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Texts adopted
Thursday, 13 February 2003 - StrasbourgFinal edition
Unexploded ordnance and depleted uranium ammunition
 Human rights in Kazakhstan and Central Asia
 Human rights in Zimbabwe
 Crisis in the steel sector and the measures to be taken at Community level

Unexploded ordnance and depleted uranium ammunition
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European Parliament resolution on the harmful effects of unexploded ordnance (landmines and cluster submunitions) and depleted uranium ammunition
P5_TA(2003)0062 B5-0116 , 0117 , 0126 , 0129 and 0131/2003

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to its resolutions of 17 January 2001 on the consequences of using depleted uranium munitions(1) and of 13 December 2001 on cluster bombs(2) ,

A.   reaffirming the need to establish moratoriums on these types of ammunition pending a total ban,

B.   having regard to the work of the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on Explosive Remnants of War and Anti-Vehicle Mines, which has been discussing and will begin to negotiate in 2003 on weapons and weapons systems, including cluster submunitions that produce unexploded ordnance,

C.   having regard to the excellent progress that the Commission has made in the area of mine clearance support,

D.   having regard to the ongoing use of anti-personnel landmines and anti-vehicle landmines in many major armed conflicts; whereas landmines are mainly used in conflicts in which both state and non-state armed groups are involved,

E.   recognising that most Member States have signed the Ottawa Treaty to globally ban anti-personnel landmines, and hence do not use these types of weaponry any longer; recognising that NATO has de facto banned the use of anti-personnel mines,

F.   whereas cluster submunitions have been and are currently widely used in armed conflicts,

G.   having regard to the use of depleted uranium ammunition in past military interventions,

H.   whereas NATO has not banned these types of weapons,

I.   whereas - whilst acknowledging that international law does not refer specifically to the issue of depleted uranium at present - credible efforts are needed to ensure that any use of such weapons is not in violation of the Additional Protocol I to the Convention on Conventional Weapons,

J.   whereas international law does not currently provide for compensation for possible harmful effects of such weapons and weapons systems,

K.   whereas, furthermore, states, including Member States, are willing to help in the effort to address this shortcoming by providing assistance, in the form of economic assistance, land clearance, social assistance and medical support, to those affected by such weapons,

L.   whereas EU citizens serving as civilian and military members of peacekeeping and peace enforcement operations could have been, and could yet become, victims of such weapons when engaged in humanitarian civilian and military missions and potentially under future ESDP missions,

M.   whereas the targeting of civilians in any conflict is contrary to international humanitarian law, and the use of weapons against them might be considered a war crime under the competence of the ICC,

N.   whereas the EU, in developing its ESDP and deploying armed forces, must uphold international humanitarian law and the rules governing arms control,

1.   Calls on the Council and the Member States to review and monitor the design and development of weapons, ensuring that these are in line with applicable international law and meet the highest international standards directed against technical misuse, misdeployment, mistargeting and malfunction;

2.   Calls on the Council and the Member States, as well as on NATO and the members thereof which are not EU Member States, to make a public declaration guaranteeing that they will not use weapons or weapons systems that have been banned or are deemed to be illegal under international law in present or future armed conflicts;

3.   Calls on the Council and the Member States, as well as the candidate countries, to fully support the Group of Governmental Experts in its efforts to negotiate a new or amended protocol to the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons in order to tackle the issue of explosive remnants of war, in particular so as to establish benchmarks for the speedy provision of assistance to victims;

4.   Calls on the Council to fully support the Commission's programmes in the area of mine clearance; emphasises that these programmes should be extended to cover the broader area of explosive remnants of war; calls on the Commission to make a statement on how this could be done;

5.   Calls on the Commission to issue a communication on this matter outlining in detail how it is strengthening its efforts in favour of projects to assist the victims of anti-personnel mines or unexploded ordnance (primary care or social and economic reintegration projects) and by what means it is encouraging the third countries concerned to set up a national policy for the assistance of these victims;

6.   Calls on the Commission to issue a communication on its assessment of priorities and best practice which might usefully be included in any international legal efforts to address the issue of unexploded ordnance, in support of the efforts made in Geneva by the States Parties to the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons;

7.   Asks the Commission, in the light of the results of these scientific investigations on the use of DU ammunition, to monitor developments in relation to the possible serious, widespread contamination of the environment, as well as any acute or appreciable long-term hazard to human health, and to keep it regularly informed;

8.   Supports the stepping up of the EU contribution to the fight against anti-personnel landmines, and asks the Commission to play a prominent role in fostering cooperation and coordination with the Member States, the United Nations and the US and to give effective support to the achievement of coordination between the main programmes of activities and the partners on the ground;

