Motion for a resolution - B8-0121/2014Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on Iraq and Syria, and the ISIS offensive, including the persecution of minorities

16.9.2014 - (2014/2843(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 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure

Cristian Dan Preda, Arnaud Danjean, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, Elmar Brok, Mariya Gabriel, Andrej Plenković, Tunne Kelam, Francisco José Millán Mon, David McAllister, Michèle Alliot-Marie, László Tőkés, Esther de Lange, Lars Adaktusson, Monica Luisa Macovei, Dubravka Šuica, Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa, György Hölvényi, Davor Ivo Stier, Emil Radev, Philippe Juvin, Gabrielius Landsbergis, Francesc Gambús on behalf of the PPE Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0109/2014

Procedure : 2014/2843(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on Iraq and Syria, and the ISIS offensive, including the persecution of minorities

The European Parliament,

–       having regard to its previous resolutions on Iraq and Syria,

–       having regard to the Foreign Affairs Council conclusions on Iraq and Syria,

–       having regard to the European Council conclusions on Iraq and Syria of 30 August 2014,

–       having regard to the statements by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) on Iraq and Syria,

–       having regard to UN Security Council resolution 2170 (2014) and UN Human Rights Council resolution S-22/L.1 (2014),

–       having regard to the statements by the UN Secretary-General on Iraq and Syria,

–       having regard to the NATO Summit Declaration of 5 September 2014,

–       having regard to the EU guidelines on the promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief adopted on 24 June 2013,

–       having regard to the conclusions of the Paris conference on security in Iraq and the fight against the Islamic State of 15 September 2014,

–       having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.     whereas the security and humanitarian situation in Iraq and Syria, which was already critical, has further deteriorated as a result of the occupation of parts of their territory by the terrorist jihadist al-Qaeda splinter group Islamic State (IS); whereas the transnational character of the IS and associated terrorist groups poses a threat to the wider region;

B.     whereas the disintegration of the Iraqi-Syrian border has provided the IS with opportunities to enhance its presence in both countries; whereas on 29 June 2014 it was reported that the IS had proclaimed a ‘caliphate’, or ‘Islamic state’, in the territories it controlled in Iraq and Syria, and whereas its leader, Abdu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has declared himself as the caliph;

C.     whereas serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law have been committed in the areas under the control of the IS and associated groups, including targeted killings, forced conversions, abductions, selling of women, slavery of women and children, recruitment of children for suicide bombings, sexual and physical abuse and torture; whereas the IS has murdered the journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and the aid worker David Haines; whereas Christian, Yezidi, Turkmen, Shabak, Kaka’e, Sabian and Shi’a communities have been targeted by the IS; whereas mosques, monuments, shrines, churches and other places of worship, tombs and cemeteries, as well as archaeological and cultural heritage sites, have been deliberately destroyed;

D.     whereas Iraqi Christians have recently been persecuted, deprived of their fundamental rights and forced to leave their homes and become refugees because of their religion and convictions; whereas, on 17 July 2014, IS members in Mosul started marking the houses of Christians and Shi’a with ‘Property of the Islamic State’; whereas families were given an ultimatum to convert, pay a protection tax, or leave, because otherwise they would face execution; whereas according to Open Doors International the number of Christians in Iraq has significantly fallen, from 1.2 million at the beginning of the 1990s to between 330 000 and 350 000 now;

E.     whereas before the conflict in Syria started, around 1.8 million Christians lived in the country; whereas since the conflict started at least 500 000 Christians have been displaced;

F.     whereas according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) an estimated 1.4 million persons were internally displaced this year in Iraq and an estimated 1.5 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance; whereas the upsurge of the IS has produced a humanitarian crisis, notably a massive displacement of civilians; whereas on 12 August 2014 the EU decided to increase its humanitarian assistance to Iraq by EUR 5 million to provide basic assistance to displaced people, thus bringing humanitarian funding for Iraq to EUR 17 million so far in 2014;

G.     whereas according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) an estimated 6.4 million persons are internally displaced in Syria, and according to the Office for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) an estimated 10.8 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance; whereas so far in 2014 the EU has contributed EUR 150 million in humanitarian aid for the victims of the Syrian crisis;

H.     whereas the EU has acknowledged the burden placed on the Kurdistan region and the Kurdistan Regional Government, which are hosting a large number of internally displaced persons;

I.      whereas the EU has reiterated its firm commitment to Iraq’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity;

J.      whereas the Heads of State and Government participating in the NATO Summit on 4 and 5 September 2014 have stated that the presence of the IS in both Syria and Iraq is a threat to regional stability, and that the people of Syria and Iraq and elsewhere in the region need the support of the international community to counter the threat;

K.     whereas the French Islamic federations, in their joint appeal of 8 September 2014, have expressed their support for their Christian brothers and all other minorities of the region and their right to continue to live in dignity and safety in their traditional domiciles, freely practising their religion;

L.     whereas the promotion of democracy and respect for human rights and civil liberties, including the right to freedom of religion and belief, are fundamental principles and aims of the EU and constitute common ground for its relations with third countries;

1.      Expresses its deep concern at the rapidly deteriorating security situation in Iraq and Syria; strongly condemns the killings and human rights violations perpetrated by the IS and associated terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria, in particular against Christians and other religious and ethnic communities and vulnerable groups; stresses that those responsible for such crimes must be held to account;

2.      Strongly condemns the murders of the journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and the aid worker David Haines by the IS;

3.      Emphasises that widespread or systematic attacks directed against civilians because of their ethnic or political background, religion, belief or gender may constitute a crime against humanity; strongly condemns all forms of persecution, discrimination and intolerance based on religion and belief, and acts of violence against all religious communities; stresses once again that the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion is a fundamental human right;

