substitutes present for the final vote

Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Linnéa Engström, Rosa Estaràs Ferragut, Mariya Gabriel, Constance Le Grip, Marc Tarabella, Julie Ward

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

John Stuart Agnew, Doru-Claudian Frunzulică

(1)

  http://www.unfpa.org/sites/default/files/pub-pdf/swp08_eng.pdf.

(2)

  Source: UNICEF.


ANNEX I

INDIVIDUAL CASES RAISED BY THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT BETWEEN JANUARY AND DECEMBER 2015

COUNTRY

Individual

BACKGROUND

ACTION TAKEN BY THE PARLIAMENT

AFGHANISTAN

Seven Hazari people (two women, four men and a little girl)

 

 

In its Resolution, adopted on 26 November 2015, the European Parliament:

- Strongly condemns the barbaric murder and beheading of seven Hazari people (two women, four men and a little girl) in the south-eastern Afghan province of Zabul on the border with Pakistan;

- Condemns the attacks by the Taliban, Al Qaeda, ISIL and other terrorist groups against Afghan civilians, the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces, democratic institutions and civil society, which are causing record numbers of casualties; stresses that protection of the Hazara community, as a group particularly vulnerable to Taliban and Daesh/ISIL terrorist violence, should be a priority for the Afghan Government;

- Extends its condolences to the bereaved families, particularly of the recent victims of horrific killings in the Hazara community;

- Calls for support for the Afghan authorities to take swift and appropriate action to ensure that the killers of innocent civilians are brought to justice and to reaffirm the rule of law in the country;

- Calls on the Afghan authorities to ensure that security force personnel implicated in serious human rights violations, including those having command responsibility over forces committing abuses, are credibly and impartially investigated and disciplined or prosecuted as appropriate;

 

Letters of concern were sent on 11 March and 24 November 2015.

 

ALGERIA

Rachid Aouine, Youssef Sultani, Abdelhamid Brahimi and Ferhat Missa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mohamed Rag

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Khencha Belkacem,

Brahimi Belelmi, Mazouzi Benallal, Azzouzi Boubakeur, Korini Belkacem, Bekouider Faouzi, Bensarkha Tahar and Djaballah Abdelkader

 

 

 

 

Four labour rights activists, Rachid Aouine, Youssef Sultani, Abdelhamid Brahimi and Ferhat Missa, members of the CNDDC in the town of El Oued, were arrested and charged for instigating a gathering. Two of them were acquitted, but Rachid Aouine was sentenced and Youssef Sultani is free facing trial.

 

Mohamed Rag, a labour rights activist from the National Committee for the Defence of the Rights of the Unemployed (Comité National pour la Défense des Droits des Chômeurs, CNDDC) in the town of Laghouat, was arrested on 22 January 2015 and sentenced to 18 months in prison and a fine of DZD 20 000 for ‘assaulting a security force agent in the exercise of his duties’, and whereas his sentence was confirmed upon appeal on 18 March 2015.

 

On 28 January 2015 in the town of Laghouat, eight labour rights activists, members of the CNDDC – Khencha Belkacem, Brahimi Belelmi, Mazouzi Benallal, Azzouzi Boubakeur, Korini Belkacem, Bekouider Faouzi, Bensarkha Tahar and Djaballah Abdelkader – were arrested when they assembled in front of the city court to demand that Mohamed Rag be released. These eight activists were subsequently sentenced last March to one year in prison with a 6-month suspended sentence and a fine of DZD 5000.

 

In its Resolution, adopted on 30 April 2015, the European Parliament:

- Expresses its concern at the arrest and detention of activists Rachid Aouine, Mohamed Rag, Khencha Belkacem, Brahimi Belelmi, Mazouzi Benallal, Azzouzi Boubakeur, Korini Belkacem, Bekouider Faouzi, Bensarkha Tahar and Djaballah Abdelkader, as they are being detained in spite of the fact that their activities are fully permissible under Algerian law and in line with the international human rights instruments which Algeria has ratified;

- Calls also on the Algerian authorities to ensure and guarantee the right to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, and to take appropriate steps to ensure the safety and security of civil society activists and human rights defenders and their freedom to pursue their legitimate and peaceful activities;

- Recalls the recommendation to the Algerian Government by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression to revoke the decree of 18 June 2001 banning peaceful protests and all forms of public demonstration in Algiers and to establish a system of simple notification rather than prior authorisation for public demonstrations;

- Calls on the Algerian authorities to repeal Law 12-06 on associations and to engage in a genuine dialogue with civil society organisations in order to frame a new law that is in conformity with international human rights standards and the Algerian Constitution;

 

ANGOLA

José Marcos Mavungo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arão Bula Tempo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rafael Marques

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luaty Beirão

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Captain Zenóbio Lázaro Muhondo Zumba

 

 

 

Followers of the religious sect Luz do Mundo

 

On 14 March 2015 human rights activist José Marcos Mavungo was arrested without a warrant, and on 28 August 2015 prosecutor António Nito asked the court in the Angolan province of Cabinda to sentence Mavungo to 12 years imprisonment on the charge of inciting rebellion, despite no evidence being presented that he had committed any crime.

 

Lawyer Arão Bula Tempo was arrested on the same day for alleged involvement in the organisation of the same protest. Arão Bula Tempo was subsequently released on 13 May 2015 pending his trial on sedition charges.

 

Journalist and human rights activist Rafael Marques was condemned on 28 May 2015 to a 6-month jail term suspended for two years for the publication in 2011 of the book, ‘Blood Diamonds: Corruption and Torture in Angola’, which detailed more than 100 killings and hundreds of cases of torture allegedly perpetrated by security guards and soldiers in the diamond fields of the Lundas region; whereas the complaints submitted by Marques to the Public Prosecutor concerning human rights violations in the Lundas region were not subject to investigation.

 

15 youth activists were arrested between 20 and 24 June 2015 in connection with a private political discussion, detained and indicted for “preparing acts pursuant to a coup d’etat”. Among these activists was Luaty Beirão, who is an Angolan rapper known for his political activism.

To protest against the charge and his continued imprisonment, Beirão had gone on hunger strike.

 

Captain Zenóbio Lázaro Muhondo Zumba was subsequently arrested on 30 June 2015 on the grounds of alleged links with the 15 activists arrested.

 

On 16 April 2015, police and defence forces killed scores of pilgrims on Mount Sumi, in Angola’s central highlands, to avenge the deaths of eight police officers, allegedly at the hands of members of a Christian sect known as Luz do Mundo.

 

In a botched operation, the police officers were killed as they attempted to arrest the sect leader, José Kalupeteka, during worship. More than 3,000 followers, from many parts of the country, had camped at Mount Sumi for the sect’s summit.

 

In its Resolution, adopted on 10 September 2015, the European Parliament:

- Calls on the Angolan authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all human rights defenders, including Marcos Mavungo and the 15+1 activists arrested in June 2015, and to drop all charges against them; calls also for the immediate and unconditional release of any other activists, prisoners of conscience or political opponents arbitrarily arrested and detained solely for their political views, journalistic work or participation in peaceful activities;

- Urges the authorities to ensure that no acts of torture or ill-treatment are performed on the detainees and to guarantee full protection and access to their families and lawyers;

- Calls on the Angolan authorities to immediately put an end to cases of arbitrary arrest, illegal detentions and torture by the police and security forces; reiterates that prompt, impartial and thorough investigations must be carried out into all allegations of human rights violations, including torture, by police and security forces and that the perpetrators be brought to justice;

- Urges the Angolan judicial authorities to assert their independence from any political instrumentalisation and to ensure the protection of rights recognised by legal instruments, such as access to justice and the right to a fair trial;

- Urges the Angolan Government to conduct an urgent, transparent and credible inquiry into the Huambo massacre, and to provide support to the survivors who have been displaced; echoes the UN calls for an international and independent complementary investigation;

- Remains concerned that measures to combat violence against women and children have not been implemented; calls on the authorities to strengthen the fight against harmful traditional practices, such as the stigmatisation of children accused of sorcery;

 

Regarding the situation of Luaty Beirão, a letter of concern was sent on 20 October 2015.

AZERBAJIAN

Leyla Yunus, Arif Yunus, Rasul Jafarov and Rasim Aliyev

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intigam Aliyev

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rauf Mirkadirov

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ilgar Mammadov

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anar Mammadli

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Omar Mammadov,

Abdul Abilov, Elsever Murselli

 

 

 

 

 

Khadija Ismayilova,

Tofiq Yaqublu,

Nijat Aliyev, Araz Guliyev, Parviz Hashimli, Seymur Hezi, Hilal Mammadov and Taleh Khasmammadov

 

Emin Milli

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emin Huseynov

 

Leyla Yunus is the well-known director of the Institute for Peace and Democracy. She has been imprisoned together with her husband, the historian Arif Yunus, and Rasul Jafarov, the chair of Azerbaijan’s Human Rights Club on apparent politically motivated charges. Leyla Yunus has been subjected to acts of violence in prison committed by her cellmate, and no measures have been taken to punish the cellmate or to ensure the protection of Ms Yunus. In addition, Ms Yunus’s health has deteriorated in prison and no suitable medical care has been provided.

 

Intigam Aliyev is the chair of Azerbaijan’s Legal Education Society and a human rights lawyer who has defended more than 200 cases before the European Court of Human Rights in the areas of infringement of freedom of speech, the right to a fair trial and electoral law in Azerbaijan, was arrested on 8 August 2014 and subjected to three month’s detention on criminal charges.

 

Rauf Mirkadirov is an investigative journalist with the leading Russian-language newspaper ‘Zerkalo’ who held on pre-trial detention on charges of treason.

 

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has issued numerous rulings in cases of breaches of human rights in Azerbaijan, the latest being on 22 May 2014 in the case of Ilgar Mammadov, chair of the Republican Alternative Civic Movement (REAL); in which despite it being ruled that his detention was politically motivated, the authorities refused to release him.

 

Anar Mammadli is the chair of the Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Centre (EMDS), Both were sentenced to prison terms of, respectively, 5 years and 6 months and 3 years and 6 months, on charges ranging from tax evasion to illegal entrepreneurship.

 

Social media activists Omar Mammadov, Abdul Abilov and Elsever Murselli were sentenced to between 5 and 5.5 years’ imprisonment on charges of drug possession, none of them having access to a lawyer of their own choosing and all complaining of ill-treatment in police custody.

 

8 activists of the non-governmental youth movement NIDA were convicted on charges of hooliganism, drug possession and possession of explosives, as well as intent to cause public disorder.

 

Emin Milli is a writer and dissident from Azerbaijan, Milli was imprisoned in 2009 for two and a half years for his critical views about the government. He was conditionally released in November 2010, after serving 16 months of his sentence, in part due to strong international pressure on the government of Azerbaijan.

 

Emin Huseynov is an Azerbaijani journalist and chairman of the country’s leading media rights group, the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS). Huseynov was forced into hiding in August 2014, amidst widespread repression of journalists and human rights activists, and was sheltered in the Swiss embassy in Baku until 12 June, when he travelled to Switzerland on a humanitarian visa. His application for asylum was approved four months later.

 

In its Resolution, adopted on 10 September 2015, the European Parliament:

- Calls for the immediate and unconditional release from jail of all political prisoners, human rights defenders, journalists and other civil society activists, including Khadija Ismayilova, Leyla Yunus and Arif Yunus, Anar Mammadli, Rasul Jafarov, Intigam Aliyev, Rauf Mirkadirov, Omar Mammadov, Tofiq Yaqublu, Nijat Aliyev, Araz Guliyev, Parviz Hashimli, Seymur Hezi, Hilal Mammadov, Taleh Khasmammadov and Ilgar Mammadov, in line with the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), and calls for all charges against them to be dropped and for the full restoration of their political and civil rights and public image;

- Calls for a prompt investigation into the death of the journalist and IRFS chair Rasim Aliyev; notes with concern the allegations put forward by a group of journalists that Mr Aliyev died because he had not received appropriate assistance from the doctors assigned to him in the hospital;

- Urges the government of Azerbaijan to fully cooperate with and implement the recommendations of the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission and Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN special procedures in regard to human rights defenders, the rights of freedom of association and peaceful assembly, freedom of expression and arbitrary detention, with the aim of amending its legislation and adapting its practices in full conformity with the conclusions of the experts;

- Calls on the government of Azerbaijan to immediately end its crackdown on civil society and human rights work, ensuring that independent civil society groups and activists can operate without undue hindrance or fear of persecution, including by repealing the laws severely restricting civil society, unfreezing bank accounts of non-governmental groups and their leaders, and allowing access to foreign funding;

- Deplores the continued actions taken by the Azerbaijani government to curb contacts between civil society groups, youth activists and intellectuals in Armenia and Azerbaijan, which are of extreme importance for bridging the long hostility between the two countries; in this regard, again recalls the important work done in this area by Leyla and Arif Yunus;

- Calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to respect freedom of the press and media, both in legislation and in practice and both online and offline, to guarantee freedom of expression in line with international standards and to end censorship of criticism of the government via media outlets;

- Calls on the EU authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the corruption allegations against President Aliyev and members of his family revealed by the work of the investigative journalist Khadija Ismaylova;

BAHRAIN

Nabeel Rajab

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abdulhadi-al-Khawaja

 

 

 

Ibrahim Sharif

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Naji Fateel

 

Zainab Al-Khawaja

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zainab Al-Khawaja

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sheikh Ali Salman

 

Nabeel Rajab is the President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) and Deputy Secretary General of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH). He was convicted to three years in prison in August 2012 on charges of calling for and participating in ‘illegal gatherings’ and ‘disturbing public order’ between February and March 2011. His sentence was reduced to two years in prison on appeal. Before this imprisonment Mr Rajab was repeatedly detained for peacefully expressing criticism of the government during the pro-democracy protests that erupted Bahrain in 2011.

 

On Friday 29 November 2013 Nabeel Rajab had served three-quarters of his two year sentence and had become legally eligible for release. A third request for early release was submitted on 21 January 2014 to the Court, but was rejected.

The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has described the detention of Mr Nabeel Rajab as arbitrary.

 

Nabeel Rajab was arrested on 1 October 2014 after his visit to the Subcommittee on Human Rights of the European Parliament on accusations of posting tweets about a group of his countrymen allegedly cooperating with IS/Daesh. He was charged with insulting a public institution and the army.

 

Abdulhadi-al-Khawaja, who has Danish nationality, is the founder of the BCHR and the regional coordinator of Front Line Defenders and Ibrahim Sharif is the Secretary General of the National Democratic Action Society. On 22 June 2011, they were sentenced to life in prison by a special military court. The legal process came to a conclusion after 3 years of appeals and the sentences were upheld.

 

Naji Fateel is a Bahraini human rights activist and a member of the Board of Directors of the Bahraini human rights NGO Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR). He has been imprisoned since 2007, tortured and also under death threats during the period of the Bahraini uprising (dated February 2011)

 

Zainab Al-Khawaja is a human rights defender and leading social media activist in Bahrain. She has been a crucial figure in the pro-democracy uprising that started in Bahrain in February 2011. She has suffered legal harassment, arrest, imprisonment, denial of procedural rights, and undertaken hunger strikes in defence of human rights in Bahrain.

 

Sheikh Ali Salman is the Secretary General of Bahrain’s main opposition party al-Wefaq. He was sentenced to four years in prison in the context of anti-government protests which erupted in 2011 at the height of the region’s ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings. His lawyers have reportedly been prevented by the court from presenting oral arguments and have not been provided with any meaningful opportunity to examine the evidence. A group of United Nations independent experts, part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council, have urged the Bahraini authorities to release Sheikh Ali Salman

 

In its Resolution, adopted on 9 July 2015, the European Parliament:

- Calls for the dropping of charges and immediate and unconditional release of all human rights defenders, political activists and other individuals detained and charged with alleged violations related to the rights of expression, peaceful assembly and association,

including Nabeel Rajab, Sheikh Ali Salman and the ‘Bahrain 13’;

- Calls on the Bahraini authorities to pursue the national consensus dialogue with a view to finding lasting and inclusive national reconciliation and sustainable political solutions for the crisis; notes that in a sustainable political process legitimate and peaceful criticisms should be expressed freely; reminds the Bahraini authorities, in this context, that engaging the Shia majority and its peaceful political representatives on the basis of human dignity, respect and fairness should be an indispensable element of any credible strategy for national reconciliation and sustainable reform;

- Welcomes the early release from prison of opposition leader Ibrahim Sharif in June 2015 after he was given a royal pardon; believes this decision to be a welcome and important step in the process of promoting trust and confidence in Bahrain;

 

Regarding the situation of Sheikh Ali Salman, a letter of concern was sent on 14 January 2015.

BANGLADESH

Hana Shams Ahmed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taslima Nasreen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faisal Arefin Dipan

 

 

 

 

 

Niladri Chatterjee, alias Niloy Neel, Faisal Arefin Dipan, Ananta Bijoy Das, Washiqur Rahman Babu and Abhijit Roy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ahmed Rajib Haider

 

Hana Shams Ahmed is the coordinator of the International Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission (CHTC). On 27 August 2014 she and her friend were brutally attacked by 8 to 10 members of Somo Odhikar Andolon during a private visit to Shoilopropat in Bandarban in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Four members of the police Detective Branch (DB) who were supposedly providing them with security did not intervene, and even disappeared while the assault was taking place.

Taslima Nasreen is a Sakharov Prize winner known for her powerful writings on the oppression of women and her unflinching criticism of religion, despite her forced exile and multiple fatwas calling for her death. Because of her thoughts and ideas some of her books are banned in Bangladesh, and she has been banned from Bengal, both from Bangladesh and the West Bengal part of India. In the face of continuing threats, Nasreen has had to leave her homeland and sight refuge in Europe several times. Religious fundamentalists have called for the writer to be put to death. A court issued a warrant for her arrest and threatened to confiscate her assets.

The National Human Rights Commission of Bangladesh in 2014 supported her right to return home. A campaigner against religious extremism in all religions, Nasreen urged support for the secular movements in Bangladesh to counteract the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, in a visit to the European Parliament in June 2013. In November 2013, she participated in the Sakharov Prize Network Conference.

Faisal Arefin Dipan, a publisher at the Jagriti Prokashoni publishing house, was brutally murdered with machetes inside his office in Dhaka.

Niladri Chatterjee, alias Niloy Neel, Faisal Arefin Dipan, Ananta Bijoy Das, Washiqur Rahman Babu and Abhijit Roy were five secular bloggers and journalists murdered in Bangladesh in 2015 for having used their fundamental right to free speech on political, social and religious issues. Islamist extremist groups have claimed responsibility for several killings.

 

Prominent blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider was murdered in 2013.

 

In its Resolution, adopted on 26 November 2015, the European Parliament:

- Condemns the increasing attacks of Islamist extremists against secularist writers, bloggers, religious minorities and foreign aid workers; deplores the loss of life and offers its sincere condolences to the victims and their families;

- Calls on the Bangladesh authorities to further condemn the ongoing horrendous acts against freedom of expression and to act to bring an immediate end to all acts of violence, harassment, intimidation and censorship against journalists, bloggers and civil society;

- Urges the Bangladesh Government to take the necessary measures to prevent more killings by taking effective measures to protect writers, publishers and other people who have received threats, not only by providing special physical protection to those who are potential targets of violence, but also by opening public debates that challenge extremist views of all kinds;

- Calls on the Bangladesh authorities to restore the full independence of the media, to drop all charges against publishers and journalists who have published content critical of the government, to allow the immediate re-opening of all media houses which were closed, and to restore immediately full and unhindered access to all forms of publications, including electronic ones;

 

A letter of concern was sent on 17 April 2015.

BELARUS

Maksim Piakarski, Vadzim Zharomski and Viachaslau Kasinerau

 

Youth activists Maksim Piakarski, Vadzim Zharomski and Viachaslau Kasinerau have been detained and are being prosecuted on suspicion of ‘malicious hooliganism’ as disproportionate, and have been suffering violence.

 

In its Resolution, adopted on 10 September 2015, the European Parliament:

- Remains deeply concerned by the human rights and fundamental freedoms situation in Belarus, as well as by the shortcomings observed during previous elections by independent international observers and the active persecution of the opposition leaders after the elections;

- Welcomes the recent release of the remaining political prisoners; calls on the Belarusian Government to rehabilitate the released political prisoners and to fully restore their civil and political rights; stresses that this could be a potential first step towards improving relations between the European Union and Belarus; points out, however, that similar steps in the past were rather token gestures and neither contributed to improving the situation of Belarusian society nor improved relations with the EU;

- Expects the authorities to stop the harassment of independent media for political reasons;

- Expresses its concern about the recent detention and ongoing criminal prosecution of youth activists Maksim Piakarski, Vadzim Zharomski and Viachaslau Kasinerau on suspicion of ‘malicious hooliganism’ as disproportionate, and strongly condemns the violence they have suffered;

BURUNDI

Bob Rugurika

 

Three elderly Italian nuns, Lucia Pulici, Olga Raschietti and Bernadetta Boggian

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pierre Claver Mbonimpa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marguerite Barankitse, Antoine Kaburahe and Bob Rugurika

 

On 20 January 2015 the Burundian authorities arrested and detained the human rights defender Bob Rugurika, director of Radio Publique Africaine (RPA), following his refusal to reveal his sources days after his radio station broadcast a series of investigative reports concerning the killing in September 2014 of three elderly Italian nuns, Lucia Pulici, Olga Raschietti and Bernadetta Boggian, in Kamenge, a town north of Bujumbura.

Pierre Claver Mbonimpa is a leading human rights defender and President of the Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained Persons (Association pour la protection des droits humains et des personnes détenues, APRODH) who was arrested on 15 May 2014 and later charged with ‘threatening the external security of the state’ and ‘threatening the internal security of the state by causing public disorder’ and has been in pre-trial detention since he was taken in for questioning.

 

Mr Mbonimpa’s work in the defence of democracy and human rights in Burundi over the past two decades and more has earned him several international awards and widespread recognition domestically and beyond. The charges against him relate to comments he made on Radio Publique Africaine (RPA) on 6 May 2014 that the youth wing of the ruling party CNDD-FDD, also known as the Imbonerakure, is being armed and sent to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for military training.

 

The arrest of Pierre Mbonimpa is representative of the mounting risks facing human rights defenders, the harassment of activists and journalists and the arbitrary arrest of opposition party members, which according to human rights groups and the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights have largely been carried out by the Imbonerakure.

According to the OHCHR and other human rights organisations, politically motivated human rights violations, human rights abuses and acts of violence were carried out in the country during both the pre-election and the post-election periods, targeting opposition activists, human rights defenders and journalists in particular, including Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, whose son was found dead after having been arrested by the police, Marguerite Barankitse, Antoine Kaburahe and Bob Rugurika.

