Motion for a resolution - B8-1253/2016Motion for a resolution

    MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the situation in Syria

    21.11.2016 - (2016/2933(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

    Victor Boştinaru, Clara Eugenia Aguilera García, Nikos Androulakis, Maria Arena, Zigmantas Balčytis, Hugues Bayet, Brando Benifei, José Blanco López, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Biljana Borzan, Soledad Cabezón Ruiz, Nicola Caputo, Andrea Cozzolino, Andi Cristea, Viorica Dăncilă, Monika Flašíková Beňová, Doru-Claudian Frunzulică, Neena Gill, Michela Giuffrida, Sergio Gutiérrez Prieto, Eva Kaili, Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, Krystyna Łybacka, Alessia Maria Mosca, Victor Negrescu, Vincent Peillon, Pina Picierno, Kati Piri, Miroslav Poche, Liliana Rodrigues, Inmaculada Rodríguez-Piñero Fernández, Daciana Octavia Sârbu, Siôn Simon, Tibor Szanyi, Claudia Țapardel, Elena Valenciano, Julie Ward, Carlos Zorrinho, Knut Fleckenstein, Andrejs Mamikins on behalf of the S&D Group

    See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-1249/2016

    Procedure : 2016/2933(RSP)
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    European Parliament resolution on the situation in Syria


    The European Parliament,

    –  having regard to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations,

    –  having regard to United Nations Security Council resolutions on ISIS/Daesh and the Al-Nusra Front and to those on the conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic, in particular resolutions 2118 (2013), 2139 (2014), 2165 (2014), 2191 (2014), 2199 (2015), 2254 (2015), 2258 (2015) and 2268 (2016),

    –  having regard to its previous resolutions on Syria, including that of 6 October 2016[1],

    –  having regard to the Council conclusions on Syria of 17 October 2016,

    –  having regard to the European Council conclusions on external relations of 20 October 2016,

    –  having regard to the statement by Vice-President / High Representative Federica Mogherini on Russia and the International Criminal Court of 17 November 2016,

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

    A.  whereas battles continue unabated in Syria and the humanitarian situation has further deteriorated; whereas a serious shortage of basic food and medical supplies afflicts the population of east Aleppo and of other besieged cities, such as the rebel-held city of Zabadani and the government-controlled villages of Kefraya and Foua in Idlib province;

    B.  whereas serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law have been committed by all sides in the conflict, including the use of indiscriminate weapons, incendiary, barrel and bunker-busting bombs in civilian areas, and substances listed as chemical weapons under the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction; whereas there has been no respect for the principles of precaution and proportionality; whereas civilian areas, schools, hospitals, humanitarian workers and refugee camps have been deliberately targeted; whereas war crimes and crimes against humanity should not go unpunished;

    C.  whereas the world has been repeatedly appalled by the atrocities carried out by ISIS/Daesh and other jihadist groups, the use of brutal executions and unspoken sexual violence, abductions, torture, forced conversions and slavery of women and girls; whereas children have been recruited and used in terrorist attacks; whereas there are serious concerns about the welfare of the population currently under ISIS/Daesh control and their possible use as human shields during the liberation campaign;

    D.  whereas all armed actors, including Russia and all other forces involved in aerial warfare, need to respect international humanitarian law fully and refrain from deliberately targeting civilians and key civilian infrastructure;

    E.  whereas Syria has signed, but not ratified, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC); whereas the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has repeatedly urged the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the ICC; whereas Russia and China block any progress on accountability in Syria by vetoing any Security Council resolution that would give the Court the mandate to investigate the horrific crimes committed during the conflict in Syria; whereas this lack of accountability breeds further atrocities and compounds the suffering of the victims;

    1.  Voices once again its gravest concern over the continuing fighting and worsened humanitarian situation in Syria; condemns the impediments to the delivery of humanitarian assistance; stresses that the deliberate starvation of populations is prohibited by international humanitarian law; urges all parties to ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches all people in need throughout Syria and to allow medical evacuations immediately from east Aleppo and all other besieged areas;

    2.  Condemns in the strongest terms the atrocities and widespread violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed by the Assad forces with the support of Russia and Iranian-backed militias, as well as the human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law by non-state armed groups, in particular ISIS/Daesh, the Al-Nusra Front and other jihadist groups;

    3.  Is equally worried, while reiterating its concern about the situation in eastern Aleppo, and its condemnation of the heavy aerial bombardment by the Assad regime and Russia of the past weeks, about the high number of rockets indiscriminately launched in recent days by armed opposition groups on western Aleppo and the related civilian casualties; underlines the need for all parties to pay maximum attention and to take all appropriate measures to protect civilians, irrespective of their ethnic identity or religious or confessional beliefs;

