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 Index 
Texts adopted
Thursday, 11 April 2002 - StrasbourgFinal edition
Second United Nations World Assembly on Ageing (Madrid, 8-12 April 2002)
 Moldova
 Burma/Myanmar
 Indigenous minorities in Vietnam and closure of the refugee camps in Cambodia
 Human rights: Violation of human rights in Nigeria
 Human rights: Human rights situation in Guatemala
 Human rights: Channel Tunnel
 Human rights: EU position for the next special session of the UN General Assembly on Children
 Angola
 Torrential rain in Tenerife and eastern Spain and climate change

Second United Nations World Assembly on Ageing (Madrid, 8-12 April 2002)
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European Parliament resolution on the Second United Nations World Assembly on Ageing (Madrid, 8-12 April 2002)
P5_TA(2002)0184 B5-0239 , 0240 , 0241 , 0242 and 0243/2002

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to United Nations Resolution 46/91 of December 1991 on Principles for Older People, which supports the rights of older people to participation, dignity, independence, personal fulfilment and care,

–   having regard to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, in particular Article 25 thereof, which recognises and respects the right of "the elderly to lead a life of dignity and independence and to participate in social and cultural life',

–   having regard to Article 13 of the Treaty, which outlaws discrimination on grounds of age,

–   having regard to the ILO's Older Workers Recommendation (R 162) of 1980,

–   having regard to the work of the Preparatory Committee for the Second World Assembly on Ageing,

–   having regard to its resolution of 17 May 2001 on the Commission Communication to the Council, to the European Parliament and to the Economic and Social Committee "The Future Evolution of Social Protection from a long-term point of view: safe and sustainable pensions" (COM(2000) 622 - C5-0011/2001 - 2001/2003(COS) )(1) ,

–   having regard to the conclusions of the Stockholm, Göteborg, Laeken and Barcelona European Councils on pensions and employment,

–   having regard to the European Parliament initiative which resulted in the holding of a successful European Year for Older People and Solidarity between Generations,

A.   whereas 5.1% of the population in developing countries is aged over 65, and this is set to rise to 6.5% by the year 2015, representing an absolute increase of 52% (US Census Bureau),

B.   whereas within the EU people aged 60 or over account for 21.5 % of the population and whereas by 2020 a 30% increase is expected in this age group and a 40% increase in the group aged 80 or over (Old Age in Europe, MISSOC-Info, June 2001),

C.   whereas the United Nations Second World Assembly on Ageing will be held in April 2002, and whereas this provides an opportunity for issues associated with ageing to be recognised both in industrialised countries and in the developing world,

D.   whereas the ageing of society is too often seen in both industrialised and developing countries in negative terms, i.e. in terms of challenges to the age structure of the labour force and the sustainability of social protection and health care schemes and as a drain on family resources in developing countries, whereas in fact older people offer key community and family support,

E.   whereas this image fails to do justice to the enormous cultural and professional resource represented by older and retired people, and whereas the vast contribution they make to society, often in a voluntary capacity, is too often overlooked,

F.   whereas a change of attitude is needed if society is to become a society for all ages, bearing in mind the distinction within European societies between those belonging to the third age, who live healthy, active and independent lives and who should participate fully in the society they live in, and those belonging to the fourth age, whose independence and health is more fragile and who deserve specific attention and care in order to live dignified lives,

G.   having regard to the rights of older citizens to full participation in whatever society they live in, and recognising the barriers faced by older people throughout the world to employment, income support and community development programmes, all of which must be addressed,

H.   whereas migration from the developing world is leading to a drop in family support, so that the problem of isolation of older people is worsening; and whereas shifts in family patterns resulting from social changes is causing isolation and social exclusion in the European Union,

I.   whereas the eradication of poverty in old age throughout the word is a fundamental aim of the International Strategy for Action on Ageing, and whereas there is an essential need to incorporate the age dimension into poverty indicators and measures, in both the EU and the developing world,

J.   whereas access to healthcare for all and a good standard of physical and mental health and social well-being is a basic human right,

K.   whereas exclusion of older people from HIV/AIDS programmes in developing countries results in a lack of testing for those over 49, so that HIV in older people usually goes undetected or is misdiagnosed; having regard also to older people's critical role in the care of people living with AIDS and their orphaned grandchildren and their potential role as educators and players in HIV prevention in developing countries,

L.   whereas abuse against older people in all its forms is prevalent throughout the world, including in the EU, and whereas violence against older people must be condemned in the strongest of terms as an infringement of their most basic human rights,

M.   whereas women outlive men in all societies and, as populations age, the number of older women will increase; and whereas older women are particularly vulnerable in the developing world,

N.   whereas, in order to establish an inclusive society for all ages, the general principles to support it must be translated into specific guidelines and international and national plans of action based on a long-term strategy for ageing, including compliance with International Labour Organisation conventions, especially those relating to the development of social protection and tackling discrimination, with provision being made for regular evaluations,

O.   whereas older people cannot be thought of as a homogeneous group, and the diversity of older people must be respected and taken into consideration through specific policies as far as individual needs are concerned,

P.   whereas various estimates concerning demographic change in the Member States show divergences of up to 60%, which show that forecasts of social developments over a period of fifty years should be treated with caution and can under no circumstances be considered as "established findings',

Q.   whereas there is an essential need to incorporate the age dimension into poverty indicators and interventions,

R.   whereas ageing of populations is poised to become a major issue in developing countries, whose populations are projected to age swiftly in the first half of the twenty-first century; whereas developed countries have been able to age gradually, but developing countries face the challenge of simultaneous development and ageing of the population,

S.   whereas the aim of the International Strategy for Action on Ageing 2002 is to ensure that people everywhere are able to age with security and dignity and to continue to participate in their societies as citizens with full rights, particularly through the use of new technologies,

1.   Calls on the Commission, the Council and the Member States to actively support at the Second UN World Assembly on Ageing an international action strategy and a clear commitment towards a society for all ages (by allocating adequate political and financial means), based on solidarity between generations, a positive image of living longer, older people's contribution to the well-being of society and the active role they continue to play in the family and community; believes that the right of older people to be actively involved in public life, to democracy and to equality needs be implemented by urgent, concrete and ambitious actions at all levels;

2.   Calls on the Council and the Commission to mainstream ageing issues in all relevant policy areas and to include older people in all relevant European social, economic and development cooperation policies and programmes on the basis of the UN Principles for Older Persons;

3.   Calls on the EU institutions and the Member States to preserve and strengthen the European social model, and in particular to develop legal, cohesive social protection systems based on universality and solidarity within and between generations;

4.   Reiterates its opinion that it is necessary to step up the fight against all forms of discrimination on the labour market, in particular discrimination against older workers, and to encourage, through refresher and vocational retraining measures, including new technologies, and through changes in the organisation of work and working hours, and industrial safety and health protection in keeping with the needs of the elderly, the re-entry of persons excluded from the labour market into working life; believes that phased retirement schemes are a possible way of presenting older workers' experience and knowledge by handing it down to younger ones;

