Motion for a resolution - B7-0058/2013Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the 22nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council

4.2.2013 - (2013/2533(RSP))

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

Charles Tannock on behalf of the ECR Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0055/2013

Procedure : 2013/2533(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on the 22nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council


The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to UN human rights conventions and optional protocols thereto,

–   having regard to United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/60/251 establishing the Human Rights Council (UNHRC),

–   having regard to the previous regular and special sessions of the UNHRC, as well as previous rounds of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR),

–   having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights,

–   having regard to the EU Strategic Framework on Human Rights and Democracy, and the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy as adopted at the 3179th Foreign Affairs Council meeting of 25 June 2012,

–   having regard to its recommendation to the Council of 13 June 2012 on the EU Special Representative for Human Rights[1],

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), including Parliament’s priorities in this context; having regard, in particular, to its resolution of 16 February 2012 on Parliament’s position on the 19th session of the UN Human Rights Council[2],

–   having regard to the report of the delegation from its Subcommittee on Human Rights on its visit to the 19th session of the UNHRC, and to that of the joint delegation from its Committee on Foreign Affairs, its Subcommittee on Human Rights and its Subcommittee on Security and Defence which attended the 67th session of the UN General Assembly,

–   having regard to its urgency resolutions on human rights issues,

–   having regard to its resolution of 13 December 2012 on the review of the EU’s human rights strategy[3],

–   having regard to its resolution of 13 December 2012 on the Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2011 and the European Union’s policy on the matter[4],

–   having regard to Articles 2, 3(5), 18, 21, 27 and 47 of the Treaty on European Union,

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

A. whereas respect for, and the promotion and safeguarding of, the universality of human rights is a cornerstone of the European Union and part of the European Union’s ethical and legal acquis[5];

B.  whereas successful implementation of the recent EU review of its human rights strategy should enhance the EU’s credibility in the UNHRC by increasing the coherence between its internal and external policies;

C. whereas the EU should strive towards strengthening cooperation between the Member States in the area of human rights;

D. whereas the Council of the European Union has adopted a Strategic Framework on Human Rights and Democracy and an action plan for its implementation, with the aim of achieving a more effective and consistent EU policy in this field;

E.  whereas an EU Special Representative for Human Rights has been appointed, whose role it is to enhance the effectiveness and visibility of EU human rights policy and help put the Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy into practice;

F.  whereas a delegation from the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights will travel to Geneva during the 22nd session of the UNHRC, as has been the case in previous years for the sessions of the UNHCR;

G. whereas the European Union should use its numerous human rights tools, including the External Action Service and the High Representative and Special Representative for Human Rights, to help the European Union act more effectively to meet global human rights challenges in a consistent and efficient manner;

H. noting the ongoing process to confirm EU priorities for the 22nd Session of the UNHRC; welcoming the focus given by the EU to the situation in Syria, Burma/Myanmar, North Korea and Mali, as well as the EU’s support for the extension of the Special Rapporteur’s mandate concerning human rights in Iran; also endorses the focus on thematic issues such as freedom of religion and belief, the rights of the child, violence against women and LGBTI rights;

The work of the UN Human Rights Council

1.  Notes that 18 new members were elected to the UNHRC in September 2012, and took up their membership on 1 January 2013, namely Argentina, Brazil, Côte d’Ivoire, Estonia, Ethiopia, Gabon, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Montenegro, Pakistan, the Republic of Korea, Sierra Leone, the United Arab Emirates, the United States of America, and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela; and notes that nine EU Member States are now UNHRC members;

2.  Notes the election of a new President of the UNHRC, Remigiusz A. Henczel, from Poland, and of four Vice-Presidents for 2013, Cheikh Ahmed Ould Zahaf (Mauritania), Iruthisham Adam (Maldives), Luis Gallegos Chiriboga (Ecuador) and Alexandre Fasel (Switzerland);

3.  Welcomes the appointment by the UN General Assembly of Ms Navanethem Pillay for a second term as High Commissioner for Human Rights; reiterates its strong support for the Office of the High Commissioner and for its independence and integrity;

4.  Reiterates once more the importance of the EU Member States’ working towards the fulfilment of the indivisibility and universality of human rights and supporting the work of the UNHRC to this end;

5.  Warns against the politicisation of the UNHRC, as this prevents the body’s mandate and overall aims from being fulfilled;

