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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on human rights and security situation in the Sahel region

12.6.2012 - (2012/2680(RSP))

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 122 of the Rules of Procedure

José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, Michael Gahler, Filip Kaczmarek, Gay Mitchell, Elmar Brok, Michèle Striffler, Mario Mauro, Cristian Dan Preda, Bernd Posselt, Tunne Kelam, Roberta Angelilli, Monica Luisa Macovei, Eija-Riitta Korhola, Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris, Laima Liucija Andrikienė, Zuzana Roithová on behalf of the PPE Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0305/2012

NB: This motion for a resolution is available in the original language only.
Eljárás : 2012/2680(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on human rights and security situation in the Sahel region


The European Parliament,

- having regard to the Council of the European Union Conclusions on Mali/Sahel of 23 April 2012 (doc 9009/12)


- having regard to the Council of the European Union Conclusions on Sahel of 23 March 2012 (doc 8067/12) approving the Crisis Management Concept for a civilian CSDP Advisory, Assistance and Training mission in the Sahel,


- having regards to the EEAS Strategy for Security and Development in the Sahel: Implementation Progress Report of March 2012,


- having regard to the UN Report of the assessment mission on the impact of Libyan crisis on the Sahel region, UN Security Council of 2012 (S/2012/42),


- having regard to the Council conclusions on a European Union Strategy for Security and Development in the Sahel of 21 March 2011 (3076th Foreign Affairs Council meeting),


- having regard to the ACP-EU JPA resolutions of 18 May 2011 'on the democratic upheavals in North Africa and the Middle East: consequences for the ACP countries, for Europe and for the world' (OJ C 327, 10.11.2011) and of 23 November 2011 'on the Arab Spring and its impact on neighboring sub-Saharan states' (ACP-EU/101/111/11/fin),


- having regard to the Foreign Affairs Council conclusions of 1 December 2011 encouraging the High Representative to take forward preparatory work on a CSDP engagement to reinforce regional security capabilities in the Sahel region, in close cooperation with the African Union,


- having regard to the Council conclusions on Libya of 21 March, 23 May and 18, July 2011 and 23 March 2012;


- having regard to the Council of the European Union Final Report on the Sahel security and development initiative of 1 October 2010 (doc 14361/10),


- having regard to Ban Ki-moon's address to the Luxembourg Parliament on 17 April 2012 in which he called upon international community to respond to the growing conflict and unrest in Sahel region and severe drought, where the number of displaced people is growing, food and fuel prices are rising,


- having regard to the distress call sent on 5 June to the international community by the Economic Community of West African States after their high-level meeting, which took place in Lome, Togo, aiming at addressing the issue of food security in the region, especially in Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad,


- having regard to the strategic document 'Preparation for a food and nutrition crisis in the Sahel and neighbouring countries', which was updated in February 2012, and launched as a strategy to better respond to the risk of a new food and nutritional crisis in the Sahel in 2012 and jointly prepared by Action Against Hunger, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP) on behalf of the IASC Regional Food Security and Nutrition Working Group,


- having regard to the call on 10 April 2012 by the various UN agencies – UNICEF, UNHCR and the WHO – for additional funding for the millions of people affected by food insecurity in the Sahel region,


- having regard to its previous resolutions on West Africa, in particular its resolution on Mali of 20 April 2012,


- having regard to the ACP-EU JPA resolution on the Political Impact of the Libyan conflict on neighbouring ACP and EU States (101.157/fin) adopted in Horsens, Denmark on 30 May 2012,


- having regard to Rule 122 of its Rules of Procedure,





A.  whereas the combined drought, floods, soil degradation, low crop yields, high food prices, displacement, chronic poverty and deteriorating security situation in the Sahel region caused by conflicts is affecting millions of people across the Sahel region,


B.  whereas people affected by the political and food crisis are living in conditions of extreme poverty such that their basic human needs are not being met and social tensions are increasing; whereas the majority of those persons are women deprived of any form of protection, who constitute a particularly vulnerable group,


C.  whereas the ECOWAS member states have recorded a 9 percent drop in cereal production this year compared with last, with Sahelian cereal production dropping by 26 percent, and Chad and Gambia experiencing 50 percent decreases,


D.  whereas according to the UN, 18 million people have been affected by the drought and conflict-related crisis in the Sahel region of West Africa, and more than 200,000 children died of malnutrition last year – and another one million are at risk of severe acute malnutrition,


E.  whereas state fragility, poor governance, corruption in the Sahel countries accompanied by their economic underdevelopment resulting in chronic poverty constitutes a perfect place for terrorist groups, drug trafficking, illegal immigration, organised crime networks, thus destabilizing the region and having negative impact on neighbouring ones,


F.  whereas conflicts in Libya and Mali, with hundreds of thousands displaced and migrating people towards Burkina Faso, Niger and Mauritania, have negatively influenced the security situation in the region, which suffers from acute food insecurity, water scarcity, increasing criminality and profound instability,


G.  whereas the Libyan conflict has given rise to the proliferation, in the Sahel-Saharan region, of huge quantities of arms which, in the hands of the various terrorist and criminal groups and drug traffickers that are rife in this region, poses a serious threat to the security and stability of the entire sub-region;


H.  whereas the former combatants returning from Libya to Niger, Chad, Mali and Mauritania, with large quantities of arms and munitions are potential recruits for rebel movements, groups affiliated to Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and criminal gangs and contribute to the destabilisation of the region as a whole,


I.  whereas this development, together with the resurgence of Tuareg irredentism in countries such as Mali and Niger jeopardise the stability and territorial integrity of the countries of the Sahel-Saharan region, especially in Mauritania and Burkina Faso;


