Procedure : 2017/2598(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0189/2017

Texts tabled :

B8-0189/2017

Debates :

Votes :

PV 16/03/2017 - 6.4
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2017)0089

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
PDF 311kWORD 62k
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0183/2017
13.3.2017
PE598.542v01-00
 
B8-0189/2017

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))


Barbara Lochbihler on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group

European Parliament resolution on EU priorities for the UN Human Rights Council sessions in 2017 (2017/2598(RSP))  
B8-0189/2017

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, Myanmar, 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 multilateralism and to the UN bodies when it comes to the promotion and the 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); recalls the EU commitment to continue to support and defend its integrity, independence and functioning; 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; urges the need to avoid the polarisation of debate in the UNHRC and encourages constructive dialogue;

3.  Calls on states to grant access to the UNHRC’s independent experts, Special Rapporteurs or OHCHR experts with a view to investigating alleged human rights violations and engaging in a constructive way to redress the situation, to honour their commitments under the human rights conventions, and to offer full cooperation with the UNHRC’s Special Procedures;

4.  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;

5.  Condemns the fact that seats on the UNHRC continue to be occupied by countries with a proven track record of grave and systematic human rights violations, such as Saudi Arabia, China, and Egypt currently, and calls, once again, on the EU Member States to publicise their UNHRC votes; calls, in this regard, for the EU and its Member States to reflect the equal importance of rights in their voting patterns, and to determine their vote on UNHRC resolutions on the basis of the substance rather than the authors of these texts;

6.  Recalls the UN General Assembly’s obligation, when electing the membership of the UNHRC, to take into account candidates’ respect for the promotion and protection of human rights, the rule of law and democracy; welcomes the UNHRC decision requesting that the UNHRC Advisory Committee prepare an assessment report on the progress made in the establishment of regional and sub-regional arrangements for the promotion and protection of human rights; calls for the EU and its Member States to reflect the equal importance of rights in their voting patterns and to improve the coordination of EU positions in this sense; strongly requests that the EU speak with one voice and reach a common EU stance when it comes to voting in the UNHRC;

7.  Reiterates the importance of ensuring that the EU engages actively and consistently with UN human rights mechanisms, in particular with the Third Committee, the General Assembly and the UNHRC, in order to improve its credibility; supports efforts made by the European External Action Service (EEAS), the EU Delegations in New York and Geneva and the Member States to further increase EU coherence on human rights issues at the UN;

Thematic priorities

8.  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 which have cooperated with it, including with its Special Procedures and in the UPR process;

9.  Expresses its serious concern at the numerous, ever-increasing attempts to shrink the space of civil society and human rights defenders, including through the introduction of counter-terrorism laws; condemns any act of violence, harassment, intimidation or persecution against human rights defenders, whistleblowers, 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 and human rights defenders, with a particular focus on women and children, environmental activists and members of vulnerable groups such as LBGTI persons, can operate independently and without interference; renews its call on those states which have adopted restrictive laws targeting independent human rights organisations to lift them, and also to lift all other repressive measures against them, including travel bans and asset freezes;

10.  Believes that free, independent and 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 on the EU to raise the issues of freedom of expression online, digital freedoms and the importance of a free and open internet 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; in this regard, reiterates its call on the EU to adopt free and open-source software, and to encourage other actors to do so, as such software provides for better security and greater respect for human rights;

11.  Recalls that the right to freedom of association and assembly continue to be violated worldwide; 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 of the Special Rapporteur into due consideration;

12.  Urge all states to swiftly ratify the Optional Protocols to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and to the International Covenant of Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) establishing complaint and inquiry mechanisms;

13.  Opposes any kind of discrimination and persecution on any grounds, including race, colour, language, religion or belief, gender identity or sexual orientation, social origin, caste, birth, age or disability; supports the EU engagement with the relevant Special Procedures, including the new Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity; calls for the EU to actively continue to promote equality and non-discrimination and to fight against violence and discrimination against all individuals;

