Procedure : 2017/2598(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0188/2017

Texts tabled :


Debates :

Votes :

PV 16/03/2017 - 6.4
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0183/2017

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 EU priorities for the UN Human Rights Council sessions in 2017 (2017/2598(RSP))

Karol Karski, Charles Tannock, Anna Elżbieta Fotyga, Ryszard Antoni Legutko, Tomasz Piotr Poręba, Ryszard Czarnecki, Monica Macovei, Jana Žitňanská, Raffaele Fitto, Valdemar Tomaševski, Branislav Škripek, on behalf of the ECR Group

European Parliament resolution on EU priorities for the UN Human Rights Council sessions in 2017 (2017/2598(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Charter of the United Nations,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to the UN human rights conventions and optional protocols thereto,

–  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 its previous resolutions on the United Nations Human Rights Council sessions,

–  having regard to its recommendation to the Council of 7 July 2016 on the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly(1),

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the violation of human rights, including its urgency resolutions of 2016 on Ethiopia, North Korea, India, Crimea, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan, Egypt, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, Honduras, Nigeria, Gambia, Djibouti, Cambodia, Tajikistan, Vietnam, Malawi, Bahrain, Myanmar, the Philippines, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Sudan, Thailand, China, Brazil, Russia, Tibet, Iraq, Indonesia, the Central African Republic, Burundi, Nicaragua, Kuwait and Guatemala,

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 December 2016 on the Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World and the European Union’s policy on the matter 2015(2),

–  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 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; whereas respect for human rights should be mainstreamed in all EU policy areas;

B.  whereas the EU is strongly committed to the UN bodies as regards the promotion and protection of human rights;

C.  whereas the regular sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the appointment of Special Rapporteurs, the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism and the Special Procedures addressing either country-specific situations or thematic issues all contribute to the promotion of and respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law;

UN Human Rights Council

1.  Welcomes the work done by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein and his Office (OHCHR); welcomes the role played by the OHCHR in advancing cooperation between international and regional human rights mechanisms, and in identifying ways to increase the role of ‘regional arrangements’ in relation to universal human rights standards;

2.  Is of the opinion that the UNHRC’s effectiveness and credibility hinge on its members’ genuine commitment to protect all persons in all countries from any human rights violations, in accordance with the international human rights conventions promoting universality, impartiality, objectivity, non-selectivity, constructive dialogue and cooperation;

3.  Calls on states to grant access to the UNHRC’s independent experts, Special Rapporteurs and OHCHR experts to investigate alleged human rights violations and to engage in a constructive way in order to redress the situation, to honour their commitments to the human rights conventions and to offer their full cooperation with the UNHCR Special Procedures (including the UPR); encourages all states to take concrete steps to act on UPR recommendations and to overcome shortcomings by putting in place an implementation and follow-up mechanism, including the establishment of national plans of action and national coordination mechanisms;

4.  Reiterates the importance of ensuring that the Member States engage actively and consistently in UN human rights mechanisms, in particular with the Third Committee, the General Assembly (UNGA) and the UNHRC, in order to improve the credibility thereof;

Thematic priorities

5.  Underscores the importance of the role of human rights NGOs and defenders in the promotion and protection of human rights; highlights that human rights and fundamental freedoms need to be protected in every dimension of their expression, including in the context of new technologies; shares the UNHRC’s concerns regarding reports of threats and reprisals against members of civil society organisations and NGOs that have cooperated with the UNHRC in the UPR process;

6.  Condemns any act of violence, harassment, intimidation or persecution perpetrated against human rights defenders, journalists or bloggers, whether online or offline; calls on all states to promote and ensure a safe and enabling environment in which NGOs, civil society, journalists, human rights defenders and vulnerable groups in particular may operate, independently and without interference; renews its call for those states that have adopted restrictive legislation against independent human rights organisations to lift them;

7.  Believes that free, independent, impartial media constitute one of the essential foundations of a democratic society, where open debates play a crucial role; supports the plea for the appointment of a Special Representative to the UN Secretary-General for the safety of journalists; calls for the issues of freedom of expression online, digital freedoms and the importance of a free and open internet to be raised in all international fora; calls for the digital divide to be narrowed and for unrestricted access to information and communication, as well as uncensored access to the internet;

8.  Recalls that the right to freedom of association and assembly continues to be a major challenge; warmly welcomes the work of the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai; calls on all states to take the reports into due consideration;

9.  Opposes any kind of discrimination and persecution committed on the grounds of race, colour, language, religion and belief, sexual orientation, social origin, birth, age or disability, or status;

10.  Expresses its concern that many people, individually or collectively, suffer violations of their right to freedom of religion or belief, committed by states and non-state actors, leading to discrimination, inequality and stigmatisation; recalls the need to fight against intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief in order to ensure respect for other interdependent human rights such as freedom of expression;

