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Motion for a resolution - B7-0360/2013Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the situation of civil society in Egypt

3.7.2013 - (2013/2692(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

Willy Meyer, Marie-Christine Vergiat, Jacky Hénin, Paul Murphy, Marisa Matias on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group


European Parliament resolution on the situation of civil society in Egypt


The European Parliament,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on Egypt, in particular those on 16 February and 15 March 2012, and on 14 March 2013,

–         having regard to its previous resolution of 14 December 2011 on the European Neighbourhood Policy and on the Union for the Mediterranean,


–   having regard to the EU-Egypt Action Plan of 2007 and the EU-Egypt Association agreement, which entered into force on 1 June 2004,

- having regard to the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) Package since 2004 and in particular to the Commission's progress report on its implementation on 20 March 2013,


- having regard to the statement of its President Martin Schulz on the conviction of 43 NGO workers in Egypt on 5 June 2013,


- having regard to the statements by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton on 1 February 2012 on the continued crackdown on civil society in Egypt; having regard to the statement of the spokesperson of the HR/VP Catherine Ashton on new NGO law on 2 June 2013; having regard to the joint statement of the EU HR/VP Catherine Ashton and the European Commissioner in charge of the EU enlargement and neighbourhood policy Stefan Fule on the Egyptian NGO trial verdicts on 5 June 2013,


- having regard to the Council conclusions on Egypt on 27 February, 25 June, 19 November, and 10 December 2012, on the EU Support for Sustainable Change in Transition Societies on 31 January 2013, and on the Arab Spring on 8 February 2013,


- having regard to the statements of the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy after his meetings with the Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, on 13 September 2012, and on 13 January 2013,


- having regard to the EU Task Force meetings on 13 and 14 November 2012, and its conclusions,


- having regard to the Commission memorandum 'EU's response to the Arab Spring: the state of play after two years' on 8 February 2013,


- having regard to the joint communication of the EC and of the EU HR/VP Catherine Ashton to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, on 'Delivering on a new European Neighbourhood Policy' on 15 May 2012,


- having regard to the statement of the spokesperson of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on Egypt on 5 June 2013; having regard to the statement of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on 8 May 2013; having regard to the press briefing notes of her spokesperson on Egypt on 7 June 2013,


- having regard to the urgent statement of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) and the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World organization for Torture (OMCT), on the situation in Egypt, and in particular on the alarming restrictions and criminalisation of civil society work, on 5 June 2013,


- having regard to the statement by 40 Egyptian civil society organisations on 30 May 2013,


- having regard the Egyptian Constitution and in particular Art 51, which states that associations shall be formed by notification,


- having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966 to which Egypt agreed to be party,


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


- having regard to Rule 110(2) and (4) of its Rules of Procedure,


A. whereas on June 30 millions of protesters across the country called for Morsi's resignation in the biggest demonstration since the 2011 revolution which ousted Hosni Mubarak, whereas despite the fact that demonstrations were largely peaceful at least 7 people died and hundreds were injured across the country;

B. whereas the opposition National Salvation Front (NSF) released that it called "Revolution Statement 1" calling on protesters across Egypt to "maintain their peaceful rallies in all the squares and streets and villages of the country until the last of this dictatorial regime falls"; Whereas the minister of defence has warned that the Egyptian army might intervene if the situation becomes ungovernable;

C. whereas the NSF is among progressive, liberal and secular opposition groups which have endorsed a petition organised by the movement Tamarod (Rebellion) which calls for new elections, whereas opposition has declared that more than 22 million people have signed it; whereas Morsi was elected with 13 million votes;

D. whereas demonstrators are still demanding the same goals as those of the 25 January revolution related to freedom, human dignity and social justice; whereas they are demanding an increase in wages to match the increase in prices, housing, health, job creation, withdrawal of the distorted constitution, the formation of a national salvation government, and early presidential elections;

E. whereas it is now two years since Hosni Mubarak stepped down due to the massive demonstrations in Tahrir Square and the uprisings throughout Egypt calling for fundamental reforms in the country’s political, economic and social system, for an end to corruption, for full freedom, true democracy, respect for human rights, better living conditions and a secular state;

F. Whereas in November 2012 new elected President of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi unilaterally decreed greater authorities for himself, giving his decisions immunity from judicial review and barring the courts from dissolving the constituent assembly and the upper house of parliament, whereas as a result some 200,000 people rally in Tahrir Square asking for his resignation; whereas the constituent assembly rushed to complete the draft of the constitution and Morsi set December 15 date for a referendum;

G. Whereas in December 2012 more than 100,000 protesters marched on the presidential palace, demanding the cancellation of the referendum and the writing of a new constitution; whereas in the two-round referendum Egyptians approve the constitution, with 63,8 per cent voting in favour but with only 32,9 per cent of voters participating;

H. whereas in 2012 over 3 400 protests over economic and social issues, most of them strikes and occupations, took place across Egypt; whereas this is nearly five times greater in number than in any other year of the 2000s and whereas more than two thirds of these protests occurred after Morsi’s inauguration as president on 30 June;

I.   whereas physical and legal attacks on trade union activists have increased since President Morsi’s election, whereas in September 2012 five union leaders at Alexandria Port Containers Company were sentenced to three years in prison for leading a strike of 600 workers in October 2011;