4.      Expresses its support for, in particular, the Middle East Christian community, who are victims of religious intolerance and hatred; expresses its solidarity with the members of the Christian communities being persecuted and facing the danger of extinction in their motherlands, Iraq and Syria, as well as with other persecuted religious minorities; confirms and supports the inalienable right of all religious and ethnic minorities living in Iraq and Syria, including Christians, to continue to live in their historical and traditional homelands in dignity, equality and safety, and to practise their religion freely;

5.      Stresses that the crimes committed against Christian minorities such as Assyrians, Syriacs and Chaldeans, as well as Yezidis and Shia Muslims, represent a final push by the IS for a complete religious cleansing in the cradle of civilisation and Christianity; emphasises that in order to protect and safeguard the indigenous minorities and avert a refugee crisis of even more alarming proportions, the creation of a safe haven needs to be implemented; expresses its support for the creation of an internationally guaranteed and enforced safe haven for Iraqi minorities; notes that for centuries Christians and Muslims coexisted peacefully in the region;

6.      Rejects without reservation and considers illegitimate the announcement by the IS leadership that it has established a caliphate in the areas it now controls, and rejects the notion of any unilateral changes to internationally recognised borders by force; stresses again that the IS is subject to the arms embargo and assets freeze imposed by UN Security Council resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011), and underlines the importance of prompt and effective implementation of those measures; calls on the Council to consider a more effective use of the existing restrictive measures, and in particular to deny the IS the benefits of illicit oil sales or sales of other resources on international markets;

7.      Condemns the use and exploitation of oilfields and related infrastructure by the IS and associated groups, which enables the IS to generate substantial income, and urges all states to uphold UN Security Council resolutions 2161 (2014) and 2170 (2014), which condemn any trade, direct or indirect, with the IS and associated groups;

8.      Welcomes the 8 September appeal by all French Islamic federations, which unequivocally and unconditionally condemns the instrumentalisation of Islam by extremist terrorist groups to justify their violence, intolerance and crimes against humanity;

9.      Calls on all parties to the conflict in Iraq to ensure the protection of the civilian population and adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law; calls for immediate support and humanitarian assistance for the displaced people of Iraq;

10.    Welcomes the efforts of the US and of all the other contributing states to support the Iraqi national and local authorities in their fight against the IS; welcomes the call by the US for an international coalition against the IS, which is building up; also welcomes the decision taken by the members of the Arab League to endorse UN Security Council resolution 2170 (2014) and to take all necessary measures to fight terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq and cooperate with all international, regional and national efforts to re-establish peace and security in the region; calls on the international community to assist the Iraqi authorities in ensuring protection of, and assistance to, those fleeing the areas affected by terrorism in, particular members of vulnerable groups and of ethnic and religious communities; calls on all regional actors to contribute to efforts to promote security and stability in Iraq; recalls that it should be the ultimate commitment and responsibility of all regional actors, as well as of the EU, to do their utmost to guarantee the return of traditional minorities and all citizens to their original places of residence from where they were forced to flee; calls on the EU Member States to assist the Iraqi and local authorities by all possible means, including military assistance, in containing and repelling the terrorist and aggressive IS expansion;

11.    Welcomes the mobilisation of the European Emergency Response Coordination Centre and the activation of the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism at the request of the Iraqi Government; welcomes the EU’s humanitarian assistance to Iraq and Syria;

12.    Calls on all parties to the conflict in Syria, in particular the Syrian regime, to ensure the protection of the civilian population and to adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law; stresses that a lasting solution urgently requires a political transition in Syria;

13.    Calls on all parties to the conflict in Syria to respect the mandate of the UN’s Disengagement Observer Force and ensure the safety and freedom of movement of UN troops, including those from EU Member States; condemns the fact that 45 Fijian peacekeepers were detained by an armed group; welcomes the release of the peacekeepers on 11 September 2014;

14.    Welcomes the decision by individual Member States to respond positively to the call by the Kurdish regional authorities to urgently provide military material; stresses that such responses reflect the capabilities and national laws of the Member States and have the consent of the Iraqi national authorities; calls on the Member States which are providing military material to the Kurdish regional authorities to coordinate their efforts and to implement effective monitoring measures in order to prevent uncontrolled dissemination;

15.    Reiterates its concern that hundreds of foreign fighters, including citizens of EU Member States, have joined the IS insurgency; calls on the Member States to take appropriate measures to prevent fighters from travelling from their soil, in line with UN Security Council resolution 2170 (2014), and to develop common practices for security services in monitoring and controlling jihadists; calls for cooperation in the EU and at international level with a view to appropriate legal action against any individual suspected of being involved in acts of terrorism;

16.    Welcomes the formation of a new and inclusive Government in Iraq, as well as the adoption of the ministerial programme, and congratulates Haider al-Abadi on his confirmation as Iraq’s Prime Minister; supports the Prime Minister’s efforts to finalise the formation of the Government; underlines the fact that Iraq’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity are essential for stability and economic development in the country and the region;

17.    Supports the request by the Human Rights Council to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for the urgent dispatching of a mission to Iraq, to investigate the violations and abuses of international human rights law committed by the IS and associated terrorist groups and establish the facts and circumstances of such abuses and violations, with a view to avoiding impunity and ensuring full accountability;

18.    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 Council, the Commission, the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Government and Council of Representatives of Iraq, the Regional Government of Kurdistan, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the United Nations Human Rights Council and all the parties involved in the conflict in Syria.