Arab Spring countries

6.  Condemns in the strongest terms the increasing and indiscriminate violence used by the Assad regime against the Syrian population, including the use of heavy artillery and shelling against populated areas; condemns unequivocally the continued systematic human rights violations by the regime, its security forces and the army, which may amount to crimes against humanity; expresses grave concern about the continuously deteriorating situation for the civilian population; condemns also the human rights violations committed by opposition groups and forces; calls on all armed actors to immediately bring an end to the violence in Syria, and reiterates its call for the Assad regime to step down immediately;

7.  Expresses concern about the spill-over effect into neighbouring countries and its impact on security and stability in the region; calls on the Member States to provide assistance to the countries in the region in their efforts to provide humanitarian relief for refugees from Syria;

8.  Welcomes the continued attention which the UNHRC devotes to the dire human rights and humanitarian situation in Syria, as evidenced by the UN resolutions on the situation in the country adopted at the 19th, 20th and 21st UNHRC sessions and the UNHRC Special Session on Syria of 1 June 2012; reiterates the importance of ensuring accountability for violations of international human rights law that have been committed during the conflict;

9.  Expresses its full support for the Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria and for the UNHRC’s extension of its mandate;

10. Welcomes the final written report by the Independent Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Libya, presented at the UNHRC’s 19th session, highlighting human rights violations committed in the country; urges the UNHRC to continue to monitor the situation in Libya;

Other issues

11. Welcomes the extension of the mandates of the Special Rapporteurs on the human rights situations in Iran and Myanmar;

12. Condemns the mass executions that have been carried out in Iran; calls on the government of Iran to guarantee civil, political and human rights for all its citizens and calls on Iran to accept visits by UN Special Rapporteurs;

13. Welcomes the UNHRC’s decision to appoint a Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus, and notes the cross-regional support for the resolution establishing this mandate, which illustrates that the dire human rights situation in the country is being acknowledged by states all over the world;

14. Welcomes the resolution establishing a Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea; takes note that this is the first time the UNHRC has addressed this issue, and applauds the African leadership on this matter; welcomes the extensions of the mandates of the independent experts on Côte d’Ivoire, Haiti and Somalia; urges these countries’ authorities to cooperate fully with the mandate-holders;

15. Expresses concern at the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR), where armed groups have attacked and occupied several towns in the north-east of the country; welcomes the agreements signed in Libreville on 11 January 2013, including the ceasefire agreement and the political agreement on the resolution of the crisis in the country; stresses the importance of the swift implementation of these agreements; welcomes the EU VP/HR’s statement of 11 January, calling for all signatories to uphold these agreements; urges the Member States to raise this matter in the UNHRC in order to keep the issue of the situation in the Central African Republic high on the international agenda;

16. Welcomes the fact that the situation in Mali is being kept under close scrutiny by the UNHRC, and applauds the leadership shown by the African states that brought the issue to the attention of the UNHRC;

17. Was pleased to note the adoption of the resolution on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), but remains concerned about the human rights situation in the country, notably in the North Kivu province, in the eastern part of the country; strongly condemns the attacks by rebel forces in the east of the country, notably by the M23; welcomes the efforts made by the member states of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGRL), the African Union and the UN to find a peaceful political solution to the crisis; calls again for the reestablishment of a UN Independent Expert on the human rights situation in the DRC in order to provide a reliable mechanism, focusing on improving the situation regarding the grave and long-standing human rights concerns in the country;

18. Welcomes the extension of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) for another year; welcomes the fact that the resolution on the DPRK was adopted by consensus, which illustrates the strong level of support for the mandate; urges the Government of the DPRK to fully cooperate with the Rapporteur and facilitate his visits to the country;

19. Welcomes the resolution on Burma/Myanmar in the UNHRC; notes the steps taken by the Burmese Government since early 2011 to restore civil liberties in the country; expresses grave concern, however, about the upsurge in communal violence in Rakhine State and the subsequent deaths and injuries, destruction of property and displacement of local populations; believes that the underlying cause of the situation lies in the long-standing discriminatory policies against the Rohingya population; stresses that more enhanced efforts are needed to solve the root cause of the problem;

20. Welcomes the work of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and UNICEF; stresses that women and children still face discrimination, violence and exploitation around the world, particularly in conflict zones, and that more should be done to provide security and support and to help tackle the social and legal inequalities which affect them;

21. Welcomes the ongoing efforts by the High Commissioner to put an end to discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity; encourages further follow-up including through regional meetings and the active participation of Member States, the Council and the External Action Service; in this regard, absolutely deplores the use of the death penalty, imprisonment or criminal convictions on grounds of sexual orientation in some countries, and calls for its immediate end;

22. Welcomes the leadership of the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner regarding discrimination and violence against people on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity, both inside and outside the UNHRC;