9.   Calls on the Council and the Member States to take all necessary steps to promote the universalisation of the 1997 Ottawa Treaty and the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons;

10.   Calls for a ban of the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of anti-personnel landmines by non-state armed groups; calls on the States Parties to the Ottawa Treaty to address this issue at their forthcoming meeting in Bangkok and to support the efforts of specialist NGOs and international humanitarian organisations to ensure that non-state armed groups respect the ban on landmines;

11.   Calls on the Council to support independent and thorough investigations into the possible harmful effects of the use of depleted uranium ammunition (and other types of uranium warheads) in military operations in areas such as the Balkans, Afghanistan and other regions; stresses that such investigations should include consideration of the effects on military personnel serving in affected areas and the effects on civilians and their land; calls for the results of these investigations to be presented to Parliament;

12.   Requests the Member States - in order to play their leadership role in full - to immediately implement a moratorium on the further use of cluster ammunition and depleted uranium ammunition (and other uranium warheads), pending the conclusions of a comprehensive study of the requirements of international humanitarian law;

13.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments of the Member States, all members of NATO which are not EU Member States, the UN Secretary-General and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

(1) OJ C 262, 18.9.2001, p. 167.
(2) OJ C 177 E, 25.7.2002, p. 309.

Human rights in Kazakhstan and Central Asia
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European Parliament resolution on Kazakhstan
P5_TA(2003)0064 B5-0135 , 0136 , 0143 , 0144 , 0147 and 0152/2003

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on Kazakhstan,

–   having regard to the European Union's Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with Kazakhstan, which was signed on 23 January 1995 and entered into force on 1 July 1999,

–   having regard to the Commission's Central Asia Strategy Paper 2002-2006 and Indicative Programme 2002-2004,

–   having regard to the conclusions of the fourth meeting of the Cooperation Council between the EU and Kazakhstan,

–   having regard to the EU statements on the case of the journalist Sergei Duvanov,

A.   stressing that respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law is a fundamental element of the EU-Kazakhstan Partnership and Cooperation agreement, upon which the development of future relations will be based,

B.   having regard to the recent creation of a national human rights institution in Kazakhstan and to the fact that Kazakhstan ratified the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in 1998,

C.   whereas there is an increasing number of instances of intimidation and persecution of the press, the political opposition and religious minorities in Kazakhstan,

D.   whereas a leading independent journalist and editor of a human rights bulletin, Sergei Duvanov, has been sentenced to three and a half years imprisonment despite many irregularities in the investigation and a lack of adequate legal defence during his trial, casting doubt on the decision of the court,

E.   whereas Sergei Duvanov was arrested on 28 October 2002, the day before he was due to tour the USA to speak on press freedom in Kazakhstan, on charges relating to sexual offences with a minor which were based on dubious evidence,

F.   whereas Sergei Duvanov had previously been charged with "insulting the honour and dignity of the President" on 9 July 2002, in connection with an Internet article implicating government officials in financial crimes, and was assaulted by three unidentified men and subsequently hospitalised on 28 August 2002, an incident which the authorities failed to investigate properly,

G.   whereas the chief editor of Respublika Weekly, Irina Petrushova, has been sentenced to one and a half years imprisonment and is now facing three new criminal charges,

H.   whereas Mukhtar Ablyazov and Galymzhan Zhakiyanov, opposition leaders of the Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan, were sentenced to six and seven years" imprisonment respectively in July and August 2002 on politically motivated charges relating to so-called "abuse of office" and "misappropriation of state funds",

I.   whereas in order to be registered, political parties must have not less than 50 000 citizens" signatures, and all non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Kazakhstan must now be registered with the authorities, with criminal charges being brought against those who fail to register,

J.   whereas under the new Constitution adopted in 1995 the President can legislate by decree and dominate the legislature and acts of the judiciary,

1.   Expresses its great concern over the investigation, trial and sentencing of Sergei Duvanov and calls in consequence for his immediate release;

2.   Calls on the Kazakhstan authorities to carry out an independent investigation into the case of Sergei Duvanov, as well as those of the two opposition leaders Mukhtar Ablyazov and Galymzhan Zhakiyanov, and to make this information publicly available;

3.   Calls on the Kazakhstan authorities to provide regular and open information on the status of all ongoing judicial cases;

4.   Urges Kazakhstan to bring the legal framework of its national human rights institutions into conformity with international standards, in particular the Paris Principles relating to the Status and Functioning of National Institutions for Protection and Promotion of Human Rights, endorsed by the UN General Assembly in 1993;

