Motion for a resolution - B7-0449/2011Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on Syria, Yemen and Bahrain in the context of the situation in the Arab world and North Africa


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

José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, Elmar Brok, Ioannis Kasoulides, Gabriele Albertini, Angelika Niebler, Mario Mauro, Cristian Dan Preda, Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou, Andrzej Grzyb, Tokia Saïfi, Michael Gahler, Filip Kaczmarek, Dominique Vlasto, Krzysztof Lisek, Monica Luisa Macovei, Ria Oomen-Ruijten, Mário David, Marco Scurria, Simon Busuttil, Joanna Katarzyna Skrzydlewska, Elena Băsescu, Elżbieta Katarzyna Łukacijewska, Nadezhda Neynsky, Seán Kelly, Artur Zasada on behalf of the PPE Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0389/2011

Procedure : 2011/2756(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected :  
Texts tabled :
Texts adopted :


European Parliament resolution on Syria, Yemen and Bahrain in the context of the situation in the Arab world and North Africa

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on Syria, Yemen and Bahrain, in particular its resolution of 7 April 2011,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on Egypt, Libya and Tunisia,

–   having regard to its report on European Union relations with the Gulf Cooperation Council of 24 March 2011,

–   having regard to its resolution on the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy - Southern Dimension of 7 April 2011,

–   having regard to the Statements by the EU High Representative/Vice-President of the Commission on Syria of 18, 22, 24 and 26 March, 23 April, 6 and 11 June 2011; and on Yemen of 10 March, 12 March and 18 March, 27 April, 11, 26 and 31 May and 3 June 2011, and on Bahrain of 10, 12 and 18 March, 3 May and 1 July 2011,

–   having regard to the Declaration by the EU High Representative/Vice-President of the Commission on behalf of the EU on Syria of 29 April 2011,

–   having regard to the Communication ‘A dialogue for migration, mobility and security with the southern Mediterranean countries’ of 24 May 2011, and the Joint Communication ‘A new response to a changing Neighbourhood’ of 25 May 2011,

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

–   having regard to the Declaration on the Southern Neighbourhood of the European Council of 23 and 24 June 2011,

–   having regard to the Human Rights Council resolution on Syria of 29 April 2011,

–   having regard to the Council Decisions 2011/273/CFSP of 9 May 2011 and 2011/302/CFSP of 23 May 2011 and 2011/367/CFSP of 23 June on Syria,

–   having regard to the conclusions of the Foreign Affairs Council of 23 May and 20 June 2011,

–   having regard to the Statement by the UN Secretary-General on Syria of 3 June 2011,

–   having regard to the preliminary report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on Syria of 14 June 2011,

–   having regard to the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child of 1990 to which Syria is a party,

–   having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) of 1966,

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

A. whereas, following other Arab countries, demonstrators in Syria and Yemen have peacefully expressed legitimate democratic aspirations and strong popular demand for political, economic and social reforms aimed at achieving genuine democracy, fighting corruption and nepotism, ensuring respect for the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, reducing social inequalities, and creating better economic and social conditions,

B.  whereas the respective governments have reacted with an increase of violent repression; whereas the excessive use of force against protestors by security forces in Syria and Yemen has resulted in serious loss of life, injuries and imprisonments, and violates the ICCPR, to which Syria and Yemen are parties,

C. whereas demonstrations in Syria began in the southern city of Daraa before spreading across the country; whereas the Syrian army has imposed a siege on Daraa and several other towns; whereas reportedly more than 1100 persons have been killed and up to 10 000 persons have been arbitrarily detained,

D. whereas recent videos, which were broadcasted worldwide, showed disturbing images of arbitrarily detained Syrian children victims of torture or ill-treatment during their detention, which in some cases lead to their death, like in the case of Hamza al-Khateeb, a 13-year-old boy; whereas, in addition, the use of live ammunition against demonstrators already resulted in the death of at least 30 children as reported by UNICEF, the UN Children’s agency, on 31 May 2011,

E.  whereas the Association Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Syrian Arab Republic, of the other part, has still to be signed; whereas the signing of this Agreement has been delayed at Syria’s request since October 2009; whereas respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms constitutes an essential part of this Agreement,

F.  whereas Yemen is the poorest country in the Middle East with widespread malnutrition, dwindling oil reserves, a growing population, weak central government, growing water shortages and little investment in the country’s economy; whereas there is serious concern for the disintegration of the Yemeni state with a fragile truce since February with the Shiite rebels in the North, a secessionist movement in the South and many al-Qaeda fighters reportedly using Yemen as a retrieval ground,

G. whereas President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was wounded in a bomb attack and is receiving medical treatment in Saudi Arabia, refused to sign the GCC initiative on political transition accepted by the ruling party and the opposition coalition,

H. whereas the state of national safety in Bahrain was lifted on 1 June and King Hamad Bin Isa al-Khalifa made a call for a national dialogue, which began on 2 July,