5.   Calls on the Member States to assist older persons by promoting self-employment, for example by encouraging small and micro-enterprise development and ensuring access to credit for older persons, without discrimination relating to gender;

6.   Reiterates its support for an open method of coordination in the fields of pensions, social inclusion and health care, welcomes the Commission's recent initiatives in these fields and expresses the hope that the work undertaken will be pursued in greater depth by the Council; reiterates its request to be fully involved in this process;

7.   Calls on the Commission and Member States to give priority to activities geared to the integration of older people in danger of isolation, both within the European Union and through their development cooperation policies;

8.   Calls on the Commission, the Council and the Member States to come forward with specific measures aimed at reducing inequalities and poverty among older people, and in particular at improving the situation of older women as regards inequality in pension payments, and the situation of the very old;

9.   Calls on the Commission, the Council and the Member States to take measures to ensure that the incomes and resources available to older and retired people keep pace with the standard of living of society as a whole;

10.   Draws attention to the particular problems of older migrants and refugees within the EU in terms of social integration;

11.   Calls on the European Union and the Member States to recognise that for many older people learning opportunities and access to new knowledge are a valuable aid to maintaining physical and mental health and continuing to be active by preserving the maximum level of physical, psychological and social autonomy; calls on them also to recognise that this represents a means of increasing cross-generational links and social cohesion; calls therefore for the principles of "active ageing' to be further developed in their policies;

12.   Draws the Commission's attention, in the context of its communication on "The future of health care and care for the elderly: guaranteeing, accessibility, quality and financial viability (COM(2001) 723)", to the vital supportive role of carers for elderly people and the need for a major effort to recognise the role of family carers and to give particular attention to the accessibility of health care for all and to the quality of services provided;

13.   Calls on the Commission and Member States to develop and encourage research initiatives aimed at gathering data on the situation and needs of older people in European society, making clear the difference in the situation of the third age and the fourth age; calls on all the institutions and actors involved at worldwide level to increase cooperation by developing common research, policy making and programmes, the analysis and processing of statistics, including data disaggregated by sex, age and other factors, and regular performance reviews;

14.   Calls on the Commission to present a proposal for a specific action programme on ageing, to provide for the establishment of an exchange programme for older people in Europe and to appoint a Commission official in charge of these issues within the Directorate-General for Employment and Social Affairs;

15.   Calls on the Council and Member States to recognise that the EU needs a broader legal base to enable it to promote worthwhile measures to assist older people;

16.   Calls for international assistance to developing countries and those with economies in transition to enable them to develop policies to address ageing, and for issues linked to ageing to be included in the social aspects of EU enlargement; calls on the Commission to issue a communication on the needs of older people in development cooperation; calls on the Council and Commission to fund capacity-building measures for older people's organisations in the European Union and developing countries so that they have a strong voice and are consulted on matters of concern to them;

17.   Notes that poverty in old age has a strong gender dimension, and that women are more likely than men to experience discrimination in access to education, work, income, health care and inheritance; points out that sufficient social security schemes including decent pensions are particularly important for women, whose entitlement can otherwise be very low due to low pay and/or part-time jobs, and may often be interrupted by family responsibilities and unemployment;

18.   Notes that access to healthcare for all, and a good standard of physical and mental health and social wellbeing, are basic human rights, and calls for the implementation of integrated public health care/social services systems which act as enablers for equality of access, the free supply of essential medicines worldwide, health promotion, disease prevention, action to combat infectious diseases, especially AIDS, the prevention of dependency, and wider provision of equitable and dignified home and long-term care services;

19.   Emphasises the role played by the social partners in activities, which include bargaining, leading to collective agreements on different policies for managing the human resources that are older workers in the workplace;

20.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the United Nations World Assembly on Ageing.

(1) OJ C 34 E, 7.2.2002, p. 362.


Moldova
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European Parliament resolution on the political situation in Moldova and the disappearance of Vlad Cubreacov
P5_TA(2002)0185 B5-0210 , 0212 , 0219 and 0232/2002

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 14 March 2002 on the human rights situation in the Republic of Moldova(1) ,

–   having regard to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Communities and their Member States and the Republic of Moldova(2) , signed on 28 November 1994, and which entered into force on 1 July 1998, and in particular Title I, Article 2 thereof, which concerns respect for democracy, the principles of international law and human rights, as defined in particular by the Helsinki Final Act and the Charter of Paris for a New Europe,

–   having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights,

–   having regard to the aid provided by the European Union to Moldova in the framework of TACIS,

A.    noting with the deepest concern the disappearance of Vlad Cubreacov, Member of the Moldovan Parliament and of the Moldovan delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe; expressing in particular its concern about the possible political context of his disappearance,

B.   concerned by the lack of information and explanation by the Moldovan authorities concerning the circumstances of the alarming disappearance of Mr Cubreacov,

C.   noting that Mr Cubreacov is one of the leading figures of the parliamentary opposition movement in Moldova and has contributed actively to the organisation of street protests against government policies,

D.   concerned by other alarming disappearances of opposition leaders, for instance Mr. Ivan Burgudji, head of the legal department of the People's Assembly of the autonomous region of Gagauzia, who disappeared on 7 March 2002 after being beaten and apprehended in his office by unidentified civilians carrying automatic weapons,

E.    noting with deep concern the attempts to curb the opposition by means of the decision to lift the parliamentary immunity of Iurie Rosca and Stefan Secareanu and the proposed lifting of the immunity of three other Christian Democrat Members of Parliament, Valentin Chilat, Viorel Prisacaru and Eugen Garla,

F.   noting that about 80 000 people took to the streets on 31 March 2002 to demonstrate against the government, and expressing its concern that the absence of a sincere dialogue between government and opposition will result in the further polarisation of Moldovan society,

G.   emphasising once again the great importance of maintaining stability in the region and respect for basic human rights and the rule of law, as well as the need to continue the process of economic and social reform,

1.   Expresses its great concern over the disappearance of the opposition politician Vlad Cubreacov, vice-chairman of the Christian Democratic People's Party, Member of the Moldovan Parliament and of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council or Europe, as well as other as yet unsolved disappearances of political opposition leaders, and in particular over the fears that his disappearance may be related to political problems in the country;

2.   Calls on the Moldovan authorities to carry out a full, thorough and independent investigation into the disappearance of Mr Cubreacov and other opposition politicians and to provide information regularly and openly on the state of affairs as regards the ongoing investigations;

3.   Calls on the Council and the Commission to make every effort to find Mr Cubreacov safe and sound and to monitor closely, with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe, the human rights situation in Moldova;

4.   Calls once again on the government of Moldova to abide by basic democratic rules and procedures and to guarantee respect for fundamental human rights and the rule of law and calls on the governing party not to abuse its political majority in order to dissolve the democratic opposition;

5.   Urges the Moldovan Parliament to review immediately its decision to lift the parliamentary immunity of Iurie Rosca and Stefan Secareanu and not to proceed with the lifting of the immunity of three other Christian Democrat Members of Parliament, Valentin Chilat, Viorel Prisacaru and Eugen Garla,