5.   Condemns the fact that the crime of torture remains undefined in the Criminal Code and that the widespread practice of torture and other forms of cruel treatment by law enforcement officials persists;

6.   Regrets the fact that the powers of the new Ombudsman for human rights are very restricted and asks that the presidential decree on which this national human rights institution is based be replaced by an improved law, to be adopted by the parliament as soon as possible;

7.   Urges the government and parliament of Kazakhstan to review their decision on the registration of political parties and NGOs;

8.   Urges the government of Kazakhstan to invite the opposition to start a dialogue on ways and means of overcoming the existing conflict;

9.   Calls on the Council and the Commission to raise firmly the question of respect for human rights at the next Cooperation Council meeting, linking progress in this field to the further implementation of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, and to strengthen TACIS democracy programmes for Kazakhstan, aiming, in particular, at strengthening and developing democratic institutions, independent media and the fight against corruption;

10.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the government of Kazakhstan.

Human rights in Zimbabwe
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European Parliament resolution on human rights in Zimbabwe
P5_TA(2003)0066 B5-0112 , 0142 , 0148 and 0151/2003

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions of 13 April 2000(1) , 18 May 2000(2) , 6 July 2000(3) , 15 March 2001(4) , 6 September 2001(5) , 13 December 2001(6) , 14 March 2002(7) , 4 July 2002(8) and 5 September 2002(9) on the situation in Zimbabwe,

A.   whereas the EU Common Position of 18 February 2002 (due to be renewed by 18 February 2003) introduced targeted sanctions against the Mugabe regime in recognition of the worsening repression of the Zimbabwean population, and includes a travel ban on senior members of ZANU-PF,

B.   whereas political oppression in Zimbabwe has intensified, and the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Morgan Tsvangirai, its Secretary-General Welshman Ncube, and Renson Gasela MP have now been put on trial in Zimbabwe on spurious charges of treason,

C.   whereas Zimbabwe is no longer a democratic country, as the parliamentary, presidential and all subsequent local elections have been characterised by intimidation, repression, voting fraud and state-sponsored political violence, and fundamental human rights are systematically abused,

D.   whereas 7.2 million Zimbabweans - over half the population - are on the brink of starvation, and government-controlled food is being denied to those unable to produce a ZANU-PF membership card,

E.   whereas the overall economic situation is spiralling downwards with unemployment at 70%, inflation at over 100% and only 50% of the land that was once farmed in Zimbabwe actually under cultivation,

F.   whereas supporters of the MDC, including MPs, who have been arrested are reporting increasingly violent police interrogation tactics, including torture such as beatings, electric shock treatment, and poisoning,

G.   whereas Mugabe's youth militia are immune from prosecution despite inflicting widespread intimidation and violence on innocent civilians,

H.   whereas Robert Mugabe has been invited to the Franco-African summit to be held in Paris on 19 February 2003,

I.   whereas the European Parliament has consistently called for the widening and rigorous enforcement of sanctions, as well as other measures to make international action against the Mugabe regime more effective,

J.   whereas forthcoming events will be crucial in terms of increasing pressure on the Mugabe regime, such as the review of Zimbabwe's status within the Commonwealth, the question of how to implement EU sanctions in relation to the EU-Africa Summit, and expected UN consideration of the situation in Zimbabwe,

K.   whereas South Africa in particular, as Zimbabwe's most powerful neighbour and economic partner, has the opportunity and responsibility to show leadership in helping bring about urgent change for the better in Zimbabwe,

L.   whereas the EU is committed to maintaining close relations with its ACP partners, and working with them and with the wider international community to find a common approach so as to re-establish democracy and put an end to the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe,

M.   whereas African nations must not allow their relations with the countries of the European Union to be held hostage by the Mugabe regime, and it is therefore in the interests of the African Union and SADC to take urgent action along with the rest of the international community to bring about a rapid change for the better in Zimbabwe,

N.   whereas a significant part of the UN Panel of Experts' October 2002 report on the illegal exploitation of natural resources in the Democratic Republic of Congo refers to the illicit role of government-backed Zimbabwean interests, and gives startling evidence of how the actions of Mugabe's corrupt henchmen impact not just on their own people, but also on neighbouring countries; whereas the speaker of Zimbabwe's Parliament, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was cited in this report,

O.   whereas opportunities to circumvent the EU's travel ban have been exploited by leading members of the Mugabe regime and the Council has failed to prevent this,

P.   whereas the European Parliament itself took action in November 2002 to refuse access to parliamentary premises to two banned Zimbabweans who had been granted visas by the Belgian authorities,