14.  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; calls for the EU to 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; calls for the work of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief to be supported;

15.  Strongly encourages the EU’s continued support for a zero-tolerance approach to the death penalty, and calls for it to further seek to reinforce cross-regional support for the next UN General Assembly resolution on a moratorium on the death penalty; welcomes the decision taken in 2015 by Madagascar, Fiji, Suriname and the Republic of Congo to abolish the death penalty for all crimes; deplores the resumption of executions in a number of countries, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Belarus, Bangladesh, India, Oman, South Sudan, Indonesia and Chad; further deplores the reported rise in the number of death sentences handed down in particular in China, Egypt, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia; reminds the authorities of these countries that they are states parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which strictly prohibits the death penalty for crimes committed by anyone below the age of 18; strongly denounces the increased recourse to death sentences for drug-related offences, and calls for the outlawing of use of the death penalty and summary execution as punishment for such offences; expresses its grave concern over the thousands of extrajudicial executions authorised by President Duterte of the Philippines in recent months, as well as the vote in the Philippine Parliament in favour of reinstating the death penalty for drug-related offences after the country was the first in the region to abolish capital punishment in 2007;

16.  Urges the EU to speak out on and to support the UN’s work against torture and other cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment or punishment, mass executions and executions for drug-related offences, and asks the EEAS to step 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; stresses the critical importance of supporting the prevention of torture, including through the strengthening of the National Preventive Mechanisms established under the Optional Protocol, and continued support for the rehabilitation of torture victims;

17.  Expresses its serious concern at the persistence of grave human rights violations and abuses worldwide; staunchly supports the International Criminal Court (ICC) as a key institution for holding perpetrators to account and assisting victims in achieving justice based on the complementarity principle for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes; calls on all parties to provide political, diplomatic, financial and logistical support for the day-to-day operation of the ICC; calls for the EU to continue to strengthen the work of the ICC; encourages strong dialogue and cooperation between the ICC, the UN and its agencies and the UN Security Council; regrets the decision of certain African countries to withdraw from the ICC, but welcomes the revocation of that decision by two of the three countries concerned, and calls on the remaining country to reconsider its decision; calls on all UN member states to join the ICC by ratifying the Rome Statute as soon as possible, together with the Kampala amendments;

18.  Believes that states should make all possible efforts to fight impunity and ensure there is no safe haven for perpetrators of international crimes and gross human rights violations, including at national level via the adoption of provisions for and the exercise of universal jurisdiction;

19.  Condemns the widespread lack of respect for international humanitarian law, and expresses its grave concern over the increasing rates of civilian damage in armed conflicts around the world, and the increase in deadly attacks on hospitals, schools, humanitarian convoys and other civilian targets; insists that such violations be duly taken into account in UNHRC country-specific dealings and relevant reviews under the UPR mechanism;

20.  Expresses its grave concern at the use of armed drones outside the international legal framework; calls for the EU and its Member States to promote an international framework on the use of armed drones which upholds human rights and international humanitarian law, and which should address issues such as the legal framework, proportionality, accountability, protection of civilians and transparency; calls again for the EU and its Member States to include armed drones and fully autonomous weapons in relevant European and international disarmament and arms control mechanisms, and urges the Member States to engage with and strengthen these control mechanisms;

21.  Condemns in the strongest possible terms the ongoing serious human rights violations perpetrated by terrorist or paramilitary organisations, such as ISIS/Daesh and Boko Haram, 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;

22.  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; welcomes the latest report by the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, which looks at, inter alia, the impact of pesticide use on human rights, and endorses its recommendations;