6.   Expresses its great concern that the right of demonstration as used by a large number of Moldovan citizens to show their disagreement with the government's policies is accompanied by threats of punishment by the Prosecutor-General; points out that the right of demonstration is a basic democratic right and a legitimate instrument of protest against the policies of a government; stresses, in this context, that the approximately 80 000 people who took to the streets on 31 March 2002 demonstrated their political will in a peaceful way;

7.   Urges the Moldovan government and the opposition not to take any steps that may further endanger the social and political stability of the country and to start a dialogue on ways and means to overcome the existing conflict and to continue the process of economic and social reform as a way of demonstrating the sincerity of its international commitments and ambitions;

8.   Emphasises the great importance of maintaining stability in the region and urges the government of Moldova to make visible efforts to resolve the political crisis and to return to a course of political stability;

9.   Urges the governments of Romania and the Russian Federation not to interfere in the Republic of Moldova's delicate domestic political situation and to give their fullest support, together with the European Union and other European bodies, to the stable and peaceful development of all the countries in the region;

10.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission the government and parliament of Moldova, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the governments of Romania and the Russian Federation.

(1) P5_TA(2002)0132 .
(2) OJ L 181, 24.6.1998, p. 3.


Burma/Myanmar
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European Parliament resolution on Burma/Myanmar
P5_TA(2002)0186 B5-0209 , 0213 , 0221 and 0234/2002

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on Burma, in particular its resolutions of 16 September 1999(1) , 18 May 2000(2) , 7 September 2000(3) , 16 November 2000(4) and 4 October 2001(5) ,

–   having regard to Common Position 96/635/CFSP of 28 October 1996 defned by Council on the basis of Article J.2 of the Treaty on European Union, on Burma/Myanmar(6) and Council Common Position 2001/757/CFSP of 29 October 2001(7) extending and amending it,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 552/97 of 24 March 1997 temporarily withdrawing access to generalised tariff preferences from the Union of Myanmar(8) ,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 1081/2000 of 22 May 2000 prohibiting the sale, supply and export to Burma/Myanmar of equipment which might be used for internal repression or terrorism and freezing the funds of certain persons related to important governmental functions in that country(9) ,

A.   whereas 27 May 2002 marks the twelfth anniversary of the general elections in Burma which gave Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) 82% of the parliamentary seats,

B.   whereas Aung San Suu Kyi, who entered into talks with the ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) in October 2000 to resolve the country's political problems, is still under house arrest,

C.   noting that in the light of the EU Troika's visit the Burmese military government has released 25 women prisoners,

D.   whereas there are still over 1,000 political prisoners in various jails in Burma, who are subject to various forms of mistreatment and torture and who have no access to adequate food and healthcare facilities,

E.   whereas in November 2001 the UN General Assembly expressed its concern at the slow progress of the talks between the SPDC and Aung San Suu Kyi, urged the SPDC to increase confidence-building measures to ensure the irreversibility of the process towards democracy and deplored the continued human rights violations, particularly those directed against persons belonging to ethnic and religious minorities and women in Burma, and the denial of religious freedom,

F.   noting that little progress has been made with regard to political reform,

G.   whereas the ILO mission to Burma in February 2002 was denied access to Aung San Suu Kyi and reported that the ruling military regime had "effectively blocked international efforts to halt the army's use of forced labour', despite promises by the SPDC to eradicate this practice,

H.   whereas the EU Troika to Burma scheduled for December 2001 was finally able to visit in March 2002,

I.   whereas the Council is due to review its Common Position at the end of April 2002,

J.   whereas the visit to Burma by the UN Special Envoy Tan Sri Razali Ismail, also scheduled for March 2002, was postponed by the SPDC,

K.   whereas the UN Special Envoy to Burma, Razali Ismail, has also strongly criticised the slow progress of the dialogue between the junta and the democratic opposition,

L.   whereas the Burmese army is still continuing to perpetrate gross human rights abuses against the ethnic minority civilian population, such as the Arakan, Chin, Kachin, Karen, Karenni, Shan and Mon peoples, including beatings, rape, destruction of food supplies, forced relocations, forced labour, torture, extrajudicial summary executions and disappearances,

M.   whereas in December 2001 in Oslo the ethnic minority leaders offered jointly to enter into a nationwide ceasefire and negotiate a peaceful political settlement with the NLD and the SPDC through a "Tripartite Dialogue' based on the principles of the 1947 Panglong Agreement - equality, voluntary participation and democracy,

N.   whereas European investment in Burma is significant, particularly in the oil and gas industry,

O.   whereas all foreign investment in Burma takes place through military-backed companies,

P.   whereas the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions has called on oil and gas companies "to cease investment in Burma while the use of forced labour continues',

Q.   whereas the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) has called for economic sanctions against Burma and has published a list of companies investing in Burma,

1.   Welcomes the continued attention of the UN and the UN Special Envoy Razali Ismail to the talks between Aung San Suu Kyi and the SPDC;

2.   Urges the SPDC to take advantage of the recent events in Burma to speed up the process of dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi and move beyond the confidence-building stage;

3.   Urges the SPDC to demonstrate convincingly its intention to bring about national reconciliation by initiating a broader dialogue and promoting further progress towards democratisation;

4.   Urges the SPDC especially to respond to the offer to enter into a nationwide ceasefire and negotiate a political settlement by the ethnic minority leaders based on the principles of the 1947 Panglong Agreement;

5.   Urges the SPDC to release Aung San Suu Kyi immediately and unconditionally from house arrest, and to stop the restriction of movement and association of other Burman or ethnic minority political leaders;

6.   Welcomes the release by the SPDC of some political prisoners but urges the military government to release the more than 1000 remaining political prisoners without preconditions, starting immediately with those who have already completed their sentences;

7.   Urges the SPDC to improve the appalling conditions in prisons and labour camps, and to ensure that prisoners have access to adequate food and healthcare facilities;

8.   Stresses the need to implement strictly the law of October 2000 banning the use of forced labour and to ensure that this widespread practice is actually stopped, and urges the SPDC to allow the ILO to establish a permanent representation in Burma and create an ombudsman;

9.   Calls on the Commission to ensure that support for humanitarian aid to the areas most in need is delivered without political interference by the military, and that international NGOs are involved;

10.   Supports the EU's increased contribution to the UN's Joint Plan of Action Programme to combat the spread of AIDS in Burma/Myanmar;

11.   Urges the SPDC to put an immediate end to all human rights violations committed by the Burmese army, the Military Intelligence Services, the police and other security forces, including the widespread practices of torture, forced relocations, forced labour, and extrajudicial and summary executions, and to bring those responsible to justice;

12.   Wishes to facilitate and promote a conference of ethnic minorities to allow the latter to contribute to the consultations between the junta and the democratic opposition;

13.   Calls on the Council to maintain the current sanctions against Burma in its Common Position and, in the event that further progress fails to be made in the next six months in the dialogue between the military junta and the democratic opposition, to strengthen economic sanctions and consider an investment ban;

14.   Calls on the Commission to consider bringing the case of the continued widespread use of forced labour in Burma to the attention of the World Trade Organisation, which pledged in its Singapore Ministerial Declaration of December 1996 to renew its "commitment to the observance of internationally recognised core labour standards';

15.   Calls on the governments of India, China, Japan and the ASEAN countries to express themselves more explicitly in favour of promoting democratisation and reconciliation in Burma;

16.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the ASEAN member states, the governments of India, China and Japan, the National League for Democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi and the UN Secretary-General.