1.   Condemns the lack of coherence in EU policy, and calls upon the Council and the governments of the Member States not to seek exemptions from the EU's own sanctions regime;

2.   Calls upon the Council, when reviewing its Common Position of 18 February 2002, to ensure that sanctions against the Mugabe regime continue without interruption and without exception, and to outline, with absolute clarity, how the visa ban on ZANU-PF members must be applied;

3.   Insists that the spurious and unsubstantiated charges against Morgan Tsvangirai, Welshman Ncube and Renson Gasela should be dropped and that the systematic violence and intimidation against opponents of the Mugabe regime must cease;

4.   Calls for a representative government to be freely and fairly chosen in properly managed and internationally monitored elections, as a matter of urgency;

5.   Condemns the utilisation of food aid as a political weapon against opposition supporters; asks the government of Zimbabwe to guarantee food distribution to the population regardless of political affiliation; calls on the international community, including the UN, to take a more interventionist approach to food distribution, to provide protection for safe and fair delivery of food to those who need it, and to work with Zimbabwe's neighbours who are confronted with refugee problems;

6.   Calls upon the UN to appoint a Special Rapporteur to investigate the human rights situation in Zimbabwe;

7.   Calls on the Council and Commission to extend the existing sanctions and to impose sanctions on those business people responsible for financing the ZANU-PF regime; calls for the introduction of additional measures, including rescinding the rights of residence in Europe of those covered by EU sanctions and stopping their family members accessing employment and educational institutions in the EU;

8.   Calls yet again upon the Commission and Council to provide more information on the freezing of the bank accounts of those subject to EU sanctions;

9.   Calls for consideration of wider sanctions against the Zimbabwe regime, including an international sports and cultural boycott, but none which would increase the suffering of the population of Zimbabwe;

10.   Praises the courage of the Zimbabwean cricketers Andy Flower and Henry Olonga who defied Mugabe, and the stance of the England cricket team who have refused to play in Zimbabwe;

11.   Calls for increased awareness among the EU and its ACP partners and in the wider international community of the MDC's wish for the EU sanctions to be rigorously implemented, including the call by MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai for the stringent application of the visa ban;

12.   Criticises the invitation to Mugabe to attend the Franco-African summit in February 2003;

13.   Insists that the Council refuse a visa to Mugabe, and any other banned Zimbabweans, to attend the EU-Africa summit in Lisbon, and regrets that an opportunity for EU-Africa dialogue is again being jeopardised by the problems caused by the Zimbabwe regime;

14.   Calls, in accordance with the Cotonou Agreement, for questions of good governance and the promotion of human rights and the rule of law, focusing on Zimbabwe, to feature in all EU discussions in African countries and their regional organisations, and not be merely reserved for dialogue with Southern Africa;

15.   Urges President Mbeki of South Africa, as the current President of the African Union, and President Dos Santos, as Chairman of SADC, to take the initiative in bringing pressure to bear on Zimbabwe through effective regional initiatives and to demand fresh presidential elections in Zimbabwe under international supervision;

16.   Urges the Commonwealth to renew its suspension of Zimbabwe;

17.   Rejects any suggestion that the substitution of President Mugabe by Emmerson Mnangagwa would solve Zimbabwe's problems, since the latter has a clear responsibility for the state of Zimbabwe's economy and its administration, and is implicated in the political violence and election-rigging;

18.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments of the Member States, the ACP-EU Council, the government and Parliament of Zimbabwe, the UN Secretary-General, the Secretary-General of the African Union and the Secretary-General of SADC.

(1) OJ C 40, 7.2.2001, p. 425.
(2) OJ C 59, 23.2.2001, p. 241.
(3) OJ C 121, 24.4.2001, p. 394.
(4) OJ C 343, 5.12.2001, p. 304.
(5) OJ C 72 E, 21.3.2002, p. 339.
(6) OJ C 177 E, 25.7.2002, p. 305.
(7) P5_TA(2002)0131 .
(8) P5_TA(2002)0376 .
(9) P5_TA(2002)0412 .