I.   whereas the European Union has repeatedly expressed its commitment to freedom of religion, freedom of conscience and freedom of thought, and has stressed that governments have a duty to guarantee these freedoms all over the world,

1.  Strongly condemns the violent repression by security forces of peaceful demonstrators in Syria and Yemen, and extends its condolences to the families of the victims; expresses its solidarity with the people in these countries, applauds their courage and determination, and strongly supports their legitimate democratic aspirations;

2.  Urges the Syrian and Yemeni authorities to refrain from the use of violence against protestors and respect their right to assemble freely; stresses that those responsible for the loss of life and injuries caused should be held accountable and brought to justice; calls on the authorities to immediately release all political prisoners, human rights defenders, journalists and peaceful demonstrators, enshrine the freedom of expression and of 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, and ensure access to independent media;

3.  Stresses that the use of violence by a state against its own population must have direct consequences on its bilateral relations with the European Union; reminds the EU High Representative/Vice-President of the Commission that the EU can use numerous tools to deter from such actions, such as asset freeze or travel ban; recalls however that the populations should never be affected by such a review of bilateral relations;

4.  Calls on the Syrian and Yemeni authorities to respond swiftly to the widespread calls for democratic, economic and social reforms; expresses its strong support for reforms leading towards democracy, the rule of law and social justice in Syria, and Yemen; underlines that the current crises in Syria and Yemen can only be settled through an open and meaningful political process and dialogue without delay or precondition, with the participation of all democratic political forces and civil society;

5.  Strongly condemns the escalation of violence in Syria and the continued serious violations of human rights; regrets that the lifting of the state of emergency on 21 April is not implemented on the ground, that reforms announced by President Assad have not been implemented and that political prisoners remain in detention despite the recent amnesty announced by the President; urges the Syrian authorities to lift the siege of affected towns without delay and allow immediate and unhindered access for humanitarian agencies and workers;

6.  Urges the Syrian authorities to immediately release all children arrested during the repression of the demonstrations or in related events, to thoroughly investigate reported cases of violence against children and to refrain from any further arrest and violence against children or any other breach of children’s rights;

7.  Welcomes the decision of the Council to impose restrictive measures against Syria and persons responsible for the violent repression against the civilian population, to suspend all preparations in relation to new bilateral cooperation programs, to suspend the ongoing bilateral programs with the Syrian authorities under the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) and MEDA instrument, to invite the European Investment Bank (EIB) not to approve new EIB financing operations in Syria for the time being, to consider the suspension of further Community assistance to Syria in light of developments and not to take further steps with regard to the Association Agreement with Syria;

8.  Strongly supports the diplomatic efforts of the EU with partners of the international community to ensure that the UN Security Council (UNSC) condemns the ongoing violence in Syria and urges the Syrian authorities to meet the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people; regrets that these efforts have not been successful so far and that a resolution could not be introduced and the UNSC has not taken any position; calls on Russia and China, the Permanent Members of the UNSC that have expressed reservations, to ensure that the UNSC can give adequate response to the situation in Syria; asks the EU High Representative/Vice-President of the Commission to convince the authorities of both countries that the UNSC should be able to assume its responsibility;

9.  Calls on the Syrian authorities to allow the foreign press and independent UN observers into the country who would verify the claim that ‘armed gangs of extremists’ are firing at the security forces first, which is the regime’s justification for all the unacceptable blood bath that is taking place;

10. Welcomes the acknowledgement by the EU of the efforts by Turkey and other regional partners on the different aspects of the crisis, in particular the humanitarian aspects, and that it will work with them to address the situation in Syria; calls on Turkey and the EU to step up their foreign policy coordination and strongly encourages the pursuit of concerted efforts in support of democratisation and development in the Middle East and Northern Africa;

11. Deplores the failure by the Yemeni authorities to ensure safe passage of diplomats from the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Sana’a on 22 May, including the GCC Secretary General, and Ambassadors of GCC members, the EU, the United Kingdom and the United States; calls on the authorities in Yemen to respect the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations;

12. Strongly condemns the recent attacks in Yemen, including that of 3 June on President Saleh; calls on all parties to cease all hostilities and abide by a permanent ceasefire; urges the Yemeni authorities to commit themselves to an orderly and inclusive political transition in line with the GCC initiative;

13. Calls on Saudi Arabia to pursue the GCC plan for the end of the political crisis, duly modified and taking into account that President Saleh is out of the country for reasons of health and convince him that for the same reasons of health he should not return and the two months period should begin now at the end of which a Government of national unity should be formed under the current Vice-President who will call for free and fair elections according to the Constitution of Yemen;

14. Is concerned about the lack of any progress reports on the high-level committee appointed by the Government of Yemen to investigate the attack on protestors on 18 March in Sana’a, where 54 people were killed and more than 300 were injured; reiterates its call on the EU High Representative/Vice-President of the Commission to support the calls for an international independent investigation into the incident;

