Procedure : 2019/2981(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : RC-B9-0242/2019

Texts tabled :

RC-B9-0242/2019

Debates :

PV 19/12/2019 - 2.2
CRE 19/12/2019 - 2.2

Votes :

PV 19/12/2019 - 6.2

Texts adopted :

P9_TA(2019)0107

<Date>{18/12/2019}18.12.2019</Date>
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PDF 154kWORD 52k

<TitreType>JOINT MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION</TitreType>

<TitreRecueil>pursuant to Rules 144(5) and 132(4) of the Rules of Procedure</TitreRecueil>


<Replacing>replacing the following motions:</Replacing>

<TablingGroups>B9‑0242/2019 (ECR)

B9‑0243/2019 (Verts/ALE)

B9‑0244/2019 (S&D)

B9‑0245/2019 (GUE/NGL)

B9‑0256/2019 (Renew)

B9‑0257/2019 (PPE)</TablingGroups>


<Titre>on Afghanistan, notably the allegations of sexual abuse of boys in the Logar Province</Titre>

<DocRef>(2019/2981(RSP))</DocRef>


<RepeatBlock-By><Depute>Michael Gahler, Željana Zovko, David McAllister, Andrey Kovatchev, Sandra Kalniete, Antonio López‑Istúriz White, Tomáš Zdechovský, Eva Maydell, Magdalena Adamowicz, Maria Walsh, Milan Zver, Roberta Metsola, Lefteris Christoforou, Loucas Fourlas, David Lega, Krzysztof Hetman, Tomas Tobé, Romana Tomc, Seán Kelly, Arba Kokalari, Stelios Kympouropoulos, Vladimír Bilčík, Luděk Niedermayer, Ioan‑Rareş Bogdan, Gheorghe‑Vlad Nistor, Stanislav Polčák, Jiří Pospíšil, Ivan Štefanec, Michal Wiezik, Peter Pollák</Depute>

<Commission>{PPE}on behalf of the PPE Group</Commission>

<Depute>Kati Piri, Robert Biedroń</Depute>

<Commission>{S&D}on behalf of the S&D Group</Commission>

<Depute>Petras Auštrevičius, Atidzhe Alieva‑Veli, Malik Azmani, José Ramón Bauzá Díaz, Phil Bennion, Stéphane Bijoux, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Gilles Boyer, Sylvie Brunet, Olivier Chastel, Katalin Cseh, Jérémy Decerle, Anna Júlia Donáth, Engin Eroglu, Klemen Grošelj, Christophe Grudler, Bernard Guetta, Antony Hook, Ivars Ijabs, Moritz Körner, Ondřej Kovařík, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Nathalie Loiseau, Karen Melchior, Ulrike Müller, Javier Nart, Jan‑Christoph Oetjen, Dragoş Pîslaru, Frédérique Ries, María Soraya Rodríguez Ramos, Monica Semedo, Susana Solís Pérez, Ramona Strugariu, Irène Tolleret, Yana Toom, Viktor Uspaskich, Hilde Vautmans, Marie‑Pierre Vedrenne, Irina Von Wiese, Chrysoula Zacharopoulou</Depute>

<Commission>{Renew}on behalf of the Renew Group</Commission>

<Depute>Erik Marquardt, Hannah Neumann</Depute>

<Commission>{Verts/ALE}on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group</Commission>

<Depute>Anna Fotyga, Jan Zahradil, Karol Karski</Depute>

<Commission>{ECR}on behalf of the ECR Group</Commission>

<Depute>Marisa Matias, Manuel Bompard, Clare Daly, Mick Wallace, Helmut Scholz, Özlem Demirel, Martin Buschmann, Martina Michels, José Gusmão</Depute>

<Commission>{GUE/NGL}on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group</Commission>

<Depute>Fabio Massimo Castaldo</Depute>

</RepeatBlock-By>

AMENDMENTS

European Parliament resolution on Afghanistan, notably the allegations of sexual abuse of boys in the Logar Province

