REPORT on a European Parliament recommendation to the Council on the 75th and 76th sessions of the United Nations General Assembly

26.5.2021 - (2020/2128(INI))

Committee on Foreign Affairs
Rapporteur: María Soraya Rodríguez Ramos

Procedure : 2020/2128(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected :  
Texts tabled :
Texts adopted :


to the Council on the 75th and 76th sessions of the United Nations General Assembly


The European Parliament,

 having regard to the Charter of the United Nations,

 having regard to the Treaty on European Union (TEU), in particular Articles 21, 34 and 36 thereof,

 having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in particular its preamble and Article 18, and to the UN human rights conventions and the optional protocols thereto,

 having regard to its recommendation to the Council of 5 July 2018 on the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly[1],

 having regard to the UN General Assembly resolution of 3 May 2011 on the participation of the European Union in the work of the United Nations, which grants the EU the right to intervene in the UN General Assembly, to present orally proposals and amendments which can be put to the vote at the request of a Member State, and to exercise the right to reply,

 having regard to the Council conclusions of 17 June 2019 on EU action to strengthen rules-based multilateralism,

 having regard to the Council conclusions of 13 July 2020 on EU priorities at the United Nations and the 75th UN General Assembly (September 2020-September 2021),

 having regard to the speech by European Council President Charles Michel of25 September 2020 at the UN General Assembly on ‘A stronger and more autonomous European Union powering a fairer world’,

 having regard to the opinion piece published on 22 September 2020 by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, entitled ‘The EU stands with the UN’,

 having regard to the Declaration on the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, adopted by the UN General Assembly on 16 September 2020,

 having regard to the Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy of June 2016,

 having regard to its resolution of 15 January 2020 on the Annual Report on the implementation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy[2],

 having regard to the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),

 having regard to the Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing in September 1995, the Declaration and Platform for Action for the empowerment of women adopted in Beijing, and the subsequent outcome documents of the UN Beijing +5, +10, +15 and +20 special sessions on new actions and initiatives to implement the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, adopted on 9 June 2000, 11 March 2005, 2 March 2010 and 9 March 2015 respectively,

 having regard to the resolution on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration endorsed by the UN General Assembly on 19 December 2018,

 having regard to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court of 17 July 1998,

 having regard to the 20th anniversary of UN Resolution 1325 (2000) adopted by the UN Security Council on 31 October 2000 on the important role of women in prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post conflict reconstruction,

 having regard to the EU Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) 2019-2024, and emphasising the importance of the full implementation of the WPS agenda as a cross-cutting issue in all matters of peace and security,

 having regard to the reports of the UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity,

 having regard to UN Security Council resolution 2532 (2020) on the cessation of hostilities during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and supporting the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ global ceasefire appeal,

 having regard to the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy adopted by the General Assembly in September 2006, and soon to be updated for the seventh time,

 having regard to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT),

 having regard to its resolution of 12 September 2018 on Autonomous Weapons Systems[3],

 having regard to its resolution of 7 June 2016 on Peace Support Operations – EU engagement with the UN and the African Union[4] ,

 having regard to Rule 118 of its Rules of Procedure,

 having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A9-0173/2021),

A. whereas the United Nations this year celebrates its 75th anniversary; whereas the UN has proved to be an essential universal forum for international consensus-building on peace and security, sustainable development and respect for human rights and international law; whereas it is also a key provider of support for fragile states and vulnerable communities in state building and conflict resolution; whereas rising political tensions are disrupting the UN agenda; whereas the achievements and indispensable role of the UN are often overlooked in a quest by some countries to advance unilateral decisions; whereas it is important for the EU and its Member States, to ensure that the UN remains an efficient and effective forum for the benefit of the international community, and that it can continue to deliver on present and future global challenges, which can only be achieved through the implementation of UN General Assembly and UN Security Council Resolutions and multilateral solutions; whereas the three pillars of the UN are (i) peace and security, (ii) development, human rights, and (iii) the rule of law, and are inseparable and mutually reinforcing; whereas democracy, human rights and the rule of law are coming under increasing threat in different regions of the world, and civil society space is shrinking in many UN Member States; whereas human rights defenders are increasingly facing threats for their legitimate work at a global level in a context where COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns have reduced reporting and monitoring of human rights violations; whereas states have a responsibility to take action to guarantee that all persons, local communities and population groups have the right to the full enjoyment of their human rights in line with the fundamental objectives and guiding principles of the UN as enshrined in its founding charter of 1945 and the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights; whereas safeguarding and promoting peace and security, sustainable development and respect for human rights are among the key principles of the UN; whereas recent UN reports have pointed out that several UN Member States are systematically breaching and eroding human rights; whereas the UN’s original purpose of maintaining peace has been challenged by continuing complex crises;

B. whereas the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the urgent need for resilient capacity-building throughout the international community and the need for close multilateral dialogue and cooperation, with particular regard to access to public goods; whereas the role, expertise and integrity of the World Health Organization (WHO) is, especially now, of crucial importance for global coordination and efforts in combating the COVID-19 pandemic; whereas the WHO must further advance its capacity to manage the current pandemic and future pandemic risks; whereas Agenda 2030 and the SDGs provide a central roadmap for recovery and action, already validated by the international community; whereas COVID-19 is likely to accelerate negative trends - including threats to democracy, the rule of law and human rights, especially the rights of women and children and gender equality - unless swift, significant and substantial policy action is taken at a global level; whereas parliamentary scrutiny over government decisions is important also with a view to ensuring strict respect for citizens’ fundamental rights and freedoms; whereas the cooperation of the EU and the UN is crucial in combating these trends; whereas the pandemic has underscored the fact that the promotion of universal health is not only a moral imperative, but also a prerequisite for economic and social well-being and development, as well as for the empowerment of all people, in particular the most vulnerable; whereas the pandemic has also underscored the importance of investing more and better in addressing critical health needs at a global level;

C. whereas the WHO, as the UN executive authority that coordinates health action within the UN system, provides leadership in world health matters; whereas the six focal points of the WHO’s health and development agenda for the 21st century include making good use of research, information and evidence, and strengthening alliances through support and cooperation among partners, including bodies within the UN and other international organisations, donors, civil society organisations and the private sector;

D. whereas the UN provides an important forum for inclusive dialogue among sovereign debtors, creditors and other stakeholders;

E. whereas the UN Secretary-General has shown excellent leadership in moving forward with the reform of the UN; whereas further courageous measures and political resolve are needed to address key outstanding issues, notably the reform of the structure of the UN Security Council; whereas the EU and its Member States, as the largest UN financial contributors, taken together, have shown an important commitment to effective multilateralism through their political, symbolic and financial support to the UN, with the primary aims of eradicating poverty, promoting long-term peace and stability, defending human rights, fighting trafficking and providing humanitarian assistance to populations, countries and regions that are confronted with all types of crises, whether natural or human-made; whereas the problem of adequate financing of the UN system still remains a challenge; whereas the EU should call on the UN to do more in its quest for reform that will include more women, younger people and persons with disabilities among its staff and leadership, and raise awareness about intersectionality in UN structures;

1. Recommends that the Council:

(a) continue with its important track record of support for effective multilateralism, for efficient and transparent multilateral organisations, and for the UN in particular as an indispensable forum for multilateral solutions for global challenges and for policy outreach, policy dialogue and consensus-building across the international community; Parliament welcomes the Council conclusions of 13 July 2020 on EU priorities at the UN and the 75th UN General Assembly, seen as effective fora to promote universal values which are also the EU’s core values; reaffirms that the EU and its Member States share the values and principles of the UN Charter and play an essential role in promoting these principles and the UN objectives in the EU’s external action; takes the view that the EU needs global and regional partners in order to successfully attain its foreign policy objectives, namely in the realms of peace and security, the fight against terrorism and organised crime, regional conflicts and in countering failed States and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, believes that the EU should strengthen its outreach activities to develop broader partnerships to support effective multilateralism and should consider including focussed discussions on effective multilateralism in all structured dialogues with its partners; notes further that the Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, as set out in Article 2 of the TEU and that promoting these values externally, advancing democracy, the rule of law, the universality and the indivisibility of human rights should be at the core of the EU’s common foreign and security policy, in accordance with Article 21 of the TEU and the Union’s strategic interests, and that this should also be reflected, in an effective and coherent way, in all areas of the Union’s relations with non-EU countries and institutions and in the objectives pursued by the EU in the UN System, with particular regard to the implementation of International Law; takes the view, therefore, that the Council should support all activities to keep human rights issues on top of the UN agenda in the light of efforts to undermine the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other relevant UN provisions by subordinating individual human rights to the alleged welfare of whole societies; backs concrete actions in this respect to strengthen the UN architecture;

(b) take the view that, in a multipolar context where some countries are promoting selective multilateralism rather than effective multilateralism anchored in universal values, the EU must seek to promote further an unconditional commitment by UN members to universal values, a rules-based system and the primacy of human rights in all policy areas; Parliament calls for the promotion of the mainstreaming of such values and rights across all policy and programming areas of the UN, in close cooperation with like-minded countries, with a view to advancing policy dialogue and policy solutions, implementation and mainstreaming capacity, bearing in mind that the UN is an inter-governmental organisation, which requires the consultation and participation of its UN Member States; calls on the Council to seize the opportunity of the current US Administration and continue to reach out to the United States on political and policy issues of common concern and to maintain a capacity of dialogue and partnership to rebuild and preserve the potential of the transatlantic partnership and cooperation in the UN System for the future; praises, in this regard, the ‘global Summit for Democracy to renew the spirit and shared purpose of the nations of the free world’ proposed by the President of the United States Joe Biden and asks the Council to participate in the organisation of this Summit, aimed at bringing together the world’s democracies in order to strengthen democratic institutions and to promote rule of law and human rights; calls on the Council to equally pursue further the good track record of close dialogue and cooperation with the United Kingdom as a permanent member of the UN Security Council;

(c) continue with its efforts to enable the EU and its Member States to speak with one voice in the UN and other multilateral fora and make the EU’s foreign and security policy more effective and proactive by using the rule of qualified majority voting in the Council in order to strengthen cooperation on matters of key strategic interest for the EU or reflecting its fundamental values, as this is the only way that the Union can play a leading role on the international scene and use its influence to bring about positive changes and better responses to global challenges, with particular reference to the UN Security Council (UNSC) and the good track record of cooperation with permanent and rotating UNSC members which are EU Member States, with the UN General Assembly (UNGA) and with the Human Rights Council (HCR); Parliament praises the excellent role played by the EEAS and its delegations, as well as the delegations of the EU Member States, in facilitating such dialogue and cooperation; takes the view that, in order to uphold its objectives and interests, the EU should seek to arrive at common positions on issues before the Security Council through coordination within the Council and among EU institutions; in keeping with Article 34 TEU, so that EU coherence and credibility at the UN level is improved; recalls that the EU is represented in the UN by multiple actors;

(d) further strengthen EU-UN cooperation on devising instruments to address the recurrent problem of election-related violence, including by building on the experience of the European Parliament's Election Observation Missions;

(e) remind that delays in the payment of assessed contributions by several Member States have extremely negative effects on the work of the UN and are thus unacceptable;

(f) support all efforts to put the arms control and disarmament agenda back on the international agenda and encourages that conventional arms transfers between UN member states fully comply with Arms Trade Treaty (ATI) criteria; convince UN Security Council to adopt, as stated in the EU Code of Conduct on arms exports, a binding legal framework to ban the export and sale of weapons and cyber surveillance technologies whose purpose is to commit war crimes and/or the suppression of internal dissent; reiterate that effective multilateralism and a rules-based international order are a precondition for advancing disarmament and for countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; reaffirm the full support of the EU and its Member States for existing international treaties, inter alia, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), the ATT, the Conventions on Cluster Munitions and Anti-Personnel Mines and promote efforts to develop a political declaration on Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas (EWIPA), as well as a clear definition of autonomous weapons; Parliament encourages the VP/HR, the Member States and the Council to work towards the start of international negotiations on a legally binding instrument prohibiting lethal autonomous weapon systems without meaningful human control; recommends that the Council urge the major nuclear powers to stop their withdrawal from the arms control regime and to achieve progress in the nuclear arms control talks; recommends that the Council urge the United States and Russia to start building mutual trust and confidence in order to resume dialogue on ways to build a new arms control relationship possible; takes the view that the EU should support the works of the UN Disarmament Commission’s Outer Space Working Group on the practical implementation of transparency and confidence-building measures in outer space activities; takes the view that the UN Security Council should provide a valuable opportunity to define common standards and caveats for new military technologies, such as artificial intelligence, outer space weaponry, biotechnologies and hypersonic; believes that the EU should support and actively contribute to the UN Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire, including through effective measures against illicit arms trade and enhancing the transparency and accountability of Member States’ arms exports;

(g) acknowledge the potential of direct regional involvement in the UN by supporting the possibility for other organisations, such as the African Union (AU), to request a specific status as enhanced observer; acknowledge and deploy the potential of the EU, as the most sophisticated regional organisation, to play a driving role in reviving and strengthening the UN system through multilevel multilateralism;

(h) continue to provide valuable support to the UN Secretary-General in his quest to advance the programme of reforms in the UN to reinforce the UN’s capacity to further sustainable development, promote peace and security, to streamline its internal management system with a view to an effective, transparent, financially sustainable and accountable UN that is able to reconnect with its citizens, including local communities and other grassroots actors and civil society, and to be more in line with the challenging global agenda; take leadership on the issue of the arbitrary deferral of applications by a number of civil society organisations for UN consultative status; Parliament underlines that the major progress achieved in the UN reform process has been in the administrative and bureaucratic sphere, while major political reforms remain pending, and should include the revitalisation of the UN General Assembly and concrete steps to accelerate the alignment of the development system with the 2030 Agenda; takes the view that the EU and its Member States should find a broad consensus to reform the UNSC inter alia a permanent seat for the European Union, in addition to already existing seats held by Member States, and a limitation of the use of the right to veto, notably in cases of war crimes and crimes against humanity and a change in the composition of its membership to better reflect today’s world; believes that the EU should support the Secretary-General and ask him to intensify his efforts in the implementation of the UN Strategy on Gender Parity to ensure the equal representation of women in the UN system at all hierarchical levels; takes the view that EU should remind the UN that, since the creation of the UN in 1945, no woman has been appointed Secretary-General of the United Nations;

(i) continue to seek greater synergies between the work of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), the UNGA and the UNSC; Parliament commends the work of the EU in supporting the work of the HRC, and its UN Special Procedures, including Special Rapporteurs, in particular when they identify and monitor human rights violations, and other thematic and country-specific human rights mechanisms, in the context of the need to mainstream human rights as indivisible, interdependent and interrelated rights across all decision-making and policy areas of the UN; takes the view that the EU should continue to call on all UN Member States to fully engage in protecting and promoting the respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law and should seek to trigger available UN mechanisms to bring persons responsible for human rights violations to justice, notably when the countries concerned are unable to or refuse to investigate such crimes and do not guarantee the protection of fundamental rights for all citizens; highlights the work of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and her office in denouncing human rights violations; urges that the impartiality of all bodies related to the defence and guarantee of human rights be guaranteed and, in particular, to protect them from possible interference by those states that are suspected of violations or lack of respect for human rights; deplores the abuse of the HRC by authoritarian regimes who continue to abuse it for their own ends, in particular, to undermine its functioning, and erode the human rights norms regime; calls for the EU and its Member States to support a comprehensive reform of the HRC; underlines, therefore, the importance of promoting a reform of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) that can ensure a true commitment to the advancement of human rights in an effective and non-biased fashion by all Member States with the risk, otherwise of undermining the HRC’s credibility; reiterates the need to review the election process of the UN Human Rights Council, like prohibiting closed slates and establishing a public ‘pledge review’ mechanism to improve council members accountability and to guarantee that each state that sits on the council is doing its best to promote and protect human rights, in accordance with the resolution which founded the council; calls on EU Member States to adopt a coordinated position in relation to HRC membership and to vote against all UNHRC candidates that fail to meet the criteria set out in UNGA resolution 60/251 of 15 March 2006; calls on the EU Member States to call for an annual report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights focused on cooperation by Council members with UN mechanisms and to press member selected to the Council to issue permanent invitations to all of the HRC Special Procedures; regrets Venezuela’s involvement as a full member of the UNHRC between 2020 and 2022, when the UN itself, in its 2020 report, has endorsed reports of crimes against humanity committed by the Venezuelan Government, and points out that there is a clear lack of consistency in this situation; recommends that the Council reject and address anti-Israel bias in the HRC;

(j) believes that the EU should support the establishment within the UNHRC of an independent international commission of inquiry to investigate facts and circumstances related to allegations of systemic racism and violations and abuses; calls for the universal ratification and effective implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; recognises the paramount role of education and culture in promoting human rights and intersectionally combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;

(k) continue to strengthen the role of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the international criminal justice system in order to promote accountability to end impunity and to provide the ICC with strong diplomatic, political and proper financial resources to enable it to fulfil the tasks within its mandate; call on all UN Member States to join the ICC by ratifying and implementing the Rome Statute and encourage the ratification of the Kampala amendments; call on those withdrawing from the ICC to reverse their decisions; support the ICC as a key institution for holding perpetrators to account and assisting victims in achieving justice, and to encourage strong dialogue and cooperation between the ICC, the UN and its agencies and the UN Security Council; Parliament regrets and condemns the attacks against the ICC and continues to stand firmly against any offensive actions and unsubstantiated claims or statements undermining the ICC and the Rome statute system in general; welcomes that concrete actions have been taken to remove sanctions against ICC personnel including the ICC Chief Prosecutor; takes the view that the EU should engage in enhanced dialogue with the current US administration on issues related to the ICC and that the EU should contribute to the global fight against international crimes by supporting initiatives that aim to promote the principle of universal jurisdiction and to build the capacity of UN Member States to apply it in their domestic legal systems; underlines EU's leading role in the fight against impunity, including its support to the International Criminal Court, which is a fundamental element of the EU's voice at the UN and underlines further that the ICC is the only international institution that has the ability to prosecute some of the world’s most horrific crimes and to defend victims that have no other recourse;

(l) reaffirm the need for, and reiterate its support for universal adherence to and implementation of the rule of law at both the national and international levels and its commitment to an international order based on the rule of law and international law; welcome the dialogue initiated by the Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group and the Rule of Law Unit in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General with Member States on the topic of ‘Promoting the rule of law at the international level’ and call for the continuation of this dialogue with a view to fostering the rule of law at the international level; Parliament calls on the Secretary-General and the UN system to systematically address, as appropriate, aspects of the rule of law in relevant activities, including the participation of women in rule of law-related activities;

(m) actively counteract attempts by some individual or coalitions of countries to undermine the international consensus around reproductive health and rights; in particular, denounces the recent ‘Geneva Consensus Declaration’, led by the Trump administration and co-signed by 32 largely illiberal or authoritarian governments; Parliament expresses its profound discomfort at seeing two EU Member States, Hungary and Poland, sign this retrograde declaration which seeks to undermine reproductive freedoms of women and the rights of LGBT persons;

(n) support the work of the recently established open ended intergovernmental Working Group (OEIGWG) for the development of a legally binding treaty on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with a view to establishing a legally binging instrument that ensures that companies are fully accountable for human rights violations and environmental crimes;

(o) further step up the EU’s commitment to combating impunity for crimes against journalists, media workers and associated personnel, including local ones, and launch concrete initiatives in this regard; support the call of the UN Special Rapporteurs on Freedom of Expression and on Extrajudicial, Summary and Arbitrary Executions to set up a UN standing investigative mechanism on crimes against journalists and support the appointment of a UN Special Representative for the Protection of Journalists worldwide; adopt a policy to denounce, systematically and unequivocally, the killing of human rights defenders (HRDs), including environmental and land human rights defenders and any attempt to subject them to any form of violence, persecution, threat, harassment, disappearance, imprisonment or arbitrary arrest; call on UN Member States to adopt policies to provide protection and support for human rights defenders at risk; continue advocating, through all diplomatic means and in close cooperation with the UN, to abolish the death penalty worldwide and call for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty;

(p) continue to expand its diplomacy and outreach toolbox, with particular regard to peace, international security and long-term stability, climate diplomacy, cultural diplomacy, human rights, gender equality, fair globalisation and the capacity to pursue policy dialogue and policy consensus, not only with UN members, but also with relevant interlocutors such as cities, regions, academia, religious entities and communities, civil society, local and indigenous communities and the private sector; use efforts to find solutions for global problems, such as climate change, as an entry point for diplomatic relations with partners with whom other agenda items are highly contested, thereby offering an opportunity to enhance stability and peace; Parliament welcomes the fact that the EU and its Member States contribute actively to the work of the UN system in various ways and in various forms;

(q) reiterate its unequivocal condemnation of terrorism and its full support for actions aimed at defeating and eradicating terrorist organisations, in particular Daesh/ISIS, which pose a clear threat to regional and international security; work with the UNGA and the UNSC to combat the financing of terrorism, and to build mechanisms to designate terrorists and terrorist organisations and strengthen asset-freezing mechanisms worldwide; commit to strengthening joint EU-UN efforts in combating the root causes of terrorism, particularly in countering hybrid threats and developing cyber defence research and capacity building; support current initiatives by local partners to design, implement, and develop approaches countering radicalisation and recruitment to terrorist organisations; continue with its efforts to clamp down on recruitment, fight against foreign fighters, violent extremism, fight terrorist propaganda; support actions strengthening the resilience of communities vulnerable to radicalisation, including by ensuring social inclusion and by exploring initiatives that engage with moderate religious leaders and ministers; work to strengthen the efficacy of international policing, and legal and judicial cooperation in the fight against terrorism and transnational crime to support counter-radicalisation and de-radicalisation policies in line with the UN Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism; promote the work in the UN to combat terrorism by implementing and updating the four pillars of the UN Global Strategy against Terrorism approved by the General Assembly in September 2006; assume the leadership of the upcoming review of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy by reinforcing human rights and prevention approaches;

(r) expand further the trilateral cooperation between the EU, the African Union (AU) and the UN; Parliament stresses the importance of a concerted effort towards capacity building by the EU, UN and AU for continuing to cooperate with the AU in developing the AU’s capabilities for crisis prevention, crisis management and conflict resolution on the African continent, also through a coherent continuation of the long-term EU and UN support to the full operationalisation of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), as well as capabilities in other policy areas of relevance for Africa’s security and stability, for example on the basis of a human security index, including in economic and environmental terms,  and with regard to access to public goods; stresses the need in this regard to pay particular attention to the situation in the Sahel region in view of the increasing instability; takes the view that the EU can have a substantial capacity of appeal with its ability to deliver on the partnership aspirations of the African continent and its institutions through partnerships of equals in line with the new EU-Africa strategy; underlines the importance of closer political and policy dialogue with the EU’s partners in Africa, including support and dialogue with regional organisations and within parliamentary dimensions; stresses the importance of intensifying, within the framework of the UN, dialogue and cooperation with the African countries of the EU’s southern Mediterranean neighbourhood to address common security and stability challenges;

(s) recognise and build on the significant progress made by the EU and the UN in providing support and capacity building in the Sahel, West Africa and the Horn of Africa regions; Parliament commends the role and cooperation between the EU civilian and military Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions and UN missions, including the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel and its Support Plan, the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and the UN Office for West Africa; welcomes the signing of the technical arrangement between the G5 Sahel, the EU and the UN for provision of operational and logistical support to the Joint Force in the five G5 Sahel countries, a sign of the excellent cooperation between the three organisations; takes the view that the EU should support the appeal to the UN Security Council that the G5 Sahel Joint Force be placed under Chapter VII of the UN Charter and benefit from permanent funding; recalls that the development, security and stability of the African continent, especially the Maghreb and Sahel regions, directly affect the EU and its external borders; calls for the EU to support and reinforce its cooperation with the UN and the AU in supporting development, addressing poverty and building capacities with the local partners to combat extremism and human trafficking;

(t) forge closer cooperation with the countries of Latin America – a region with which we share many ties and values, and which has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic – in order to tackle common challenges in a coordinated manner within the framework of the UN;

(u) pursue further dialogue on the capacity of the UN system to deliver on and expand its capability of conflict prevention and responsibility to protect (R2P), reaffirming the shared commitment to a rules based international order, international law, including territorial integrity, independence, and sovereignty, as also stated in the principles of the Helsinki Final Act and the (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) OSCE Charter of Paris, and ensuring that the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all individuals are at the core of conflict prevention and mediation policies; Parliament stresses the importance of dialogue and cooperation with the UN on effective, and credible peacekeeping missions with clear objectives, clear capacity to deliver, and capable of attaining tangible and credible results; calls for effective mechanisms, including: (i) the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, and all subsequent resolutions on women, peace and security in line with the objective of  women’s full, equal and meaningful participation and leadership in peacekeeping missions and UN structures devoted thereto, (ii) the perspective of children and young people, as stated in the Youth, Peace and Security Agenda and in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, including in terms of supporting and strengthening international efforts through the UN to end the use of children in armed conflict, (iii) the perspective of persons with disabilities, including, in particular, those facing intersectional discrimination and those at risk in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as well as, (iv) the need to ensure respect for human rights and the protection of civilians, which are at the core of peacekeeping mandates; reiterates the crucial role that women play in the conflict mediation and peacekeeping missions; recalls their underrepresentation at all levels within the UN and EU missions, and the crucial importance of protecting women and girls in conflict and post-conflict situations; calls on EU Member States to assist in contributing more European armed forces to UN peacekeeping; underlines the importance of EU support to countries emerging from violent conflict; calls, therefore, for reinforced cooperation in addressing the fragility of transition settings, including through strengthening national ownership and consolidating peacebuilding gains and enhancing interaction with local communities, ensuring protection and relief for them; calls for the reform of relevant structures so as to end impunity of UN personnel serving in military operations and civilian missions and to establish functioning and transparent oversight and firm accountability mechanisms in cases where abuses in particular acts of sexual violence happen; commends the work and contribution to the fight against impunity of Ms Agnes Callamard, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, in conducting investigations into suspected cases of extrajudicial murders while being the subject of intimidations and threats;

(v) pursue further consistent dialogue across UN fora, in particular UNGA, on the need to protect the human rights of LGBTI persons, in line with the EU’s guidelines to promote and protect the enjoyment of all human rights by LGBTI persons in multilateral fora[5], the EU guidelines on death penalty[6], and in respect of the internationally recognised Yogyakarta Principles[7]; encourage UN bodies and Members to include ‘gender identity and expression’ and ‘sex characteristics’ in their scope of consideration of human rights violations, thereby including transgender and intersex persons, as well as human rights violations to which they are victim; use all diplomatic tools at its disposal to advocate at global level for the decriminalisation of consensual same-sex acts, the abolition of the death penalty as a sanction for consensual same-sex acts, the adoption of legislation allowing for legal gender recognition and the banning of intersex genital mutilation and so-called ‘conversion therapy’ practices worldwide;

(w) promote coherence of UN dealings towards situations of occupation or annexation of territory; recalls that international humanitarian law should guide international engagement in all such situations, including in cases of protracted occupation and the multiple frozen conflicts in Eastern Partnership countries; Parliament supports the increasing attention paid by the UN to business activities related to situations of international concern and calls on the Council to closely monitor EU-based companies that are listed in such UN reports or databases;

(x) develop further the EU’s mediation and diplomatic capabilities for crisis prevention and management and conflict resolution, including for frozen or new conflicts, or at least their reduction, in synergy with efforts by the UN, with the Berlin process on Libya standing as a good example of EU support for and synergy with UN-led mediation efforts, ensuring the full and meaningful participation of women in mediation efforts, as well as continuing the EU’s firm support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within internationally recognised borders of its partners affected by conflicts, such as Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine; call on the UN to prioritise prevention, mediation, reconciliation and political solutions to conflicts while addressing the root causes and drivers at the basis of the crises; push for stronger multilateral commitments to find sustainable political solutions to current conflicts, and continue to support UN special envoys’ work, actions and initiatives aimed at solving these conflicts; Parliament commends the good track record of cooperation between the EU and the UN in achieving common development goals and the prevention of further escalation of ongoing conflicts; believes, in this regard, that the EU should continue to urge the international community to implement fully the policy of non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea;

(y) urge all UN Member States to ratify and effectively implement all core UN human rights conventions, including the UN Convention Against Torture and the Optional Protocol thereto, the Optional Protocols to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant of Economic Social and Cultural Rights, and to comply with the reporting obligations under these instruments and the commitment to cooperate in good faith with UN human rights mechanisms;

(z) remain committed as a front-runner in mobilising all means of effective implementation and follow-up of the objectives of Agenda 2030 across all internal and external policies of the EU and in the national strategies and priorities of the Member States; Parliament stresses the urgent need to adequately support and recognise the important and indispensable work of humanitarian agencies such as the World Food Programme; welcomes the decision to award the 2020 Nobel Prize to the World Food Programme for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict;

(aa) reiterate its concern at the adverse impacts on the marine environment from ships, including pollution, in particular through the illegal release of oil and other harmful substances and the dumping of hazardous waste, including radioactive materials, nuclear waste and dangerous chemicals, as well as physical impacts on coral; Parliament calls on UN Member States to continue to prioritise action on marine pollution from land-based sources as part of their national sustainable development strategies and programmes, and to advance the implementation of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities and the Montreal Declaration on the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities; calls on the UN Member States to improve the scientific understanding and assessment of marine and coastal ecosystems as a fundamental basis for sound decision-making through the actions identified in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation; calls on UN Member States to develop national, regional and international programmes for the protection and preservation of the marine environment and for halting the loss of marine biodiversity, in particular fragile ecosystems;

(ab) support the UN Secretary-General’s call for an affordable and accessible COVID-19 vaccine, and for it to be considered a global public good; implement the provisions included within the recent Council Conclusions on the role of the EU in strengthening the World Health Organization, especially with regard to capacity for preparedness and response in health emergencies; welcomes the WHO’s work in coordinating government efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic; Parliament calls for an impartial, transparent and independent investigation into the spread of the virus and the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, including by the WHO; supports a reform of the World Health Organization (WHO) so that in future it could respond more efficiently to emergencies and create an international antivirus consortium to guarantee access to and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, as well as future vaccines, for all countries; reiterates its support for the inclusion of Taiwan in the World Health Assembly; condemns the abuse by many authoritarian regimes of the measures introduced to fight COVID-19 in order to consolidate power, further undermine human rights, crack down on opposition and civil society, incite hatred campaigns against minority groups, introduce further measures to curtail their citizens´ rights and freedoms and seek geopolitical advantage abroad; stresses that international human rights law and the promise of achieving the SDGs by 2030 should remain the cornerstones of all responses to the pandemic; calls on the EU to contribute to the UN-level political commitment to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030, as it remains a public health threat worldwide; recommends that the Council should continue to seek greater synergies among UN Member States to remove laws, policies and practices that create barriers in access to HIV services and increase the risk for HIV acquisition, with special attention to marginalised or vulnerable groups; stresses the importance of the EU calling for strengthened legislative and regulatory frameworks and promoting policy coherence for the achievement of universal health coverage, including by enacting legislation and implementing policies that provide greater access to health services, products and vaccines, especially for the most underprivileged;

(ac) take note of the Secretary-General’s report entitled ‘Shared responsibility, global solidarity: responding to the socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19’, and thus insist that governments’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic should be effective, inclusive and in full compliance with their human rights obligations and commitments; call on UN Member States to take specific measures to protect children whose vulnerability might be particularly exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic; support the Central Emergency Relief Fund, the World Food Program, the UN Refugee Organisation and other UN institutions and programmes, which play a key role in the humanitarian response to the COVID-19 crisis; support the calls for a post-COVID-19 UN International Economic Reconstruction and Systemic Reforms Summit in 2021 as an important forum for a more inclusive and rights-based governance space;

(ad) strengthen the visibility of EU action and assistance in all multilateral forums and on the ground, particularly of the ‘Team Europe’ programme that has summed up an amount of EUR 36 billion to address the devastating effects of the COVID-19 crisis in partner countries and regions, particularly in Africa;

(ae) play an active, strong and ambitious leadership role in the preparations for the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), including on a human rights perspective, in particular by promoting a global recognition of the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, and by supporting the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment; Parliament notes that climate change and loss biodiversity are among the major current challenges; supports the UN Environmental Rights Initiative, which is a recognition that violations of environmental rights have a profound impact on a wide variety of human rights; stresses that biodiversity and human rights are interlinked and interdependent; recall the human rights obligations of States to protect the biodiversity including by providing access to effective remedies in cases of biodiversity loss and degradation; Parliament, in this regard, encourages the EU and the Member States to promote the recognition of ecocide as an international crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court; takes the view that the EU should implement specific measures to put resilience at the heart of recovery efforts and to mainstream disaster risk reduction throughout EU policies in cooperation with the UN, in line with the targets set out in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030; takes the view that the EU should reinvigorate the partnership with the current US Administration supporting the creation of a ‘global net-zero coalition’ with the countries that have already committed to the goal of achieving zero emissions by 2050, cooperating with other countries in the development of carbon emission removal plans and technologies, and promoting a new international strategy for the protection of biodiversity;

(af) reaffirm the need to ensure equal protection of the law and equality before the courts, empowerment and full and effective participation in decision-making processes and full, equal and effective participation in political, economic, social and cultural life for indigenous people, including women and girls; welcome the work of the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, EMRIP and UNPFII; encourage States and entities of the UN system to strengthen international cooperation to address the disadvantages faced by indigenous peoples, and to increase technical cooperation and financial assistance in this regard;

(ag) continue to pursue and expand capacity cooperation within the UN system on the promotion of effective and ethical common standards in new policy areas such as data disaggregation and protection, due diligence, the fight against impunity, artificial intelligence or cyberspace, while promoting adequate support for those countries that may wish to expand their regulatory capacity and implementation of standards; call for closer coordination on cyber defence as regards rules, norms, common understandings and enforcement measures in cyber-space; suggest that the cornerstones of European cybersecurity, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Network and Information Security (NIS) Directive can represent an excellent basis which willing countries can use to build on their regulatory frameworks for data protection and cybersecurity through a ‘security by design’ approach; indicate that best practices and lessons learned at the EU level can be shared within the UN framework with UN agencies devoted to these tasks, and also in response to individual countries’ requests;

(ah) address the challenges of preventing and combating illicit financial flows and strengthening international cooperation and good practices on assets return and recovery, including by more effective measures to implement existing obligations under the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocols thereto; implement effective, inclusive and sustainable measures to prevent and combat corruption within the framework of the 2030 Agenda; undertake and support initiatives to counter tax evasion, money laundering and corruption;

(ai) consider additional debt relief measures for highly indebted developing countries to avoid defaults and create space for SDG investments, and in this sense, to support the UN Secretary-General’s call for a sovereign debt restructuring mechanism to be established as part of the longer term response to the COVID-19 crisis and its economic impacts;

(aj) address migration and forced displacement, including its root causes, and cooperate on the implementation of both the Global Compact on Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees; recalls that human rights should remain at the core of the Global Compact with a specific attention to migrants in situations of vulnerability, such as children, minors and women; continue building the shared commitment towards preserving the humanitarian space and improving the humanitarian response system and stress the importance of upholding the right to asylum worldwide; support and reinforce the work of relevant UN bodies such as UNHCR and the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA); reaffirm UNRWA’s key role in providing humanitarian and development assistance to Palestinian refugees; appeal to UN Member States for the maintenance and increase in contributions to UNRWA, and support the proposal by UNRWA Commissioner General for a conference leading to a more predictable, sustainable and accountable financing flow and expenditure system for UNRWA for the future and a commitment to this effect by a larger number of UN Member States and international donors;

(ak) continue to advocate for freedom of religion or belief; urge greater efforts to protect the rights of religious and other minorities; call for greater protection of religious minorities against persecution and violence; call for the repeal of laws criminalising blasphemy or apostasy that serve as a pretext for the persecution of religious minorities and non-believers; support the work of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief;

(al) further enhance integrated support for gender equality and the empowerment of women, in line with the Beijing Declaration and its Platform for Action; call on all UN Member States to continue to support and implement the UN Security Council Resolutions on the Women, Peace and Security Agenda, which take stock of the disproportionate impact of conflicts on women and girls and guide work and actions to promote gender equality and strengthen women’s participation, protection and rights throughout the conflict cycle, from conflict prevention to post-conflict reconstruction; in this regard pay special attention to eradicating violence and discrimination against women and girls, including sexual and gender-based violence, harmful practices and domestic and family violence, and to supporting the meaningful and equal active participation of women in all spheres of public life and decision-making, and the promotion of women’s rights; support and strengthen international efforts through the UN to ensure gender analysis, as well as gender and human rights mainstreaming in all UN activities; Parliament recalls that sexual violence such as rape is used as a tactic of war and constitutes a war crime, and calls for increased protection of women and girls in conflict situations, especially as regards sexual violence; takes the view that the EU should rally broader support, including through adequate funding, for the work of UN Women, which plays an important role in the UN System for advancing women’s rights and bringing together all relevant stakeholders in order to generate policy change and coordinate policy actions;

(am) adopt an ambitious and constructive role within the mechanism for the Review of the Implementation of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons in order to further reinforce international efforts to combat trafficking in human beings, including the perspectives of women, children and migrants, who are at increased risk of exploitation;

(an) consult Parliament closely on the implementation process of Council conclusions, and associate Parliament in all policy areas where parliamentary diplomacy can create valuable synergies and reinforce the capacity for outreach and positive impact and leadership of the EU as a whole;

(ao) call for immediate actions to address the growing human rights crisis in Xinjiang, at least to investigate the reported ethnic and religious persecution across the region; Parliament calls in this regard for the establishment of an independent UN monitoring mechanism on human rights in China, which could include a UN Special Rapporteur, a HRC Panel of Experts or a Special Envoy; supports calls for the UNHRC to hold a special session on the crisis;

2. Instructs its President to forward this recommendation to the Council, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Commission and, for information, the United Nations General Assembly and the Secretary-General of the United Nations.


Date adopted





Result of final vote







Members present for the final vote

Alviina Alametsä, Alexander Alexandrov Yordanov, Maria Arena, Petras Auštrevičius, Traian Băsescu, Anna Bonfrisco, Reinhard Bütikofer, Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Susanna Ceccardi, Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz, Katalin Cseh, Tanja Fajon, Anna Fotyga, Michael Gahler, Sunčana Glavak, Raphaël Glucksmann, Klemen Grošelj, Bernard Guetta, Márton Gyöngyösi, Andrzej Halicki, Sandra Kalniete, Karol Karski, Stelios Kouloglou, Andrius Kubilius, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, David Lega, Miriam Lexmann, Nathalie Loiseau, Antonio López-Istúriz White, Jaak Madison, Lukas Mandl, Thierry Mariani, David McAllister, Vangelis Meimarakis, Sven Mikser, Javier Nart, Gheorghe-Vlad Nistor, Urmas Paet, Demetris Papadakis, Tonino Picula, Manu Pineda, Giuliano Pisapia, Thijs Reuten, Jérôme Rivière, María Soraya Rodríguez Ramos, Nacho Sánchez Amor, Isabel Santos, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, Andreas Schieder, Radosław Sikorski, Jordi Solé, Sergei Stanishev, Tineke Strik, Hermann Tertsch, Harald Vilimsky, Idoia Villanueva Ruiz, Viola Von Cramon-Taubadel, Thomas Waitz, Witold Jan Waszczykowski, Isabel Wiseler-Lima, Salima Yenbou, Željana Zovko

Substitutes present for the final vote

Loucas Fourlas, Assita Kanko, Mick Wallace







Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Márton Gyöngyösi


Alexander Alexandrov Yordanov, Traian Băsescu, Loucas Fourlas, Michael Gahler, Sunčana Glavak, Andrzej Halicki, Sandra Kalniete, Andrius Kubilius, David Lega, Miriam Lexmann, Antonio López‑Istúriz White, Lukas Mandl, David McAllister, Vangelis Meimarakis, Francisco José Millán Mon, Gheorghe‑Vlad Nistor, Radosław Sikorski, Isabel Wiseler‑Lima, Željana Zovko


Petras Auštrevičius, Katalin Cseh, Klemen Grošelj, Bernard Guetta, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Nathalie Loiseau, Javier Nart, Urmas Paet, María Soraya Rodríguez Ramos


Maria Arena, Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz, Tanja Fajon, Raphaël Glucksmann, Sven Mikser, Demetris Papadakis, Tonino Picula, Giuliano Pisapia, Thijs Reuten, Isabel Santos, Andreas Schieder, Sergei Stanishev, Nacho Sánchez Amor


Alviina Alametsä, Reinhard Bütikofer, Jordi Solé, Tineke Strik, Viola Von Cramon‑Taubadel, Thomas Waitz, Salima Yenbou





Hermann Tertsch


Thierry Mariani, Jérôme Rivière, Harald Vilimsky





Anna Fotyga, Assita Kanko, Karol Karski, Jacek Saryusz‑Wolski, Witold Jan Waszczykowski


Anna Bonfrisco, Susanna Ceccardi, Jaak Madison

The Left

Stelios Kouloglou, Manu Pineda, Idoia Villanueva Ruiz, Mick Wallace


Key to symbols:

+ : in favour

- : against

0 : abstention



Last updated: 27 May 2021
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