Texts adopted
Thursday, 11 March 2010 - Strasbourg
 Investing in Low Carbon Technologies
 Effects of the Xynthia storm in Europe
 The case of Gilad Shalit
 The escalation of violence in Mexico
 South Korea - death penalty declared legal

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European Parliament resolution of 11 March 2010 on prisoners of conscience in Cuba

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on the situation in Cuba, in particular those of 17 November 2004, 2 February 2006 and 21 June 2007,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on the Annual Reports on Human Rights in the World for 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008, and to the EU's policy in the field of human rights,

–   having regard to its resolution of 14 December 2006 on the follow-up to the Sakharov Prize(1),

–   having regard to the Council Presidency Declaration of 14 December 2005 on the Damas de Blanco and to the earlier declarations of 26 March 2003 and 5 June 2003 on the situation in Cuba,

–   having regard to Council Common Position 96/697/CFSP, adopted on 2 December 1996 and updated periodically since,

–   having regard to the conclusions of the General Affairs and External Relations Council of 18 June 2007, June 2008 and 15 June 2009, on Cuba,

–   having regard to the statements issued by the spokesperson for the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Baroness Catherine Ashton, and by the President of Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, on the death in Cuba of the political prisoner and prisoner of conscience Orlando Zapata Tamayo,

–   having regard to Rule 110(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas defending the universality and indivisibility of human rights, including civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, remains one of the European Union's main objectives,

B.   whereas dozens of independent journalists, peaceful dissidents and human rights defenders, mostly members of the democratic opposition, are still being held in jail in Cuba for exercising the basic rights of expression and assembly and the right to hold meetings,

C.   whereas Parliament awarded the 2005 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to the Damas de Blanco; whereas the Cuban authorities‘ refusal to allow the Damas de Blanco to travel to the seat of Parliament to receive the award violates one of the basic human rights, namely the right freely to leave and return to one's own country, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

D.   whereas the Community institutions have made efforts to secure the release and humanitarian treatment of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in Cuba,

E.   whereas the death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo – the first time in nearly 40 years that a Cuban activist has died on hunger strike in protest against government abuses – is considered a serious step backwards for human rights in Cuba and has resulted in a wave of protest at international level and in more Cuban political and dissident prisoners going on hunger strike,

1.  Strongly condemns the avoidable and cruel death of the dissident political prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo after a hunger strike of 85 days, and expresses its solidarity and sympathy with his family;

2.  Condemns the pre-emptive detention of activists and the government's attempt to prevent the family of Orlando Zapata Tamayo from holding his funeral and paying their last respects;

3.  Deplores the absence of any significant signs of response by the Cuban authorities to the calls by the EU and the international community for all political prisoners to be released and for fundamental freedoms, especially freedom of expression and political association, to be fully respected;

4.  Calls on the Cuban Government for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience;

5.  Voices its concern at the situation of the political prisoners and dissidents who went on hunger strike following Zapata's death; welcomes the fact that most of them are now taking food again, but draws attention to the alarming state of the journalist and psychologist Guillermo Fariñas, whose continuation of the hunger strike could have fatal consequences;

6.  Deplores the failure to respond to the repeated calls by the Council and Parliament for the immediate release of all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, and stresses that imprisoning Cuban dissidents for their ideals and their peaceful political activity is contrary to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

7.  Urges the Council and Commission to step up action to demand the release of political prisoners and promote and provide guarantees for the work of human rights defenders, along the lines agreed by the Foreign Affairs Council in its conclusions of 8 December 2009;

8.  Urges the EU institutions to give their unconditional support and full encouragement to the launching of a peaceful process of political transition to multi-party democracy in Cuba;

9.  Voices its profound solidarity with the entire Cuban people and its support for them in their progress towards democracy and respect and promotion of fundamental freedoms

10.  Calls on the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the Commissioner responsible for cooperation immediately to begin a structured dialogue with Cuban civil society and with those who support a peaceful transition in Cuba, in keeping with the conclusions successively adopted by the Council of the EU, using the Community's development cooperation mechanisms, in particular under the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights;

11.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the EU rotating Presidency, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly and the Cuban Government and National Assembly of People's Power.

(1) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2006)0601.

Investing in Low Carbon Technologies
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European Parliament resolution of 11 March 2010 on investing in the development of low carbon technologies (SET-Plan)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Council conclusions of 28 February 2008,

–   having regard to the Commission's Communication on Investing in the Development of Low Carbon Technologies (SET-Plan) (COM(2009)0519) and the Working Papers drawing up the technology roadmaps 2010-2020 for the implementation of the SET Plan (SEC(2009)1295) and the R&D investment in the priority technologies (SEC(2009)1296),

–   having regard to its resolution of 9 July 2008 on the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (2008/2005(INI))(1),

–   having regard to Decision No 1982/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Community for research, technological development and demonstration activities (2007-2013)(2),

–   having regard to Decision No 1639/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 2006 establishing a Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (2007 to 2013)(3),

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 663/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 establishing a programme to aid economic recovery by granting Community financial assistance to projects in the field of energy(4),

–   having regard to Directive 2009/28/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources and amending and subsequently repealing Directives 2001/77/EC and 2003/30/EC(5),

–   having regard to Directive 2009/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 amending Directive 2003/87/EC so as to improve and extend the greenhouse gas emission allowance trading scheme of the Community(6),

–   having regard to the Commission's Communication of 10 January 2007 on Energy Policy for Europe, which defines the EU's core objectives for energy as sustainability, competitiveness and energy security (COM(2007)0001),

–   having regard to its resolution of 10 February 2010 on the outcome of the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change (COP 15)(7),

–   having regard to the questions of 12 February 2010 on investing in the development of low carbon technologies (SET-Plan) (O-0015/2010 – B7-0011/2010, O-0016/2010 – B7-0012/2010),

–   having regard to Rules 115(5) and 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas the European Union can only achieve its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20%, and by 30% in the event of an international agreement, reducing the use of primary energy compared with projected levels by 20% and reaching a figure of at least 20% of energy produced from renewable sources by 2020, if it increases its efforts to develop a portfolio of affordable, clean, efficient and sustainable low carbon energy technologies,

B.   whereas such technologies can be part of the solution to properly address the challenges of climate change, to secure EU energy supply and to ensure the competitiveness of our economies,

C.   whereas public and private energy research budgets have decreased since the 1980s; whereas the current level of resources does not match the scale of the challenges in moving towards a sustainable low carbon energy system,

D.   whereas financing is one of the major challenges in driving forward innovation in the field of energy in the EU,

E.   whereas in the field of the six European Industrial Initiatives (EIIs) the Commission identifies a need for public and private investment over the next 10 years of EUR 6 billion for wind energy, EUR 16 billion for solar energy, EUR 2 billion for electricity networks, EUR 9 billion for bio-energy, EUR 13 billion for carbon capture and storage (CCS), EUR 7 billion for nuclear fission and EUR 5 billion for the Joint Technology Initiative (JTI) on fuel cells and hydrogen,

F.   whereas the SET Plan has the objective, and the potential, of turning the EU into an innovative economy, thereby creating hundreds of thousands of new skilled jobs in the next decade and pushing forward a fast growing industrial sector,

G.  whereas the urgently needed shift in the energy paradigm calls for a risk-sharing approach, in which all relevant actors, public and private, have to take shared responsibility, which implies the need for more public financial support, but also the need for industry, banks and private investors to take greater responsibility for sharing technological and market risks,

H.   whereas research is chronically underfunded in the EU,

1.  Welcomes the SET Plan as describing concrete actions for research in the field of clean, sustainable and efficient low carbon energy technologies; underlines its potential to turn the EU into an innovative economy; stresses also, that without this new approach the EU will not meet its energy and climate goals for 2020;

2.  Recognises the need to increase substantially public and private investment in the development of sustainable low carbon energy technologies, in order to speed up the development, cost-effective deployment and fast, widespread application of these technologies over the next 10 years;

3.  Believes strongly that funding needs for the implementation of the SET-Plan can only be met if additional public and private resources are made available and that the SET-Plan is only credible if new money is reallocated to it from the EU budget;

4.  Calls on both public and private stakeholders to allocate immediately additional resources to the implementation of the agreed roadmaps, whereby the major part has to come from the private sector with a substantive increase in the portion of public investment both at EU and at national level;

5.  Underlines that, in the light of the economic crisis, investing in those new technologies that have the greatest potential for job creation should be a priority; underlines that it will lead to the creation of markets, generate new revenue streams and contribute to the development of the EU's economy and competitiveness; stresses, finally, that it will, furthermore, strengthen the security of the EU's energy supply and reduce its energy dependency on a limited number of energy resources, suppliers and transport routes;

6.  Reiterates its request to ensure adequate financing to support clean, sustainable and efficient low carbon energy technologies, which amounts in total to at least EUR 2 billion per annum of the EU budget being spent in addition to FP7 and CIP from 2010 onwards; calls, in this context, for the urgent establishment of a funding timetable by the Commission and the Member States of the resources they will commit to ensure that funds start flowing from 2010;