15. Welcomes the mission of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to Yemen, which assessed the human rights situation in the country and will make recommendations to the Government of Yemen and to the international community; welcomes the request by the Human Rights Council to the OHCHR to urgently dispatch a fact-finding mission to Syria; urges the Syrian authorities to cooperate fully with the OHCHR and grant access to this mission;

16. Calls on the European Union and its Member States to support peaceful democratic aspirations of people in Syria and Yemen, to further review its policies towards these countries, to respect the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Export, and to stand ready to assist, in case of a serious commitment by national authorities, in the implementation of concrete political, economic and social reform agendas in these countries;

17. Welcomes the lifting of the state of national safety in Bahrain as well as the call made by King Hamad Bin Isa al-Khalifa for a national dialogue; stresses that there should be a broad-based, peaceful and meaningful dialogue leading to an inclusive reform process; calls on the authorities in Bahrain to act in accordance with relevant international norms and standards with regard to human rights and fundamental freedoms; urges the Bahraini authorities not to impose the death penalty on protestors;

18. Is concerned about the reports of detention, torture, intimidation and trials of medical professionals in Bahrain; condemns the prosecution of doctors and nurses accused of treating individuals wounded during protests in Bahrain; calls on the Bahraini authorities to release all medical staff arrested during the time of the protests;

19. Strongly supports the commitment of the EU to protect Libyan civilians, including through the intensification of pressure on the Libyan regime, and to support the building of a democratic Libyan state; welcomes the decision of the EU to step up its sanctions against the regime by adding six port authorities under the regime’s control to the EU asset freeze list;

20. Welcomes the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court on 27 June 2011 against Muammar Abu Minya Gaddafi, Saif Al Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah Al Sanousi and urges all states, including non-parties to the Rome Statute, to give full effect to the warrants;

21. Welcomes the process of reforms in Morocco, and in particular the proposed constitutional reform that has been submitted to a referendum as a step in the right direction for the opening up of the regime, modernisation and democratisation; calls on the political parties in Morocco to take an active part in this process of change; notes that Morocco was the first country in the region to be granted Advanced Status in the relations with the EU;

22. Welcomes the initiatives announced by the President of Algeria to accelerate the process of democratisation and to ensure a better governance of the country, including the lifting of the state of emergency and a planned constitutional reform; underlines the need for a strong commitment of the Algerian authorities to this process of reforms, which should be inclusive, in order to avoid tensions and violence;

23. Welcomes the commitment to political reforms in Jordan, and in particular the review of the Constitution and the work of the National Dialogue Committee; commends the efforts made by the Jordanian authorities and emphasises the need for concrete implementation of reforms; notes that the EU agreed to grant Jordan ‘Advanced Status’ partnership in 2010;

24. Welcomes the democratic transition in Egypt and Tunisia, as a consequence of the ‘Arab Spring’; strongly supports the aspirations of people for freedom, human rights and democracy; calls on the international community to make further efforts to sustain and encourage the process of political reform in countries in North Africa and the Middle East;

25. Notes that the elections for a Constituent Assembly in Tunisia have been postponed from 24 July to 23 October, because more time is needed to organise the vote; supports the request of various political parties and youth groups in Egypt that a new Constitution should be drafted before parliamentary and presidential elections can take place and that political parties should have more time to prepare themselves for the elections;

26. Stresses that the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion is a fundamental human right which should be guaranteed by the authorities; urges authorities to provide reliable and efficient protection for the religious denominations in their countries and ensure the personal safety and physical integrity of members of religious denominations;

27. Strongly supports the Council’s position that the European Neighbourhood Policy will have to live up to the new challenges in the Southern Neighbourhood; welcomes the commitment of the EU and Member States to accompany and support concrete efforts by the governments genuinely engaged in political and economic reforms, as well as the civil societies; welcomes the setting up of the Task Force for the Southern Mediterranean by the EU High Representative/Vice-President of the Commission;

28. Welcomes the Communications on a new response on a changing neighbourhood and on a dialogue for migration, mobility and security with the Southern Mediterranean countries; invites the Southern Mediterranean countries to adopt an integrated approach of their borders management, especially in this changing political context;

29. Welcomes the ‘Deauville Partnership’ with the people of the region launched by the members of the G8; notes that the first ‘Partnership Countries’ will be Egypt and Tunisia, but that the members of the G8 stand ready to extend this Partnership to all countries in the region engaging in a transition towards free, democratic and tolerant societies;

30. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission, the Governments and Parliaments of the Member States, the Government and Parliament of the Syrian Arab Republic, the Government and Parliament of the Republic of Yemen, the Government and Parliament of the Republic of Turkey, the Government and Parliament of the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Government and Parliament of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Transitional National Council, the Government and Parliament of the Kingdom of Morocco, the Government and Parliament of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, the Government and Parliament of the Kingdom of Jordan, the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Government of the Tunisian Republic, the Government and Parliament of the Russian Federation, the Government and Parliament of the People’s Republic of China, the Secretary General of the GCC and the Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean.