Procedure : 2011/2645(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B7-0254/2011

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 06/04/2011 - 13
CRE 06/04/2011 - 13

Votes :

PV 07/04/2011 - 6.3

Texts adopted :


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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0249/2011

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

pursuant to Rule 110(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on the situation in Syria, Bahrain and Yemen

Anneli Jäätteenmäki, Marielle De Sarnez, Edward McMillan-Scott, Ramon Tremosa i Balcells, Kristiina Ojuland, Sonia Alfano, Marietje Schaake on behalf of the ALDE Group

European Parliament resolution on the situation in Syria, Bahrain and Yemen  

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on Syria and Yemen,

–   having regard to its report of 24 March 2010 on EU relations with the Gulf Cooperation Council,

–   having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,

–   having regard to its report Parliament's recommendation to the Council on the conclusion of a Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Syrian Arab Republic, of the other part, adopted on 10 October 2006,

–   having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) of 1966, to which Syria is a party,

–   having regard to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of 1975, which was ratified by Syria on 18 September 2004,

–   having regard to the Statements by the Vice President of the Commission/EU High Representative on Bahrain of 10 March, 15 March and 17 March 2011,

–   having regard to the Statements by the Vice President of the Commission/EU High Representative on Yemen of 10 March and 17 March 2011,

–   having regard to the Statements by the Vice President of the Commission/EU High Representative on Syria of 18 March, 22 March, 24 March and 26 March 2011,

–   having regards to the conclusions of the FAC meeting, Brussels, 21 March 2011,

–   having regard to the conclusions of the European Council of 24 and 25 March 2011,

–   having regard to the Joint Communication on a Partnership for Democracy and shared Prosperity with the Southern Mediterranean to further support democratic transformation and civil society in response to the current historic developments in the region, of 8 March 2011,

–   having regard to Rule 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas recent demonstrations in several Arab countries in northern Africa and the Middle East have called for an end to authoritarian regimes and for political, economic and social reforms, freedom, democracy and better living conditions for ordinary people; whereas the massive protests in numerous Arab countries have shown that undemocratic and authoritarian regimes cannot guarantee credible stability and that democratic values are central to economic and political partnerships,

B.  whereas, in Bahrain, Syria and Yemen, as in other Arab countries such as Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Morocco and Jordan, protestors have held demonstrations in the past week demanding reforms ensuring a better distribution of wealth, and the protection of social and civil rights and a more democratic political system,

C. whereas the excessive use of force against protestors by security forces in Bahrain, Yemen and Syria has resulted in many deaths and injuries,

D. whereas in March social networking websites called for peaceful demonstrations in support of democratic reforms, the release of prisoners of conscience and the end of the state of emergency (in place since 1963), which were followed by numerous peaceful gatherings have taken place in Syria; whereas the Emergency Law which is effectively limiting citizens in the exercise of their civil and political rights while providing an ongoing control of the Syrian authorities over the judicial system violates the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Syria is a party,

E.  whereas demonstrations began in the southern Syrian city of Deraa, before spreading to others towns and villages in the country; whereas the Syrian authorities have repressed the demonstrations using live bullets to disperse peaceful gathering and arrested hundreds of civilians,

F.  whereas on Wednesday 23 March, the Syrian army entered into the Omari mosque in Daraa and started shooting unarmed civilians; Electricity and communications were also cut off in parts of the city,

G. whereas a state of emergency has been declared in Bahrain and in Yemen,

H. whereas according to reports, medical personnel, human rights defenders and political activist have been detained in Bahrain, and hospitals have been taken over by security forces, while in Yemen ambulances bringing wounded antigovernment protesters to hospitals were blocked by security forces,

I.   whereas the situation in Bahrain remains tense, with between 50 and 100 people reported missing over the past week. Whereas those arrested are reported to include political activists, human rights defenders, doctors and nurses from the Salmaniya hospital,

J.   whereas hundreds of civilians were killed in military operations against Houthis in Saada, in northern Yemen, as Saudi Arabia joined combat operations on the side of the Yemeni army; whereas the Yemeni authorities have used the war on terror as a pretext to launch military campaigns against the southern provinces, whose residents are involved in widespread protest against the policies of marginalization and exclusion and the ongoing repression of southern citizens,

K. whereas further to the request of the Government of Bahrain, Gulf Cooperation Council security forces from Saudi Arabia, United Emirates and Kuwait have been deployed in Bahrain,