 

In its Resolution, adopted on 12 February 2015, the Parliament:

- Condemns the unjustified detention of Bob Rugurika and calls for his immediate and unconditional release; calls on the authorities at the same time to continue their investigations into the tragic killing of the three Italian nuns and to bring those responsible to justice; calls equally for the setting-up of an independent inquiry into the killing of the three nuns;

- Denounces all human rights violations in Burundi and the introduction of restrictive laws ahead of the country’s 2015 presidential and parliamentary elections, in particular those having a damaging impact on the opposition, the media and civil society by restricting the freedoms of expression and association and the freedom to hold meetings;

- Calls on the Burundian authorities to ensure an appropriate and fair balance between freedom of the media, including the freedom of journalists to investigate and report on crimes, and the need to ensure the integrity of criminal investigations;

- Calls on the Burundian Government to allow a genuine and open political debate in the run-up to the 2015 elections and to respect the Roadmap and Code of Conduct negotiated under UN auspices and signed by all Burundian political leaders; recalls that the Burundian constitution states: ‘The President of the Republic is elected for a five-year term renewable once. No one can serve for more than two terms as president’;

- Calls on the Burundian Government to respect the electoral calendar, and to include the opposition parties in the monitoring of the elections, including the phase of partial registration of new voters as agreed between the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) and the political parties at the voters’ registration evaluation meeting of 29-30 January 2015;

- Urges the Burundian Government to take measures to control the youth wing of the CNDD-FDD party and prevent it from intimidating and attacking perceived opponents, and to ensure that those responsible for abuses are brought to justice; calls for an independent international investigation into the claims that the CNDD-FDD is supplying its youth wing with arms and training; urges the leaders of the opposition parties to prevent violence against their opponents;

 

In its Resolution, adopted on 17 December 2015, the European Parliament:

- Calls for an immediate end to violence, human rights violations and political intimidation of opponents and for the immediate disarmament of all armed groups allied to political parties, in strict accordance with international law and human rights;

- Urges all parties to establish the necessary conditions for rebuilding trust and fostering national unity, and calls for the immediate resumption of an inclusive and transparent national dialogue, including the government, opposition parties and civil society representatives;

- Stresses that such dialogue, aimed at achieving lasting peace, security and stability, and at restoring democracy and the rule of law, in the interest of the citizens of Burundi, should be based on the Arusha Agreement and the Burundian Constitution, which requires compliance with international law and treaties;

- Reminds the Burundian authorities of their obligation to ensure security in its territory and guarantee human rights, civil and political rights and fundamental freedoms, as provided for in the Burundian Constitution, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and in other international and regional human rights instruments;

- Urges the Burundian authorities to encourage the establishment of the truth about the mass crimes committed between 1962 and 2008, through judicial and non-judicial measures, such as a truth and reconciliation commission and special tribunals, promoting national reconciliation;

- Expresses its grave concern at the number of victims and cases of serious human rights violations reported since the beginning of the crisis; urges the competent authorities to undertake a rigorous and prompt investigation into the circumstances and motives behind these crimes and to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice; reiterates that there can be no impunity for those responsible for violations or serious abuses of human rights; calls on the authorities to ensure that schools remain a safe haven for learning; calls on the ICC Prosecutor to closely monitor the situation in Burundi and supports her declaration of 6 November 2015;

- Calls for the safe return of journalists and human rights defenders in exile, the reopening of the media that were closed after the failed coup attempt of 13 and 14 May 2015 and for the charges against those journalists accused of having taken part, directly or indirectly, in the abortive coup to be dropped;

CAMBODIA

Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Senator Hong Sok Hour and CNRP activists and organisers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Khem Sapath

 

Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha are the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) leaders who were summoned to appear at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on 14 January 2014 for questioning. Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha may be convicted of incitement to civil unrest. The King amnestied Sam Rainsy on 14 July 2013, making it possible for him to return to Cambodia; however, his right to vote and run in the elections was not restored.

On 13 November 2015 the Cambodian authorities issued an arrest warrant for Sam Rainsy, who was summoned by a court to appear for questioning on 4 December 2015 in relation to a post published on his public Facebook page by an opposition senator, Hong Sok Hour, who has been under arrest since August 2015 on charges of forgery and incitement after posting on Sam Rainsy’s Facebook page a video containing an allegedly false document relating to the 1979 border treaty with Vietnam.

On 30 October 2015 opposition party deputy leader Kem Sokha was removed from his position as First Vice-President of the National Assembly by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) during a session boycotted by the CNRP

 

In its Resolution, adopted on 26 November 2015, the European Parliament:

- Urges the Cambodian authorities to revoke the arrest warrant and drop all charges issued against opposition leader Sam Rainsy and CNRP members of the National Assembly and Senate, including Senator Hong Sok Hour and CNRP activists and organisers, to allow them to work freely without fear of arrest or persecution, and to end political use of the courts to prosecute people on politically-motivated and trumped-up charges;

- Calls on the National Assembly to reinstate Sam Rainsy immediately and to restore his parliamentary immunity;

- Urges the Government of Cambodia to recognise the legitimate and useful role played by civil society, trade unions and the political opposition in contributing to Cambodia’s overall economic and political development;

- Encourages the government to work towards strengthening democracy and the rule of law and to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, which includes fully complying with the constitutional provisions concerning pluralism and freedom of association and expression;

- Urges the government to abrogate the Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organisations, the recent promulgation of which has given state authorities arbitrary powers to shut down and block the creation of human rights organisations and has already begun deterring human rights defence work in Cambodia;

- Urges the government and parliament to ensure genuine and serious consultation with all those affected by draft legislation such as the Trade Union, Cybercrime and Telecommunications Laws and to ensure that the texts are in line with Cambodia’s human rights obligations and commitments under domestic and international law;

- Calls on the Cambodian Government to end arbitrary detentions and suspicious disappearances and allow voluntary and human rights organisations to operate freely; calls on the Cambodian Government to seriously investigate the disappearance of Khem Sapath;

- Calls on the relevant government authorities to drop the prosecution of human rights defenders under other laws in force which are being used to persecute them for their human rights work, and to immediately and unconditionally release all those jailed on politically motivated and trumped up charges;

CHINA

Tenzin Delek Rinpoche

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ilham Tohti

 

Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a highly respected Tibetan religious leader, was held in prison for over 13 years, serving a life sentence for a crime he did not commit. For years, he worked to develop social, medical, educational and religious institutions for Tibetan nomads in the area, as an advocate for environmental conservation in the face of indiscriminate logging and mining projects, and as a mediator between Tibetans and Chinese.

Because of his efforts to preserve Tibetan identity, the Chinese authorities viewed him as a threat to their control in the region. He died on 12 July 2015.

Ilham Tohti is a well-regarded ethnic Uyghur economist and peaceful critic of the Chinese government. In 2014, he has been sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of separatism.

 

In its Resolution, adopted on 16 December 2015, the European Parliament:

- Notes that under the leadership of President Xi, the Chinese government is showing a growing assertiveness both internally and externally; points out that the country’s civil rights activists, lawyers, journalists, bloggers, academics and other representatives of civil society are now finding their freedom curbed in a way that has not been seen for years; observes that China’s human rights record remains a matter of serious concern;

- Notes that a strong contradiction exists between the official Chinese aspiration to the universality of human rights and the worsening human rights situation; notes that the recent worsening of the situation of human rights and freedoms in China started in 2013 and has intensified an already existing crackdown over the population, limiting the space for expression and peaceful advocacy for civil society even further; is deeply worried at the arrest, trial and sentencing of numerous civil rights activists, human rights defenders and government critics and at the fact that more than 100 human rights lawyers and activists have been detained or questioned by Chinese police; calls on the Chinese authorities to release those in custody and to ensure that they can exercise their profession without hindrance;

- Urges the EU to continue pressing for an improvement of the human rights situation in China whenever dialogues are held at any level and to include human rights clauses in any bilateral treaty agreed with China;

- Remains highly concerned that China is currently the world’s largest executioner and continues to impose the death penalty in secret on thousands of people annually, without regard to international minimum standards on the use of the death penalty; emphasises once again that abolition of the death penalty contributes to the enhancement of human dignity and the progressive development of human rights;

- Remains concerned at the persisting severe restrictions on freedom of expression, association, assembly, and religion, as well on the activities of human rights organisations;

- Criticises China’s highly restrictive media environment and tightly controlled digital domain, where foreign, including European, web content is blocked and domestic content deemed politically threatening is routinely deleted and censored; strongly protests against the high number of Chinese citizens jailed for offences involving freedom of expression, especially on the internet;

- Is deeply concerned that the Chinese government is continuing its hardline policies against the Tibetan people, especially by rejecting the Dalai Lama’s ‘Middle Way Approach’ which seeks neither independence nor separation but a genuine autonomy within the framework of the Constitution of the PRC; calls for the Chinese government to re-enter into a dialogue with Tibetan representatives; protests against the marginalisation of Tibetan culture by the CPC, and urges the Chinese authorities to respect the freedoms of expression, association and religion of the Tibetan people; deplores the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Tibet, which has led to an increase in self-immolation cases; notes with concern the recently passed criminalisation measures relating to self-immolation aimed at punishing those allegedly associated with self-immolators; deplores the forceful resettlement of over 2 million Tibetan nomads and herders since 2006 in the so-called ‘New Socialist Village’, as they are cut off from medical care, education and prosperity; is equally concerned at the ongoing transfer of Han Chinese populations into Tibet; expresses its concern regarding the cases of torture, disappearance and arbitrary detention and the denial of access to medical care for prisoners, including monk Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and 10 other prominent Tibetan prisoners; demands a detailed investigation of all death in prison cases;

 

Regarding the situation of Ilham Tohti, a letter of concern was sent on 23 June 2015.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (DRC)

Yves Makwambala and Fred Bauma

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christopher Ngoyi, Jean-Claude Muyambo, Vano Kiboko and Cyrille Dowe

 

 

Yves Makwambala and Fred Bauma are two detained human rights activists. Both are still being detained in Makala prison in Kinshasa and are charged with belonging to an association formed for the purpose of attacking people and property, conspiring against the head of state, and attempting to either destroy or change the ‘constitutional regime’ and to incite people to take up arms against state authority. The authorities have also charged Fred Bauma with disturbing the peace, and Yves Makwambala with publicly offending the head of state, while they were exercising their freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.

