Joint motion for a resolution - RC-B6-0342/2006Joint motion for a resolution



pursuant to Rule 115(5) of the Rules of Procedure, by
replacing the motions by the following groups: on Syria

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European Parliament resolution on Syria

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Syria, notably that of 8 September 2005,

–  having regard to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement, to which the European Union and Syria are parties, notably Article 2 which stipulates that respect for democratic principles and fundamental rights inspires the domestic and external policies of the parties and constitutes an essential element of the agreement,

–  having regard to the Barcelona Process declaration of 28 November 1995 and its priority to enhance human rights,

–  having regard to the political priority of the EP Presidency of the EMPA in 2005 to increase the dialogue on human rights with parliaments of the partner countries,

–  having regard to the Commission communication on the 10th Anniversary of the Barcelona Process and the objectives for the next 5 years, especially the aim of focusing on issues such as the protection of human rights,

–  having regard to its report on the 10th Anniversary of the Barcelona Process,

–  having regard to the EU guidelines towards third countries on the death penalty (1998), on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment (2001), on human rights dialogues with third countries (2001) and on human rights defenders (2004),

–  having regard to the declaration of the EU Presidency of 19 May 2006 regarding the recent arrests in Syria,

–  having regard to Article 11(1) of the Treaty on European Union and Article 177 of the EC Treaty, which establishes the promotion of human rights as an objective of the common foreign and security policy,

–  having regard to Rule 115(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  mindful of the importance of the political, economic and cultural ties that exist between the European Union and Syria,

B.  whereas the accession to power of the current President, Bashar Al Assad, gave rise to some hope in Syria and went some way towards opening up the Syrian political system, which had been dominated by the Baath Party for many years,

C.  whereas the European Parliament and its President have already intervened several times to seek the release of parliamentarians detained in Syrian prisons, and whereas on 19 May 2006 the EU Presidency called on the Syrian Government to fully respect freedom of speech and assembly, which are laid down in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that was ratified by Syria in 1969,

D.  whereas in May 2006, after signing a petition for improved Syrian-Lebanese relations in view of UN Security Council Resolution 1680, it is reported that several civil society activists were arrested and tortured, notably including the lawyer Anwar al Bunni and writer Michel Kilo as well as others such as Khalil Hussein, Dr Safwan Tayfour, Mahmoud Issa, Fateh Jammous, Prof. Suleiman Achmar, Nidal Derwiche, Suleiman Shummor, Ghalem Amer, Muhammad Mahfud and Mahmoud Meri'i,

E.  whereas Anwar Al Bunni, a lawyer specialising in human rights issues, was arrested on the streets of Damascus when he was on the verge of taking up a post as Director of a Human Rights Centre financed by the European Union,

F.  whereas as long ago as November 2005, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch reported the arrest and risk of torture of the peaceful activist Kamal Al-Labwani, who is now facing a life sentence for expressing his views,

G.  whereas the Syrian authorities are also reported to have arrested numerous journalists and civil society activists in the past two months,

H.  whereas this wave of arrests is intended as a direct reprisal for the distribution on 12 May 2006 of a petition signed by some 500 people calling for the normalisation of relations between Lebanon and Syria; whereas this petition was of particular importance, being a joint initiative by Syrian and Lebanese intellectuals and human rights activists, the first of its kind,

I.  whereas last year the UN Human Rights Committee expressed its concern ‘at the obstacles imposed on the registration and free operation of non-governmental human rights organisations’ in Syria and ‘intimidation and harassment of human rights defenders’,

J.  whereas Syria is governed by emergency laws introduced 43 years ago that are used to justify the violation of human rights,

1.  Urges the Syrian authorities to immediately release all activists still detained for signing a petition calling for improved Syrian-Lebanese relations;

2.  Further urges the Syrian authorities to reconsider all cases of political prisoners and immediately release all prisoners of conscience, and to:

(a)   ensure that the detainees are well treated and not subject to torture or other ill-treatment,

(b)  ensure that detained or imprisoned persons are given prompt, regular and unrestricted access to their lawyers, doctors and families;

3.  Calls on the Syrian authorities to ratify the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;

4.  Strongly supports the declaration of 19 May 2006 by the EU Presidency on behalf of the European Union regarding the recent arrests in Syria;

5.  Points out that respect for human rights constitutes a vital component in any future EU-Syria Association Agreement and calls on Syria to respect its commitments within the framework of the Barcelona Process and along the lines of the European Neighbourhood Policy;

6.  Reasserts the necessity for the Commission and the Council also to do their utmost to ensure that the Association Agreement with Syria, which has not yet been signed, leads to an improvement of human rights in Syria;

7.  Calls on the Commission to annually assess the human rights situation in Syria and its compliance with the obligations under the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement and to report its findings within the framework of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership;

8.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Syrian Government and the Syrian Parliament.