Motion for a resolution - B8-0066/2016/REV1Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the EU’s priorities for the UN Human Rights Council sessions in 2016

14.1.2016 - (2015/3035(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

Elena Valenciano, Pier Antonio Panzeri, Soraya Post, Liisa Jaakonsaari, Tibor Szanyi, Doru-Claudian Frunzulică on behalf of the S&D Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0050/2016

Procedure : 2015/3035(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on the EU’s priorities for the UN Human Rights Council sessions of 2016


The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to the UN human rights conventions and optional protocols thereto, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW),

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

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

–  having regard to the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2015-2019,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC),

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the violation of human rights, including its urgency resolutions on the issues,

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 December 2015 on the Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2014 and the European Union’s policy on the matter[1],

–  having regard to the declarations from the 2001 Durban World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance,

–  having regard to the UNHRC Special Rapporteur’s latest report and conclusions on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance,

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

–  having regard to the 2015 annual report of the UNHRC to the UN General Assembly,

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

A.  whereas 2015 and 2016 are years of major anniversaries as regards the enjoyment of human rights, peace and security: the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, the 50th anniversary of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the 40th and 20th anniversaries of the UN Declaration on the Right to Development (1986) and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995) respectively, and the 15th anniversary of the landmark UN Security Council resolution on women, peace and security (2000) and the Millennium Development Goals (2000);

B.  whereas upholding respect for human rights, irrespective of race, origin, sex, or colour, is an obligation on all states; reiterating its attachment to the indivisibility of human rights – whether they are civil, economic, social or cultural – which are interrelated and interdependent; whereas the deprivation of any one of these rights has a direct and adverse impact on the others; whereas all states have an obligation to respect the basic rights of their respective populations and a duty to take concrete action to facilitate respect for those rights at national level, and to cooperate at international level with a view to eliminating obstacles to the realisation of human rights in all areas;

C.  whereas respect for, and the promotion and safeguarding of, the universality of human rights is part of the European Union’s ethical and legal acquis and one of the cornerstones of European unity and integrity;

D.  whereas the Union’s action in its relations with third countries is guided by Article 21 of the Lisbon Treaty, which reaffirms the universality and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms and provides for respect for human dignity, the principles of equality and solidarity, and the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law;

E.  whereas respect for human rights should be mainstreamed in all policy areas involving peace and security, development cooperation, migration, trade and investment, humanitarian action, climate change and the fight against terrorism, as these cannot be addressed in isolation from respect for human rights;

F.  whereas the regular sessions of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the appointment of Special Rapporteurs, the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism, and the Special Procedures addressing either the situation in specific countries or thematic issues all contribute to the promotion of and respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law;

G.  whereas, regrettably, some of the members of the Human Rights Council are acknowledged as being among the worst human rights offenders and have a dubious record in terms of cooperation with the UN Special Procedures and compliance with their reporting requirements vis-à-vis the UN human rights treaty bodies;

UN Human Rights Council

1.  Welcomes the appointment of Ambassador Choi Kyong-lim as President of the UNHRC for 2016;

2.  Welcomes the UNHRC annual report to the UN General Assembly covering its 28th, 29th and 30th sessions;

3.  Reiterates its position that UNHRC members should be elected from among states which uphold respect for human rights, the rule of law and democracy, and urges UN member states to promote human rights performance-based criteria for any state to be elected as a member of the UNHRC; expresses its concerns about human rights abuses in some newly elected members of the UNHRC, such as Saudi Arabia, and stresses that it is important to defend the independence of the UNHRC so as to ensure that it can continue to exercise its mandate in an effective and impartial manner; deeply regrets the lack of cooperation demonstrated by some member states;

4.  Reiterates its support for the Special Procedures and the independent status of mandate holders such as the Special Rapporteurs with a view to enabling them to fulfil their duties with full impartiality, and calls on all states to cooperate with these procedures;

5.  Reaffirms the importance of the universality of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), with a view to reaching a full understanding of the human rights situation in all UN member states, and reiterates its support for the second cycle of the review, which focuses especially 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;

6.  Stresses the need to ensure that a wide range of stakeholders, notably civil society, participate fully in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process, and expresses its concern that severe limitations and restrictions have hampered civil society’s participation in the UPR process;

