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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

on the situation of civil society in Egypt (2013/2692(RSP))

Charles Tannock, Adam Bielan, Sajjad Karim on behalf of the ECR Group
NB: This motion for a resolution is available in the original language only.

European Parliament resolution on the situation of civil society in Egypt (2013/2692(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on Egypt, in particular that of 14 March 2013,

–   having regard to the Council conclusions of 31 January 2013 on EU Support for Sustainable Change in Transition Societies (1),

–   having regard to the statement of 25 December 2012 by the High Representative / Vice-President on the referendum in Egypt,

–   having regard to the statement of 13 March 2013 by the High Representative / Vice-President on the current situation in Egypt,

–   having regard to the statement of 28 June 2013 by the High Representative / Vice-President on the on planned demonstrations in Egypt,

–   having regard to the outcomes of the first EU-Egypt Task Force of 13-14 November 2012,

–   having regard to the decision of the Council of 26 November 2012 on the facilitation of asset recovery,

–   having regard to the report by the Court of Auditors of 18 June 2013 on EU cooperation with Egypt in the field of governance,

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

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

A. whereas Egypt is the largest Arab Spring country, a pivotal country in the Middle East / North Africa region, an important trade partner of the EU and a major recipient of EU aid;


B.  whereas the EU, after the start of the Arab Spring, has increased its efforts to exert its influence in Egypt, inter alia through visits of the HR/VP, the President of the European Council, the President of the Commission and heads of state and government of its Member States, together with the establishment of the EU-Egypt Task Force, as well as through various summits and initiatives and through aid disbursement;


C. whereas on 22 November 2012 President Morsi issued a Constitutional Declaration whereby, inter alia, he placed the presidency beyond judicial control; whereas days later the President nullified that declaration, but escalating demonstrations were already taking place;


D. whereas on 30 November 2012 a draft Constitution was adopted by the Islamist- dominated Constituent Assembly and presented to the President;


E.  whereas on 15 and 22 December 2012 Egypt held a referendum on the draft Constitution; whereas a majority voted in favour of the draft Constitution, with a voter turnout of 33 %;


F.  whereas demonstrations continue to take place on Cairo’s Tahrir Square and elsewhere; whereas, however, the situation in particular for female demonstrators has become extremely dangerous, with daily reports of sexual assaults;


G. whereas on 26 November 2012 the Council took steps to facilitate the return of misappropriated funds to the Egyptian and Tunisian authorities;


H. whereas the EU has pledged the availability of loans and grants to the value of EUR 5 billion for 2012-2013, to be provided by the Commission, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD);


I.   whereas as part of the programme of support for democratic transition the EU has increased its activities in Egypt, both in terms of political dialogue and financial support; whereas part of this work has manifested itself in more regular dialogue with civil society organisations, particularly via the EU Delegation in Cairo; whereas such dialogue has been accompanied by significant financial assistance, which has totalled €35m since the January 2011 uprising;


J.   whereas Egyptian civil society and international NGOs face mounting pressure and major difficulties in operating in Egypt; whereas the draft law on Civil Associations and Foundations has caused significant concern amongst civil society activists and organisations as the draft law in its present form would hand considerable discretionary power to the government over the activities and funding of civil society groups; whereas the draft law also imposes restrictions on civil society groups access to foreign funding, proving a discretionary right to block access to such funds on adoption of a justified decision by the newly formed Coordination Committee;


K. whereas on 4 June 2013 in the Cairo Criminal Court 43 civil society and NGO workers were found guilty of operating unlawfully in the country and receiving foreign funding without permission; whereas five were sentenced to two years in prison, eleven were given one year suspended sentences and all others were sentenced to five years in prison, having been tried in absentia;


L.  whereas on 30 June 2013 several million protestors gathered across Egypt to demonstrate against President Morsi, calling for his resignation; whereas the Egyptian authorities have reported that eight people were killed and several hundred injured during the protests;


1.  Reiterates its previous calls for dialogue among all parties in Egypt in order to achieve further progress towards a deep and sustainable democracy; urges all parties, and in particular the President, to intensify efforts in this regard; furthermore reiterates its solidarity with the Egyptian people in this critical period of transition, and continues to support legitimate democratic aspirations;


2.  Urges the Egyptian leadership to ensure the proper representation of all Egyptians through the democratic institutions and the Constitution, as well as human rights for all, independently of faith, gender or any other consideration and in compliance with international human rights law;


3.  Urges the swift enactment of parliamentary democracy, with President Morsi bridging divides and engaging with the entirety of the people in the wake of the constitutional referendum;


4.  Stresses that an impartial civil judicial court system and access to a fair trial are core values in any democratic country;


5.  Expresses deep concern about the conviction of 43 civil society workers in relation to receipt of foreign funding since the January 2011 uprising;


6.  Expresses similar concern about the present draft law on Civil Associations and Foundations which in its present will restrict the possibility for civil society organisations to pursue their legitimate humanitarian or social work and potentially restrict their interaction with ‘foreign bodies’; considers such provisions to be in breach of international standards agreed to by Egypt;


7.  Insists that NGOs must be free to carry out their activities, including research into human rights, legal and constitutional issues; believes such freedom is necessary for the creation of a vibrant civil society in Egypt and encourages the democratic transition with the country;


8.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the Government and Parliament of Egypt.





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