7.  Calls, furthermore, on the Council and the Commission to take advantage of the debate on the mid-term review of the current financial perspectives and on the debate of the next financial perspectives, in order to better align the current and future EU budgets with EU policy priorities, notably as regards research, climate action and security of energy supply;

8.  Considers it absolutely necessary to rapidly use the EUR 300 million allowances set aside from the New Entrants Reserve of the EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) to support carbon capture and storage and innovative renewable sources of energy; urges the European Investment Bank (EIB) to align its lending criteria with eligible innovative renewable installations;

9.  Reminds Member States that from 2013 onwards the ETS auction revenues are a crucial source of funding for climate mitigation and the deployment and development of sustainable low carbon energy technologies;

10.  Calls for the role of the EIB in financing energy-related projects to be enhanced, in particular by increasing its lending target in the field of energy, by increasing its capacity to offer loan guarantees to energy projects and by improving the coordination and continuity of funding for higher-risk research and development energy projects;

11.  Calls on the EIB to consider with adequate priority those projects that will realistically enhance the viability of sustainable low carbon technology demonstration (e.g. the development of smart grids and mini hydro facilities);

12.  Welcomes the ongoing initiatives such as the Risk Sharing Finance Facility (RSFF), the ‘Marguerite Fund’ (2020 European Equity Fund for Energy, Climate Change and Infrastructure), venture capital and the High Growth and Innovative SME Facility (GIF), whose role in contributing to the financing of the SET-Plan initiatives should be strengthened and submitted to a proper evaluation process under a mid-term review;

13.  Asks the Commission, in close cooperation with the EIB, to come forward without delay, and by 2011 at the latest, with a comprehensive proposal for an instrument to finance renewable energy and energy efficiency projects and smart grids development;

14.  Stresses that the capacity of the EU research base needs to be enlarged and that further education and training is essential to provide the quantity and quality of human resources required to take full advantage of the new technology opportunities opening up;

15.  Stresses the need to create the right conditions and a stable and favourable regulatory framework to support the establishment of public-private partnerships, which are a pre-requisite for implementing the SET-Plan and the European Industrial Initiatives (EIIs);

16.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that technology manufacturers can apply directly for SET-Plan funding, not just as members of consortia with energy utilities as is the case for the economic recovery programme and the NER300;

17.  Recognises that SMEs are a major driving force in the development of many sustainable low carbon energy technologies, in particular as regards developing more decentralised energy systems, and underlines, therefore, that access to public grants and loans, including funding under the SET-Plan, must be designed in an SME-friendly manner; calls for a very significant share of the EU funding available under the SET-Plan to be earmarked for SMEs;

18.  Welcomes the focus on funding of demonstration projects (large scale); underlines, however, the need to make available funds for risky medium and long-term basic and applied research too;

19.  Invites the European Energy Research Alliance (EERA) to launch and implement joint programmes for implementing the SET-Plan by developing strong links with the EIIs and to expand its activities; stresses that, if the EERA is fully to assume this role, sufficient funds should be allocated by EU and national budgets;

20.  Expresses its concern at the fact that the European Research Council (ERC) is not planning any specific energy-related programmes, thereby demonstrating the lack of proper investment in basic research;

21.  Welcomes the initiative of the European Institute of Technology & Innovation (EIT) to launch specific Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) on sustainable energy and climate change adaptation and mitigation;

22.  Welcomes the proposal that the new Smart Cities Initiative focusing on energy efficiency in European cities (in particular the signatories of the Covenant of Mayors) be added to the existing six EIIs with the aim of creating the conditions to trigger mass market take-up of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies as well as smart distribution grids in urban areas; urges the Commission and the Member States to implement rapidly this new initiative that boosts the local economy and promotes social cohesion, involving fully local and regional authorities, which have a crucial role to play in the promotion and use of sustainable low-carbon energy technologies;

23.  Reminds the Commission of its reporting obligations under the Energy Recovery Plan Regulation and its undertaking to make additional proposals that would allow funding for projects in the areas of energy efficiency and renewable energy sources if money remains after the call for proposals; notes that EUR 50 million are uncommitted; expects EUR 116.19 million of uncommitted money to be available for such projects;

24.  Invites the Commission and the Member States to further explore and disseminate innovative approaches to urban planning and development, especially integrated urban planning that meets the needs for strengthened social inclusion, territorial cohesion, and strong deployment of sustainable energy and clean transport in order to build resilient urban systems;

25.  Urges the Commission to come forward with complementary initiatives to exploit the great potential of other technological avenues mentioned in its Communication on Investing in the Development of Low-Carbon Technologies (SET-Plan) of 7 October 2009, as well as of salinity gradients and geothermal energy; stresses the need to make additional resources available from the EU budget in order to finance these;

26.  Welcomes the selection of the six EIIs and the drawing up of the 2010-2020 technology roadmaps providing concrete objectives for making each sustainable low carbon technology cost-competitive, and invites the Commission to launch mature EIIs, ensuring that their governance structure is light, non-bureaucratic and transparent and that a central common feature is regular contact with the SET-Plan Steering Group and the EIB;

27.  Invites the SET-Plan Steering Group to report to the European Parliament once a year and to envisage a wider structure of expertise by creating technical working groups in the areas of interest in order to involve a larger number of stakeholders in the discussion and decision process;

28.  Invites the Commission to foster international cooperation with other key strategic partners in developed, emerging and developing countries in the field of the development, deployment and diffusion of sustainable low carbon energy technologies, notably through funds such as GEEREF, which focuses on small-scale projects;

29.  Welcomes moves to foster cooperation in the field of energy technologies, such as the one initiated by the recent establishment of the EU-US Energy Council; calls, in this context, on the Energy Council to exploit synergies for implementing the SET-Plan;

30.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote world-wide carbon emission trading to create a stable and fair competitive environment for the development and deployment of sustainable low carbon technologies;

31.  Asks the Commission to monitor the effective implementation of the SET-Plan, to introduce an accompanying evaluation system for this purpose, to assess any obstacles encountered in implementing the roadmaps and to inform Parliament regularly on the progress made on implementing the SET-Plan and its roadmaps;

32.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0354.
(2) OJ L 412, 30.12.2006, p. 1
(3) OJ L 310, 9.11.2006, p. 15.
(4) OJ L 200, 31.7.2009, p. 31.
(5) OJ L 140, 5.6.2009, p. 16.
(6) OJ L 140, 5.6.2009, p. 63.
(7) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0019.

Effects of the Xynthia storm in Europe
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European Parliament resolution of 11 March 2010 on the major natural disaster in the autonomous region of Madeira and the effects of the storm ‘Xynthia’ in Europe

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to Article 3 of the Treaty of the EU and Articles 191 and 349 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal for a Regulation establishing a European Union Solidarity Fund (COM(2005)0108) and to Parliament's position of 18 May 2006(1),

–   having regard to its resolutions of 5 September 2002 on floods in Europe(2), of 8 September 2005 on natural disasters (fires and floods) in Europe(3), of 7 September 2006 on forest fires and floods(4) and its resolutions of 18 May 2006 on natural disasters (forest fires, droughts and floods) – agricultural aspects(5), regional development aspects(6) and environmental aspects(7),

–   having regard to the White Paper ‘Adapting to climate change: Towards a European framework for action’ (COM(2009)0147) and to the Communication from the Commission on a Community approach on the prevention of natural and man made disasters (COM(2009)0082),

–   having regard to the statement by the Commission on the major natural disaster in the autonomous region of Madeira of 24 February 2010,

–   having regard to Rule 110(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas a major natural disaster took place on 20 February 2010 in Madeira, with excessive and unprecedented rainfall, strong winds and very high waves causing the deaths of at least 42 people in Madeira, with several people missing, hundreds of people displaced and dozens of people wounded,

B.   whereas, on 27 and 28 February 2010, a massive, highly destructive storm called Xynthia hit western France, in particular the regions of Poitou-Charentes, Pays-de-la-Loire and Brittany, causing the deaths of almost 60 people, with several people missing and thousands left homeless,

C.   whereas a number of meteorological phenomena, especially the storm ‘Xynthia’, have also hit different regions in Spain, particularly the Canary Islands and the region of Andalucía, as well as Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Portugal, and have caused several deaths and serious material damage,

D.   whereas the disaster caused great human suffering to the families of the victims and to the affected population,

E.   whereas the disaster caused destruction on a large scale, with considerable damage to public infrastructure – including roads, harbours, water supply, electricity, sanitation and telecommunications – as well to private buildings, commercial establishments, industry and agricultural land, and also damaged the natural and cultural patrimony; whereas in particular the damage to the water supply and sanitation may become a public-health threat,

F.   whereas the disaster is currently preventing people from resuming their normal lives and is likely to have a long-term economic and social impact,

G.   whereas there is a need to clean up and reconstruct the disaster-stricken areas as well as to recover their productive potential and to compensate for the social costs inflicted by the disaster,

H.   whereas it has become clear in recent years that problems with floods, storms and other extreme weather phenomena are likely to be increasingly frequent; whereas investment in mitigating climate change is also important in order to prevent catastrophes,

I.   whereas natural disasters have damaging economic and social consequences for regional economies, productive activity, aquaculture, tourism, the environment and biodiversity,

1.  Expresses its deepest sympathy and solidarity with the affected regions, regrets the serious economic consequences of these natural disasters and sends in particular its condolences to the families of the victims;

2.  Pays tribute to the search and rescue teams that have worked uninterruptedly to save people and limit the human and material damage;

3.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to support those affected by the economic and social consequences of the disaster;

4.  Considers that the national, regional and local authorities should focus on effective prevention policies and pay more attention to adequate legislation and practices relating to reforestation programmes, land use, water management and efficient risk management, with respect, inter alia, to urban sea-front construction and the building of dykes, and in the areas of agriculture and forestry;

5.  Calls on the Commission, as soon as the governments of the countries concerned submit their respective requests, promptly to take all the action necessary to mobilise the European Union Solidarity Fund in the most urgent and flexible way and to the greatest possible extent;

6.  Calls on the Commission to take into account the specific nature of the individual regions affected, in particular the fragility of insular and outermost regions, with the aim of helping the victims of this disaster in the best possible way;

7.  Urges the Commission, in addition to mobilising the European Union Solidarity Fund, to be available and flexible as regards negotiating with the relevant authorities a revision of the RegionalOperational Programmes Intervir + (ERDF) and Rumos (ESF) and their French equivalents, as well as the section on Madeira of the Thematic Operational Programme for Territorial Enhancement, financed by the Cohesion Fund; calls on the Commission to proceed with the revision as soon as possible and to analyse the possibility of increasing the community cofinancing rate in 2010 for specific projects within the respective Operational Programmes, in conformity with the rules and ceilings set out in the General Regulation on Structural Funds 2007-2013 (Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006) and without calling into question the annual financial envelope allocated to the Member States in question;

8.  Reiterates that a new EUSF Regulation, based on a Commission proposal (COM(2005)0108), is imperative in order to address the problems caused by natural disasters in a more flexible and effective way; criticises the fact that the Council has blocked the dossier, in spite of the fact that Parliament adopted its position by an overwhelming majority at first reading in May 2006; urges the Spanish Presidency and the Commission to seek a solution without delay in order to reactivate the revision of this Regulation, with a view to creating a stronger and more flexible instrument which will be able to respond effectively to the new challenges of climate change;

9.  Calls on the Member States and the regions affected to set up sustainable restoration and rehabilitation plans for the affected areas; calls upon the Member States to consider the need for long-term investment in policies to prevent such disasters and limit their damage;

10.  Calls on the Member States to adapt to the consequences of climate change by complying with existing legislation through an integrated approach in all areas concerned;

11.  Insists on the need to translate the recommendations of the White Paper on adapting to climate change into concrete measures and to take steps to ensure that adapting to climate change becomes a reality within the European Union;

12.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments of the Member States and the Government of the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

(1) OJ C 297 E, 7.12.2006, p. 331.
(2) OJ C 272 E, 13.11.2003, p. 471.
(3) OJ C 193 E, 17.8.2006, p. 322.
(4) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2006)0349.
(5) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2006)0222.
(6) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2006)0223.
(7) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2006)0224.

The case of Gilad Shalit
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European Parliament resolution of 11 March 2010 on Gilad Shalit

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Third 1949 Geneva Convention and to Common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions,

–   having regard to the 1979 International Convention Against the Taking of Hostages,

–   having regard to the Declaration by the Presidency of 18 November 2009, on behalf of the European Union, on the humanitarian situation in Gaza, which ‘[calls] on those holding the abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit to release him without delay’,

–   having regard to US Congress Resolution 921 of 18 July 2006,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on the situation in the Middle East which have included a call for the release of Gilad Shalit,

–   having regard to Rule 122(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas Corporal (now Sergeant) Gilad Shalit was kidnapped by Hamas on Israeli soil on 25 June 2006,

B.   whereas Sergeant Shalit is a European (French) and an Israeli citizen,

C.   whereas, since being taken hostage, Sergeant Shalit has been held incommunicado in Gaza and deprived of basic rights in accordance with Common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the Third 1949 Geneva Convention,

D.   whereas Hamas has claimed responsibility for Sergeant Shalit's continuing detention and has declared that he is being held in accordance with the Third 1949 Geneva Convention,

E.   whereas international humanitarian law and international human rights law must be respected by all parties to the Middle East conflict and in all circumstances,

F.   whereas trust-building between Israelis and Palestinians is an essential part of a peace process leading to a situation where two states can live side by side in peace and security,

G.   whereas a video, received in October 2009, showing the captured soldier holding a Gaza newspaper dated Monday, 14 September 2009, is the most conclusive proof that Sergeant Shalit is alive,

1.  Calls for the immediate release of Sergeant Gilad Shalit;

2.  Calls upon Hamas to be as good as its word and grant Sergeant Shalit rights and privileges in accordance with the Third 1949 Geneva Convention;

3.  Deplores the continued disregard for Sergeant Shalit's basic human rights and the fact that his family and the Israeli and French authorities have been prevented from obtaining information regarding his well-being; therefore urges Hamas to allow the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit Sergeant Shalit without delay, and to permit him to communicate with his family in accordance with the Third 1949 Geneva Convention;

4.  Stresses the importance of progress towards a two-state solution and welcomes the relaunching of proximity negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority;

5.  Stresses that mutual trust-building measures by all sides, including a significant release of Palestinian prisoners, may help to create a constructive atmosphere leading to the release of Sergeant Shalit;

6.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission, the Member States, the Vice-President of the Commission/ High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Israeli Government, the Palestinian Authority and the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly.

The escalation of violence in Mexico
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European Parliament resolution of 11 March 2010 on the escalation of violence in Mexico

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Economic Partnership, Political Coordination and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the United Mexican States,

–   having regard to its Recommendation to the Council of 12 March 2009 on an EU-Mexico Strategic Partnership,

–   having regard to the Commission Communication to the Council and the European Parliament of 15 July 2008 entitled ‘Towards an EU-Mexico Strategic Partnership’ (COM(2008)0447),

–   having regard to the Commission Communication to the Council and the European Parliament of 30 September 2009 entitled ‘The European Union and Latin America: Global Players in Partnership’ (COM(2009)0495),

–   having regard to its resolution of 11 October 2007 on the murder of women (‘feminicide’) in Mexico and Central America and the role of the European Union in fighting the phenomenon,

–   having regard to the EU statement on the murders of journalists José Luis Romero, Valentín Valdés Espinosa and Jorge Ochoa Martínez,

–   having regard to the declarations of the five summits of heads of state and government of the European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean (EU-LAC), held in Rio de Janeiro (28 and 29 June 1999), Madrid (17 and 18 May 2002), Guadalajara (28 and 29 May 2004), Vienna (12 and 13 May 2006) and Lima (16 and 17 May 2008),

–   having regard to the joint statement of 17 May 2008 by the Fourth Mexico-EU summit held in Lima,

–   having regard to the joint statement by the Ninth meeting of the EU-Mexico Joint Committee, held in Brussels in November 2009,

–   having regard to Rule 122(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas Mexico and the European Union share common values that find expression in our democratic, pluralist societies, defending fundamental freedoms, human rights, environmental protection and sustainable development, and the commitment to consolidating democracy, legal certainty, fighting poverty and equitable economic and social development,

B.   whereas our democratic systems have a duty and obligation to safeguard the operation of the rule of law and respect for human rights, and whereas the enjoyment and full exercise of freedoms and the right to the integrity of the human person are thus one of the basic pillars of the rule of law,

C.   whereas the causes of violence and insecurity in Mexico cannot be disconnected from the structural problem of poverty, inequality and marginalisation, areas in which progress has been reversed since the emergence of the world economic crisis, and whereas there is a need for an integrated strategic vision of inclusive development, including in the long-term, in order to move forward with social cohesion,

D.   whereas the EU-Mexico Strategic Partnership will open the door to closer cooperation between the EU and Mexico on issues of global importance, and in particular enhanced dialogue, coordination and exchanges in areas such as security, human rights, electoral reform, regional development and regulatory and trade policies,

E.   whereas the Strategic Partnership will therefore include enhanced cooperation on human rights, as both sides have confirmed their willingness to cooperate closely towards the common goal of attaining the highest human rights standards,

F.   whereas Mexico participates in all the regional and universal fora and has signed all the international agreements on human rights and fundamental freedoms, obviously including combating violence against women; whereas, moreover, it promotes the law in favour of gender equality,

G.   whereas the EU-Mexico Cooperation Programme on Human Rights began operation in 2008 under the EU-Mexico Bilateral Cooperation Programme 2007-2013, and whereas it includes as a priority the prevention of violence against women and the promotion of women's rights, with a series of specific programmes in this respect,

H.   whereas establishment of the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, which has as its priorities support for surmounting violence against women and children, encouraging compliance with human rights by members of the public security forces, support for overcoming discrimination and the incorporation of international standards on justice and human rights,

I.   whereas Mexico is suffering from an escalation of violence due mainly to drug trafficking particularly in the frontier region with the United States, as a result, primarily, of fighting between criminal gangs for control of the drug supply, in terms of both production and trafficking, to the enormous market represented by the United States, and secondly as the result of the impact of the Mexican Government's offensive to tackle this situation,

J.   whereas the plan launched by the Government on health, education and social cohesion and strengthing of the political strategy to recover Ciudad Juárez takes on great importance; whereas this plan, backed by 200 million euros, will help to remove the social causes of violence, so there is a need to redouble efforts to that end,

K.   whereas the Mexican Government has demonstrated its firm commitment to improving the security situation in the country, including an appreciable increase in the security forces‘ budget and reform of the public security institutions, with the aim of enhancing the effectiveness of law enforcement and the effectiveness of the legal system, thus making it possible to confront organised crime,

L.   whereas Mexico is one of the world's most dangerous places for journalists, according to data from the International Federation for Journalists, with at least 53 journalists murdered since 2000 – 13 of them in 2009 alone – , a fact also condemned in reports by the Mexico National Commission on Human Rights,

M.   whereas the harassment of and threats against members of organisations working for the defence and promotion of human rights are frequent, and whereas many of the preliminary investigations into attacks on and murders of defenders of human rights are affected by unjustified delays at state and federal level,

N.   whereas national and international organsiations for the defence of human rights have condemned violations of those rights in certain operations by the security forces,

1.  Shares the Mexican authorities‘ concern at the escalation of violence in the country, and stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the Mexican people in the fight against drug trafficking;

2.  Extends its sympathy and support to the families and friends of the victims, and to the Mexican people, whom it encourages to continue to fight to defend democracy and the rule of law;

3.  Supports the Mexican Government in its determination to combat organised drug trafficking, while voicing its deep concern at the increase in the violence due to drug trafficking and the lack of respect for any form of authority and sense of impunity displayed by the drugs cartels, in particular in the Mexican states lying close to the US border;

4.  Condemns all forms of violence, in particular the violence and persistent death threats to which activists engaged in promoting and defending human rights in Mexico are subjected, and calls for the Mexican authorities to step up efforts to provide legal and personal protection to such groups; calls, furthermore, on the EU to apply the guidelines on the protection of human rights defenders in an effective manner;

5.  Urges the Mexican authorities to continue their efforts to strengthen state institutions, particularly for the benefit of women, who are suffering most severely from the violence; considers that it is the government's responsibility to combat ‘feminicide’ and ensure that the perpetrators of such crimes and their accomplices are brought to justice, and calls for effective action to continue to be taken with a view to preventing such crimes from being committed;

6.  Condemns, in this connection, the violence against and murders of media workers, and supports the relevant authorities in taking all necessary steps to identify, arrest and bring to justice the perpetrators of such crimes; welcomes the Mexican legislative authorities‘ adoption of legislative and institutional measures geared to upholding journalists’ freedom of expression and ensuring their safety;

7.  Recommends, in this connection, that the Mexican Government continue with its efforts to consolidate the rule of law, with a view to tackling some of the structural problems that are at the root of the human rights violations, specifically with reference to reform of the judicial system; highlights, accordingly, the importance of an independent judiciary which stands as a guarantee of impartiality and resolute action to combat impunity;

8.  Calls on the governments of the Member States, in their bilateral relations with Mexico, and on the European institutions to step up the support they provide for human rights through cooperation programmes and financial and technical resources; calls on them also to increase the budgetary resources allocated to cooperation in strengthening and reforming the judiciary, law enforcement agencies and prosecution services, with a view to prosecuting and punishing offenders, and to set up effective systems for protecting witnesses and victims and their families,

9.  Draws attention to the Mexican Government's cooperation in promoting an effective form of multilateralism and strengthening the UN's peace-keeping and peace-building capacity and its ability to ensure respect for human rights, while bringing international law to bear in addressing threats to peace and security such as drugs and arms trafficking, organised crime, terrorism and trafficking in human beings, in line with the Lima Declaration;

10.  Urges that the Strategic Partnership be seen as an opportunity to discuss how to enhance the effectiveness of the human rights and democracy clause in all the agreements between the two parties and assess compliance with that clause, including through the development of its positive dimension, given that human rights and democracy are fundamental values;

11.  Considers social integration to be one of the most important means of enabling young people to identify with the democratic system; considers frustration felt by young people to be one of the main factors behind the violence; believes, therefore, that EU cooperation on social cohesion needs to be stepped up; calls on the Mexican authorities to bring the necessary resources to bear in helping young people to take their place in society, and to adopt prevention, rehabilitation and social reintegration programmes for drug addicts;

12.  Calls on the Commission and the Mexican Government to ensure that, during the mid-term review (2007-2013) of the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI), security, better governance and stronger institutions are made a priority under focal sector 1 (Social Cohesion);

13.  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 Member States, the Secretary-General of the Organisation of American States (OAS), the Eurolat Parliamentary Assembly and the President and Congress of Mexico.

South Korea - death penalty declared legal
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European Parliament resolution of 11 March 2010 on the death penalty being declared legal in the Republic of Korea

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on the abolition of the death penalty and the need for an immediate moratorium on executions in those countries where the death penalty is still applied,

–   having regard to United Nations General Assembly Resolution 62/149 of 18 December 2007 calling for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty (on the report of the Third Committee (A/62/439/Add.2)),

–   having regard to the revised and updated version of the EU Guidelines on the Death Penalty, adopted by the Council on 3 June 1998,

–   having regard to the final declaration adopted by the 4th World Congress against the Death Penalty, held in Geneva from 24 to 26 February 2010, which calls for universal abolition of the death penalty,

–   having regard to Rule 122(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas the European Union is strongly committed to the abolition of the death penalty and is striving to achieve universal acceptance of this principle,

B.   whereas, on 25 February 2010, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Korea ruled by a 5-4 majority that capital punishment is constitutional, and whereas, however, the judges also underlined that the issue of whether to retain or abolish the death penalty should be debated in the National Assembly rather than in the course of constitutional proceedings,

C.   whereas the Constitutional Court adopted its ruling by a vote of 5 in favour to 4 against, and whereas the 1996 ruling was adopted by 7 votes to 2,

D.   whereas the Constitutional Court took its decision in response to a petition filed by a 72-year-old Korean man convicted of killing four tourists in 2007, who claimed that capital punishment infringed his constitutional guarantee of dignity,

E.   whereas the Republic of Korea has more than 55 prisoners facing confirmed death sentences,

F.   whereas the last execution in the Republic of Korea took place in December 1997; whereas, under the newly inaugurated President Kim Dae-jung, who had himself been sentenced to death in 1980 before being pardoned, capital punishment ceased to be applied, and whereas for the last 13 years the Republic of Korea has belonged to the group of nations that are ‘abolitionist in practice’,

G.   whereas in 2006 the National Human Rights Commission proposed a draft law on abolition of the death penalty,

H.   whereas on 18 December 2007 the UN General Assembly adopted, by a large majority, a resolution asking countries that practise the death penalty to ‘establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty’, the content of which was reaffirmed in a second resolution adopted on 18 December 2008,

1.  Recognises that the Republic of Korea has not carried out any executions since 1998, making it a de facto abolitionist country; welcomes improvements in the protection and promotion of human rights there;

2.  Is deeply disappointed at the decision by the Republic of Korea's Constitutional Court to uphold the death penalty, but notes that the ruling was adopted by a very small majority, unlike the 7-2 verdict in 1996;

3.  Expresses its support for movements fighting for the abolition of the death penalty in the Republic of Korea;

4.  Reiterates its general opposition to the death penalty, which is at odds with a modern criminal justice system and, contrary to popular belief, does not reduce crime rates;

5.  Encourages the Republic of Korea to institute a legal moratorium on all executions until Parliament has passed a law abolishing the death penalty;

6.  Calls on the Government of the Republic of Korea to support the UN resolution on the abolition of the death penalty, and to decide to co-sponsor or vote in favour of a resolution to be submitted to the General Assembly;

7.  Notes with satisfaction that a clear majority of the world's countries – representing more than two-thirds of the international community – have now completely abolished capital punishment de jure or instituted de facto moratoria on executions;

8.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the UN Secretary-General, the Government of the Republic of Korea and the National Human Rights Committee of Korea (NHRCK).

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