7.  Calls for the EU to follow up on the Universal Periodic Review recommendations in all EU policy dialogues with the countries concerned in order to explore ways and means of implementing the recommendations through country and regional strategies;

8.  Welcomes the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Initiative for Change, intended to improve and reinforce the global presence of UN human rights offices with the creation of eight regional hubs to monitor and promote respect for human rights by working directly with partners in order to transform the recommendations of the human rights mechanisms into real changes on the ground;

Civil and political rights

9.  Expresses its concern about the constitutional revisions undertaken in some countries, aimed at changing the limit set on presidential terms of office, an issue which has generated election-related violence in some cases; reaffirms that respect for civil and political rights, including individual and collective freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association, are the main indicators of a democratic, tolerant and pluralistic society;

10.  Reiterates that freely electing political leaders, in periodically held genuine elections on the basis of universal and equal suffrage, is a fundamental right that all citizens should enjoy in conformity with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 21(3)) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Article 25); and reaffirms that freedom of expression and a vibrant and conducive environment for an independent and pluralistic civil society are prerequisites for promoting respect for human rights;

11.  Condemns the continued harassment and detention of human rights defenders and opposition figures by government forces in a number of third countries; expresses its concern about unfair and restrictive legislation, including restrictions on foreign funding, which is resulting in a shrinking space for civil society activities; calls on all governments to promote and support freedom of the media, civil society organisations and the activities of human rights defenders and to allow them to operate without fear, repression or intimidation;

12.  Takes the view that contemporary digital technologies offer advantages and challenges for the protection of the right to privacy and for the exercise of freedom of expression on- line across the world; welcomes, in this context, the appointment of a UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy in the Digital Age, whose mandate includes surveillance and privacy issues that affect people online or offline;

13.  Recalls the EU’s position on zero tolerance for the death penalty and reiterates its long-standing opposition to torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment in all cases and under all circumstances; underlines the importance of the EU continuing to advance the moratorium on the death penalty as a first step towards abolition and emphasises once again that the abolition of the death penalty contributes to the enhancement of human dignity;

14.  Commends the substantial progress made so far, whereby many countries have suspended capital punishment while others have taken legislative measures towards abolishing the death penalty; expresses, nevertheless, its regret concerning the reinstatement of executions in some countries over the past few years; calls on those states which have abolished the death penalty or have a long-standing moratorium on the death penalty not to reintroduce it;

15.  Calls for the EU and its Member States to implement the UN Special Rapporteur’s recommendations in its internal policy to combat the spread of racial, ethnic and xenophobic hatred and incitement over the internet and through social media networks by taking appropriate legislative measures, with full respect for other fundamental rights such as freedom of expression and opinion;

Social and Economic Rights

16.  Regrets that, more than 20 years after the adoption of the Vienna Declaration on the universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelated nature of all human rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) is not treated on the same footing and with the same emphasis as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR); recognises the UNHRC’s efforts to put all human rights on an equal footing and give them the same emphasis, through the establishment of Special Procedure mandate holders relating to economic, social and cultural rights;

17.  Expresses its profound concern about the rise of extreme poverty, which jeopardizes the full enjoyment of all human rights; welcomes, in this connection, the UNHRC Special Rapporteur’s report on extreme poverty and human rights (A/HRC/29/31) and supports his proposals for the elimination of extreme poverty, which include: giving economic, social and cultural rights the same prominence and priority as are given to civil and political rights; recognising the right to social protection; implementing fiscal policies specifically aimed at reducing inequality; revitalising and giving substance to the right to equality; and putting questions of resource redistribution at the centre of debates on human rights; emphasises that, while the majority of the world’s poor are women and female-headed households, it is important to ensure equal access to resources and employment for both women and men;

18.  Is of the opinion that corruption, tax evasion, mismanagement of public goods and lack of accountability contribute to the violation of citizens’ human rights as they divert funds from state budgets that should be dedicated to the advancement of human rights in much needed public services such as education, basic health services and other social infrastructure; considers that action to ensure respect for human rights, in particular the rights to information, to freedom of expression and assembly, to an independent judiciary and to democratic participation in public affairs, is instrumental in fighting corruption;