 

As soon as the protests started the authorities began a crackdown on human rights activists and opposition politicians who had demonstrated peacefully against the provision, including Christopher Ngoyi, Jean-Claude Muyambo, Vano Kiboko and Cyrille Dowe, who are still being detained for what appear to be politically motivated reasons

 

 

In its Resolution, adopted on 9 July 2015, the European Parliament:

- Calls on the DRC authorities to release Yves Makwambala and Fred Bauma immediately and unconditionally, and to drop all charges against them and other Filimbi leaders as well as any other activists, prisoners of conscience and political opponents arbitrarily arrested and detained solely for their political views or for participating in peaceful activities;

- Supports the National Assembly of the DRC’s calls for the rapid reaching of a political solution that allows the members of Filimbi and other peaceful civil society associations to exercise their freedom of expression and association without fear of being pursued or persecuted;

- Urges the authorities to ensure that the detainees have not been, and are not being, subjected to any acts of torture or ill-treatment, and to guarantee full protection and access to their families and lawyers;

- Is strongly concerned about the continuous attempts to limit freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association and the increased breaches of these freedoms by the authorities, given that the right political climate is indispensable if a successful electoral cycle is to be achieved in the DRC in the next year;

- Finds it particularly regrettable that these violations specifically target opposition leaders and youth movements;

- Calls on the DRC authorities to ensure that the aforementioned freedoms are immediately and unconditionally upheld, especially in the electoral period, as guaranteed by the DRC’s constitution and international human rights law;

- Urges the DRC judicial authorities to assert their independence from any political instrumentalisation and to ensure the protection of rights recognised by legal instruments, such as access to justice and the right to a fair trial;

EGYPT

Ibrahim Halawa

 

 

Ibrahim Halawa is an Irish citizen who has been detained for more than two years on charges of attending an illegal protest on 16 and 17 august 2013 while on a family holiday in Cairo, during which protesters allegedly caused deaths and criminal damage. Ibrahim Halawa was 17 years old – and therefore still a juvenile under Egyptian and international law – at the time of his arrest. He was arrested along with his three sisters, having sought refuge in the Al-Fateh mosque when violence erupted during a demonstration. His three sisters were subsequently released by the authorities.

 

The prosecutor has failed to provide evidence that Ibrahim Halawa was involved in a single act of violence during the protests. His trial has been repeatedly postponed and adjourned by the Egyptian Court, most recently on 15 December 2015. He was not charged for a year after his arrest and he is awaiting, along with 493 individuals, the majority of whom are adults, a mass trial due to take place on 19 December 2015, without any guarantee of the minimum standards for a free and fair trial being applied, and will potentially face the death penalty if convicted.

 

Ibrahim Halawa is being detained for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of expression and assembly and is considered by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience. He faces extremely harsh prison conditions, which include alleged acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment upon arrest and in detention, and has been denied medical and legal assistance. According to his family and legal representatives, Ibrahim Halawa has been on hunger strike in protest.

 

In its Resolution, adopted on 17 December 2015, the European Parliament:

- Expresses its deep concern about the unacceptable breach of basic human rights arising from the arbitrary detention of Irish citizen Ibrahim Halawa, and calls on the Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release him to the Irish authorities pursuant to a presidential decree issued in November 2014 under Egyptian Law 140;

- Expresses its deepest concern at the deteriorating condition of Ibrahim Halawa due to his hunger strike and his alleged poor conditions in prison; calls on the Egyptian authorities to ensure, as a matter of priority, that the good health and well-being of Ibrahim Halawa are maintained while he remains in prison; demands that all allegations of torture and maltreatment of Ibrahim Halawa be thoroughly and independently investigated;

- Asks the Egyptian authorities to ensure that Article 10 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states that ‘all persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person’, is respected;

- Reminds the Egyptian authorities that Egypt is bound by indisputable international obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child as they apply to Ibrahim Halawa; demands that the Egyptian authorities categorically rule out the threat of the death penalty should Ibrahim Halawa be convicted, given that he was arrested as a juvenile;

- Is extremely concerned about the failure of the Egyptian authorities to uphold the right to a fair trial for Ibrahim Halawa and his 493 co-defendants, in particular the lack of opportunity to review or challenge their continued detention and the charges against them, the repeated denial of access to lawyers and the excessive pre-trial detention period, which violates Egypt’s domestic and international obligations;

- Remains convinced that it will be extremely difficult for Ibrahim Halawa’s lawyers to mount an individual defence in the event that his case is heard as part of a mass trial of all defendants arrested in connection with the August 2013 protests;

- Strongly condemns the use of a mass trial in the judicial process and calls on the Egyptian authorities to abide by international law and safeguard the highest international standards with regard to the right to a fair trial and due process; calls on the Egyptian authorities to release those detained for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression, assembly and association as enshrined in the Egyptian constitution and other international conventions to which Egypt is a party; expresses its profound preoccupation with the severe deterioration of the media environment; condemns the trials against and conviction of Egyptian and foreign journalists, in absentia;

KYRGYZSTAN

Azimjon Askarov

 

Azimjon Askarov is a prisoner of conscience pending a full, impartial and fair investigation, including into his allegations of torture and ill-treatment.

 

In its Resolution, adopted on 15 January 2015, the European Parliament:

- Reminds the Kyrgyz Parliament of its international obligations and of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with the European Union, which includes full respect for human rights as an essential element of the partnership and calls for the withdrawal of the draft law on ‘dissemination of information about non-traditional sexual relations’ currently under review in parliament;

- Notes that the draft law passed its first reading and must be voted on twice more before going to the President for signature, and stresses that the adoption of any legislation on ‘non-traditional relations’ should not run counter to Kyrgyzstan’s human rights obligations and commitments;

- Calls on the Kyrgyz authorities to reaffirm publicly that all people in Kyrgyzstan have the right to live free from discrimination and violence based on their sexual orientation and gender identity and that any acts to the contrary are illegal and will be prosecuted;

- Calls on the Kyrgyz Parliament to follow the recommendations made by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Resolution 1984 (2014) on the Request for Partner for Democracy status, in particular recommendations 15.24, 15.25 and 15.26;

- Calls on the Kyrgyz Parliament to respect its constitution, including Article 16, which states that ‘laws that deny or derogate human and civil rights and freedoms shall not be adopted in the Kyrgyz Republic’, and Articles 31, 33 and 34, which affirm freedom of speech, freedom of information and freedom of assembly, and to reject draft bill 6-11804/14;

- Calls on the Kyrgyz authorities to take all the measures needed to ensure that human rights defenders can carry on their work of promoting and protecting human rights without hindrance;

- Calls on the Kyrgyz authorities to ensure that allegations of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment are investigated promptly and efficiently and that perpetrators are brought to justice; calls, furthermore, for the release of all prisoners of conscience, with regard in particular to Azimjon Askarov pending a full, impartial and fair investigation, including into his allegations of torture and ill-treatment;

 

A letter of concern on the situation of LGBTI rights was sent on 26 February 2015. Regarding the situation of Azimjon Askarov, a letter of concern was sent on 23 July 2015.

MALAYSIA

Nurul Izzah

 

 

Anwar Ibrahim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque (Zunar)

Khalid Ismath

Azmi Sharom

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matthias Chang

Khairuddin Abu

Hassan

 

 

 

 

Lena Hendry

Maria Chin Abdullah

 

 

Nurul Izzah, opposition Member of Parliament in Malaysia

Anwar Ibrahim is a former opposition leader sentenced on charges of sodomy in February 2015 following a politically motivated prosecution which resulted in criminal proceedings that failed to meet international standards of fair trial. He has been denied appropriate medical care.

 

Malaysian cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque (Zunar) is facing charges under the Sedition Act following critical tweets against the government with regard to the sentencing of Anwar Ibrahim; whereas blogger Khalid Ismath and academic Azmi Sharom face similar charges;

 

Lawyer Matthias Chang and politician Khairuddin Abu Hassan, both political dissidents, were arrested following their investigations into these allegations.

 

Lena Hendry and Maria Chin Abdullah are human rights activists.

 

In its Resolution, adopted on 17 December 2015, the European Parliament:

- Deplores the deteriorating human rights situation in Malaysia and in particular the crackdown on civil society activists, academics, media and political activists; expresses concern with regard to the spike in the number of people facing charges or arrest under the Sedition Act;

- Urges the Malaysian Government to immediately release all political prisoners, including former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, and to provide them with appropriate medical care, and to drop politically motivated charges, including those against cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Haque (Zunar), blogger Khalid Ismath, academic Azmi Sharom, political dissidents Khairuddin Abu Hassan and Matthias Chang, and human rights activists Lena Hendry and Maria Chin Abdullah;

- Underlines the importance of independent and transparent investigations into the graft allegations, and of full cooperation with the investigators; urges the Malaysian Government to refrain from putting pressure on the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and media;

- Calls on the Malaysian Government to ratify key international human rights conventions, including the ICCPR, the ICESCR, the CAT, the ICERD, ILO Convention 169, the ICC Rome Statute, as well as the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its optional protocol;

- Urges the EU Delegation to Malaysia to step up efforts to finance projects on freedom of expression and reforming repressive laws, and to use all appropriate tools, including the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, to protect human rights defenders; urges the withdrawal of the anti-sodomy law and calls on the EEAS, in line with the EU guidelines on the protection and promotion of the rights of LGBTI persons, to step up its work on the rights of LGBTI people in Malaysia who face violence and persecution, and to aim in particular towards the decriminalisation of homosexuality and transgenderism;

 

MALDIVES

Mohamed Nasheed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ahmed Adeeb

Mohamed Nazim

Tholhath Ibrahim

 

 

 

Mahfooz Saeed

 

 

 

 

Ahmed Rilwan

 

 

 

 

 

Sheikh Imran Abdulla

 

On 13 March 2015 Mohamed Nasheed, the first democratically elected president of the Maldives, was sentenced to 13 years in prison on politically motivated charges, and whereas this was condemned by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; whereas his trial was marred by irregularities; whereas other former officials, including former vice-president Ahmed Adeeb and former defence ministers Mohamed Nazim and Tholhath Ibrahim, have also been arrested and imprisoned.

Mahfooz Saeed, a human rights lawyer and member of the legal team of former president Mohamed Nasheed.

Ahmed Rilwan, is a journalist critical of the government who ‘disappeared’ in August 2014, is still missing and is now feared dead.

Sheikh Imran Abdulla is a political prisoner.

 

In its Resolution, adopted on 17 December 2015, the European Parliament:

- Deplores the crackdown on political opponents; calls on the Government of the Maldives to release, immediately and unconditionally, former president Mohamed Nasheed, former vice-president Ahmed Adeeb and former defence ministers Tholhath Ibrahim and Mohamed Nazim, together with Sheikh Imran Abdulla and other political prisoners, and to clear them of all charges; is also concerned about the former president’s deteriorating health;

- Reiterates its gross dissatisfaction with the serious irregularities in the trial of former president Mohamed Nasheed;

- Calls on the Maldivian Government to guarantee full impartiality of the judiciary and to respect due process of law and the right to a fair, impartial and independent trial; stresses the need to depoliticise the country’s judiciary and security services;

- Calls on the Government of the Maldives to respect and fully support the right to protest and the right to freedom of expression, association and assembly, and not to seek to restrict those rights; also calls on the Government of the Maldives to end impunity for vigilantes who have used violence against people promoting religious tolerance, peaceful protesters, critical media and civil society; calls on the Maldives to respect fully its international obligations;

- Calls on the Maldivian Government to safeguard the rights of pro-democracy campaigners, moderate Muslims, supporters of secularism, and those who oppose the promotion of Wahhabi-Salafist ideology in the Maldives, and to ensure their right to participate in all areas of public life in the Maldives;

- Recalls that media freedom is the cornerstone of a functioning democracy; calls on the Maldivian Government and authorities to ensure adequate protection of journalists and human rights defenders who face threats and attacks on account of their legitimate work, and, in this context, to allow a proper investigation into the disappearance of Ahmed Rilwan, the assault on Mahfooz Saeed and the attacks and threats against journalists, members of civil society, and independent institutions;

NIGERIA

Mass displacement of children

 

 

 

 

In its Resolution, adopted on 8 October 2015, the European Parliament:

- Deplores the acts which have led to the mass displacement of innocent children and calls for immediate coordinated international action to assist the work of UN agencies and NGOs in preventing displaced children and youths from being subjected to sexual slavery, other forms of sexual violence and kidnappings and from being forced into armed conflict against civilian, government and military targets in Nigeria by the Boko Haram terrorist sect; stresses the paramount need to duly protect children’s rights in Nigeria, a country in which over 40 % of the total population is aged between 0 and 14;