Religious freedom and human rights defenders

23. Stresses that religious freedom, and freedom of thought, conscience and expression should be central to any democracy and society, and regards this as an ongoing priority for the work of the UNHRC;

24. Strongly welcomes the adoption of the UNHRC Resolution on Freedom of Religion or Belief; stresses the emphasis the EU places on this issue; calls on its Member States to continue working on the issue and looks forward to the new guidelines, which are expected early this year; commends the work done by the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief; stresses the importance of the renewal of this mandate during the 22nd session of the UNHRC;

25. Stresses strongly the continued need to address fully the problem of discrimination against religious minorities around the world; reiterates that freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including the freedom to change or abandon one’s religion or belief, is a fundamental human right; regrets the fact that many individuals and communities worldwide have been denied this right, taking the Tibetan community as an example;

26. Notes that the protection of human rights defenders is a key priority of EU human rights policy; emphasises that reprisals and intimidation against human rights defenders (HRDs) who cooperate with the UN human rights mechanisms threatens to undermine this system; appreciates, therefore, the practical and financial support allocated to the urgent protection of and support for HRDs under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR);

27. Stresses that the space for human rights defenders is shrinking and that expanding this must be a key priority for the work of the UNHRC and the European Union;

Universal Periodic Review

28. Emphasises the significance of the UPR’s universal aspect and reaffirms the importance of the UPR in making it possible to fully understand the human rights situation on the ground in all UN member states;

29. Welcomes the commencement of the Universal Periodic Review’s second cycle and the adoption of the first outcomes thereof; reiterates the importance of the second cycle focusing on the implementation of the recommendations accepted during the first cycle; calls again, however, for the recommendations that were not accepted by states during the first cycle to be reconsidered in the continuation of the UPR process;

30. Believes that implementation is a key aspect in realising the potential of the UPR process; reiterates, therefore, the importance of EU Member States providing technical assistance in order to help the states under review to implement recommendations; encourages states to present mid-term updates in order to contribute to improved implementation;

31. Recommends including the UPR recommendations systematically in the EU’s human rights dialogues and consultations and in EU human rights country strategies, to ensure that UPR outcomes are followed up; recommends, similarly, that Parliament raise these recommendations during its own delegation visits to third countries;

Special Procedures

32. Reaffirms the crucial role which the Special Procedures play in the credibility and effectiveness of the work of the UNHRC and its core position in the UN human rights machinery; reiterates its strong support for the Special Procedures and stresses the fundamental importance of the independence of these mandates;

33. Urges states to fully cooperate with the Special Procedures, including by receiving mandate-holders for country visits without delay, replying to their urgent actions and allegations of violations and ensuring a proper follow-up to the recommendations made by the mandate-holders; urges UNHRC members to lead by example on these issues;

34. Welcomes the action taken by the EU to jointly extend a standing invitation to all UN Special Procedures on Human Rights, thereby leading by example on this issue; encourages other UN Member States to do the same;

35. Condemns all forms of reprisals against persons who cooperate with the Special Procedures; stresses that such action undermines the UN human rights system as a whole; urges all states to provide adequate protection against such acts of intimidation;

EU involvement

36. Cannot stress strongly enough the importance of active participation by the EU in the UN human rights mechanisms, including the UNHRC; encourages Member States to do so by co-sponsoring resolutions, actively participating in debates and interactive dialogues and issuing statements;

37. Stresses the importance of the work being done in Geneva in the context of the UNHRC being integrated in that of the EU, including that of Parliament;

38. Notes the appointment of the EU Special Representative on Human Rights, Mr Stavros Lambrinidis; encourages the Special Representative to work towards the effectiveness and visibility of the EU’s human rights policy in the context of the UNHRC and to develop close cooperation with the OHCHR and the Special Procedures; looks forward to cooperating with the Special Representative on these issues;

39. Reiterates the potential of the effectiveness of EU action when the Union and its Member States harness their collective weight; stresses the importance of continuing to enhance the coordination and cooperation between the Member States in this regard in order to reach common ground on human rights issues;

40. Reiterates the importance of the EU’s defending the independence of the OHCHR, given the need for the office to perform its tasks in an impartial manner;

41. Calls on the delegation to report to the Subcommittee on Human Rights regarding its visit;


42. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice‑President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the EU Special Representative on Human Rights, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the UN Security Council, the UN Secretary-General, the President of the 67th UN General Assembly, the President of the UN Human Rights Council, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the EU-UN Working Group established by the Committee on Foreign Affairs.