19.  Emphasises that minority communities in third countries have specific needs and that their full equality should be promoted in all areas of economic, social, political and cultural life;

Business and human rights

20.  Strongly supports the effective and comprehensive implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights within and outside the EU, and strongly recommends that the EU Member States develop and implement National Action Plans; reaffirms, moreover, the importance of the EU promoting corporate social responsibility and of European enterprises playing a leading role in promoting international standards on business and human rights; calls for the UN and the EU to raise with multinational and European enterprises the question of land rights defenders, who are victims of reprisals, including through threats, harassment, arbitrary arrest, assault and murder, for criticising large-scale land acquisition at the expense of the land and food rights of rural populations in third countries; calls for the UN mechanisms and the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy to systematically include land rights defenders in their human rights projects;

21.  Welcomes the initiative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to enhance the Accountability and Remedy Project with a view to contributing to a fair and more effective system of domestic law remedies, in particular in cases of gross human rights abuses in the business sector; calls on all governments to fulfil their duties in securing respect for human rights, access to justice for victims who face both practical and legal challenges in gaining access to remedies at national and international levels, with regard to business-related human rights violations;

22.  Notes that an open-ended intergovernmental working group (IGWG) on the elaboration of an international legally binding instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights, established by a UNHRC resolution of 26 June 2014, held its first session in July 2015; calls, moreover, for the EU to support efforts to align its policies with the OECD guidelines for multinational enterprises and recommends that the EU and its Member States engage actively in the debate regarding a legally binding international instrument on business and human rights within the UN system;


23.  Is concerned by the most serious humanitarian crisis since the Second World War, created by the increasing number of individuals forced to leave their homes as a result of persecution, armed conflict, generalised violence and climate change, and in search of protection and a better life, and who are risking their lives by dangerous journeys;

24.  Insists that the challenges presented by the humanitarian crisis linked to refugees are issues which need to be managed in a comprehensive way, in a spirit of solidarity within the EU and in close cooperation with the UN and its agencies; calls on all countries to adopt a human rights-based approach to migration, which places migrant rights at the centre of migration policies and management, paying particular attention to the situation of marginalised and disadvantaged groups of migrants, such as women and children; calls on all states to address gender-related violence against women and girls, and stresses the importance of designing migration policy from a gender perspective in order to respond to their particular needs;

25.  Recalls that all states have an obligation to respect and protect the human rights of all individuals under their jurisdiction, regardless of their nationality or origin and regardless of their immigration status; recalls that a global strategy on migration is closely linked with development and humanitarian policies, including setting up humanitarian corridors and delivering humanitarian visas, as well as other external policies; recalls that the return of migrants should only be carried out with full respect for the migrants’ rights, based on free and informed decisions and only when the protection of their rights is guaranteed in their country; calls on governments to put an end to the arbitrary arrest and detention of migrants;

26.  Expresses concern about continued and widespread discrimination against, and violations of the rights of, migrants, including asylum seekers and refugees; calls on the EU and its Member states to support the work of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, together with the implementation of his recommendations; calls on governments to respect the right to asylum and the human rights and inherent dignity of migrants and, in all circumstances, the principle of non-refoulement; calls on states to put in place, if they have not yet done so, systems and procedures to ensure full compliance with their international human rights law obligations by all their programmes and institutions in the field of migration;

Climate change and human rights

27.  Welcomes the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which covers adaptation, mitigation, technology development and transfer, and capacity building; insists that the issue of climate change should be mainstreamed in all economic policy areas; urges all states parties which are signatories to the Agreement to adopt urgent and ambitious mitigation and adaptation measures by mainstreaming climate change in all policy areas;

28.  Recalls that the adverse impact of climate change represents an immediate and potentially irreversible global threat to the full enjoyment of human rights, and that its impact on vulnerable groups whose rights situation is already precarious is considerable; notes with concern that climate-related incidents such as the rise of sea levels, and extreme weather changes provoking droughts and floods are expected to lead to even more loss of life, population displacement, and food and water shortages;

29.  Calls on the international community to address the legal shortfalls in the term ‘climate refugee’, including its definition in international law or in any legally binding international agreement;