23.  Calls for the EU to continue to promote equality between women and men and to actively support the work of UN Women and gender mainstreaming initiatives in its activities and programmes; calls for continued support measures strengthening the empowerment of women and girls and the eradication of all violence and discrimination against women and girls, including gender-based violence; strongly requests the EU to seek cross-regional initiatives for the promotion, protection and realisation of women’s rights and the full and effective implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the Programme of Action of the ICPD, and, in this context, to remain committed to promoting easy and unimpeded access to family planning, maternal health, contraception and safe abortion, and to the full range of sexual and reproductive rights;

24.  Recalls the EU’s commitment to mainstream human rights and gender aspects in line with the landmark UN Security Council Resolutions 1325 (2000) and 1820 (2008) on women, peace and security; calls for the EU to support internationally the recognition of the added value of women’s participation in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peacekeeping operations, humanitarian assistance and post-conflict reconstruction and sustainable reconciliation;

25.  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 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 member states 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; calls on the USA, as the only remaining state not to have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to accede to this instrument as a matter of urgency;

26.  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;

27.  Calls for the EU to work with partners on the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, including measures to encourage more states to adopt national action plans and engage in the work streams of the UN working groups and of the OHCHR; welcomes the participation of the EU and a large number of its Member States in the IGWG session in October 2016, which discussed the elements of a binding UN Treaty on Business and Human Rights; welcomes the report of the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the IGWG which will be presented at the forthcoming session of the UNHRC; renews its call for the EU and its Member States to participate constructively in the third session of the IGWG, to be held in October 2017, and to actively contribute to the discussions on key elements, including the relation of the proposed UN treaty to trade agreements, human rights due diligence, enforcement and access to remedy, as well as the role of corporations in the drafting of the treaty;

28.  Calls on the EU to highlight in UN fora the issues of land-grabbing, including by corporations, and the treatment of land rights defenders and environmental activists, who are often victims of reprisals, including threats, harassment, arbitrary arrest, assault and murder;

29.  Welcomes the UN’s New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, which addressed the issue of large movements of refugees and migrants and led to the adoption of a global compact on a comprehensive refugee response (CRR) framework, and the commitment that applies to migrants and refugees and is aimed at saving lives, addressing specific needs, countering racism and xenophobia, combating human trafficking, ensuring equal recognition and protection before the law and ensuring inclusion in national development plans; calls on all the parties involved to ensure political engagement, funding and concrete acts of solidarity in support of the New York Declaration, and recalls that the question of migration should continue to be examined on a global scale and not only at European level; calls for the EU and its Member States to take the lead in these international efforts and, first and foremost, to uphold their commitments in accordance with their obligations under international law to protect the rights of asylum seekers, refugees, migrants and all displaced persons, particularly those of women, children and vulnerable groups, including persons with disabilities; warns that by primarily focusing on issues such as border control and returns in third countries with a deplorable human rights record, the EU and its Member States risk undermining these guiding principles, thereby endangering their credibility in international human rights fora, notably the UNHRC;

30.  Recalls that the return of migrants should only be carried out in full respect of their rights and only when the protection of their rights is guaranteed in their respective countries; calls on governments to put an end to the arbitrary arrest and detention of migrants, including minors; calls on all states to take concrete measures in the best interests of child refugees and migrants that are based on 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 and working with NGOs; calls once again on all states, including EU Member States, to ratify and implement the International Convention on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families;

31.  Welcomes the work of the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment; stresses with grave concern that the loss of biodiversity undermines the enjoyment of a wide range of human rights, including the rights to life, health and water, and particularly affects the most vulnerable groups, including indigenous peoples; calls for the EU to support further action by the UNHRC in this area, since this is of critical importance for the future of humanity;

32.  Reiterates its concern over the awarding of sporting mega-events to host countries with very poor human rights records, as well as over the human rights abuses arising from such events, including forced evictions without consultation or compensation of the populations concerned, exploitation of vulnerable groups such as children and migrant workers, and silencing of civil society organisations that denounce such violations; calls for the EU and its Member States to promote a cross-regional initiative on sport and human rights at the UNHRC, with a view to creating safeguard mechanisms to prevent, monitor and remedy all human rights abuses connected to sporting mega-events;