(1) OJ C 54, 25.2.2000, p. 111.
(2) OJ C 59, 23.2.2001, p. 284.
(3) OJ C 135, 7.5.2001, p. 283.
(4) OJ C 223, 8.8.2001, p. 335.
(5) OJ C 87 E, 11.4.2002, p. 263.
(6) OJ L 287, 8.11.1996, p. 1.
(7) OJ L 286, 30.10.2001, p. 1.
(8) OJ L 85, 27.3.1997, p. 8.
(9) OJ L 122, 24.5.2000, p. 29.


Indigenous minorities in Vietnam and closure of the refugee camps in Cambodia
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European Parliament resolution on indigenous minorities in Vietnam and closure of the refugee camps in Cambodia
P5_TA(2002)0187 B5-0208 , 0214 , 0222 and 0235/2002

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to its resolutions of 19 January 1995 on the human rights situation in Vietnam(1) , of 15 May 1997 on human rights in Vietnam(2) , of 12 March 1998 on Cambodia(3) , of 16 November 2000 on human rights in Vietnam(4) and of 5 July 2001 on religious freedom in Vietnam(5) ,

–   having regard to the UN Convention on the Status of Refugees of 1951 and its 1967 Protocol,

–   having regard to the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966,

–   having regard to the 1995 Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and Vietnam,

–   having regard to the Tripartite Agreement signed on 21 January 2002 between Cambodia, Vietnam and the UNHCR,

A.   whereas Cambodia is a party to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, which prohibits forcible repatriation of asylum seekers to a country where their life or freedom may be threatened,

B.   whereas Vietnam and Cambodia as parties to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights are obliged to uphold the freedoms of speech, association, religious belief and worship,

C.   concerned by the continued persecution of indigenous minorities from Vietnam's Central Highlands - known as Montagnards - since the demonstrations that took place in February 2001 in protest against the confiscation of their ancestral land, the influx of lowland Vietnamese settlers taking their agricultural land, the lack of freedom of worship for the members of the unauthorised evangelical protestant churches and the denial of basic rights and freedoms, including education in their native languages,

D.   whereas the Montagnards have a specific linguistic and ethnic identity which they wish to see respected in a context of autonomy,

E.   whereas the Cambodian authorities have always been reluctant to grant them political asylum and now wish to close the refugee camps and authorise their occupants to seek asylum in third countries, particularly the United States,

F.   having regard to the demographically driven movement of Vietnam's population in the direction of Vietnam's Central Highlands and Cambodia, despite the fact that the resources available to Cambodia make it ill-equipped to deal with this influx,

G.   whereas the Tripartite Agreement between the UNHCR, Cambodia and Vietnam provided for repatriation under the auspices of the UNHCR of the approximately 1,000 Montagnards who fled to Cambodia as a consequence of violations of their human rights and are currently sheltered at the two UNHCR sites in Mondolkiri and Ratanakirimore,

H.   deeply concerned by the decision of the Cambodian and Vietnamese Governments to attempt to implement the repatriation agreement bilaterally before this year's rainy season, as well as the refusal by the Vietnamese Government to permit UNHCR monitoring teams to visit the villages of potential returnees,

I.   whereas the consequent withdrawal of UNHCR from the Tripartite Agreement and the termination of its involvement with the repatriation process leave the asylum seekers exposed to the risk of undue influence, intimidation and coercion to return to Vietnam,

J.   whereas in the past year more than 200 refugees have been forcibly returned to Vietnam by the Cambodian provincial authorities, with some of them being detained and beaten by the Vietnamese authorities on their return,

K.   whereas respect for human rights and democratic principles is an essential element in the 1995 EC-Vietnam cooperation agreement, as well as in the 1999 EC-Cambodia cooperation agreement,

1.   Calls on all parties (Cambodia, Vietnam and the UNHCR) to seek a lasting solution to the plight of the Montagnard asylum seekers;

2.   Urges the Cambodian Government to uphold its obligations as a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention, in particular by ensuring that any repatriation of Montagnards to Vietnam is conducted on a voluntary basis, and by guaranteeing that asylum seekers arriving in Cambodia are not denied their basic right of asylum;

3.   Calls for the suspension of the repatriation programmes until firm guarantees are given by both governments that the returns are completely voluntary and the lives of the Montagnards concerned will not be threatened once they are back in Vietnam;

4.   Calls on the Government of Vietnam to end the arbitrary detention of highlanders who have returned from Cambodia to Vietnam either voluntarily or against their will;

5.   Calls on the Commission to help the Vietnamese authorities to develop their country in such a way as to put an end to the economic exodus of its population;

6.   Calls on the Commission to assist the Government of Vietnam in its programme to reduce poverty and improve living conditions in the Central Highlands region;

7.   Calls on the Government of Vietnam to allow UNHCR staff access to Vietnam's Central Highlands to monitor the situation of returning asylum seekers, and on the parties to the Tripartite Agreement to resume their cooperation, in particular by allowing UNHCR to station monitors in the region with a view to conducting visits before, during and after any repatriation;

8.   Calls on the Vietnamese Government to release unconditionally all persons in the Central Highlands who are being detained for peacefully expressing their political or religious beliefs, including protestant church activists and supporters of the highland independent movement;

9.   Calls for Vietnamese nationals not to be repatriated against their will; calls on the Commission to assist the Government of Cambodia with receiving people coming from Vietnam;

10.   Calls on the Member States to offer shelter to some of the Vietnamese refugees;

11.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia, ASEAN and the UN.

(1) OJ C 43, 20.2.1995, p. 86.
(2) OJ C 167, 2.6.1997, p. 154.
(3) OJ C 104, 6.4.1998, p. 233.
(4) OJ C 223, 8.8.2001, p. 337.
(5) OJ C 65 E, 14.3.2002, p. 369.