Women’s rights

30.  Stresses the importance of not undermining the ‘acquis’ of the Beijing Platform for Action regarding access to education and health as a basic human right, and the protection of sexual and reproductive rights; emphasises the fact that universal respect for sexual and reproductive health and rights and access to the relevant services contribute to reducing infant and maternal mortality; points out that family planning, maternal health, easy access to contraception and safe abortion are important elements in saving women’s lives and helping them rebuild their lives if they have been victims of rape; highlights the need to place these policies at the core of development cooperation with third countries;

31.  Underlines the importance of measures strengthening leadership and participation of women at all levels of decision-making; calls on states to secure equal representation for women in public institutions and public life, including special attention to the inclusion of minority women;

32.  Welcomes the UN Security Council’s recent resolution 2242 on women, peace and security, which makes women the central component in all efforts to address global challenges including rising violent extremism, climate change, migration, sustainable development, peace and security; commends the UN Global Study findings on the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, which stressed the importance of women’s leadership and participation in conflict resolution and peacebuilding and that their involvement has improved humanitarian assistance, strengthened peacekeepers’ efforts, fostered the conclusion of peace talks and helped to counter violent extremism; calls on the UN and all its member states to take concrete steps to ensure women’s autonomy, their meaningful inclusion in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in the peace negotiation and peacebuilding process by increasing their representation at all decision-making levels, including in national, regional and international institutions and mechanisms;

33.  Expresses its dismay at the fact that, since the emergence of violent extremist groups such as Daesh in Syria and Iraq and Boko Haram in West Africa, violence against women has taken on a new dimension which is more terrifying than ever, as sexual violence has become an integral part of the objectives, ideology and sources of revenue of these extremist groups, and which places a critical new challenge before the international community; calls on all governments and the UN institutions to step up their commitment to combating these abominable crimes and to restoring the dignity of women so that they obtain justice, reparation and support;

34.  Considers that guaranteeing women’s autonomy, by addressing the underlying inequalities between women and men which render women and girls vulnerable in times of conflict, is one way of countering extremism; stresses the need for continuity of education for girls in refugee camps, in conflict areas and in areas affected by extreme poverty and environmental extremes such as drought and floods;

35.  Invites the Commission, the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the Vice-President / High Representative to continue promoting the political and economic empowerment of women and girls by mainstreaming gender equality in all their external policies and programmes, including through structured dialogues with third countries, by publicly raising gender-related issues and by ensuring sufficient resources for this purpose;

Children’s rights

36.  Recalls that the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was adopted in 1989 and is the most widely ratified international human rights treaty, sets out a number of children’s rights, including the right to health, to education and to play, as well as the right to family life, to be protected from violence and discrimination and to have their views heard; calls on all signatories to this treaty to honour their obligation;

37.  Welcomes the planned global study to be launched by the UN to map out, through monitoring and evaluation analysis, how existing international laws and standards are being implemented on the ground and to assess the concrete possibilities for states to improve their policies and responses; urges all states to support and participate actively in the study;

38.  Reiterates its request for the Commission to propose a comprehensive Child Rights Strategy and Action Plan for the next five years, in order to prioritise children’s rights within EU external policies, supporting the EU’s efforts to promote their rights, in particular by contributing to ensuring children’s access to water, sanitation, healthcare and education, by ensuring the rehabilitation and reintegration of children enlisted in armed groups, by eliminating child labour, torture, the issue of child witchcraft, trafficking, child marriage and sexual exploitation, and by assisting children in armed conflicts and ensuring their access to education in conflict zones and refugee camps;

Rights of LGBTI persons

39.  Expresses its concern regarding the persistence of discriminatory laws and practices and of acts of violence against individuals in various countries, on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity; encourages close monitoring of the situation of LGBTI people in countries where recently introduced anti-LGBTI laws threaten the lives of sexual minorities; expresses its strong concern regarding the so-called ‘anti-propaganda’ laws limiting freedom of expression and assembly, including in countries on the European continent;

40.  Supports the continuing work of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to combat these discriminatory laws, in particular through statements, reports and the Free & Equal campaign, as well as the work of other UN bodies; is concerned at restrictions on the fundamental freedoms of LGBTI human rights defenders, and calls for the EU to step up its support for them; notes that the fundamental rights of LGBTI people are more likely to be respected if they have access to legal institutions, possibly through registered partnerships or marriage;

