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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on Gabon, repression of the opposition

12.9.2017 - (2017/2830(RSP))

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 135 of the Rules of Procedure

Elena Valenciano, Victor Boştinaru, Soraya Post, Jo Leinen on behalf of the S&D Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0512/2017

Procedura : 2017/2830(RSP)
Ciclo di vita in Aula
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European Parliament resolution on Gabon, repression of the opposition


The European Parliament,

-having regard its previous resolutions on Gabon, notably of 2 February 2017 on the rule of law crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Gabon (2017/2510(RSP));

-having regard to the joint statement issued on 24 September 2016 by the VP/HR and the Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, following the announcement by the Gabonese Constitutional Court of the official results of the 2016 presidential election;

-having regard to the press release issued by the African Union on 1 September 2016 condemning the violence and calling for the peaceful resolution of the post-electoral conflict in Gabon;

-having regard to European Council conclusions on a renewed impetus for the Africa-EU Partnership June 2017;

-having regard to the declaration of porte-parole on Gabon by the EU High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and the Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica on, 11/09/2016;

-having regard to the intervention of the European Union on 9 March 2017 at 34th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, delivered under during the Interactive Dialogue with the High Commissioner under Item 2,

-having regard to the Resolution 359 (LIX) 2016 of The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Human Rights Situation in Gabonese Republic of 4 November 2016,

-having regard to the Gabonese Constitution;

-having regard to the revised Cotonou Partnership Agreement;

-having regard to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, of June 1981,

-having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, of December 1966;

-having regard to the final report of the EU Electoral Observation Mission

-having regard to the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance;

-having regard to Article 135 of its Rules of Procedure.



A.whereas the August 2016 presidential elections in Gabon, raised allegations of a rigged vote; whereas in the days following the elections, the country’s parliament was razed by fire and hundreds of protesters arrested; whereas although the security situation has largely stabilized, tensions remain high across the country and are compounded by a poor economic situation,

B.whereas Gabon has witnessed an increase in political violence, especially in the capital Libreville where several homes belonging to members of the political opposition were reportedly attacked in June;

C.whereas the authorities have clamped down on members of the opposition and of civil society opposing the power in place; whereas human rights groups continuously report on the worsening situation with regard to human rights and freedom of expression and assembly, including the use of excessive force against peaceful demonstrators, arbitrary arrests and detentions, and politically motivated trials;

D.whereas numerous allegations before and after the 2016 elections have linked Ali Bongo’s regime to human rights violations such as arbitrary arrest and long-term detention in inhuman conditions, torture, extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances of civilians and journalists who expressed opposition to his regime or his re-election;

E.whereas in Gabon since, in particular the post-electoral violence in August 2016, during which cases of arrests, killings, and enforced disappearances took place, as had been reported by several international and non-governmental organizations; whereas recently, at least four mass graves had been discovered in Libreville, in which hundreds of bodies were located and no account of the victims has been given;

F.whereas on 2 September, political opposition leader and former presidential candidate Jean Ping and the leaders of more than twenty opposition parties have been prevented from leaving the country without having been notified of this restriction and without any list of individuals affected having been published; whereas this measure has been lifted a week later;

G.whereas the government has forbidden political opponents who contest the victory of Ali Bongo to speak in public and private media;

H.Whereas individual cases have been filed before French courts with regard to serious human rights violations and “biens mal-acquis” targeting several high-profile Gabonese individuals;

I.Whereas the EU Election Observation Mission invited by the Gabonese Government to monitor the presidential elections concluded in its final report that the election process and specifically the consolidation of the election results and the appeals process lacked transparency; whereas the EOM concluded that these anomalies call into question the integrity of the process of consolidating the results and the final result of the election;


1.Recalls that Gabon made a commitment under the Cotonou Agreement to respecting democracy, the rule of law and human rights principles, which include freedom of expression, assembly and access to the media, good governance and transparency in political office,

2.Reminds Gabon of its duties and responsibilities as a state party, including to provide clear and tangible information on the reforms undertaken since the ratification, on the post-electoral violence, and on action taken to establish the truth and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice,

3.Strongly condemns the constant threats, attacks, use of force and the severe restrictions and intimidations faced by the opposition, human rights defenders and journalists in Gabon; Calls authorities to respect the opposition’s right to a peaceful protest and immediately release anyone still wrongfully held and also stop all harassment, intimidation, and persecution of opposition and to take concrete measures in order to guarantee freedom of expression to journalists,

4.Recognizes that an Intensified Political Dialogue between the EU and Gabon according to the provisions of the Cotonou Agreement is on-going; urges all parties involved to cooperate fully and to work towards a tangible success of this process,

5.Voices reservations towards the inclusivity and therefore the credibility and relevance of the national dialogue initiated by the Government; notes that Jean Ping and his Coalition for the New Republic declined to take part in the dialogue,

6.Strongly urges France in particular, due to its strong and historic ties to Gabon, to make use of all its political and economic leverage towards the Gabonese government and to play a constructive role in the European Institutions in this regard,

7.Calls on the EU Delegation to continue to closely monitor developments in Gabon and to use all appropriate tools, instruments and the Intensified Political Dialogue to promote the essential elements of the Cotonou Agreement and to support pro-democracy movements,

8.Believes that the current deep political and social divisions in Gabon require a clear political response in order to preserve the stability of the country, to increase Gabonese citizens’ confidence and to give real legitimacy to the institutions,

9.Believes dialogue remains the only way to ensure lasting peace in Gabon ; Urges the government to respond concretely to the concerns of the international community by launching a prompt, independent, transparent and impartial consultative forum for dialogue; calls also on the opposition to assess the credibility of such process,

10.Voices reservations towards the inclusivity and therefore the credibility and relevance of the national dialogue initiated by the Government; note that Jean Ping declined to take part in the dialogue,

11.Calls on the HR/VP, the European Commission and the Member States to review their policies towards Gabon and to consider targeted sanctions towards individuals responsible for the electoral fraud and the subsequent violence perpetrated in Gabon;

12.Reiterates its call on the Gabonese Government to put in place a judicial regime and a sanction regime which would ensure that arrests and sentences were proportionate to the seriousness of the crime,

13.Urges the government to respond concretely to the concerns of the international community by launching a prompt, genuinely inclusive, transparent and impartial consultative forum for dialogue; calls also on the opposition to assess the credibility of such a process,

14.Calls on the participants of the next EU-Africa summit in Abidjan to put the situation in Gabon on the agenda and to remind Gabon of its commitments towards human rights, democracy, and the rule of law,

15.Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, and the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the African Union, the President and Parliament of Gabon, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the UN Human Rights Council, and the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly.