Procedure : 2016/2956(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-1169/2016

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 26/10/2016 - 12
CRE 26/10/2016 - 12

Votes :

PV 27/10/2016 - 8.5
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

PDF 183kWORD 79k

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

on the situation of Mosul / Northern Iraq (2016/2956(RSP))

Bodil Valero, Barbara Lochbihler, Alyn Smith, Ernest Maragall, Jean Lambert, Rebecca Harms on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group

European Parliament resolution on the situation of Mosul / Northern Iraq (2016/2956(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its earlier resolutions, notably those of 12 February 2015(1), 27 November 2014(2), 18 September 2014(3) and 17 July 2014(4),

–  having regard to the remarks by Vice-President / High Representative Federica Mogherini at the joint press conference held following the Second EU-Iraq Cooperation Council under the EU-Iraq Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with the Foreign Minister of Iraq, İbrahim Al Jafaari, on 18 October 2016,

–  having regard to the statement by the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs), Chaloka Beyan, of 19 October 2016,

–  having regard to the report by Amnesty International, ‘Punished for Daesh’s crimes: Displaced Iraqis abused by militias and government forces’, of 18 October 2016,

–  having regard to the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement of 1948,

–  having regard to the UN International Conventions, including, notably, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (2nd part), the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol 1), the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts (Protocol II), and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment,

–  having regard to the ministerial meeting for the stabilisation of Mosul bringing together 22 countries, the UN, the EU and the Arab League and co-chaired by France and Iraq, held in Paris on 20 October 2016 with the aim of coming up with a plan to protect civilians, distribute aid and address questions about governing areas newly liberated from Islamic State (IS),

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

A.  whereas 17 October 2016 saw the start of the military raid to recapture the city of Mosul from the IS forces which have been keeping it under their control since 2014, with an estimated one million civilians still trapped inside; whereas Mosul is the last major urban centre in Iraq held by IS, about five times the size of any other city it has held, and the push to capture it is expected to become the biggest battle in Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion;

B.  whereas the liberation of Mosul is a crucial moment for the future of many of the autochthonous inhabitants of the region, notably such groups as the Christians (Chaldeans/Syriacs/Assyrians), Yazidis, Turkmens, Shabak, Kaka’i, and Shia;

C.  whereas the EU is part of the coalition, offering humanitarian and stabilisation assistance, and has so far provided EUR 134 million in humanitarian aid for Iraq, EUR 50 million of it for Mosul;

D.  whereas IS has severed Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city and once its most diverse, from the outside world, cutting off satellite television, banning internet, music, films, books and anything that contradicts the official militant line and limiting the use of cars to the militants, and most recently, has tried to confiscate citizens’ mobile phones; whereas inhabitants who have managed to escape recently report that people are starving and desperate to be liberated;

E.  whereas the UN, operating through the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), has so far registered over 5 000 IDPs, but has warned that as many as one million people could flee in the coming days, resulting in a serious humanitarian crisis;

F.  whereas tens of thousands of troops are involved in the anti-IS front, while there are thought to be nearly 6 000 IS fighters in and around Mosul; whereas the military alliance consists of Iraqi government troops, Kurdish Peshmerga, soldiers from the international coalition (American and some French), and Shia militias, as well as local Sunni tribesmen and dozens of other small militias partly trained by the Turks; whereas it is expected to take weeks if not months until Mosul falls;

G.  whereas the presence of Turkish troops in Northern Iraq and President Erdogan’s insistence that Turkey should have a role in the recapture of Mosul has added to the tensions between ethnic and religious groups in the region;

H.  whereas although the Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi militia forces and the Kurdish Peshmerga have agreed to remain on the outskirts of the city, the involvement of so many actors threatens to make implementing the chain of command and post-conflict stabilisation plans extremely difficult; whereas the lack of a political agreement between all parties for post-conflict governance and repair of the city could prove a major point of tension in the immediate aftermath of the fight, and will test the strength of Iraq’s central government;

I.  whereas the armed conflict in Iraq has had a devastating impact on civilians; whereas IS has committed crimes under international law including war crimes and crimes against humanity in territories under its control, and has launched deadly bombings and other attacks elsewhere in Iraq;

J.  whereas tens of thousands of Iraqis have also been forcibly displaced by Iraqi government forces and the Peshmerga, as well as by militias, since mid-2014, and many are barred from returning to their homes, purportedly on security grounds, or face arbitrary and discriminatory restrictions on their freedom of movement; whereas they are often confined to camps with little prospect of earning a livelihood or accessing essential services;

K.  whereas in the past thousands of men and boys fleeing IS territory have been rounded up by security forces or militias on suspicion of links to IS, some having been extrajudicially executed while the fate of others remains unknown amid concern for their lives and safety;

L.  whereas predominantly Shia militias involved in abuses have long been backed by the Iraqi authorities, which provided them with financial support and weapons until they were officially designated part of the Iraqi forces in February 2016;

M.  whereas the government’s responsibility for these violations cannot be ignored; whereas moreover, Iraqi courts have a history of relying on coerced ‘confessions’ to convict defendants of serious charges in flagrantly unfair trials, often sentencing them to death; whereas thus far in 2016 some 90 executions have been carried out, mainly on terrorism-related charges; whereas dozens of death sentences have been handed down and some 3 000 people remain on death row;

N.  whereas according to reports, since the battle of Mosul started, IS have rounded up and killed 284 men and boys; whereas the UN is investigating reports that 40 people were shot dead by IS fighters in one village;

O.  whereas in an obvious attempt to distract attention from Mosul, IS fighters have launched an attack on government buildings in the Iraqi city of Kirkuk, reportedly entering houses and mosques in the city and taking civilians hostage;