Human rights defenders

41.  Calls on all governments to promote and support civil society organisations and human rights defenders and to allow them to operate without fear, repression or intimidation, to cooperate with the UNHRC in the UPR mechanism and to ensure that countries responsible for reprisals against human rights activists are held accountable;

considers that the continued harassment and detention of human rights defenders and opposition figures by a number of UNHRC members undermines the credibility of the UNHRC; urges the EU and its Member States to promote an initiative at the UN level to elaborate a coherent and comprehensive response to the major challenges which human rights defenders working on women’s rights, on the defence of environmental, land and indigenous peoples’ rights, on corruption and impunity, journalists and other human rights defenders using media, including online and social media, faces worldwide and to denounce systematically their assassination;

Fight against impunity and the International Criminal Court (ICC)

42.  Reiterates its full support for the work of the ICC in its role of ending the impunity of the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community and of providing justice for the victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide; remains vigilant regarding any attempts to undermine the Court’s legitimacy or independence; urges the EU and its Member States to cooperate with the Court and provide it with strong diplomatic, political and financial support, including in the UN; calls for the EU, its Member States and its Special Representatives to actively promote the ICC, the enforcement of its decisions and the fight against impunity for Rome Statute crimes, including by strengthening and expanding its relationship with the Security Council and by ensuring speedy ratification by the EU Member States of the Kampala amendments to the Rome Statute which define the crime of aggression;

Drones and autonomous weapons

43.  Reiterates its call on the EU Council to develop an EU common position on the use of armed drones, giving the utmost importance to respect for human rights and international humanitarian law and addressing issues such as the legal framework, proportionality, accountability, the protection of civilians and transparency; urges the EU, once again, to ban the production, development and use of fully autonomous weapons, which enable strikes to be carried out without human intervention; insists that human rights should be part of all dialogues with third countries on counter-terrorism;

EU involvement

44.  Reiterates, furthermore, the importance of the EU actively and consistently engaging in all UN human rights mechanisms, in particular with the Third Committee, the General Assembly (UNGA) and the UNHRC; acknowledges the efforts of the EEAS, the EU Delegations in New York and Geneva and the Member States to increase EU coherence on human rights issues at UN level by means of timely and substantive consultation and to deliver a ‘one-voice message’; encourages the EU to increase its efforts to make its voice heard, including by intensifying the growing practice of cross-regional initiatives and by co-sponsoring and taking the lead on resolutions; reiterates its call for stronger visibility of EU action in all multilateral forums;

45.  Requests the EU Special Representative for Human Rights to continue to enhance the effectiveness, coherence and visibility of the EU’s human rights policy in the context of the UNHRC and in further developing close cooperation with the OHCHR and the Special Procedures;

46.  Strongly emphasises the role of the Council’s Human Rights Working Group (COHOM) in improving the preparation and coordination of EU positions for the UNHRC sessions and in addressing the issue of consistency between the EU’s external and internal human rights policy; recalls the importance of keeping the institutionalised practice of sending parliamentary delegations to the UNHRC and the UNGA;

EU human rights mainstreaming

47.  Calls upon the EU to promote the universality and indivisibility of human rights, including civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, in accordance with Article 21 of the Lisbon Treaty and the General Provisions on the Union’s External Action;

48.  Reiterates its call for the EU to adopt a rights-based approach and to integrate respect for human rights into trade, investment policies, public services, development cooperation, and its common security and defence policy; stresses also that the EU’s human rights policy should ensure that its internal and external policies are coherent, in line with the EU Treaty obligation;

49.  Stresses that gender must be a systematic and integral part of all human rights dialogues between the EU and third countries; calls on the EEAS to establish gender dialogues in addition to human rights dialogues with third countries;

Countries under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR)


50.  Remains deeply concerned about the humanitarian impact of the crisis on the civilian population in the country and in the region as a whole; requests that the EU continue to work in close cooperation with the East African Community and the African Union towards a consensual outcome between the government and the opposition with a view to the re-establishment of an inclusive and democratic political system;