- Believes that in the cases of children formerly associated with Boko Haram or other armed groups, non-judicial measures should be considered as an alternative to prosecution and detention;

- Calls on the President of Nigeria and his newly appointed Federal Government to adopt strong measures to protect the civilian population, to put special emphasis on the protection of women and girls, to make women’s rights and children’s rights a priority when fighting extremism, to provide help for victims and to prosecute wrongdoers, and to ensure women’s participation in decision-making at all levels;

- Calls on the Nigerian Government to launch, as promised by President Buhari, an urgent, independent and thorough investigation into crimes under international law and other serious human rights violations by all parties to the conflict;

- Urges the President of the Federal Republic to address the challenges involved in abiding by all campaign promises and the latest statements, the most important of which are defeating the terrorist threat, making respect for human rights and humanitarian law a central pillar of military operations, bringing back the Chibok girls and all other abducted women and children alive and unharmed, addressing the ever growing problem of malnutrition, and fighting corruption and impunity in order to deter future abuses and work towards justice for every victim;

- Urges the Nigerian authorities and the international community to work closely together and to increase efforts to reverse the continuous trend towards the further displacement of people; welcomes the determination expressed at the Niamey Regional Summit of 20 and 21 January 2015 by the 13 participating countries, and in particular the commitment of Chad, together with Cameroon and Niger, to engage in the fight against the terrorist threats of Boko Haram; calls on the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) to observe international human rights and humanitarian law conscientiously in its operations against Boko Haram; reiterates that a military approach alone will not suffice to counter the Boko Haram insurgency;

- Calls on the Nigerian Government to take measures to facilitate the return of displaced persons, especially children, to guarantee their safety, and to assist NGOs in their efforts to improve conditions in the camps for people displaced by the conflict by, inter alia, improving hygiene and sanitation in order to prevent the possible spread of disease;

PAKISTAN

the Peshawar school students (140 people, including 134 school children)

 

 

 

In its Resolution, adopted on 15 January 2015, the European Parliament:

- Strongly condemns the brutal massacre of schoolchildren perpetrated by Pakistani Taliban splinter group Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) as an act of horror and cowardice, and expresses its condolences to the families of the victims of the Peshawar school attack and its support to the people and the authorities of Pakistan;

- Expects the Government of Pakistan to take urgent and effective measures, in keeping with internationally recognised standards of the rule of law, to address the security threat posed by all militant groups operating within Pakistan and the surrounding region, without exception; underlines that no form of terrorism or extremism should be supported by the authorities;

- Calls on the Government of Pakistan to ensure the safety of schools and to make sure that children, regardless of gender, are never intimidated while going to school; believes the government should show significantly stronger determination and strengthen its efforts to arrest and prosecute TTP militants and others who target schools for violence, failing which its international credibility will be undermined;

- Calls on the Government of Pakistan to reserve anti-terrorism laws for acts of terror, instead of being using them to try ordinary criminal cases; regrets strongly the recourse to fast-track military justice which lacks minimal conditions of international standards of the rule of law, and underlines that the prolonged granting of GSP+ preferences is linked to the accomplishment of certain basic standards enshrined in UN and ILO conventions;

- Urges the Pakistani Government to abide by the recently ratified international agreements on human rights, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which oblige the authorities to ensure basic fair trials prohibiting them from using military courts to try civilians when the regular courts are functioning;

 

Letters of concern were sent on 2 February and 12 February 2015.

PARAGUAY

Pregnant girls

 

 

In its Resolution, adopted on 11 June 2015, the European Parliament:

- Reaffirms its condemnation of all forms of abuse and violence against women and girls, especially the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war, and domestic violence; calls on Paraguay to ensure that women and girls have access to safe and legal abortion, at a minimum, when their health and life are in danger, where there is severe foetal impairment and in cases of rape and incest;

- Expresses its strong concern about the high number of child pregnancies in Paraguay; urges the Paraguayan authorities to meet their international obligations and to protect human rights by ensuring that all girls have access to all possible information and medical services for the management of high-risk pregnancies resulting from rape;

- Urges the Paraguayan authorities to conduct an independent and impartial investigation into the aforementioned rape and to bring the perpetrator to justice; calls on the Paraguayan authorities to release the girl’s mother immediately; welcomes the proposal by members of the Paraguayan congress to raise the maximum prison sentence for the rape of a minor from 10 years to 30 years;

RUSSIA

Aleksei Navalny

(and his brother Oleg Navalny)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boris Nemtsov

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anna Politkovskaya, Alexander Litvinenko,

Stanislav Markelov,

Anastasia Baburova,

Natalya Estemirova and

Sergei Magnitsky

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eston Kohver, Oleg Sentsov and Olexandr Kolchenko

 

Aleksei Navalny is an opposition leader who were sentenced to 10-day jail terms. Moreover, Aleksei Navalny has been placed under house arrest for two months and on 5 March 2014 was fitted with an electronic bracelet to monitor his activities.

Alexei Navalny has consistently exposed massive corruption within the highest levels of the Russian state apparatus; whereas his first court verdict imposing a five-year sentence on him in July 2013 was seen as political. He was placed under house arrest for two months in February 2014, and was fitted with an electronic bracelet to monitor his activities in March 2014.

 

Alexei Navalny won 27 % of the vote in the September 2013 Moscow mayoral elections, thus confirming himself as one of the most prominent faces of the Russian opposition to the Kremlin.

 

Alexei Navalny’s second court verdict had been due on 15 January 2015, but inexplicably the court brought the date forward to 30 December 2014, when most Russians were focused on the New Year holiday; whereas the same technique of bringing the date forward was used with Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

 

Boris Nemtsov, the former Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, the former Governor of Nizhny Novgorod, a preeminent reformist of the post-Soviet Russian society and economy and one of the leaders of Russia’s liberal and democratic opposition, was murdered near the Kremlin two days before a demonstration scheduled for 1 March 2015, which he was organising, against the effects of the economic crisis and the conflict in Ukraine

 

Boris Nemtsov, a prominent opposition leader, a founder and leader of the political movement Solidarnost and a leading critic of President Vladimir Putin and of the war in Ukraine who committed his life to a more democratic, prosperous, open Russia and to strong partnerships between Russia and its neighbours and partners.

 

In the weeks before his assassination Boris Nemtsov was investigating Russia’s participation in the Donbas conflict and had the intention of publishing a report on the issue; whereas five men have been arrested over the killing of Boris Nemtsov.

 

 

 

 

Journalist Anna Politkovskaya, Alexander Litvinenko, who was allegedly murdered in the United Kingdom, lawyer Stanislav Markelov, journalist Anastasia Baburova, human rights defender Natalya Estemirova, lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, are also unresolved politically motivated murders and suspicious deaths perpetrated in Russia since 1998.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Estonian police officer Eston Kohver was abducted in September 2014 from Estonian territory by the FSB and subsequently illegally detained in Russia, an action which constitutes a clear and serious violation of international law.

 

The Ukrainian film-maker Oleg Sentsov and the civic activist Olexandr Kolchenko, who opposed the illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula by Russia, were arrested in May 2014 in relation to alleged activities conducted in Crimea. They were treated as Russian citizens despite holding Ukrainian citizenship.

 

In the case of both Oleg Sentsov and Olexandr Kolchenko there have been allegations of torture and severe mistreatment leading to the illegal extraction of depositions which have subsequently been given legal value.

 

Oleg Sentsov and Olexandr Kolchenko were tried in a military court for crimes over which civilian courts have full jurisdiction. The trial was marred by numerous and grave procedural violations.

 

In its Resolution, adopted on 15 January 2015, the European Parliament:

- Expresses its deepest concern at the fact that, in Russia, the law is being used as a political instrument; underlines that the conviction of the prominent lawyer, anti-corruption campaigner and social activist Alexei Navalny, imposing a 3.5-year suspended sentence on him and a 3.5-year prison sentence on his brother, Oleg Navalny, was based on unsubstantiated charges; strongly deplores that the prosecution seems to be politically motivated;

- Notes with concern that, even though Alexei Navalny is being kept out of prison, his brother Oleg Navalny is currently imprisoned, and that this is giving rise to concern with regard to the possible political use of a family member to intimidate and silence one of Russia’s opposition leaders, Alexei Navalny; recalls that Alexei’s brother, Oleg, the father of two small children and a former executive of the state-owned postal service, has never played a role in the Russian opposition movement;

- Urges the Russian judicial and law-enforcement authorities to carry out their duties in an impartial and independent manner, free of political interference and to ensure that the judicial proceedings in the Navalny cases, and all the other investigations and trials against opposition activists, meet the internationally accepted standards; stresses the importance of ensuring that judicial decisions are free from political interference, independent, and are taken in full compliance with the rule of law;

- Fully backs the campaign against corruption in Russia initiated by Alexei Navalny, and supports the efforts of Russian people to find a settlement ensuring democracy, political pluralism, unity and respect for human rights;

 

In its Resolution, adopted on 12 March 2015, the European Parliament:

- Strongly condemns the killing of Boris Nemtsov in the most significant political assassination in recent Russian history, in which he was shot dead near the Kremlin, in an area with video cameras, police and security services;

- Pays tribute to Boris Nemtsov, a prominent opposition leader, a founder and leader of the political movement Solidarnost and a leading critic of President Vladimir Putin and of the war in Ukraine who committed his life to a more democratic, prosperous, open Russia and to strong partnerships between Russia and its neighbours and partners; extends its deepest condolences to Boris Nemtsov’s family and friends, members of the opposition and the Russian people; condemns the Russian leadership’s decision to prevent some EU diplomats and national delegations from attending his funeral, thereby impeding the EU’s attempt to pay tribute to brave Russian citizens standing for universal values;

- Points out that his killing is one of a growing number of unresolved politically motivated murders and suspicious deaths perpetrated in Russia since 1998, which include those of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, Alexander Litvinenko, who was allegedly murdered in the United Kingdom, lawyer Stanislav Markelov, journalist Anastasia Baburova, human rights defender Natalya Estemirova, lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, and now politician Boris Nemtsov;

- Calls on the authorities of the Russian Federation to stop the shameful propaganda and information war against its neighbours, the Western world and its own people, which is turning Russia into a state characterised by repression, hate speech and fear, where nationalist euphoria is built on the annexation of Crimea and an escalating war in Ukraine, where the rights of the Crimean Tatars are violated and where the Kremlin, in breach of international law, is cultivating and provoking hatred and fighting; condemns the new propaganda war being waged against democratic and fundamental values, which are presented as being alien to Russian society; recalls that both the European Union and the Russian Federation have committed, in numerous international declarations and treaties, to protecting universal democratic values and fundamental rights; stresses the importance of having political opposition forces, in order to ensure a constant debate and exchange of views and ideas in politics and in law-making processes in Russia;

- Calls on the Russian authorities to stop all pressure, repressive acts and intimidation – both political and judicial – against opposition leaders, civil society representatives and independent media, allowing them to act freely in line with the basic principles of the Russian constitution;

- Deeply deplores the Russian authorities’ failure to respond to the criticism both inside the Russian Federation and on the international scene of the Law on Foreign Agents, and their adoption instead of amendments which restrict even further the possibilities for non-commercial organisations to act and are discriminatory by their nature; strongly calls on Russia to review the relevant legislation with a view to meeting its international obligations in the area of human rights and democratic freedoms;