Human rights: Violation of human rights in Nigeria
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European Parliament resolution on the violation of human rights, specifically women's rights, in Nigeria
P5_TA(2002)0188 B5-0207 , 0211 , 0215 , 0225 , 0227 and 0236/2002

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions of 15 February 2001(1) and 15 November 2001(2) on human rights in Nigeria,

–   having regard to the European Parliament's appeals for clemency for Safiya Hussaini and Hafsatu Abubakar,

–   having regard to the resolution adopted by the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly on 21 March 2001 on the situation in West Africa, with particular reference to the paragraphs on Nigeria,

–   having regard to the EU Council statement of 27 March 2002, which 'welcomes the acquittal of Safiya Hussaini by the Sokoto Sharia Court of Appeal',

–   having regard to the current 58th session of the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva from 18 March to 26 April 2002 and its probable conclusions,

–   having regard to its resolution of 7 February 2002 on the EU's rights, priorities and recommendations for the 58th session of the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva(3) ,

–   having regard to the international human rights covenants ratified by Nigeria, particularly the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights,

–   having regard to the Nigerian Constitution as amended in 1999,

A.   considering the acquittal on 25 March 2002 of Safiya Hussaini by the Sokoto Sharia Court of Appeal and the earlier acquittal of 18-year-old Hafsatu Abubakar on 24 January 2002, but emphasising that all Ms Hussaini's and Ms Abubakar's human rights must be guaranteed so that they can fully reintegrate into Nigerian society,

B.    whereas the Nigerian Islamic law court at Bakori in Katsina State sentenced Ms Amina Lawal - a 35-year-old woman from the village of Kurami - to death by stoning after she confessed to having had a child while divorced, but acquitted the man involved,

C.   whereas Sokoto and Katsina states are among a dozen states in the country's predominantly Muslim north that had introduced strict Islamic Sharia law over the past two years, which has serious consequences for civil liberties and respect for human rights,

D.   whereas current legal interpretations of the Sharia penal codes in Nigeria include the application of the death penalty, which violates international human rights agreements ratified by Nigeria, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,

E.   whereas, although Nigeria recognises the legitimacy of Islamic Sharia Courts of Appeal, dealing with religious and family matters, alongside a federal court system, it does not provide for a Sharia Magistrates' Court, whose very existence is incompatible with the supreme law of the land,

F.   whereas the Penal Code of Nigeria explicitly states that assaults committed by a man on his wife are not an offence if permitted by customary law, whereas it is also estimated that about 60 percent of Nigerian women are subjected to female genital mutilation, and whereas there are numerous reports of the organised trafficking of women between Nigeria, other West African countries and Europe,

G.   deeply concerned by the rules in Sharia-bound states, compelling women to remain indoors at night, segregating the transport system by sex and denying women's equal rights in the inheritance of property,

H.   having regard to the efforts undertaken by some northern Governors, especially the decision of 29 February 2001 to suspend Sharia law in certain states already enforcing it, and to the serious retaliatory attacks that followed,

I.   whereas the Minister of Justice, Bola Ige, who has since been assassinated, described the sentence of stoning as "cruel and primitive',

J.   whereas, on 22 March 2002, the international media carried reports about Nigerian Justice Minister Godwin Agabi's letter to the 12 northern Nigerian states applying Sharia law stating that "a Muslim should not be subjected to a punishment more severe than would be imposed on other Nigerians for the same offence' and that any court "which imposes discriminatory punishment is deliberately flouting the constitution' (Section 42 (1a) which guarantees sexual, religious, ethnic and political freedoms),

K.   whereas Nigeria - Africa's most populous country with 110 million citizens, over 250 ethnic groups, and a federal structure of 36 states - has been riven by ethnic, religious and political tensions which have killed thousands since the 1999 elections that ended 15 years of military rule and repression,

1.   Welcomes the decision by the Sharia Court of Appeal of Sokoto State, in northern Nigeria, to act positively on Safiya Hussaini's and Hafsatu Abubakar's appeals against their sentence of stoning to death for adultery, and ordering their acquittals;

2.   Condemns the decision by the Islamic court at Bakori in Katsina State to sentence Amina Lawal to death by stoning for having a child while divorced;

3.   Condemns all forms of religious intolerance and expresses its concern that the fundamentalist interpretation and implementation of Sharia Law, in some Nigerian states, is contrary to respect for basic human rights and calls on the Federal Government of Nigeria to ensure full respect for the constitution and the rule of law;

4.   Acknowledges the key role played by civil society, particularly human rights and non-governmental organisations, and the international media in seeking to ensure that Nigeria's constitutional and international agreements are upheld to protect the human rights of all Nigerian citizens, whatever their background or religion;

5.   Urges the European Union and international organisations to provide technical and legal assistance during the 30-day period in which Amina Lawal can appeal against this latest Sharia ruling;

6.   Calls on the Nigerian government to ensure that the courts operate in accordance with international human rights law and the bill of rights in Nigeria's own constitution;

7.   Urges the Nigerian federal authorities to guarantee the constitutional right of appeal for all Nigerians, and in particular women condemned by Sharia codes, to higher courts both at the state and federal levels so that an independent, free and fair judicial system prevails;

8.   Urges the Nigerian Government to undertake further steps in order that all executions are halted and the use of the death penalty is ended;

9.   Expresses its categorical opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances because it represents the ultimate violation of the right to life guaranteed by international law;

10.   Considers that the current practice and many regulations in the new Sharia penal codes and Sharia codes of criminal procedure violate many international human rights instruments ratified by Nigeria, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

11.   Calls on the Council to open a political dialogue under the Cotonou Partnership Agreement with Nigeria so as to support and consolidate Nigeria's pluralistic democracy, social and economic justice, and respect for human rights and religious freedoms ahead of the 2003 elections;

12.   Calls on the Commission to provide extra financial and technical aid to strengthen Nigeria's legal and democratic structures, including the training of lawyers, judges and the police, ahead of the 2003 elections, and to include women in this form of aid;

13.   Encourages the efforts of the government-appointed National Human Rights Commission to investigate past human rights abuses and to promote respect for human rights; regrets, however, the fact that it is not allocated enough resources;

14.   Recognises the pivotal role that Nigeria could play in the future development of democracy and trade both in the West African region and in Africa as a whole, in particular the creation of the African Union, and trusts that all political and religious leaders in Nigeria will seize this chance to end religious, ethnic and political violence;

15.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Co-Presidents of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, the Secretaries-General of the United Nations, the African Union, the Commonwealth, the OECD, the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, the Presidents of the European Investment Bank, the African Development Bank, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and the President, Government, Parliament and 36 State Governors of Nigeria.

(1) OJ C 276, 1.10.2001, p. 284.
(2) Texts Adopted, Item 16.
(3) P5_TA(2002)0057 .