33.  Underlines the importance of promoting the universality and indivisibility of human rights, in accordance with Article 21 of the Treaty on European Union and the General Provisions on the Union’s External Action;

34.  Underlines the need to adopt a rights-based approach and to integrate respect for human rights into all EU policies, including those on trade, investment, public services, development cooperation and migration, and into its common security and defence policies;

35.  Recalls the fact that internal and external coherence in the area of human rights is essential for the credibility of the EU’s human rights policy in its relations with third countries, and calls for the EU to fulfil its commitments in this regard;

Country priorities

Belarus

36.  Expresses its profound concern at the continued restrictions on freedom of expression and freedom of association and peaceful assembly in Belarus; condemns the harassment and detention of independent and opposition journalists and human rights activists; condemns the continued use of the death penalty; calls for the renewal of the UN Special Rapporteur’s mandate on the human rights situation in Belarus at the 35th session of the UNHRC, and calls on the Belarus Government to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur and to commit to engagement in long-overdue reforms to protect human rights, including by implementing the recommendations made by the Special Rapporteur and other human rights mechanisms;

Burundi

37.  Expresses its deepest concern regarding the worsening political and security situation in Burundi; condemns the violence occurring in the country since 2015, which has led to deaths, torture, targeted violence against women including collective rapes, the harassment and imprisonment of thousands of people and the forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of Burundians, as well as violations of freedom of the press and of expression; condemns the prevalence of impunity regarding such acts; supports the decision by the EU Council, after the failure of the discussions launched under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement, to suspend direct financial support to the Burundian administration, including budgetary support, but to maintain full financial support for the population and humanitarian aid through direct channels; fully supports the establishment of a commission of inquiry on Burundi to identify alleged perpetrators of human rights violations and abuses in the country with a view to ensuring full accountability; calls for the EU and its Member States to support a joint statement on Burundi calling into question its UNHRC membership unless it starts to cooperate fully with the Commission of Inquiry (COI) and with the Council and its mechanisms, engages constructively with the COI and addresses the serious human rights concerns; calls on the Burundian authorities to reconsider their decision to withdraw from the ICC;

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)

38.  Expresses its deep concern over the persisting deterioration of the human rights situation in the DPRK; calls for an international inquiry into the circumstances of the death of Kim Jong Nam, half-brother of Kim Jong Un, reportedly killed by VX, one of the deadliest internationally banned nerve poisons, at Kuala Lumpur airport on 13 February 2017; 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 free 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 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 incorporating in the resolution the key recommendations on accountability from the experts’ report, including strengthening the capacity of the Seoul Office with investigative and prosecutorial expertise, as well as appointing a criminal justice expert to advance the steps towards accountability;

Democratic Republic of the Congo

39.  Condemns the human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) committed with complete impunity by the security forces, and calls for those responsible to be held accountable; calls on the Council to consider extending the existing restrictive measures such as EU targeted sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes on those responsible for the violent crackdown and for undermining the democratic process in the DRC, in the event of further violence, as provided for in the Cotonou Agreement; urges the DRC authorities to implement the agreement reached in December 2016 and to hold elections by December 2017 with the support of international actors; recalls that the stability of the Great Lakes region is a matter of extreme concern, especially with regard to the human rights situation in the eastern DRC, including the issue of sexual violence; calls for continued UNHRC scrutiny of the DRC until elections and a democratic transition take place, and encourages the High Commission to inform the Council about the situation in the DRC when appropriate and to take stronger action if required;

Egypt

40.  Expresses its serious concern at the continued deterioration of the human rights situation in Egypt, including the dramatic closing of the public space for civil society, the harsh crackdown against human rights defenders, notably women HRDs, and other dissenting voices, and the lack of freedom of expression; further expresses concern at the draconian NGO law adopted by the Egyptian parliament in 2016, which severely violates the constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of association and Egypt’s numerous international legal commitments to uphold that right; stresses the urgent need for the Government of Egypt to address the phenomena of widespread torture, enforced disappearances and deaths in detention; calls for the EU to initiate a country resolution in the UNHRC;