    4.  Calls for the EU and its Member States to actively support the special inquiry into the events in Aleppo, mandated by the Human Rights Council on October 2016 and conducted by the International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, with a view to identifying all those responsible for violations of international humanitarian law in Aleppo, in particular the heinous attacks against civilian infrastructure, schools and hospitals;

    5.  Is firmly convinced that there can be no military solution to the conflict; calls for the immediate cessation of hostilities and a stable ceasefire that will pave the way for the resumption of negotiations on the country’s political transition; is concerned about Russia heavily reinforcing its navy in the Eastern Mediterranean and the renewal of large-scale airstrikes, which might also lead to further intensification of attacks on east Aleppo; urges all major world and regional powers to exercise their influence on the Government of Syria and the Syrian opposition in order to stop the civil war, create the conditions for re-launching the peace process, work out confidence-building measures, and guarantee rapid, unhindered and safe humanitarian access;

    6.  Welcomes and fully supports the recent diplomatic initiatives of VP/HR Federica Mogherini aimed at bringing the parties involved in the conflict back to the negotiating table and relaunching the political process in Geneva; notes with interest the regional talks she held with Iran and Saudi Arabia, and considers her activities to be of added value and a useful contribution to the efforts of the United Nations Special Envoy, Staffan de Mistura; emphasises the role that the EU can play in post-conflict reconstruction and reconciliation; reiterates its full support for the EU’s ongoing humanitarian initiative for Aleppo, and urges all parties to facilitate its implementation;

    7.  Urges all parties to take all appropriate steps to ensure the safety and security of all personnel engaged in humanitarian relief activities in Syria; recalls that any deliberate attack on humanitarian workers is a war crime; calls for the independent investigation of all incidents, and expects those responsible to be held accountable;

    8.  Echoes the dramatic call of the UNICEF representative in Syria, following the numerous attacks on schools and other educational facilities, urging all parties involved in the conflict and those that have influence over them to make the protection of children paramount and to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law;

    9.  Is alarmed at allegations that the conflicting parties continue to make use of substances listed as chemical weapons under the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction; strongly insists that those responsible for the use of chemical weapons must be held accountable; supports the extension of the mandate of the United Nations Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Joint Investigative Mechanism, with a view to determining responsibility for the use of chemical weapons in Syria;

    10.  Insists on the need to ensure accountability for violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law; takes the view that the issue of accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity should not be politicised; the obligation to respect international humanitarian law in all circumstances refers to all parties involved in the conflict; whoever commits such crimes must be aware that they will face justice, sooner or later;

    11.  Emphasises that the need to protect civilians across Syria is paramount to any political process; urges the EU and the Member States to ensure that all those responsible for violations of international human rights and humanitarian law face justice through appropriate, impartial international criminal justice mechanisms or national courts in accordance with the principle of universal jurisdiction; welcomes the first investigations based on this principle taking place in Germany, France and Sweden with a view to prosecuting war criminals who now reside in Europe, and calls on the VP/HR and the Commission to develop guidelines for implementation of this principle by other Member States as well; reiterates its support for the referral of the case of Syria to the ICC but, in light of the inability of the Security Council to deliberate on this matter, reiterates its call for the EU and its Member States to lead the efforts within the General Assembly of the United Nations for the establishment of a Special Rapporteur on Syrian war crimes, and to consider advancing the idea of a Syrian War Crimes Court, with the participation and support of all UN states advocating international justice; once the conflict is terminated, and with a view to promoting reconciliation, highlights the importance of Syrian ownership of the process;

    12.  Deplores the decision of Russian President Vladimir Putin to withdraw from the ICC, while noting that the Russian Federation has never actually ratified the Rome Statute and that the timing of the decision undermines the country’s credibility and leads to conclusions being drawn about its commitment to international justice;

    13.  Expresses concern over the unlawful detention, torture, ill treatment, enforced disappearance and killing of detainees in regime prisons and secret detention centres run by foreign-supported militias; calls on the Syrian authorities managing these detention centres to end all executions and inhumane treatment and to grant the United Nations or any other neutral party – such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) – immediate access to all the sites in question, so that they may monitor the situation and provide information to and support the families of the detainees;

    14.  Welcomes the review of the EU’s restrictive measures against Syria and individuals who share responsibility for the repression of the civilian population in the country; stresses that the EU should consider all available options to set out consequences for the most heinous human rights violations and abuses by all perpetrators if the atrocities and blunt disrespect of humanitarian law continues;

    15.  Highlights the importance of effectively cutting access to the financing and funding of ISIS/Daesh activities, apprehending foreign fighters and stopping the flow of weapons to jihadist groups; calls on the Syrian opposition to distance themselves clearly from such extremist elements and ideology; recalls that efforts should be focused on defeating ISIS/Daesh and other UN-designated terrorist groups;

    16.  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 governments and parliaments of the EU Member States, the United Nations, the members of the International Syria Support Group and all the parties involved in the conflict.