Crisis in the steel sector and the measures to be taken at Community level
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European Parliament resolution on the crisis in the steel sector
P5_TA(2003)0067 B5-0133 , 0139 and 0140/2003

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and in particular the provisions on social rights, and the provisions of the EC Treaty, in particular Article 136 thereof, according to which the Member States have as their objectives the promotion of employment, improvement of living and working conditions, proper social protection and dialogue between management and labour with a view to lasting high employment and the combating of exclusion,

–   having regard to the Lisbon European Council conclusions of 23 and 24 March 2000, the Göteborg European Council conclusions of 15 and 16 June 2001, the Barcelona European Council of 15 and 16 March 2002, and the conclusions of 16 September 2002 on the outcome of the World Summit on Sustainable Development,

–   having regard to Council Directive 77/187/EEC of 14 February 1977 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the safeguarding of employees' rights in the event of transfers of undertakings, businesses or parts of businesses(1) ,

–   having regard to Council Directive 94/45/EC of 22 September 1994 on the establishment of a European Works Council or a procedure in Community-scale undertakings and Community-scale groups of undertakings for the purposes of informing and consulting employees(2) ,

–   having regard to Council Directive 98/59/EC of 20 July 1998 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to collective redundancies(3)

–   having regard to European Parliament and Council Directive 2002/14/EC of 11 March 2002 establishing a general framework for informing and consulting employees in the European Community(4) ,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on the steel sector and industrial restructuring and mergers,

–   having regard to the continuous loss of jobs in the steel sector,

A.   whereas the steel company Arcelor, formed as a result of the merger of Arbed, Usinor and Aceralia, announced in January 2003 that it intended to close hot rolling lines in all the group's continental sites, and whereas this will lead to thousands of job losses throughout Europe,

B.   whereas, at a time when it has stated that the continental hot rolling production plants are no longer viable, the Arcelor management is offering to purchase four continental sites in southern Poland; whereas the Polish Government is, as a result, planning an intervention amounting to 2.7 billion zloty,

C.   having regard to the mobilisation of the employees concerned, their trade unions, the public and their elected representatives in the affected regions,

D.   whereas the unilateral US decision to impose extraordinary tariffs on steel imports, mainly from the EU, goes against the WTO Agreement and is causing considerable harm to the Community producers concerned,

1.   Reminds Arcelor of its commitments as a company and demands that it assume its social responsibility and that all its continental sites be treated equally and without discrimination;

2.   Calls on the Commission to ensure that the Treaties are applied strictly to any request for aid submitted by the Polish Government in relation to the operation announced by Arcelor in Poland, and to reject any contradictory arguments;

3.   Reminds the Commission that, since the disappearance of the ECSC, it is responsible for dealing with the economic and social consequences for the steel industry of Europe's enlargement to include new Member States;

4.   Calls on the Commission, in cooperation with the authorities concerned, to look into ways of ensuring effective and targeted use of Community funds, particularly the European Social Fund, for professional training and reorientation of the workers concerned;

5.   Calls on the Commission to continue to pursue vigorously, through both the OECD and the WTO, stricter multilateral rules against unfair competition from third countries, whether through subsidies, abuse of trade remedies or other measures;

6.   Encourages the Commission to take bold measures to protect European firms from the negative effects of US unilateral action, while respecting multilateral trade rules and taking into account the long-term interests of the European economy;

7.   Welcomes the creation of a group of Commissioners, chaired by Enterprise Commissioner Erkki Liikanen and including Commissioners for trade, competition, enlargement, economic, social and foreign policies, to chart a coherent response to the difficulties ahead; emphasises, however, that the Environment Commissioner, Mrs Wallström, should be associated;

8.   Calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote innovation, develop new actions aimed at specialisation and quality also in this sector and/or provide for appropriate plans for retraining; considers it necessary to ensure that the EU maintains a strong, modern steel industry which is in a position to meet the needs of sustainable development and job creation, in particular with a view to enhancing employee and consumer protection;

9.   Calls on the Commission and the Member States to adopt a more proactive strategy in response to industrial restructuring measures and their social impact, with a view to preventing their negative effects on jobs, working conditions and regional planning;

10.   Deplores the fact that during the many recent restructurings of businesses, Community provisions on collective redundancies, transfers of undertakings and European Works Councils have not been adhered to; in particular, calls on the Commission to verify, whenever necessary, that Member States apply Directives 98/59/EC and 94/45/EC;

11.   Believes that all subsidies granted from public funds should be subject to agreements with regard to employment, local development and investment aimed at modernising production;

12.   Calls on the Member States to promote and strengthen dialogue between management and labour, in compliance with national and European legislation on informing and consulting workers, and to adopt effective measures to protect trade union representatives;

13.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and both sides of industry.

(1) OJ L 61, 5.3.1977, p. 26.
(2) OJ L 254, 30.9.1994, p. 64.
(3) OJ L 225, 12.8.1998, p. 16.
(4) OJ L 80, 23.3.2002, p. 29.

Last updated: 10 January 2019Legal notice