Human rights: Human rights situation in Guatemala
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European Parliament resolution on the human rights situation in Guatemala
P5_TA(2002)0189 B5-0202 , 0206 , 0224 and 0228/2002

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to its earlier resolutions on the situation in Guatemala and, in particular, its resolution of 14 June 2001 on human rights in Guatemala(1) ,

–   having regard to its firm and long-standing commitment in favour of the peace and reconciliation agreements in Guatemala,

A.   concerned at the escalation of intimidation against all those involved in efforts to confront impunity - survivors, witnesses, NGOs, journalists, politicians, church figures, rural worker leaders - and, in particular, the repeated threats against forensic scientists involved in efforts to exhume mass graves, in order to collect evidence for possible prosecutions,

B.   deeply concerned also at the mounting acts of violence and intimidation against human rights activists, trade unionists and members of churches working with the indigenous communities, and also against those communities themselves,

C.   noting that the failure of the Guatemalan legal system to deliver on the compromises of the 1996 Peace Accords is a major contributory factor to Guatemala's human rights abuses,

1.   Condemns all acts of violence and intimidation in Guatemala carried out by persons wishing to cover up the crimes and atrocities committed during the bloodstained period of the civil war, and expresses its deep concern at these acts;

2.    Deplores the abuses by the alliance of certain national and international economic actors, who control newer illegal or 'black' industries such as drugs and arms trafficking, money laundering, car theft rings, kidnapping for ransom and illegal use of protected state lands;

3.    Deplores the fact that women's rights are violated in the workplace, where they are frequently subjected to sexual assault and other abuses by their employers, have no right to minimum wages or regulated hours, are rarely given access to any employee health care system, and are fired in case of pregnancy;

4.   Calls on the Guatemalan government to assume its responsibilities concerning the control and punishment of clandestine groups, the safety of its citizens and the investigation of the numerous cases of human rights violations, some of which have been pending for a decade, and to act to dissolve the abovementioned groups pursuant to the terms of the Peace Accords;

5.   Repeats its call for the legal authorities to be guaranteed full independence and freedom when trying the crimes identified by the Commission for Historical Clarification; stresses the need to increase pressure on Guatemala, to demand an end to the civil impunity of certain elites and to underscore freedom of expression and the right to disseminate information for all citizens, when it is undermined by some groups in the private sector; deplores the fact that the extent of corruption in the legal system is preventing the rule of law from prevailing in the present circumstances, and considers that a genuine judicial personnel and witness protection programme must be established to ensure that Guatemala's judicial system operates effectively and equitably;

6.   Urges the official institutions and agencies to cooperate fully with all efforts to clarify human rights violations, including those directed against human rights defenders; urges that the results of those investigations be made public;

7.    Expresses its support for the Guatemalan people and authorities in their continued endeavours to ensure the rule of law and secure the economic, social and political development of their country, in the interests of peace and historical reconciliation;

8.   Calls for the immediate launch of a dialogue and for the establishment of negotiating structures with a view to a peaceful settlement of the agrarian question, pursuant to the Peace Accords;

9.    Calls on the Guatemalan government to undertake the legislative reforms required under the Peace Accords, on the basis of a clear timetable, and to allocate the necessary resources to social policy and to the reform of the legal system, again as required under the Accords;

10.   Calls on the international community to redouble its efforts to press for implementation of the human rights elements of the Global Accord on Human Rights;

11.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Government of Guatemala, the UN Secretary-General, the Secretary-General of the Organisation of American States and the Central American Parliament.

(1) OJ C 53 E, 28.2.2002, p. 403.


Human rights: Channel Tunnel
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European Parliament resolution on the issue of refugees and obstruction of rail freight through the Channel Tunnel
P5_TA(2002)0190 B5-0200 , 0205 , 0223 and 0233/2002

The European Parliament ,

A.   having regard to the obstruction of freight trains through the Channel Tunnel since November 2001 and the complete stoppage of rail freight traffic which has been a frequent occurrence over the past month because migrants for whom illicit entry is the only way to reach the UK are attempting to access the trains,

B.   whereas the main problems at the entrance to the Channel Tunnel are getting worse, in spite of a number of joint efforts made by the French and British governments to curb the attempts to travel through the tunnel illegally, which are proving ineffective,

C.   having regard to the failure of the French and British authorities to provide adequate security for the Calais-Fréthun rail freight terminal,

D.   having regard to the decision of a French court on 1 February 2002 to reject an application made by Eurotunnel to seek the closure of the Sangatte refugee centre, which is located only about a mile from the freight terminal and the Tunnel entrance,

E.   whereas efforts to resolve these difficulties must address the real causes of this situation, namely the presence, close to the Channel Tunnel, of illegal immigrants and asylum-seekers who daily, and in large numbers, attempt to travel through the tunnel in order to reach the United Kingdom, and having regard to the absence of an appropriate response,

F.   having regard to the single market requirement for free movement of goods between Member States and the fact that trains from Italy, Germany, Spain and other Member States as well as France and the UK are adversely affected,

G.   whereas the question of asylum-seekers in the Calais area is not a new problem, considering that the British and French governments have been fully aware of the worsening situation for over two years and have not taken effective action,

H.   whereas at least nine people have already died in their attempts to travel illegally through the Channel Tunnel and there is a serious risk of further fatalities and accidents in the Tunnel,

I.   whereas the impact of the situation on trade and businesses is deeply damaging, with a threat to some 8000 jobs, with business losses of some EUR 12 million a week expected; whereas, furthermore, the impact of these developments on private operators such as Eurotunnel has been particularly damaging, with EUR 30 million of losses attributed directly to the disruption of services and a further EUR 8 million to the cost of extra security,

J.   whereas the inability of rail freight operators to guarantee secure and dependable rail shipment between continental Europe and the UK means that 2 250 000 extra lorry kilometres are being driven every week, with clear adverse environmental and safety implications,

K.   whereas, as they currently stand, neither national nor Community legislation can provide a satisfactory response to the difficulties connected with the presence of illegal immigrants close to the Channel Tunnel, and recognising that a sensible, practical and effective approach needs to be adopted by the British and French governments and coordinated with other Member States,

1.   Draws attention to the critical and deteriorating situation around the Channel Tunnel, which requires urgent action by the authorities concerned to restore normal conditions as soon as possible;

2.   Deplores the fact that the Commission, on the basis of Council Regulation (EC) No 2679/98 of 7 December 1998 on the functioning of the internal market in relation to the free movement of goods among the Member States(1) (the 'Strawberry' regulation), can only intervene in a limited way when major obstructions to the free movement of goods occur; urges the Commission and the Member States to take all necessary and proportionate measures, without further delay, to ensure the free movement of goods through the Channel Tunnel between France and the UK; urges the Commission to draw up proposals to strengthen the rapid intervention mechanism provided for in the 'Strawberry' regulation;

3.   Acknowledges that, in order to provide a satisfactory long-term response to these difficulties, it is necessary to adopt a humane and practical approach in terms of asylum and immigration policy;

4.   Considers that the long-term solution lies within European asylum and immigration systems, including responsibility-sharing; calls therefore for urgent action to ensure that asylum-seekers can be processed fairly and rapidly, while traffickers and illegal immigrants are effectively deterred;

5.   Calls on the British and French governments to reach a solution dealing with the asylum claims at the Sangatte centre and to take a lead in developing further EU measures;

6.   Calls upon the French authorities and SNCF, as a matter of urgency, to further upgrade security at Fréthun and other vulnerable points leading to the Channel Tunnel and to ensure that effective security measures are deployed at all times;

7.   Urges the UK and French governments to provide immediate support and compensation for rail freight operators and other businesses which have been adversely affected by the restrictions on rail freight using the Channel Tunnel;

8.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the British and French governments.

(1) OJ L 337, 12.12.1998, p. 8.


Human rights: EU position for the next special session of the UN General Assembly on Children
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European Parliament resolution on the EU position in the Special Session on Children of the UN General Assembly
P5_TA(2002)0191 B5-0216 , and 0238/2002

The European Parliament ,

–   noting the reconvened Special Session on Children of the United Nations General Assembly from 8-10 May 2002,

–   recalling its previous resolutions on children's rights, such as its resolution of 17 December 1998 on child soldiers(1) , its resolution of 28 January 1999 on the protection of families and children(2) , its resolution of 17 May 2001 on child trafficking in Africa(3) , and its resolution of 6 September 2001(4) on the UN Special Session,

–   having regard to the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by 191 countries,

–   having regard to the entry into force on 12 February 2002 of the optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child,

–   having regard to the EU-sponsored resolution on the rights of the child, which was adopted by the UN Commission on the Rights of the Child on 25 April 2001 (UNCHR resolution 2001/75),

–   having regard to the Charter of fundamental rights of the European Union, in particular Article 24,

A.   whereas at the World Summit for Children in 1990 world leaders adopted a plan of action on behalf of the children of the world, which contained far-reaching goals to improve the health and development of children, including reduction of mortality rates, malnutrition, and improved access to safe drinking water and sanitation,

B.   whereas new international standards and instruments enhancing child protection have been adopted, such as the Ottawa Mine Ban Treaty, the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court, the optional protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict and on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and ILO Convention 182 on the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour,

C.   whereas although the Convention on the Rights of the Child has almost been universally ratified, its implementation is lacking,

D.   whereas every third second, a child somewhere in the world dies from under-nourishment or lack of water or health care, and millions of children have died from diseases related to HIV/AIDS,

E.   whereas more than 100 million children, particularly girls, are denied basic education,

F.   whereas two million children have been killed in wars over the last ten years,

G.   whereas every year two million girls are victims of female genital mutilation,

H.   whereas the 2002 Special Session is an important opportunity to devise practical and sustainable ways to fully implement the Convention as rapidly as possible,

I.   whereas demographic, sociological, technological and scientific changes are creating problems which affect social and human development, such as poverty, social exclusion and the breakdown of family life, of which children are always the first victims,

J.   whereas the successful implementation of the goals established at the forthcoming Special Session on Children will depend on a meaningful monitoring system,

1.  Calls on the EU and its Member States to work actively together in order for the outcome of the Special Session to:

   - fully implement the Convention on the Rights of the Child,
   - support universal ratification and implementation of the new treaties developed during the past decade that strengthen the protection of children's rights, specifically the optional protocol on children in armed conflict, and ILO Convention 182 on the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour,
   - reflect in its goals the importance of the critical rights of children which protect them from violence, exploitation and abuse, as well as health, education and nutrition,
   - ensure that strong mechanisms are in place to monitor government obligations and commitments, including the meaningful participation of non-governmental organisations and civil society;

2.   Supports the view that the 'family is the fundamental unit of society and holds primary responsibility for the protection, upbringing and development of children', as stated in UNICEF's draft outcome document under preparation for the Special Session;

3.   Suggests, therefore, that a 'world fit for children' - the title of the Special Session - has to be at the same time a world fit for families, in line with subsidiarity; this implies that government policies have to be devised accordingly in order to achieve the best human and social environment for children and to provide those that are deprived of natural family protection and support with the best possible family-like social responses;

4.   Calls on the Member States to make the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the ratification and implementation of key new treaties developed during the past decade that strengthen the protection of children's rights and the implementation of the commitments agreed upon during the 2002 Special Session a national and European priority in the light of Article 24 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights;

5.   Calls on the Member States to establish or designate an independent body to monitor the goals of the outcome document of the Special Session and to adopt a comprehensive national plan, with specific, time-bound and measurable objectives;

6.   Calls on the Member States to ratify and implement the optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Protection of Children in Armed Conflict which came into force on 12 February 2002;

7.   Calls on the Council to make the ratification of key new treaties strengthening the protection of children's rights by third countries, which have been developed during the past decade, a priority in its political dialogue with these countries;

8.   Welcomes the establishment of the Convention on the Future of Europe and calls on the Convention to recommend the inclusion of a legal basis in the Treaties to promote and protect the best interests of the child in all EU policy, programmes and legislation;

9.   Welcomes the recent commitments made by the Commission to integrate a children's rights perspective into the development cooperation instruments of the Community and to issue strategic implementation guidelines; calls on the Commission and the Council to implement these commitments without delay;

10.   Notes that girls in developing countries are more likely to be performing unpaid domestic work, denied education, and subjected to early marriage and calls on the Commission to take specific measures to promote the rights of the girl child in development and humanitarian aid policy;

11.   Calls on Member States to promote Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and to involve children and young people at all appropriate levels of decision-making;

12.   Calls on the Commission to ensure that all proposed EU directives, policies and programmes should be subjected to child impact analyses in order to assess their potential implications for children;

13.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Co-Presidents of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, the chairs of its inter-parliamentary delegations, the parliaments of the Member States, the UNGASS secretariat, UNICEF and the national delegations at the UN General Assembly's Special Session on Children.

(1) OJ C 98, 9.4.1999, p. 297.
(2) OJ C 128, 7.5.1999, p. 79.
(3) OJ C 34 E, 7.2.2002, p. 383.
(4) OJ C 72 E, 21.3.2002, p. 360.


Angola
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European Parliament resolution on Angola
P5_TA(2002)0192 B5-0204 , 0217 , 0220 , 0226 and 0230/2002

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on the situation in Angola, as well as the Sakharov Prize 2001,

–   having regard to the recent resolution on southern Africa adopted by the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly on 21 March 2002 in Cape Town, South Africa,

–   having regard to the conclusions of the European Council in Barcelona (15-16 March 2002) on the developments in Angola since the death of Jonas Savimbi,

–   having regard to the position taken by the UN Security Council on the new peace initiative in Angola,

–   having regard to the statement made by the UN Secretary-General on 25 February 2002,

A.   whereas the death of Jonas Savimbi radically changes the face of the political situation in Angola and may mean that Angola will enter a special phase in its history,

B.    having regard to the recent events in Angola, the government's positive attitude in announcing the interruption of offensive military movements, and the equally positive response at ground level from UNITA's leadership and combatants,

C.    whereas on 28 March 2002 the UN Security Council declared itself favourable to the integral implementation of the Lusaka Protocol, and said it is willing to work with all parties to achieve this goal, undertaking consultations with the government of Angola to find ways to change the sanctions imposed on UNITA by Resolution 1127 (1997), in order to ease the peace talks,

D.    welcoming the signing on 4 April 2002 of the ceasefire agreement between the government and the military leadership of UNITA, based on the 'Memorandum of Understanding' supplementing the Lusaka Protocol, signed in Luena (Moxico province) on 30 March 2002, which represents a major opportunity for lasting peace in Angola,

E.    whereas the abovementioned agreement is based on the Lusaka Protocol of 20 November 1994, and principally on the demilitarisation of UNITA, the conclusion of the formation of the National Armed Forces, the extension of state administration throughout the national territory, the disarming of the civilian population, and other tasks that were interrupted in the wake of the civil war that restarted in 1998,