The Georgian regions of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia

41.  Remains concerned over freedom of expression, freedom of the media and the lack of access to the occupied regions of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, where 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;

Iran

42.  Calls on Iran to cooperate fully with all UN human rights mechanisms and to work towards the application of the recommendations set forth in that context, including the UPR, by enabling international human rights organisations to carry out their missions; calls on the Government of Iran to address the substantive concerns highlighted in the reports of the UN Special Rapporteur and the UN Secretary-General on the situation of human rights in Iran, as well as the specific calls to action found in resolutions of the UN General Assembly; notes with concern that Iran has the highest level of death penalty executions per capita in the world; calls on Iran to declare a moratorium on the death penalty; calls for the release of all political prisoners;

Myanmar/Burma

43.  Is extremely concerned at the reports of violent clashes in the northern state of Rakhine, and deplores the loss of lives, livelihoods and shelter and the reported disproportionate use of force by the armed forces of Myanmar/Burma, which according to the OHCHR could amount to crimes against humanity; urges the military and security forces to put an immediate end to the killings, harassment and rape being perpetrated against the Rohingya people and the burning of their homes; insists that the Government of Myanmar/Burma and the civil authorities of Myanmar/Burma immediately put an end to discrimination and segregation with regard to the Rohingya minority; calls for the rights of the Rohingya people to be safeguarded and for the safety, security and equality of all citizens of Myanmar/Burma to be guaranteed; welcomes the decision of the Government of Myanmar/Burma to make peace and national reconciliation a key priority; welcomes the announcement by the Government of Myanmar/Burma of the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry into the recent violence in Rakhine state; underlines the need to take appropriate steps to prosecute those responsible and provide adequate redress for the victims of violations; calls on the government of Myanmar/Burma to continue the process of democratisation and to respect the rule of law, freedom of speech and fundamental human rights; calls for the EU and its Member States to support a renewed mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Myanmar/Burma;

Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT)

44.  Calls for the EU and its Member States, in the discussions and resolutions on the Occupied Palestinian Territories at the UNHRC, to voice their regret at the failure to implement the previous recommendations of UN human rights bodies, including the UN Commission of Inquiry into the 2014 Gaza conflict, the limited progress made in investigating alleged violations of international law by all parties, and the existence of numerous legal, procedural and practical obstacles to accessing justice and reparations; urges the EU to re-engage with Item 7 of the UNHRC agenda and to vote in favour of the resolutions on accountability, including the UNHRC resolution in support of the comprehensive report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the follow-up measures it proposes; calls for the EU to condemn the acts of intimidation and threats directed at human rights defenders promoting accountability and respect for international law in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and to denounce other restrictive practices and legislation impacting NGOs on both sides; calls for the EU to support forthcoming HRC resolutions on settlements and the publication of the OHCHR’s annual database on businesses involved in violations of international law;

Saudi Arabia

45.  Recalls its concern about the systematic violations of human rights in the country, including the repression of human rights defenders, violations of freedom of religion or belief and the rights of women; condemns the alarming rate of death penalty orders in Saudi Arabia, including mass executions, and calls on Saudi Arabia to impose a moratorium on the death penalty; urges the Saudi authorities to release all prisoners of conscience, including the 2015 Sakharov laureate, Raif Badawi; calls for the EU to closely follow his particular case; reiterates that UNHRC members should be elected from among states which uphold respect for human rights, the rule of law and democracy; calls on the Saudi authorities to cooperate fully with the UNHRC Special Procedures and the OHCHR; calls for the EU to offer its support for creating the post of Special Representative on the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia;