(2019/2981(RSP))

 

The European Parliament,

 having regard to its previous resolutions on Afghanistan, in particular of 14 December 2017[1],

 having regard to its resolution of 26 November 2019 on children’s rights on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child[2],

 having regard to the statements of 3 December 2019 by the Group of Friends of Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC), of which the European Union is a member, regarding allegations of sexual abuse of boys in Logar province and subsequent actions against human rights defenders,

 having regard to the Afghan Law on Protection of Child Rights ratified on 5 March 2019,

 having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

 having regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child of 20 November 1989,

 having regard to the UNICEF report of November 2019 on the Convention on the Rights of the Child at a crossroads,

 having regard to the reports of the UN Secretary-General to the Security Council on conflict-related sexual violence of 23 March 2018 and 29 March 2019, and the report on children and armed conflict in Afghanistan of 10 March 2019,

 having regard to the EU Guidelines for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of the Child, on Children in Armed Conflict, and on Human Rights Defenders,

 having regard to the Council conclusions on Afghanistan of 8 April 2019,

 having regard to the EU-Afghanistan Cooperation Agreement on Partnership and Development signed on 18 February 2017,

 having regard to Rules 144(5) and 132(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas between 2015 and 2018, 14 000 violations were committed against children in Afghanistan according to the United Nations Secretary-General’s 2019 report on children and armed conflict in Afghanistan; whereas at least 12 599 children were killed or maimed, representing almost a third of all civilian casualties; whereas the sexual abuse, rape and exploitation of boys, a practice known as bacha bazi that constitutes child sex slavery, is prevalent in several provinces of Afghanistan;

B. whereas the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has reported that 136 Afghan boys in at least six schools in Logar province have been sexually abused by a paedophile ring; whereas so far the investigation has identified over 100 videos posted online; whereas at least seven boys who appeared in the videos have been found dead, and five have been murdered by their families;

C. whereas the bachas, typically boys between 10 and 18 years old, are bought or kidnapped from impoverished families by influential members of the elite in rural areas, including politicians and army officers; whereas the boys dress as women and perform as dancers at private parties, after which they are often sexually abused by men;

D. whereas head teachers, teachers and local authorities from the Logar province have been implicated; whereas impunity for sexual violence is common due to the powerful positions often held by the perpetrators, disbelief within victims’ families and communities, and a value system that places family honour above the individual interest of the child;

E. whereas children in Afghanistan who suffer rape and sexual exploitation have very limited access to justice or support; whereas reports indicate that the opposite happens, and that children who report sexual abuse often face further abuse, stigmatisation, ostracism and even death at the hands of perpetrators, the authorities, militia leaders and their own families, resulting in further physical and psychological trauma;

F. whereas the Logar Youth Social and Civil Institution is investigating the situation in other schools in the region; whereas thousands more boys in the province are believed to be victims of bacha bazi;

G. whereas Afghanistan reformed its Penal Code in 2018, criminalising the sexual abuse of children; whereas in 2019 the Afghan authorities adopted a Law on the Protection of Child Rights; whereas the enforcement of the provisions criminalising recruitment, the use of recruited children, and sexual violence and abuse of children still remains a challenge;

H. whereas human rights defenders Mohammad Musa Mahmudi and Ehsanullah Hamidi from the Logar Youth Social and Civil Institution were arbitrarily detained by the National Directorate of Security when they were on their way to meet the EU Ambassador in Kabul; whereas they were both released on 27 November 2019 and their safety remains a concern; whereas the two human rights defenders have previously received threats on social media, some from public officials; whereas, furthermore, the provincial governor threatened to punish them for spreading false information;

I. whereas human rights defenders in Afghanistan are increasingly under attack from the Afghan authorities and armed groups, and are subject to harassment, intimidation, threats and violence; whereas the Afghan Government has repeatedly failed to investigate attacks on human rights defenders;

1. Deplores the widespread and ongoing sexual abuse and slavery of boys in Afghanistan; expresses its full support for and solidarity with the victims; expresses its serious concern about the prevalence of deeply-rooted practices of sexual abuse against boys, the impunity of the perpetrators and the vulnerable position of the victims;

2. Acknowledges the recent reaction of the Afghan authorities and their move to investigate and prosecute those responsible; reminds the authorities that the protection of children and other vulnerable groups must be the core of any human rights protection policy, and calls on Afghan central and local authorities to continue active measures to eradicate the bacha bazi practice in the country;

3. Expresses deep regret that cases of sexual abuse allegedly took place in schools, trusted and respected institutions, and were conducted by teachers and headmasters, who have an enormous influence on their pupils and great responsibility for their development, both intellectual and psychological;

4. Calls on the Afghan Government to immediately suspend from their positions the persons allegedly implicated in cases of sexual abuse and violence until the investigation has been concluded, and to provide the victims and their families with the necessary medical, psychological and social support;

5. Calls on the Attorney General’s office to launch an independent and impartial investigation into the allegations of sexual abuse and violence against boys in Logar province which guarantees the victims’ rights and their protection; recalls that given that allegations have also been levelled against individuals in the national authorities, the investigation should be conducted in cooperation with international bodies including UNAMA, and in full transparency;

6. Urges the Afghan authorities to immediately establish a protection and reporting mechanism for organisations and advocates that report and expose children’s rights abuses; urges the Afghan authorities to set up a national victim support helpline dedicated to children’s rights abuses;

7. Calls on the Afghan authorities to make full use of national and international law on child rights protection; urges the Afghan authorities to fully implement the new Afghan Penal Code of 2018 and the Law on Protection of Child Rights of 2019 in order to ensure full accountability for cases of sexual abuse and violence against children;

8. Urges the Afghan Government to start a nationwide campaign to educate society about the prohibition of bacha bazi and the right of minors to be protected from such physical and sexual abuse; stresses that only through a combination of law enforcement and education on the issue will it be possible to achieve the cultural change needed in Afghan society to eliminate this practice; insists that these efforts prioritise the de-stigmatisation of victims of bacha bazi practices and prevent them from being ostracised by their communities, expelled from their families, or killed;

9. Commends the work of Mohammad Musa Mahmudi, Ehsanullah Hamidi and all human rights defenders in Afghanistan, who operate in one of the most dangerous environments in the world, are threatened by state and non-state actors, and do not receive the protection they need to carry out their work without fear of reprisals; stresses that the Afghan authorities must in all circumstances ensure that human rights defenders are able to carry out their human rights work free of threats, intimidation, or impediment;

10. Urges greater scrutiny and monitoring of EU financial assistance to Afghanistan in order to ensure that budget support provided actually promotes an environment conducive to the protection and promotion of human rights;

11. Urges the Afghan authorities to guarantee the safety of Mohammad Musa Mahmudi and Ehsanullah Hamidi; calls, furthermore, on the authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all human rights defenders, prisoners of conscience and journalists detained and sentenced merely for exercising their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly;

12. Calls on the Attorney General’s Office to launch an independent and impartial investigation into the arbitrary detention of the members of civil society who were arrested after they reported cases of sexual abuse and violence, and who were released after several days;

13. Calls on EU Member States with diplomatic missions in Afghanistan and their development agencies on the ground to assist the authorities and local civil society actors working to eradicate the bacha bazi practice from Afghan society;

14. Calls on EU Member States with diplomatic missions on the ground to fully implement the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders, and to provide all appropriate support to the human rights defenders detained, including prison visits and trial monitoring; recalls the importance for the EU Delegation and EU Member States to fully implement the EU Guidelines for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of the Child, and on Children and Armed Conflict;

15. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the European Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, and the Government and Parliament of Afghanistan.

 

 

[1] OJ C 369, 11.10.2018, p. 85.

[2] Texts adopted, P9_TA(2019)0066.

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