- Calls on the Russian authorities to immediately release all recognised political prisoners;

- Calls on the Russian authorities, as a matter of urgency, to release Nadiya Savchenko and to respect her immunity as a member of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and of the PACE, who was abducted in the territory of Ukraine and is being illegally detained in a Russian jail; underlines the fact that Russia bears responsibility for her very fragile state of health; expresses its deep concern about her health condition and urges the Russian judicial authorities to apply humanitarian law;

- Calls on the Russian authorities to immediately return the wreckage of the Tu-154 Polish Government aeroplane and all of its black boxes to Poland; underlines the fact that the level of dependence of the Russian judiciary on the authorities undermines any impartial and honest investigation;

 

In its Resolution, adopted on 10 September 2015, the European Parliament:

- Strongly condemns the judgment handed down by the Pskov regional court as well as the entire trial of Estonian police officer Eston Kohver, who was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment after his abduction in 2014 from the territory of Estonia, which is part of the EU; considers the case to be in breach of international law and of elementary standards of justice;

- Urges the Russian Federation to act in accordance with its international obligations, to release Eston Kohver immediately and to guarantee his safe return to Estonia;

- Expresses its deeply held belief that from the very beginning Eston Kohver was not afforded the right to a fair trial, given that there was no public hearing of the case, that the Estonian consul was not allowed to be present at the hearings, that Eston Kohver was deprived of adequate legal aid, that – moreover – he was refused visits from his wife and family, and that he has been ordered to undergo unfounded psychiatric examination, the details of which remain unknown;

- Strongly condemns the illegal sentencing and imprisonment of Oleg Sentsov and Olexandr Kolchenko; calls on the Russian Federation to release them immediately and guarantee their safe return to Ukraine; demands that the Russian authorities immediately investigate, in an impartial and effective manner, the allegations of torture made by defendants and witnesses in the case, which were rejected by the prosecutor during the trial; calls for this investigation also to be opened to international observers;

- Calls for the release of all illegally detained Ukrainian citizens, including Nadiya Savchenko, this being in line with the agreed Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements and the commitment to release all hostages and all those detained in connection with the conflict in Ukraine;

- Deplores the fact that in the Russian Federation law and justice are being used as political instruments in breach of international law and standards, thus allowing the sentencing of the Ukrainian film-maker Oleg Sentsov and of Olexandr Kolchenko to 20 years’ and 10 years’ imprisonment respectively for expressing their views reflecting an active pro-Ukrainian position against the illegal annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation; points out, in any case, that they should not have been tried in a military court and that all testimony gained through torture and other illegal methods should be excluded;

RUSSIA/ UKRAINE

Nadiya Savchenko

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oleg Sentsov and Khaizer Dzhemilev

 

Ms Savchenko, born in 1981, has a distinguished military career behind her, having been the only female soldier in the Ukrainian peacekeeping troops in Iraq and the first female to enrol at Ukraine’s Air Force Academy, and volunteered to take part in the fighting in eastern Ukraine as part of the Aidar Battalion, where she was then captured

The pro-Russian militants of the so-called ‘People’s Republic of Luhansk’ in the territory of eastern Ukraine illegally kidnapped Lieutenant Nadiya Savchenko, military pilot and former officer of the Ukrainian armed forces, on the territory of Ukraine on 18 June 2014, detained her, and then illegally transferred her to the Russian Federation.

Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov and Khaizer Dzhemilev, Ukrainian citizens illegally detained in Russia.

 

In its Resolution, adopted on 30 April 2015, the European Parliament:

- Calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Nadiya Savchenko; condemns the Russian Federation for the illegal kidnapping, the detention in prison for nearly one year and the investigation of Nadiya Savchenko; demands that the Russian authorities respect their international commitment in the framework of the Minsk Agreements and in particular the agreed ‘Complex of measures for the implementation of the Minsk Agreements’; considers that Russia has no legal basis or jurisdiction to take any action against Nadiya Savchenko, such as detention, investigation or bringing charges against her;

- Is of the opinion that Nadiya Savchenko’s detention as a prisoner of war in a prison in Russia is a violation of the Geneva Convention; underlines that those responsible for her illegal detention in Russia may face international sanctions or legal proceedings for their actions;

- Reminds the Russian authorities that Ms Savchenko remains in an extremely fragile state of health and that they are directly responsible for her safety and well-being; calls on the Russian authorities to allow impartial international doctors access to Ms Savchenko, while ensuring that any medical or psychological examinations are done only with Ms Savchenko’s consent and taking into consideration the consequences of her being on hunger strike for a very long period; calls on Russia to allow international humanitarian organisations to have permanent access to her;

- Calls for the immediate release of all other Ukrainian citizens, including Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov and Khaizer Dzhemilev, illegally detained in Russia;

SAUDI ARABIA

Raif Badawi, and his lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr

 

Raif Badawi, a blogger and human rights activist, was charged with apostasy and sentenced by the Criminal Court of Jeddah in May 2014 to 10 years in prison, 1 000 lashes and a fine of SAR 1 million (EUR 228 000) after creating the website ‘Free Saudi Liberals Network’ for social, political and religious debate which was deemed to be an insult to Islam; whereas the sentence also bans Mr Badawi from using any media outlets and from travelling abroad for 10 years after his release from prison.

On 9 January 2015, Mr Badawi received his first set of 50 lashes in front of the al-Jafali mosque in Jeddah, resulting in wounds so profound that when he was taken to a prison clinic for a medical check-up, it was found by the doctors that he would not be able to withstand another round of lashes.

Judicial verdicts imposing corporal punishment, including flogging, are strictly prohibited under international human rights law, including the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which Saudi Arabia has ratified.

On 6 July 2014, Raif Badawi’s lawyer, prominent human rights defender Waleed Abu al-Khair, was sentenced by the Specialised Criminal Court to 15 years in prison, to be followed by a 15-year travel ban, after setting up the human rights organisation ‘Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia’.

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, who is 21 years old and is a nephew of a prominent dissident, was sentenced in May 2015 to capital punishment, reportedly by beheading followed by crucifixion, by Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court on criminal charges including sedition, rioting, protesting robbery and belonging to a terror cell whereas Ali al-Nimr was under the age of 18 – and thus still a juvenile – at the time he was arrested while demonstrating for democracy and equal rights in Saudi Arabia. He was sentenced to death on account of the protests in the mostly Shia Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. It is alleged by reliable sources that Ali al-Nimr was tortured and forced to sign his confession. He has been denied any guarantees of a safe trial and due legal process in compliance with international law;

 

In its Resolution, adopted on 12 February 2015, the European Parliament:

- Strongly condemns the flogging of Raif Badawi as a cruel and shocking act by the Saudi Arabian authorities; calls on the Saudi authorities to put a stop to any further flogging of Raif Badawi and to release him immediately and unconditionally, as he is considered a prisoner of conscience, detained and sentenced solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression; calls on the Saudi authorities to ensure that his conviction and sentence, including his travel ban, are quashed;

- Calls on the Saudi authorities to ensure that Raif Badawi be protected from torture and other ill-treatment, and be given any medical attention he may require, as well as immediate and regular access to his family and lawyers of his choice;

- Calls on the Saudi authorities to release unconditionally Raif Badawi’s lawyer, and all human rights defenders and other prisoners of conscience detained and sentenced for merely exercising their right to freedom of expression;

- Condemns firmly all forms of corporal punishment as unacceptable and degrading treatment contrary to human dignity and voices concern about states’ use of flogging, strongly calling for its strict abolition; calls on the Saudi authorities to respect the prohibition of torture, as is most notably enshrined in the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which Saudi Arabia has signed and ratified; calls on Saudi Arabia to sign the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

- Urges the Saudi authorities to abolish the Specialised Criminal Court, set up in 2008 to try terrorism cases but increasingly used to prosecute peaceful dissidents on apparently politically motivated charges and in proceedings that violate the fundamental right to a fair trial;

- Calls on the Saudi authorities to allow independent press and media and ensure freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly for all inhabitants of Saudi Arabia; condemns the repression of activists and protesters when they demonstrate peacefully; stresses that the peaceful advocacy of basic legal rights or making critical remarks using social media are expressions of an indispensable right;

 

In its Resolution, adopted on 8 October 2015, the European Parliament:

- Strongly condemns the sentencing of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr to the death penalty; reiterates its condemnation of the use of the death penalty and strongly supports the introduction of a moratorium on the death penalty, as a step towards abolition;

- Calls on the Saudi Arabian authorities, and in particular His Majesty the King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, to halt the execution of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr and to grant a pardon or commute his sentence; calls on the European External Action Service and the Member states to use all their diplomatic tools and efforts to immediately stop this execution;

- Urges the Saudi authorities to abolish the Specialised Criminal Court, set up in 2008 to try terrorism cases but increasingly used to prosecute peaceful dissidents on apparently politically motivated charges and in proceedings that violate the fundamental right to a fair trial;

- Calls on the Government of Saudi Arabia to ensure a prompt and impartial investigation into the alleged acts of torture and to ensure that Ali Mohammed al-Nimr is given any medical attention he may require and regular access to his family and lawyers;

 

Regarding the situation of Raif Badawi, letters of concern were sent on 2 February and 20 November 2015.

SOUTH SUDAN

89 children (possibly, hundreds more)

 

 

In its Resolution, adopted on 12 March 2015, the European Parliament:

- Is deeply concerned by the worsening security and humanitarian situation in South Sudan which could destabilise the whole East Africa region; calls urgently on all sides to stop the violence, cease human rights violations, form a transitional government of national unity, and allow for full access to humanitarian assistance; calls on the parties to end attacks on educational and public buildings and stop using schools for military purposes, including for the recruitment of child soldiers; recalls, in this connection, its support for the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict;

- Expresses deep disappointment that after more than a year of negotiations under the auspices of IGAD, no significant progress has been made; urges all parties to the conflict to reach a power-sharing agreement and fully supports the ongoing negotiation process, calling for an unconditional, complete and immediate ceasefire and end to all hostilities and to the immediate cessation of the recruitment and mobilisation of civilians; calls for efforts to find a way of achieving lasting peace and stability; urges the government and the rebel sides to engage in unconditional and all-inclusive political talks in good faith with a view to the successful conclusion of the negotiations; urges the continuation of efforts by the AU and IGAD to promote inclusive dialogue and mediation;

- Calls for the immediate release and safe return of all children recruited by armed forces since the beginning of the conflict in December 2013; reminds urgently all parties involved in the conflict that the recruitment and use of children in armed forces and groups is a grave violation of international law;

- Recalls the commitment made in 2009, and renewed in 2012, by the South Sudanese authorities to end the recruitment and use of children in conflict, to release all children associated with government security forces, to provide services for the reunification and reintegration of their families, and to investigate grave violations against children; deplores the fact that this commitment has not been fully respected; calls on the parties to fully implement the guidelines set out in the action plan;

- Calls on the Government of South Sudan to conduct prompt, thorough, impartial and independent investigations into human rights abuses with a view to prosecuting and holding accountable individuals suspected of crimes under international law and serious violations of human rights, including the abduction and recruitment of children in armed conflict and sexual violence against women and children;

- Calls on the Government of South Sudan to urgently finalise legislative amendments which criminalise the recruitment and use of children, to use this legislation to prosecute offenders and to finalise the implementation of international agreements, including the 2002 Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and to accede to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court;

- Calls on the Government of South Sudan to reject legislation that would restrict the sectors in which NGOs and associations can carry out their work, which would severely inhibit the development of society and humanitarian relief efforts;

- Calls on the Government of South Sudan to fulfil its responsibility to provide for its people and encourage international donors to increase support for the aid effort and, given the scale and urgency of the needs, calls on the international community to convene a new international donor conference for South Sudan when all conditions for peace have been met and a mechanism of proper distribution of revenues is established;

SUDAN

Two pastors: Pastor Michael Yat and Pastor Peter Yen Reith

 

Pastor Michael Yat of the South Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church was taken into custody by the Sudanese National Intelligence Service (NISS) after preaching at the Khartoum North Church, a branch of the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church, during a visit to Sudan on 21 December 2014. He was arrested immediately after a sermon in which he reportedly condemned the controversial sale of church land and property and the treatment of Christians in Sudan.