J.  whereas avowed links exist between terrorist groups in the Sahel and Sahara region and traffickers in drugs, arms, cigarettes and human beings, particularly involving the taking of hostages for ransom,


K.  whereas terrorism in the Sahel needs to be fought partly by means of an active policy to promote development, social justice, the rule of law and integration; whereas it is necessary to hold out to local population groups economic prospects which provide an alternative to the criminal economy,


L.  whereas according to the EU Strategy for Security and Development in the Sahel, Mauritania, Mali and Niger have been defined as the three core Sahelian states,


M.  whereas the EU has repeatedly stated its commitment to supporting human rights, civil society and security and political and social reforms aimed at achieving genuine democracy, fighting authoritarian regimes and corruption and ensuring better economic and social conditions in the region;


1.  Recalls that security and development are closely interlinked and therefore improving the security situation is integral to economic growth and the reduction of poverty in the region; therefore calls on the EU to introduce instruments to improve the region’s security focusing especially on capacity building of concerned countries, as well as enhancing comprehensive dialogue among the main regional actors,

2.  Calls on the EC and EEAS, while implementing the EU Strategy for Security and Development in the Sahel focusing around four groups of action, namely development, good governance and internal conflict resolution; political and diplomatic action; security and rule of law; countering violent extremism and radicalisation, to adopt an overriding principle of linking security with development needs, especially food security,

3.  Welcomes the Counter Terrorism Sahel program, West Africa Information System, ECOWAS Peace and Security Project, and ECOWAS Drug and Crime Action Plan undertaken in the framework of the EU Strategy for Security and Development in the Sahel,

4.  Is of the opinion that the EU Strategy for Security and Development in the Sahel, although delivering positive results, needs to address fragmentation and improve synchronisation of actions undertaken by the EU within different instruments addressing Sahel-related issues,

5.  Believes that there is an urgent need to support initiatives aimed at strengthening dialogue and increasing the ability of local communities to resist and counter the appeal of terrorism and the recruitment of young people by terrorist and other criminal groups, including through support for youth employment and training,

6.  Urges the states of the Sahel-Sahara region, the new Libyan authorities and the competent multilateral agencies to take all necessary measures to stop the proliferation of arms in the region and to establish adequate mechanisms to control and secure national borders across the region, including the transfer of small arms and light weapons and implement programmes for collecting and destroying illegal small arms and light weapons, and institute measures for exchanging information and launching joint security operations in the region;

7.  Welcomes the establishment in 2010 of the Joint Staff Operations Committee (CEMOC) by Algeria, Mali, Mauritania and Niger to coordinate the fight against terrorism, organised crime and drug trafficking in the Sahel-Saharan region;

8.  Calls on the international community in general, and the EU in particular, to step up their cooperation with the countries of the Sahel-Saharan region and with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in the fight against terrorism and organised crime in the sub-region, especially by increasing the resources available to the Joint Staff Operations Committee (CEMOC) in its mission to secure the Sahel-Saharan strip;

9.  Condemns the abduction by al-Qaeda in October 2011 in Western Algeria of two Spanish nationals and an Italian national, and in September 2010 in Niger of four French nationals and on 15 April in Timbuktu of a Swiss Christian missionary

10.  Hopes that a European Security Defense Policy (ESDP) mission will help the countries in the subregion control their borders more effectively and particularly to combat trafficking in arms, drugs and human beings;

11.  Commends the actions taken by ECOWAS, the African Union, the United Nations and neighbouring countries with a view to facilitating Mali’s rapid return to constitutional order and initiating concrete measures designed to protect its sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity; takes note of the outcome of the conference held in Ouagadougou on 14 and 15 April 2012 under the auspices of Burkinabe President Blaise Compaoré, the mediator appointed by ECOWAS, and hopes that the timetable and detailed arrangements for the transition will swiftly be clarified further;

12.  Calls on the EU to work in close cooperation with the authorities and Parliaments of the countries of the region, civil society and regional and international bodies, including the African Union and ECOWAS to fight the root causes of poverty, support economic development, good governance and improved access to key infrastructures and basic services for the local population, support the consolidation of state institutions, justice, police and customs to strengthen security and the rule of law in the region with a view to reducing the threat from terrorism, kidnapping and cross-border criminal activity such as the trafficking of drugs and human beings,

13.  Welcomes the West African community package of $80 million to respond to the Sahel region emergency crisis, and the EU's humanitarian aid increase to the Sahel region from €45 million to over €120 million since the beginning of 2012 and urges all sides to make sure that this aid benefits those in need; calls at the same time on the international community to make necessary financial efforts to address the issue of food crisis and lack of security in the region,

14.  Urges the EU to take strong leadership while coordinating with other donors to take rapid action to avoid the crisis in the Sahel region becoming a catastrophe, as the humanitarian situation in the region is expected to remain critical at least until the main harvests this autumn,

15.  Is convinced that in the medium and long-term perspective, it is indispensible for international community to focus its actions on building up people’s ability to cope with future drought and other shocks in order to reduce dependence on emergency aid, and to improve the hunger-response strategies and fight against structural vulnerabilities, thus tackling the problem in a more efficient way,

16.  Urges the EU and international community to focus their activities on protecting the livelihoods of the most vulnerable households, strengthening the resilience of pastoralists, agro pastoralists and farmers, support the management/conservation of natural resources such as water, trees and soil, provide integrated emergency nutrition assistance to most vulnerable families, especially women, reinforce disaster risk reduction and management at local, national and regional levels, support coordination and strengthening food security information management and early warning systems,

17.  Calls on the EU and its Member States to pay particular attention to the situation of women and girls in the Sahel region and to take all the necessary measures to ensure their protection from every type of violence and from violations of their human rights;

18.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the EU a Council and the European Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the UN and AU Secretaries-General, ECOWAS and the EU Member States.