1.  Welcomes the Arab spring and wave of the revolutions and popular protests against authoritarians' regimes as a sign of courage, determination and wish for a democratic change through out the region. Expresses it condolences to the families of the innocent victims of these upheavals and commends the courage and determination of the Arab peoples for democratic change;

2.  Expresses its profound concern regarding the level of violence against demonstrators that has characterised the protests in all three countries, strongly condemns therefore the use of force and urges security forces to refrain from the use of violence; stresses the need to heed legitimate democratic aspirations and address them through inclusive political dialogue and genuine reforms and not through repression;

3.  Urges all parties to engage in a constructive and inclusive dialogue. Reiterates the importance of political and economic reforms for the future stability of Yemen, Syria and Bahrain and is in this regard the EU is willing to support the people;

4.  Calls on the Syrian, Yemeni and Bahraini authorities to respect their international commitments to human rights and fundamental freedoms;

5.  Calls on the authorities in these countries to:

–  immediately lift the State of Emergency;

–  immediately release all political prisoners;

–             enshrine freedom of expression and association in law and in practice;

–  step up measures to fight corruption;

–  guarantee equal rights for minorities;

–  ensure access to means of communication, such as internet and mobile phone;

–  ensure access to independent media;

6.  Condemns the interference by authorities in Bahrain and Yemen in the provision of medical treatment and access to health facilities;

7.  Urges the EU and Member States to not only condemn the killing and arrests of hundreds of demonstrators, including children, but also to call for profound political reforms, the end of the police state and the release of all political prisoners;

8.  Notes that the decision taken in Yemen to embark on a process of reform is an important step that the European Union and its Member States should support. Calls on President Saleh to take concrete steps towards the implementation of his pledge to 'transfer power peacefully through constitutional institutions';

9.  Calls on the Government of Bahrain and other parties to engage in a meaningful and constructive dialogue without delay or preconditions, in order to bring about reforms; welcomes the UN Secretary-General's announcement that the UN stands ready to provide support to nationally-led efforts, if requested to do so;

10. Takes note of the resignation of the government of the 29th of March but believe that such act will not be enough to satisfy the growing frustrations of the Syrian people;

11. Urges President Bashar Al-Assad to put an end to the brutal repression against protesters and to refrain from any act of violence; calls for the immediate release of detained demonstrators, journalists, human rights defenders and political prisoners and for the end of monopoly of the Ba'th party over the Syrian state and the society;

12. Calls the Syrian Authorities to engage in a meaningful and constructive dialogue with other parties in order to address the legitimate demands and aspiration of the protestors;

13. Calls for EU assistance to democratic processes in the Mediterranean region to ensure full participation of all citizens - particularly women, who have played a crucial role in the demands for democratic change - in political life;

14.  Calls on the EU to immediately take the lead in convening a Special Session at the HRC to address abuses committed in Syria, Yemen and Bahrain during the crackdown of demonstrations and repression of dissent;

15. Calls on the EU to immediately ban all security assistance to Bahrain, including the sale of riot-control materials and military hardware, until Bahraini authorities halt the abuses and hold those responsible accountable;

16. Stresses the commitments by the HR/VP and the Commission within the Joint Communication on a Partnership for Democracy and shared Prosperity with the Southern Mediterranean to further support democratic transformation and civil society in response to the current historic developments in the region; calls therefore on the HR/VP, the Council and the Commission to support the legitimate aspirations and political expectations of the Syrian population and to stop pressing to conclude the EU-Syria association agreement following the violent repression; is of the opinion that the conclusion of such agreement should depend on the capacity of the Syrian authorities to carry out expected democratic reforms;

17. Calls on the Commission to make full and effective use of the existing support given through the ENPI, EIDHR and IfS, and to urgently draw up concrete proposals on how future EU financial assistance better can assist the countries and civil societies in the Middle East and in the Gulf in their transition towards democracy and human rights;

18. Calls on the Council and the Member States to review their policies towards Bahrain, Syria and Yemen and to take a strong common EU position against human rights violations in these countries; stresses that the sanctions shall be introduced if the human rights violations against civilians continue;

19. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission/EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council and the Commission, the UN Secretary General, the King, Government and Parliament of the Kingdom of Bahrain, the President, Government and Parliament of the Republic of Yemen and the President, Government and Parliament of the Syrian Arab Republic.

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