Pastor Peter Yen Reith was arrested on 11 January 2015 after delivering a letter to the Sudanese Religious Affairs Office asking after Pastor Michael and wanting to know more about his arrest;

Both men were held incommunicado until 1 March 2015, and on 4 May 2015 both were charged with multiple offences under the Sudanese Penal Code of 1991, including; joint criminal acts (Article 21), undermining the constitutional system (Article 51), waging war against the state (Article 50), espionage (Article 53), unlawfully obtaining or disclosing official documents (Article 55), agitating hatred (Article 64), disturbing the peace (Article 69) and blasphemy (Article 125).

 

In its Resolution, adopted on 9 July 2015, the European Parliament:

- Calls on the Sudanese authorities to drop all charges against Pastor Michael Yat and Pastor Peter Yen Reith and calls for their immediate and unconditional release; meanwhile calls on the Government of Sudan to ensure that pending their release the two pastors are not subjected to torture or other ill-treatment and that their physical and mental integrity is duly respected;

- Reminds the Sudanese authorities of their obligations at national and international level to protect freedom of religion and belief; reaffirms that freedom of religion, conscience and belief is a universal human right that needs to be protected everywhere and for everyone; strongly condemns all forms of violence and intimidation that impair the right to have or not to have, or to adopt, a religion of one’s choice, including the use of threats, physical force or penal sanctions to compel believers or non-believers to renounce their religion or to convert;

- Calls on the Government of Sudan to repeal all legislation that discriminates on the grounds of religion and to protect the identity of minority groups, including those of all faiths;

- Condemns the harassment of Christians and interference in church affairs; urges the Government of Sudan to desist from such activity; calls on Sudan to repeal the apostasy laws and to stop closing churches and other religious sites;

- Calls on the Government of Sudan to reform the country’s legal system, in accordance with international human rights standards, in order to protect fundamental human rights and freedoms and ensure the protection of every individual’s human rights, particularly with regard to discrimination against women, religious minorities and disadvantaged groups;

SWAZILAND

Thulani Maseko and Bheki Makhubu

 

Thulani Maseko, a lawyer working for the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland, was arrested on 17 March 2014 after writing an article criticising the lack of independence of the judicial system in Swaziland. On 19 March 2015, following the publication of a prison letter denouncing his conditions of detention, he was brought before a disciplinary committee in prison without the presence of a lawyer and was then forcefully moved to solitary confinement; whereas, although he has challenged this decision, no date has yet been announced for his High Court hearing.

Bheki Makhubu, a columnist and editor-in-chief of The Nation, considered to be the country’s sole independent newspaper, was arrested on charges of ‘scandalising the judiciary’ and ‘contempt of court’ following the publication of the article criticising the judicial system.

On 17 July 2014, Thulani Maseko and Bheki Makhubu were convicted for contempt of court by the High Court of Swaziland and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, a ruling which seems disproportionate compared with the usual sentence – 30 days’ imprisonment with the option of paying a fine – imposed in similar cases; whereas the judge presiding the trial, Mpendulo Simelane, had been named in one of the articles published by Mr Maseko’s newspaper, and whereas this represents a clear conflict of interest and an impediment to a fair trial.

 

In its Resolution, adopted on 21 May 2015, the European Parliament:

- Calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Mr Maseko and Mr Makhubu, given that their imprisonment relates directly to the legitimate exercise of their right to freedom of expression and opinion; calls also for the immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience and political prisoners, including Mario Masuku, President of the People’s United Democratic Movement, and Maxwell Dlamini, Secretary-General of the Swaziland Youth Congress; condemns the harsh conditions of detention of both prisoners and calls on the authorities of Swaziland to guarantee their physical and psychological integrity in all circumstances;

- Notes that the sentence handed down to Mr Maseko and Mr Makhubu is much more severe than other sentences in similar cases, and considers this to be a clear attempt to silence the activists and serve as a deterrent to others, as stated by the responsible judge; demands that the Government of Swaziland bring an immediate end to the authorities’ intimidation of journalists, lawyers, independent-minded judges, trade union officials and parliamentarians, who have been threatened with violence, arrest, prosecution or other forms of pressure as a consequence of their advocacy of human rights, respect for the rule of law or political reforms;

- Calls on the Government of Swaziland to engage in genuine dialogue with unions about legislative reforms that will ensure respect for workers’ rights, in line with international obligations;

- Calls on the Swaziland authorities to take concrete measures to respect and promote freedom of expression, guarantee democracy and plurality, and establish a legislative framework allowing the registration, operation and full participation of political parties, in line with international and regional human rights obligations and the Constitution of Swaziland, notably Article 24 thereof;

SYRIA/ IRAQ

Kidnapping of Bishops Yohanna Ibrahim and Paul Yazigi

 

The Bishops Yohanna Ibrahim and Paul Yazigi were kidnapped by armed rebels in Aleppo Province, Syria, on 22 April 2013. The case remains unresolved.

 

In its Resolution, adopted on 12 March 2015, the European Parliament:

- Strongly condemns ISIS/Daesh and its egregious human rights abuses that amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes according to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), and which could be called genocide; is extremely concerned at this terrorist group’s deliberate targeting of Christians, Yezidis, Turkmen, Shi’ites, Shabak, Sabeans, Kaka’e and Sunnis who do not agree with their interpretation of Islam, as part of its attempts to exterminate any religious minorities from the areas under its control; underlines that there must be no impunity for the perpetrators of these acts and that those responsible should be referred to the ICC; recalls, in this context, the unresolved kidnapping of Bishops Yohanna Ibrahim and Paul Yazigi by armed rebels in Aleppo Province, Syria, on 22 April 2013.

A letter of concern was sent on 16 October 2015.

SYRIA

Mazen Darwish

 

Mazen Darwish, a Syrian journalist and activist and president of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression, has been imprisoned since 2012, as have Hani Al-Zaitani and Hussain Ghrer, for their work defending freedom of expression; whereas Mazen Darwish was reportedly subjected to severe torture and ill-treatment and on 6 May 2015 was taken to an unknown location; whereas Mazen Darwish has been awarded the 2015 UNESCO Press Freedom Prize, as well as other important international awards, such as the Preis der Lutherstädte – ‘Das unerschrockene Wort’ 2015, the Bruno-Kreisky-Preis für Verdienste um die Menschenrechte 2013, and the PEN-Pinter Prize 2014; whereas the continued imprisonment of Mazen Darwish, Hani Al-Zaitani and Hussain Ghrer is further evidence of the repressive nature of Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria

 

 

 

In its Resolution, adopted on 11 June 2015, the European Parliament:

- Calls on the Syrian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release and drop all charges against Mazen Darwish and all those detained, convicted and/or sentenced for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression and association, as well as all human rights defenders and political rights activists arbitrarily deprived of their liberty on the basis of their human rights activities.

- Urges the Syrian authorities to disclose the fate and the whereabouts of the three men immediately, and to ensure that they are protected from torture and ill-treatment, allowed immediate contact with their families and lawyers, and provided with any medical attention they may require.

THAILAND

Rohingya refugees

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Journalists Chutima ‘Oi’ Sidasathian and Alan Morison

 

 

 

 

In its Resolution, adopted on 21 May 2015, the European Parliament:

- Expresses its deepest concern over the plight of Rohingya refugees and the humanitarian crisis taking place at the moment on the high seas and in the territorial waters between Myanmar, Bangladesh, Thailand and Indonesia, and is shocked by the findings following the recent exhumation of dozens of bodies from mass gravesites near human trafficking camps in southern Thailand; extends its condolences to the families of the victims;

- Calls on the Thai authorities to hold immediate, full and credible criminal investigations into the mass graves of Rohingya Muslims and, if necessary with UN assistance, to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice;

 

In its Resolution, adopted on 8 October 2015, the European Parliament:

- Welcomes the acquittal on 1 September 2015 by the Phuket Provincial Court of the journalists Chutima ‘Oi’ Sidasathian and Alan Morison;

 

TURKEY

Journalists and media executives, including Ekrem Dumanlı and

Hidayet Karaca

 

 

 

 

 

Frederike Geerdink and

Mehmet Ülger

 

Ekrem Dumanlı, editor-in-chief of the Zaman newspaper, and Hidayet Karaca, general manager of the Samanyolu broadcasting group were arrested by the Turkish police along with other journalists and media executives on 14 December 2014.

On 6 January 2015 the Dutch correspondent Frederike Geerdink and Mehmet Ülger both Dutch journalists were arrested, interrogated at a police station and released later on.

 

In its Resolution, adopted on 15 January 2015, the European Parliament:

- Condemns the recent police raids and the detention of a number of journalists and media representatives in Turkey on 14 December 2014; stresses that these actions call into question respect for the rule of law and freedom of the media, which is a core principle of democracy;

- Recalls that a free and pluralistic press is an essential component of any democracy, as are due process, presumption of innocence and judicial independence; stresses, therefore, the need, as regards this latest round of arrests, in all cases (i) to provide ample and transparent information on the allegations against the defendants, (ii) to grant the defendants full access to the incriminating evidence and full defence rights, and (iii) to ensure the proper handling of the cases to establish the veracity of the accusations without delay and beyond reasonable doubt; reminds the Turkish authorities that the utmost care must be taken when dealing with the media and journalists, as freedom of expression and freedom of the media remain central to the functioning of a democratic and open society;

 

VENEZUELA

Mayor Antonio Ledezma

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kluivert Roa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leopoldo López

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daniel Ceballos

 

On 19 February 2015 Antonio Ledezma, twice democratically elected Mayor of the Metropolitan District of Caracas and one of the opposition leaders, was arbitrarily detained by heavily armed officers of the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (Sebin), who failed to produce an arrest warrant or any evidence of his having committed an offence; whereas following his detention Antonio Ledezma was charged with conspiracy and association to commit crimes – offences punishable by severe prison sentences in Venezuela – and imprisoned at the Ramo Verde military prison

On 24 February 2015 the 14-year-old student Kluivert Roa was shot dead during a demonstration about the scarcity of food and medicine in San Cristóbal, in Táchira State, becoming the first victim since the authorisation of the use of firearms to quell protests.

Leopoldo López is the opposition leader who was arbitrarily detained on 18 February 2014 on charges of conspiracy, instigating violent demonstrations, arson and damage to property. Since his detention he has suffered physical and psychological torture and undergone solitary confinement.

Daniel Ceballos and Vicencio Scarano are opposition mayors, and Salvatore Lucchese is a police officer. They have been arrested for failing to end protests and civil rebellion in their cities, and have been sentenced to several years in prison. In addition, Juan Carlos Caldera, Ismael García and Richard Mardo who are opposition congressmen are facing investigations and trial proceedings aimed at their suspension and disqualification from Congress.