11.  Calls for the EU work on ensuring greater protection of religious and ethnic minorities against persecution and violence and on repealing laws criminalising blasphemy or apostasy serving as a pretext for the persecution of religious and ethnic minorities and non-believers; emphasises in this context that Christians continue to be the most persecuted religious group in the world, with more than 90 000 killed in 2016 because of their faith: murdered in tribal conflicts, terror attacks, during planned destructions of Christian villages or as part of government persecution; calls on the EU authorities to be more engaged in advocacy for persecuted Christians, originating from a common European cultural heritage;

12.  Urges the Members States to support the UN’s work against torture and other cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment or punishment, mass executions, executions for drug-related offences; requests that the European Union External Action Service (EEAS) steps up, at all levels of dialogue and in all fora, the EU’s efforts in the fight against summary executions, torture and other ill-treatment, in line with the Guidelines to EU Policy towards third countries on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; calls for the universal ratification and effective implementation of the UN Convention against Torture and the Optional Protocol thereto;

13.  Calls on the Member States to continue to strengthen the work of the International Criminal Court (ICC); encourages strong dialogue and cooperation between the Court, the UN and its agencies and the UN Security Council; regrets the decision taken by some countries to withdraw from the ICC and calls on them to reconsider; calls on all UN member states to join the Court by ratifying the Rome Statute, and to encourage the ratification of the Kampala amendments;

14.  Condemns in the strongest possible terms ongoing serious human rights violations, particularly those caused by ISIS/Daesh and the attacks by Boko Haram targeting children, as well as all other attacks by terrorist or paramilitary organisations against civilians, particularly women and children; denounces the frequency and scale of acts of destruction of cultural heritage, and calls for support for relevant efforts undertaken in various UN fora;

15.  Calls for the EU and its Member States to work actively for an initiative on UN recognition of the genocide perpetrated against ethnic and religious minorities by the so-called ISIS/Daesh and for referral to the ICC of cases of suspected crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide; encourages strong dialogue and cooperation between the Court, the UN and its agencies, and the UN Security Council;

16.  Calls for the EU to encourage all states to place human rights at the centre of their respective development policies and to implement the 1986 UN Declaration on the Right to Development; welcomes the recent appointment by the UNHRC of a Special Rapporteur on the right to development, whose mandate includes contributing to the promotion, protection and fulfilment of the right to development in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other international development cooperation agreements; highlights that human rights for all must be a cross-cutting feature in the achievement of all goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda;

17.  Calls for continued support of measures strengthening the empowerment of women and girls and the eradication of all violence and discrimination against women and girls, including gender-based violence; urges the Member States to seek cross-regional initiatives for the promotion, protection and fulfilment of women’s rights;

18.  Calls for the EU to continue to promote children’s rights, in particular by contributing to ensuring children’s access to water, sanitation, healthcare and education, including in conflict zones and refugee camps, and by eliminating child labour, recruitment of child soldiers, deprivation of liberty, torture, trafficking, child, early and forced marriage, sexual exploitation and harmful practices such as female genital mutilation; calls for measures to support and strengthen international efforts through the UN to end the use of children in armed conflict, and to address more effectively the impact of conflict and post-conflict situations on women and girls; calls on all UN countries to uphold their treaty obligations and commitments under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted in 1989, in order to uphold the rights of all children under their jurisdiction irrespective of their legal status, and without discrimination of any kind;

19.  Calls on states to promote the rights of persons with disabilities, including their equal participation and social inclusion; calls on all states to ratify and implement the UN Convention on Persons with Disabilities;

20.  Calls for the EU to work with partners on the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, including steps to encourage more states to adopt national action plans and engage in the work streams of the UN working groups and the OHCHR; renews its call to all states and to the EU to engage actively and constructively in this process with a view to reaching a legally binding instrument in order to prevent, investigate redress and have access to remedies when human rights violations occur;

21.  Welcomes the UN’s New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants addressing the issue of large movements of refugees and migrants and leading to the adoption of a global compact on a comprehensive refugee response (CRR) framework, and the commitment that applies to migrants and refugees aimed at saving lives and combating human trafficking; recalls that the question of migration should continue to be examined on a global scale and not only at a European level; calls for the protection of the human rights of asylum seekers, refugees, migrants and all displaced persons, and the protection of the human rights of women, children and vulnerable groups in particular, including persons with disabilities;

22.  Calls on all states to take specific measures in the best interests of child refugees and migrants, on the basis of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and to introduce measures to strengthen child protection systems, including the training of social workers and other professional groups, as well as coordinated efforts with non-governmental organisations;

Country priorities


23.  Deplores the fact that ongoing Russian aggression has caused a dire humanitarian situation in the Donbas, and that Ukrainian and international humanitarian organisations are being refused access to the occupied regions; expresses its deep concern over the challenging humanitarian conditions faced by more than 1.5 million internally displaced persons; expresses its deepest concern about the continued conflict-related sexual violence, in particular that occurring on the border line and in Crimea; is deeply concerned at the human rights violations in Russian-occupied Crimea, notably of the Crimean Tatars; stresses the need for further EU financial assistance for Ukraine; reconfirms its full commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders and to its free and sovereign choice to pursue a European path; calls on all parties to immediately pursue the peaceful reintegration of the occupied Crimean peninsula into the Ukrainian legal system through political dialogue and in full compliance with international law; supports the prolongation of sanctions against Russia until the Minsk Agreement is fully implemented and Crimea is returned; calls on the European External Action Service and the Council to strengthen pressure on the Russian Federation to allow international organisations access to Crimea for the purpose of monitoring the human rights situation in view of the ongoing gross violations of fundamental freedoms and human rights in the peninsula, and of establishing permanent international monitoring and convention-based mechanisms; calls, furthermore, for full implementation of the Minsk Agreement; recalls that all parties to the conflict are obliged to take all feasible measures to protect the civilian population under their control from the effects of hostilities; supports and encourages the Interactive Dialogue due at the UNHRC’s 34th session;


24.  Condemns in the strongest terms the atrocities and the widespread violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed by the Syrian regime’s forces with the support of Russia and Iran, as well as the human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law committed by non-state, armed terrorist groups, in particular ISIL/Daesh, responsible for crimes amounting to genocide, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham /Al-Nusra Front and other jihadist groups; stresses the need to continue investigating the use and the destruction of chemical weapons by all sides in Syria and regrets the decision by Russia and China to block a new UN Security Council resolution on the use of chemical weapons; Reiterates its call for full, unhindered humanitarian access, and for consequences and accountability for those guilty of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity; supports the EU initiative for referral of the situation in Syria to the ICC and calls on the UN Security Council to take actionto this end; supports the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry (COI) to conduct a special investigation into Aleppo, which should be reported back on no later than at the UNHRC’s 34th session in March and requests that the report be presented to the General Assembly and the Security Council;


25.  Remains concerned about freedom of expression, freedom of media and the lack of access to the regions of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, which are both occupied by Russia and in which human rights violations remain widespread; urges the strengthening of people-to-people contact between the Tbilisi-controlled territory and the two occupied regions; calls for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia to be fully respected, as well as the inviolability of its internationally recognised borders; stresses the need for the safe and dignified return of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their place of permanent residence; calls on the Georgian Government to take appropriate measures with a view to ensuring a follow-up and implementation of the UPR recommendations;

DPRK (North Korea)

26.  Expresses its deep concern about the persisting deterioration of the human rights situation in the DPRK; calls on the Government of the DPRK to fulfil its obligations under the human rights instruments to which it is a party, and to ensure that humanitarian organisations, independent human rights monitors and the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK have access to the country and are provided with the necessary cooperation; calls on the DPRK to allow freedom of expression and press freedom for national and international media, and to allow its citizens uncensored access to the internet; strongly condemns the systematic use of the death penalty in the DPRK on a large scale; calls on the Government of the DPRK to declare a moratorium on all executions, with a view to abolishing the death penalty in the near future; demands that those most responsible for the crimes against humanity committed in the DPRK be held accountable, brought before the ICC and subjected to targeted sanctions; strongly condemns the nuclear tests as an unnecessary and dangerous provocation as well as a violation of the UN Security Council resolutions and a serious threat to the peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula and the North East Asian region; requests the renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur; requests the presentation of the report of the group of experts to the UN General Assembly and Security Council; recommends the incorporation into the resolution of the key accountability recommendations from the experts’ report, which include strengthening the capacity of the Seoul Office with investigative and prosecutorial expertise and appointing a criminal justice expert to advance steps towards accountability;


27.  Is extremely concerned about the reports of violent clashes in northern Rakhine State and deplores the loss of lives, livelihoods and shelter and the reported disproportionate use of force by the armed forces of Myanmar; urges the military and security forces to put an immediate stop to the killings, harassment and rapes committed against the Rohingya people, and the burning of their homes; demands that the Government and the civil authorities of Myanmar immediately end the discrimination against and segregation of the Rohingya minority; calls for the rights of the Rohingya people to be safeguarded and for safety, security and equality to be guaranteed for all citizens of Myanmar; welcomes the decision of the Government of Myanmar to make peace and national reconciliation a key priority; welcomes the announcement by the Government of Myanmar of the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry into the recent violence in Rakhine State; underlines the need to appropriately prosecute those responsible, and to provide adequate redress for victims of violations; calls on the Government of Myanmar to continue the process of democratisation and to respect the rule of law, freedom of speech and fundamental human rights; calls on the EU and its Member States to support a renewed mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Myanmar;


o    o

28.  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 on Human rights, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the UN Security Council,, the UN Secretary-General, the President of the 71st UN General Assembly, the President of the UN Human Rights council, the UN Hugh Commissioner for Human rights and the Secretary-General of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.



Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0317.


Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0502.

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