51.  Welcomes Georgia’s membership of the UNHRC and the recent UPR on Georgia; Notes the meaningful legislative reforms that have resulted in some progress and improvements with regard to the justice and law enforcement sector, the Prosecutor’s Office, the fight against ill-treatment, children’s rights, the protection of privacy and personal data and internally displaced persons (IDPs);

52.  Notes however that further efforts are needed with regard to ill-treatment, especially regarding pre-trial detention and rehabilitation of victims; remains concerned about freedom of expression and the media and the lack of access by monitors to the occupied regions of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, where human rights violations remain widespread; and calls on the Georgian Government to take appropriate measures with a view to ensuring a follow-up to the recommendations made in the UPR process;


53.  Deeply regrets that Israel denied the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, Makarim Wibisono, access to those territories and that he had to resign because he could not fulfil his tasks with total independence;


54.  Commends Lebanon for the open border and reception policy which it has had for years regarding refugees from Palestine, Iraq and Syria, and calls on the European Union to allocate more resources and to work closely with the Lebanese authorities to help the country uphold the protection of the rights of refugees and asylum seekers; is concerned, in this context, about the reportedly significant number of cases of child and/or forced marriages among Syrian refugees; encourages the Lebanese Government to consider a reform of the law regulating entry into, residence in and exit from Lebanon, which does not distinguish between asylum seekers and refugees on the one hand and migrants on the other;

55.  Supports the recommendations of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in calling for measures to raise awareness among women migrant domestic workers of their human rights under the CEDAW Convention, to which Lebanon is a state party; emphasises, in particular, the need to abolish the ‘Kafala system’ and ensure effective access to justice for women migrant domestic workers, including by guaranteeing their safety and residence during legal and administrative procedures relating to their status;


56.  Stresses that, while progress has been made by the Mauritanian Government in legislative measures aimed at fighting all forms of slavery and slavery-like practices, the lack of effective implementation contributes to the persistence of such practices; calls on the authorities to enact an anti-slavery law, to initiate nationwide, systematic and regular collection of disaggregated data on all forms of slavery and to conduct a thorough evidence-based study on the history and nature of slavery in order to eradicate the practice;

57.  Urges the Mauritanian authorities to allow freedom of speech and assembly, in accordance with international conventions and Mauritania’s own domestic law; calls also for the release of Biram Dah Abeid, Bilal Ramdane and Djiby Sow, to enable them to continue their non-violent campaign against the continuation of slavery without fear of harassment or intimidation;


58.  Welcomes the holding of competitive elections on 8 November 2015, an important milestone in the country’s democratic transition; remains concerned, however, by the constitutional framework for these elections, under which 25 % of the seats in the parliament are reserved for the military; recognises the progress made so far as regards human rights, while identifying a number of remaining areas of major concern, including the rights of minorities and freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly;

59.  Condemns the discrimination against the Rohingya, which is exacerbated by the fact that this community lacks legal status and by the rise of hate speech against non-Buddhists; calls for full, transparent and independent investigations into all reports of human rights violations against the Rohingya and considers that the four laws adopted by the parliament in 2015 aimed at ‘protecting race and religion’ have discriminatory aspects as regards gender; regrets that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has still not received permission to establish an office in the country; insists on the need for a full sustainability and human rights impact assessment to be carried out before negotiations on the EU-Myanmar investment agreement are finalised;


60.  Welcomes the entry into force on 20 September 2015 of Nepal’s new constitution, which should lay the foundations for the country’s future political stability and economic development; hopes that the remaining concerns around the political representation of minorities, including the Dalits, and citizenship laws will be addressed in the near future;

61.  Regrets the widespread lack of accountability for human rights abuses committed by both sides during the civil war despite the adoption in May 2014 of the Truth, Reconciliation and Disappearance Act; urges the Government of Nepal to accede to the International Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance; condemns the limitations placed on the fundamental freedoms of Tibetan refugees; urges India to lift its unofficial blockade on Nepal’s economy which, coupled with the devastating earthquake of April 2015, is causing a humanitarian crisis and pushing almost one million more Nepalis into a poverty-related impasse;


62.  Commends Oman for the setting-up of the governmental National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the invitation which allowed the ground-breaking visit of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Peaceful Assembly in September 2014; expresses the hope that these constructive steps will lead to a more intensive engagement by Oman with UN human rights representatives and independent human rights organisations;


63.  Expresses its concern about the human rights situation in Rwanda, including the restrictions on freedom of expression and association, the shrinking of the democratic space for opposition political parties and independent civil society activities, and the absence of a conducive environment for the independence of the judiciary; calls on the Rwandan Government to open up a democratic space in which all segments of society may operate freely;

64.  Is concerned by the proposed constitutional change aimed at allowing the incumbent President to run for a third term; calls on the Government of Rwanda to uphold the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, Article 5 of which lays down that states parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure constitutional rule, particularly constitutional transfer of power, and Article 23 of which states that any amendment of the constitution which infringes on the principles of democratic change of government is illegal;

Saudi Arabia

65.  Is deeply concerned about the alarming rate at which court rulings ordered the death penalty in Saudi Arabia in 2015; is dismayed by the mass executions carried out in the last weeks;

66.  Calls for the EU to closely monitor, with the Saudi authorities, the state of health of Raif Badawi, the Saudi blogger and 2015 Sakharov Prize laureate, reportedly on hunger strike;

South Sudan

67.  Welcomes the Peace Agreement signed by the warring parties on 28 August 2015 to end the civil war, which includes transitional power-sharing, security arrangements and the establishment of a hybrid court to try all crimes committed since the conflict started; recalls that the conflict has claimed thousands of lives and given rise to hundreds of thousands of displaced people and refugees;

68.  Calls on all parties to refrain from committing human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law, including those amounting to international crimes, such as extrajudicial killings, ethnically targeted violence, conflict-related sexual violence, including rape, as well as gender-based violence, recruitment and use of children, enforced disappearances and arbitrary arrests and detention;


69.  Emphasises the importance of the work carried out by the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria; notes with grave concern the core finding of the commission of inquiry that the main causes of civilian casualties, arbitrary displacement and destruction remain the deliberate targeting of civilians, indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks, attacks on civilian and protected cultural heritage objects and the punitive imposition of sieges and blockades; emphasises the need for special attention and support to be given to women victims of violence and to women’s organisations and their participation in humanitarian aid and conflict resolution;

70.  Calls for the EU and the Member States to help make sure that the commission of inquiry is adequately funded to fulfil its mandate, which consists in establishing the facts and circumstances of all serious human rights violations committed, and where possible, identifying those responsible with a view to ensuring that the perpetrators of violations, including violations that may constitute crimes against humanity, are held accountable;

71.  Stresses the obligation on all parties to protect civilians, respect their human rights and meet their basic needs, in compliance with international human rights and humanitarian law; reiterates its conviction that a sustainable solution to the crisis in Syria can be achieved only through an inclusive political settlement, and calls on all parties to work towards a genuine political transition that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people and enables them independently and democratically to determine their own future;


72.  Welcomes Venezuela’s holding of free and fair elections on 6 December 2015; regrets that the initial acceptance of the results by the government and opposition forces alike has turned into a new political crisis; recalls the importance of upholding the constitution and respecting human rights, and of avoiding any attempt to vitiate the will of the Venezuelan people as expressed in the elections;

73.  Recalls that the new government will have to tackle a wide range of human rights issues, ranging from impunity and accountability for extrajudicial killings, including by security forces, to arbitrary arrest and detention, the right of political prisoners to a fair trial, the independence of the judiciary, freedom of assembly and association and media freedom;


74.  Expresses its grave concern at the dramatic and violent conflict and the unprecedented humanitarian crisis in the country, where the Yemeni civilian population are the first victims of the current military escalation and of extremist and terrorist groups which are taking advantage of the situation;

75.  Regrets the series of attacks on medical staff and facilities and urges the parties to the conflict to respect the basic principles of international humanitarian law;

76.  Is convinced that only a broad political consensus under UN-facilitated negotiations can provide a sustainable solution, restore peace and preserve the unity and territorial integrity of Yemen, and reiterates its support for all regional actors, which should act responsibly and constructively with a view to reaching a solution;


o  o

77.  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 for Human Rights, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the UN Security Council, the UN Secretary-General, the President of the 69th UN General Assembly, the President of the UN Human Rights Council, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Secretary-General of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.