 

In its Resolution, adopted on 12 March 2015, the European Parliament:

- Recalls its deep concern about the deteriorating situation in Venezuela and condemns the use of violence against protesters; calls on the Venezuelan authorities to immediately release Antonio Ledezma, Leopoldo López, Daniel Ceballos and all peaceful protesters, students and opposition leaders arbitrarily detained for exercising their right to freedom of expression and their fundamental rights, in line with the demands made by several UN bodies and international organisations; calls on the Venezuelan authorities to withdraw the unfounded accusations against them;

- Calls on the Venezuelan authorities to ensure that Antonio Ledezma, Leopoldo López, Daniel Ceballos and all other political prisoners are given any medical attention they may require, as well as immediate, private and regular access to their families and to lawyers of their choice; is deeply concerned about the deterioration in the condition of prisoners;

- Calls on the Venezuelan Government to cease the political persecution and repression of the democratic opposition and the violations of freedom of expression and of demonstration, and urges an end to media censorship; reminds the authorities that opposition voices are imperative for a democratic society;

- Condemns the shooting of Kluivert Roa and six other students, and expresses its condolences to their families; calls on the government to revoke the recently published resolution 8610, which allows security forces to use potentially lethal force, with a firearm or another potentially lethal weapon, to subdue civilian protests, overriding Article 68 of the Venezuelan Constitution;

- Calls on the Venezuelan Government to comply with its own constitution and international obligations in respect of the independence of the judiciary, the right to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, and political pluralism, which are cornerstones of democracy; calls on the Venezuelan Government to create an environment in which human rights defenders and independent non-governmental organisations can carry out their legitimate work in promoting human rights and democracy; stresses that, as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, the Venezuelan Government has a particular responsibility to comply with the rule of law and with international law;

- Calls on the Venezuelan Government to ensure that accusations are investigated swiftly and impartially, with no margin of impunity and with full respect for the principle of presumption of innocence and for due legal process; recalls that respect for the principle of separation of powers is fundamental in a democracy and that the justice system cannot be used as a political weapon; calls on the Venezuelan authorities to ensure the security of all citizens in the country, regardless of their political views and affiliations;

ZIMBABWE

Itai Dzamara, his wife Sheffra Dzamara, and his lawyer Kennedy Masiye

 

On 9 March 2015 Itai Dzamara, a prominent Zimbabwean human rights activist, leader of the Occupy Africa Unity Square movement and dissident of President Mugabe, was reportedly abducted by five unidentified armed men in the suburbs of Harare. His whereabouts remain unknown and there is serious concern for his safety and the protection of his rights.

In the months prior to his abduction, Mr Dzamara had led a number of peaceful protests against the deteriorating political and economic situation in Zimbabwe. Two days before, Mr Dzamara addressed a political rally organised by the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai (MDC-T), calling for mass protests against the worsening repression and economic situation in the country, petitioning President Mugabe to resign and calling for reforms to the electoral system.

Until now the government has remained silent on Mr Dzamara’s disappearance, which has raised suspicion among the public that the state might be responsible; whereas the ruling party ZANU-PF is denying his forced disappearance and denounces it as an act staged by opposition parties.

A High Court judgment of 13 March 2015 ordered the Zimbabwean authorities to mount a search for Mr Dzamara and report progress to the court every two weeks until his whereabouts are determined; whereas this High Court order has been ignored by the authorities responsible for acting upon it, and the state authorities have yet to comply with this ruling.

Mr Dzamara had been assaulted on several occasions by supporters of the ruling party ZANU-PF and uniformed police officers. In November 2014 about 20 uniformed police handcuffed and beat Mr Dzamara to unconsciousness, also assaulting his lawyer, Kennedy Masiye.

 

In its Resolution, adopted on 21 May 2015, the European Parliament:

- Strongly condemns the forced disappearance of human rights defender Itai Dzamara and calls for his immediate and unconditional release;

- Urges the Government of Zimbabwe to take all necessary measures to find Mr Dzamara and bring all those responsible to justice; calls on the government to fully comply with the High Court order directing them to search for Mr Dzamara;

- Calls on the Zimbabwean authorities to ensure the safety and security of his wife and family, and his colleagues and supporters;

- Urges the Zimbabwean authorities to investigate allegations of excessive use of force and other human rights abuses by police and state officials, and to hold them to account;

- Recalls the overall responsibility of the Zimbabwean Government for ensuring the safety of all its citizens; calls upon the authorities of Zimbabwe to implement the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and regional human rights instruments ratified by Zimbabwe;

- Urges the Zimbabwean Government and President Mugabe to comply with their international obligations and the provisions of the international treaties that have been signed by Zimbabwe and that guarantee respect for the rule of law and the fulfilment of civil and political rights;


ANNEX II

LIST OF RESOLUTIONS

List of resolutions adopted by the European Parliament during the year 2015 and relating directly or indirectly to human rights violations in the world

Country

Date of adoption in plenary

Title

Africa

Algeria

30.04.2015

Imprisonment of human and workers' rights activists in Algeria

Angola

10.09.2015

Angola

Burundi

12.02.2015

Burundi, the case of Bob Rugurika

Burundi

17.12.2015

Situation in Burundi

Central African Republic

08.10.2015

Central African Republic

DRC

09.07.2015

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in particular the case of two detained human rights activists Yves Makwambala and Fred Bauma

Egypt

17.12.2015

Ibrahim Halawa potentially facing the death penalty

Nigeria

30.04.2015

Situation in Nigeria

Nigeria

08.10.2015

The mass displacement of children in Nigeria as a result of Boko Haram attacks

South Sudan

12.03.2015

South Sudan, including recent child abductions

Sudan

09.07.2015

Situation of two Christian pastors in Sudan

Swaziland

21.05.2015

The case of Thulani Maseko and Bheki Makhubu in Swaziland

Tanzania

12.03.2015

Tanzania, notably the issue of land grabbing

Zimbabwe

21.05.2015

The case of Itai Dzarana in Zimbabwe

Americas

Paraguay

11.06.2015

Paraguay: the legal aspects related to the child pregnancy

USA

11.02.2015

US Senate report on the use of torture by the CIA

Venezuela

12.03.2015

Situation in Venezuela

Asia

Afghanistan

26.11.2015

Afghanistan, in particular the killings in Zabul

Bangladesh

26.11.2015

Freedom of expression in Bangladesh

Cambodia

09.07.2015

Cambodia's draft laws on NGOs and trade unions

Cambodia

26.11.2015

Cambodia

China

16.12.2015

EU-China relations

Kyrgyzstan

15.01.2015

Kyrgyzstan: homosexual propaganda bill

Malaysia

17.12.2015

Malaysia

Maldives

17.12.2015

Situation in the Maldives

Nepal

11.06.2015

Situation in Nepal following the earthquakes

Pakistan

15.01.2015

Pakistan, in particular the situation following the Peshawar school attack

Thailand

21.05.2015

The plight of Rohingya refugees and the mass graves in Thailand

Thailand

08.10.2015

Situation in Thailand

Europe

Azerbaijan

10.09.2015

Azerbaijan

Belarus

10.09.2015

Situation in Belarus

Bosnia

09.07.2015

Srebrenica Commemoration

Cyprus

12.02.2015

Mass graves of missing persons in Ornithi village, in the occupied part of Cyprus

Russia

15.01.2015

Russia, in particular the case of Alexei Navalny

Russia

12.03.2015

Murder of the Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov and the state of democracy in Russia

Russia/Ukraine

30.04.2015

The case of Nadiya Savchenko

Russia

10.09.2015

Russia – in particular the case of Eston Kohver, Oleg Santsov, and Alexander Kolchenko

Turkey

15.01.2015

Freedom of expression in Turkey: Recent arrests of journalists, media executives and systematic pressure against media

Turkey

15.04.2015

Armenian genocide 100th anniversary

Middle East

Bahrain

09.07.2015

Bahrain, in particular the case of Nabeel Rajab

Saudi-Arabia

12.02.2015

Saudi Arabia, the case of Raif Badawi

Saudi-Arabia

08.10.2015

Saudi Arabia: The case of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr

Syria/Iraq

12.02.2015

Humanitarian crisis in Iraq and Syria, in particular in the IS context

Syria/Iraq

12.03.2015

Recent attacks and abductions by ISIS/Daesh in the Middle East, notably of Assyrians

Syria

30.04.2015

The situation of the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria

Syria

11.06.2015

Syria, the situation in Palmyra and the case of Mazen Darwish

Yemen

09.07.2015

Situation in Yemen

Cross-cutting issues

28th Session of the UNHRC

12.03.2015

EU’s priorities for the UN Human Rights Council in 2015

Persecution of Christians

30.04.2015

Persecution of the Christians around the world, in relation to the killing of students in Kenya by terror group Al-Shabaab

European Endowment for Democracy

09.07.2015

Evaluation of activities of the European Endowment for Democracy (EED)

European Neighbourhood Policy

09.07.2015

Review of the European neighbourhood policy

Human rights and technology

08.09.2015

‘Human rights and technology: the impact of intrusion and surveillance systems on human rights in third countries’

Right to Water

08.09.2015

Follow up to the European citizens' initiative Right2Water

Migration

10.09.2015

Migration and refugees in Europe

Death penalty

08.10.2015

The death penalty

Gender equality

08.10.2015

Renewal of the EU Plan of action on Gender equality and Women's empowerment in development

Trade and torture

27.10.2015

Trade in certain goods which could be used for capital punishment, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment

Migration

02.12.2015

Special report of the European Ombudsman in own-initiative inquiry concerning Frontex

World Humanitarian Summit

16.12.2015

Preparing for the World Humanitarian Summit: Challenges and opportunities for humanitarian assistance

Arms export

17.12.2015

Arms export: implementation of the Common Position 2008/944/CFSP


RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Date adopted

14.11.2016

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

42

5

9

Members present for the final vote

Michèle Alliot-Marie, Francisco Assis, Petras Auštrevičius, Amjad Bashir, Bas Belder, Mario Borghezio, Klaus Buchner, Georgios Epitideios, Knut Fleckenstein, Eugen Freund, Michael Gahler, Sandra Kalniete, Tunne Kelam, Afzal Khan, Eduard Kukan, Arne Lietz, Barbara Lochbihler, Ramona Nicole Mănescu, Francisco José Millán Mon, Alojz Peterle, Tonino Picula, Kati Piri, Alyn Smith, Jaromír Štětina, Charles Tannock, Miguel Urbán Crespo, Ivo Vajgl, Elena Valenciano, Geoffrey Van Orden, Hilde Vautmans

Substitutes present for the final vote

Laima Liucija Andrikienė, Andrzej Grzyb, Mike Hookem, Liisa Jaakonsaari, Javi López, Juan Fernando López Aguilar, Norica Nicolai, Godelieve Quisthoudt-Rowohl, Marietje Schaake, Helmut Scholz, Traian Ungureanu, Paavo Väyrynen, Marie-Christine Vergiat

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Maria Arena, Edouard Ferrand, Karoline Graswander-Hainz, Heidi Hautala, Hans-Olaf Henkel, Peter Jahr, Karin Kadenbach, Maria Noichl, Lola Sánchez Caldentey, Antonio Tajani, Josef Weidenholzer, Bogdan Brunon Wenta, Patricija Šulin

Last updated: 1 December 2016Legal notice