1.  Recognises that the reconquest of Mosul has been carefully prepared for months; underlines, however, that everything must be done to prevent gross abuses as witnessed in Fallujah and other parts of Iraq during confrontations between government forces and IS;

2.  Expects that the Iraqi authorities will exercise effective command and control over the militias, that personnel implicated in past violations will not take part in the Mosul operations, and that all parties to the conflict will take precautions to avoid civilian casualties during the attack on Mosul, including in view of the risk of IS using civilians as human shields;

3.  Calls on the Iraqi and Kurdish authorities involved in the planning of the military operation to ensure that civilians fleeing the fighting are provided with a safe route;

4.  Takes note of the UN Humanitarian Coordinator’s wake-up call regarding the lack of adequate funding in the face of a possible humanitarian emergency on an unprecedented scale arising from the Mosul offensive; welcomes the EU’s engagement in Iraq, notably its past humanitarian aid efforts and the removal of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), which will be essential to enable the swift return of the refugees and IDPs; nonetheless calls urgently on the EU and its Member States to step up efforts for stabilisation of the liberated areas;

5.  Expresses its sincere concern not only over the immediate consequences of the battle for Mosul for the civilian population, but also over the situation that will follow, in view of the long-lasting disputes involving internal divisions in Iraq’s regions between the Iraqi government, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and minority groups;

6.  Calls on all actors involved in the anti-IS coalition to cooperate in order to maintain and reinforce the state’s capacities to preserve the rule of law and public order, and to refrain from attempting to settle old scores, fuel religious or ethnic animosities, or bring about geopolitical shifts;

7.  Fully subscribes to the call of the Paris conference for ‘a comprehensive political agreement between Iraqi national authorities and local players, so as to guarantee strengthened governance of Mosul and the surrounding area that is inclusive, respects the diversity of the population, and guarantees peaceful coexistence’; underlines, notably, the importance of all ethnic minorities – all of which face the same challenges, regardless of religious affiliation, when it comes to security and recognition of rights – being part of the negotiations, and of establishing a new governance structure; believes that the future of these minorities and the return of refugees and IDPs will depend on the stability of the new administration;

8.  Urges the Iraqi Government to facilitate the return of refugees and IDPs and to fully restore their fundamental rights, including their property rights;

9.  Takes positive note of the Iraqi Government’s plans to implement governance reforms and a national reconciliation process, which are essential in order to address the aspirations of the Iraqi people as a whole and to maintain the unity of Iraq;

10.  Calls on the Iraqi authorities to ensure that detainees, including individuals held for security screening following their escape from territories held by IS, who are reasonably suspected of recognisably criminal offences are promptly referred to the civilian judicial authorities, to be investigated and prosecuted in accordance with international law and standards on fair trials, or else released;

11.  Urges the Iraqi authorities to put an end to enforced disappearances, torture, extrajudicial executions and arbitrary detention, to hold those responsible to account, and to put in place measures to ensure effective command and control over paramilitary militias by the Iraqi armed forces and establish effective oversight and accountability mechanisms involving civilian bodies;

12.  Calls on the Iraqi Government to disclose the findings of the committee established by the Prime Minister on 5 June 2016 to investigate abuses in the context of the military operations to recapture Fallujah and the surrounding area; also calls on the government to ensure that any evidence uncovered by this committee, as well as by the committee established by the Governor of Anbar, which published its findings on 11 June 2016, is shared with the judicial authorities with a view to bringing perpetrators to justice;

13.  Urges the Kurdish authorities to end arbitrary detentions, to guarantee the right to a fair trial of all those held on terrorism-related charges, and to lift the arbitrary and discriminatory restrictions on the freedom of movement of Sunni Arab IDPs;

14.  Urges the Iraqi and Kurdish authorities to guarantee access for independent international observers to temporary holding sites or makeshift detention facilities where IDPs fleeing IS-controlled territories are screened;

15.  Calls on the EU and its Member States to put in place an effective follow-up and oversight mechanism to monitor and assess the implementation and impact of current and future training and capacity-building programmes for security and judicial personnel, so as to ensure that such programmes deliver measurable improvements on the ground and do not contribute to human rights violations;

16.  Calls on all Member States which are providing military assistance or transferring or selling weapons or related equipment to the Iraqi central government or the KRG to verify that all recipients are operating consistently on a basis of full respect for international human rights law and international humanitarian law, and to cease transfers of arms, munitions or other military equipment, technology or assistance to any unit implicated in committing serious violations of international human rights law or international humanitarian law;

17.  Calls on the EEAS, the Member States and the international community to give their practical and diplomatic support to a sustainable and inclusive post-conflict structure for the region, with particular reference to the possibility of an autonomous province including the Nineveh Plain, Sinjar and Tal Afar, to be politically presented by the autochthonous inhabitants of the region;

18.  Calls on the EEAS to offer its good offices in the post-liberalisation negotiations with the KRG and Iraqi Government with a view to ensuring that the ethnic minority groups in the region, notably the Christian groups (Chaldeans/Syriacs/Assyrians) and the Yazidis, Turkmens, Shabak, and Kaka’i, are granted their legitimate rights and are included in a new administrative set-up, in the hope of preventing the outbreak of new internal conflicts between those groups;

19.  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 Government of Turkey, the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the United Nations Human Rights Council.


Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0040.


Texts adopted, P8_TA(2014)0066.


Texts adopted, P8_TA(2014)0027.


Texts adopted, P8_TA(2014)0011.

Legal notice - Privacy policy