South Sudan

46.  Calls on all parties in South Sudan to stop 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; notes that the South Sudan Government signed the Roadmap Agreement on 16 March 2016, and has subsequently clarified its commitments regarding the inclusion of other relevant stakeholders in the National Dialogue and continuing to uphold any decisions reached between the opposition signatories and the 7+7 Mechanism, the steering committee of the National Dialogue; insists on the need for all parties to respect their commitment and calls for a continued dialogue towards the establishment of a definitive ceasefire; calls for the EU and its Member States to continue their commitment to supporting the efforts of the African Union to bring peace to South Sudan and its people in their transition to an internally reformed democracy; whereas famine has been declared in parts of the country by the UN; calls for the EU and its Member States to renew the mandate of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, and to strengthen its role with a view to investigating human rights abuses and mapping sexual violence; supports incorporating its recommendations into a report to be transmitted to the UN General Assembly and Security Council;

Syria

47.  Condemns in the strongest terms the atrocities and widespread violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed by the forces of the Assad regime with the support of Russia and Iran, as well as the human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law perpetrated by non-state armed terrorist groups, in particular ISIS/Daesh, whose crimes amount to genocide, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham/Al-Nusra Front, and other jihadist groups; insists on the need to continue investigating the use and destruction of chemical weapons by all sides in Syria, and regrets the decision of Russia and China to block a new UN Security Council resolution on the use of chemical weapons; reiterates its call for full and unhindered humanitarian access and accountability for those guilty of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity; supports the EU initiative for the referral of the situation in Syria to the ICC, and calls on the Security Council to take action in this respect; supports the continued work of the Commission of Inquiry (COI) as well as the establishment of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism for Syria, and the mandate of the COI to conduct a special investigation into Aleppo, which should be reported back no later than HRC 34 in March 2017, and requests that the report be presented to the General Assembly and the Security Council;

Ukraine

48.  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 at the continued conflict-related sexual violence; is deeply concerned at the human rights violations in Russian-occupied Crimea, notably in relation to the Crimean Tatars; stresses the need for further EU assistance to 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 EEAS 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 with a view to 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 in HRC 34;

Yemen

49.  Is extremely concerned at the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Yemen, and highlights the particular responsibility of Saudi Arabia in this context; condemns the fact that civilians are being targeted and caught up in an intolerable situation between warring parties that are violating international humanitarian law and international human rights law; stresses that the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict is strictly forbidden under international human rights law and international humanitarian law and may amount to a war crime in cases of children under fifteen being recruited; calls on all parties to immediately release such children; urges all parties to ease the tensions and establish an immediate and stable ceasefire that will lead to a political, inclusive and negotiated solution to the conflict; in this context, fully supports the efforts by the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismaïl Ould Cheikh Ahmed, as well as the implementation of Human Rights Council resolution 33/16 of October 2016, which requests the UN to work with the national independent commission of inquiry, and supports all efforts for an independent international investigation to break the climate of impunity in Yemen; calls on the EU Member States to support the Netherlands-led joint statement expressing concern at violations and abuses in Yemen and calling for these to be thoroughly and impartially investigated; encourage use by the High Commissioner of the intersessional briefing format to keep the UNHRC regularly informed of the results of the investigations;

Western Sahara

50.  Calls for the fundamental rights of the people of Western Sahara, including freedom of association, freedom of expression and the right to assembly, to be respected; demands the release of all Sahrawi political prisoners; demands access to the territories of Western Sahara for UN representatives, members of parliament, independent observers, NGOs and the press; urges the UN to provide MINURSO with a human rights mandate, in line with all other UN peacekeeping missions around the world; supports a fair and lasting settlement of the Western Sahara conflict, on the basis of the right to self-determination of the Sahrawi people and in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions; calls for the EU and its Member States to raise the situation in Western Sahara at the forthcoming UPR session regarding Morocco;

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51.  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 EU 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 High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Secretary-General of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

(1)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0317.

(2)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0502.

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