F.    having regard to the adoption by the National Assembly, on a proposal by the Angolan Government, of an amnesty law, on 3 April 2002,

G.    whereas UNITA's full integration in the national political scene as a non-armed, freely reorganised political party is essential for the consolidation of the democratic process,

H.    whereas the legitimacy and credibility of the national peace and reconciliation process demands the effective participation of all stakeholders, political parties and civil society, including the churches that have made enormous efforts to promote this process,

I.    whereas the situation remains disastrous in humanitarian terms, as 4 million people have been displaced by the war, although the delivery of humanitarian aid has slightly improved in recent months with the abatement of military conflict in some parts of the country, and with greater cooperation from the Angolan armed forces,

J.   having regard to the inhuman paradox of a potentially very rich country whose population lives in conditions of extreme poverty, which has long been a feature of the suffering of the Angolan people,

1.   Welcomes the signing of the 'Lusaka Protocol Complementary Memorandum Towards the Cease of Hostilities and Further Outstanding Military Matters' between the government of Angola and the military leadership of UNITA, done on 4 April 2002 in Luanda, which represents a new era for lasting peace in Angola;

2.   Stresses the major importance of this historic event for southern Africa and for the entire African continent;

3.   Calls on the Angolan government and UNITA to make this ceasefire definitive and irreversible;

4.   Trusts that both the government and UNITA will abide in every way by the undertakings they have entered into, ceasing all military and political hostilities and all forms of intimidation throughout Angola; also trusts that this will make it possible to normalise state administration and institutional life and thus to deepen and complete Angola's transition to full democracy;

5.   Calls on all parties to implement fully the provisions of the ceasefire agreement and of the Lusaka Protocol by establishing political dialogue under the aegis of the United Nations in order to promote lasting peace and stability in Angola; recommends that the UN Security Council gradually should begin to gradually lift the international sanctions against UNITA, in consultation with the government;

6.   Encourages the full integration of UNITA into the national political scene as a freely reorganised, non-armed political party; considers it essential for the continuation of the peace process that UNITA should abandon all military activity and carry out full demilitarisation;

7.   Encourages the government to intensify its dialogue and cooperation with all political forces, civil society and the churches, especially those within COIEPA, in order to involve every Angolan citizen in this peace and reconciliation process;

8.   Calls on the government to use this opportunity for peace to give absolute priority to improving the humanitarian and health situation, without discrimination, and calls on the EU and the international community to provide adequate assistance to optimise this national effort;

9.   Considers it necessary, as a matter of urgency, to conclude the extension and installation of national administration throughout Angola, so as to create the necessary conditions for the return of displaced communities and their reintegration into their areas of origin, thus enabling them to resume their normal lives;

10.   Urges that the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) play an enhanced role in taking responsibility for more than 4 million displaced persons in Angola, and calls on the international community to take further concrete steps to address the existing humanitarian situation in that country;

11.   Calls on the Commission, the ACP-EU Council and the UN to support programmes for demining, in order to ensure the free movement of persons, and to promote the conditions required for the revitalisation of the national economy, humanitarian aid, the social reintegration of displaced people, demobilised soldiers, disabled members of the armed forces and war orphans, and the organisation of an international conference of donors for the reconstruction of a peaceful Angola;

12.   Calls on the Angolan Government to establish a transparent and accountable mechanism for managing Angola's natural resources, including the diamond and oil trade, so that the income can be dedicated to the financing of global, fair and sustainable development and in the fight against poverty;

13.   Believes that free elections must be held in Angola immediately following the restoration of freedom of movement throughout the country, the establishment of the necessary climate of peace and institutional normality, and the conclusion of a period of detailed preparation with a view to implanting a culture of freedom and mutual respect propitious to democratic elections;

14.   Calls on the EU and the other international organisations to redouble their efforts in support of programmes for education in the area of democracy and civic rights, in cooperation with the Angolan authorities and the bodies which have contributed to the social effort;

15.   Calls for rapid action to investigate the situation of the two Portuguese children who disappeared several months ago;

16.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Co-Presidents of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, the African Union, and the Government and Parliament of Angola.


Torrential rain in Tenerife and eastern Spain and climate change
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European Parliament resolution on the torrential rain affecting Tenerife and the east coast of Spain and climate change
P5_TA(2002)0193 B5-0218 , 0231 and 0237/2002

The European Parliament ,

A.   having regard to the disaster which hit the municipality of Santa Cruz de Tenerife as a result of the floods on 31 March 2002, caused by a sudden downpour during which 224 litres of water per square metre fell in two hours,

B.   whereas as a result of the disaster people died, others disappeared, dozens were injured and unspeakable suffering was caused to a large proportion of the population, and at least 400 homes, according to initial estimates, were totally or partially destroyed, as was the property of thousands of families,

C.   having regard to the enormous material damage caused to the infrastructure of the city and the port facilities, essential for the normal activities of the island of Tenerife,

D.   whereas the storm also had disastrous consequences for the region of Valencia, especially the districts of Marina and La Safor, where one person was killed and flooding seriously affected homes in the area and destroyed many roads,

E.   whereas Santa Cruz de Tenerife benefits from measures implementing the improvements envisaged in the URBAN programme and a large proportion of the works carried out to implement these programmes were flattened by the floods,

F.   having regard to its previous resolutions on natural disasters of this kind, which are of particular significance in Mediterranean countries, because such phenomena happen only occasionally in geographical areas which are not prepared for heavy rain,

G.   concerned at the possible link between this kind of natural disaster and climate change, which is affecting the whole planet,

H.   concerned also at the impact which the building and provision of infrastructure is having on the ecosystems of small island regions with mountainous terrain,

1.   Conveys its condolences to the families affected by the loss of human life and expresses sympathy with the families of those who disappeared or were injured, and with the families who lost their homes and property;

2.   Calls on the Commission to contact the authorities of the Canary islands and the Spanish State in order to offer opportunities for aid to remedy the damage caused to the island's infrastructure;

3.   Raises the efforts made by the various organisations involved, which were mobilised to assist the flood victims, especially the various teams of firemen, police, soldiers and voluntary organisations, as well as local, regional and national authorities, but takes the view that swift and effective coordination of civil protection services is needed throughout the European Union, in order to reduce the impact of this kind of natural disaster, which is becoming increasingly frequent;

4.   Requests in particular, in the context of providing infrastructure in the outermost regions of the Union, that the Commission should take account of the impact of building work on the natural characteristics of island regions with a high population density, in order to ensure that natural events of this kind do not have disastrous consequences;

5.   Considers that the torrential rain which affected Tenerife and eastern Spain are bound to increase the international community's concern about the phenomenon of climate change. Points out, in this context, that the European Union needs to pursue an ambitious and decisive policy to continue the Kyoto process, not least on an international scale; calls on the Member States to respect fully their commitments to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions; considers that the Kyoto Protocol is only the first stage in the fight against global warming and that additional measures will be needed in the long term;

6.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission and the governments of the Member States.

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