J. whereas in January 2013 hundreds of thousands hold protests in Tahrir Square and nationwide against Morsi; whereas during the 2-year commemoration of the 25 January revolution, the unnecessary use of lethal force by security forces during a weekend of clashes with demonstrators led to at least 45 deaths and 1,000 people injured;

K. whereas in May 7 Morsi reshuffled the Cabinet, bringing in more ministers from the Muslim Brotherhood, whereas these changes might be linked to the aim to finalize the long-stalled negotiations with the International Monetary Fund for $4,8 billion loan;

L.  whereas Egypt has been locked in political and economic crisis for months; whereas there are still waves of protests against Morsi that have repeatedly turned into deadly clashes and rioting; whereas President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood are effectively stepping into the same role as the ousted Hosni Mubarak and failing to carry out reforms, while seeking to instil a more religiously conservative system;

M. whereas demonstrators have continued their protests against Morsi for months; whereas people have gone down onto the streets to protest as the situation in the country under the government of the Muslim Brotherhood has not improved, but deteriorated; whereas Morsi’s mandate as President of Egypt inflation and unemployment have increased; whereas governmental repression of these demonstrations is reminiscent of the repression by Mubarak; whereas demonstrators are denouncing torture, harassment, detentions, lynching and rapes among the Egyptian population, and want those responsible to be brought to trial; whereas frustrations are growing at the slow pace of reform and ongoing abuses committed by police and other security forces, who continue to act with impunity; whereas impunity has fuelled sexual harassment and assaults on women in the vicinity on Tahrir Square;

N. whereas the new constitution drafted by Morsi´s party, the Muslim Brotherhood, opened the door to a religious state, and fails to guarantee freedom of expression, as it legalises the confiscation of newspapers and imprisonment of journalists; whereas the constitution prevents free education, permits religious discrimination, detracts from the rights of women and children, and fails to make provision for the right to health and housing, and workers’ rights; whereas this constitution places president Morsi above the law and allows military trials of civilians;

O. whereas the Shura Council (upper house of parliament) is in the process of drafting a law restricting strikes and demonstrations, and whereas this law is based on the highly restrictive Law 14 of 1923, which stems from the British colonial repression following the 1919 uprising against British occupation,

P.        Whereas NGOs are increasingly subjected to repressive legislation in Egypt which makes their functioning, including the registration, funding and fact finding very difficult; wheras the Central Bank of Egypt was requested to monitor all bank trasnfers of NGOs and 10 offices of internationally funded NGOs were raided, investigated and subsequently banned by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and 43 workers were tried and found guilty by the North Cairo Criminal Court on 4 June 2013 and sentenced to between 1 and 5 years in prison on the basis Law 84/2002, stemming from the Mubarak era;



Q. whereas Egypt is still negotiating a $4.8bn International Monetary Fund loan which will imply economic austerity; whereas these austerity reforms relating to deficit control will bring worse working, social and living conditions for Egypt’s population;

1.  Reiterates is support for the Egyptian people’s demands for freedom, human dignity, social justice, full freedom, true democracy, respect for human rights, better living conditions and a secular state, in particular for their demands for an increase in wages to match the increase in prices, housing, health, job creation, withdrawal of the distorted constitution, the formation of a national salvation government, and early presidential elections;

2. Supports the Egyptian demands of civil society demonstrating this weekend to call for new elections in order to form a new government that will start a constituent process to rewrite a new Constitution;

3.  Is extremely worried about the increased repression and attacks against trade unions and trade union activists, and demands the reinstatement of workers who have been dismissed for being involved in trade union activity;

4.  Defends worker's rights to form trade unions and to engage in trade union activity without fear of repression;

5.  Calls for an independent and impartial committee of inquiry to be set up to investigate breaches of human rights committed, during Morsi´s presidency, including the cases of extrajudicial execution and arbitrary arrest, for those responsible to be identified and where appropriate brought to justice, with compensation for the victims and their families as well as during Mubarak´s regime, including by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces;

6.  Is strongly opposed to the conditions attached to the IMF loan, as those conditions will contribute to a worsening of the living conditions of workers and in the most vulnerable layers of Egyptian society;

7.  Insists that the future of Egypt must rest firmly in the hands of the Egyptian people, without any external interference; Is opposed to to any external, imperialist interference and insists that the future of Egypt must firmly rest in the hands of the Egyptian people, is convinced that neither an intervention by the Egyptian military nor a return of old elements of the Mubarak regime will represent a step towards addressing the rightful aspirations of the Egyptian masses;

8.  Urges the Egyptian authorities to ensure that any legislation to replace the NGO law is in line with international law, respects the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association, and is based on transparent consultations with human rights organisations and other NGOs;

9.  Urges the Egyptian authorities to put an end to impunity and to take drastic steps to end rape, sexual harassment and all types of gender-based discrimination;

10. Reiterates that economic, political, social, cultural and any other type of relations between the EU and any ENP country must be based on equality of treatment, non-interference, solidarity, dialogue and respect for the specific asymmetries and characteristics of each country;

11. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean, the African Union and the Government and Parliament of Egypt.