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Wednesday, 15 January 2003 - Strasbourg Final edition
Basic rights in the EU (2001)
P5_TA(2003)0012A5-0451/2002

European Parliament resolution on the situation concerning basic rights in the European Union (2001) (2001/2014(INI))

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the motions for resolutions by:

   (a) Cristiana Muscardini on establishing official registers of translators at the offices of the criminal police in the Member States (B5-0677/2001)
   (b) Cristiana Muscardini, Roberta Angelilli, Roberto Felice Bigliardo, Sergio Berlato, Antonio Mussa, Nello Musumeci, Mauro Nobilia, Adriana Poli Bortone and Francesco Turchi on the provision of essential emergency medical treatment to third-country nationals within the European Union (B5-0678/2001),

–   having regard to its previous annual reports on the human rights situation in the European Union and, in particular, to its resolution of 5 July 2001 on the situation as regards fundamental rights in the European Union(1) that launched a new approach including the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights as its frame of reference;

–   having regard to Articles 6 and 7 of EU Treaty,

–   having regard to the third annual report of the European Union on human rights in 2001, published by the General Affairs Council on 8 October 2001(2) ,

–   having regard to the findings of the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) and to its own resolutions on the matter, with particular reference to its recommendation of 16 May 2001 on the European Union's position at the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and related intolerance(3) ,

–   having regard to the judgments of the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights,

–   having regard to the international conventions on the subject and, in particular, to the findings published in 2001 by the monitoring committees for the major United Nations and Council of Europe conventions(4) ,

–   having regard to the reports by international and European NGOs concerned with human rights,

–   having regard to the reports on the Member States adopted in 2001 by the Council of Europe's European Commission against Racism and Intolerance(5) ,

–   having regard to the public hearing organised by the European Parliament on 17 April 2002 on respect for fundamental rights in the European Union,

–   having regard to Rule 163 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Citizens' Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, the Committee on Women's Rights and Equal Opportunities and the Committee on Petitions (A5-0451/2002),

Introduction

1.  Draws attention to the fact that the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union provides a résumé of the fundamental values on which the Union is based and which are referred to repeatedly in Articles 6(2), 7 and 29 of the Treaty on European Union, in connection with the establishment of an area of freedom, security and justice;

2.  Believes that it is therefore up to the EU institutions, following the proclamation of the Charter, to take the initiatives needed for them to exercise their role in monitoring respect for fundamental rights in the Member States, having regard to the undertakings given at the signature of the Treaty of Nice on 27 February 2001, particularly as regards the new Article 7(1);

3.  Considers that it has a basic duty to verify that due respect is being shown for fundamental rights both by Union institutions and bodies - pursuant inter alia to Rule 58 of its Rules of Procedure - and by the Member States, in accordance with the Treaties and with Rule 108 of its Rules of Procedure;

4.  Considers that its annual report on the human rights situation in the European Union would carry greater weight if it were more closely coordinated and more consistent with Parliament's external human rights activities and if its power of scrutiny over the Commission and Council were strengthened; calls for the annual report to be adopted no later than the July part-session each year;

5.  Recommends that the report on respect for fundamental rights in the EU be incorporated into the early warning system provided for in Articles 6 and 7 of the EU Treaty, conferring on its committee responsible an ongoing mission to monitor compliance with the Charter, a mission in which the other relevant committees will be involved, forwarding to it any observations during the course of the year;

6.  Believes, in particular, that it is up to the European Parliament, by virtue of its role under the terms of the new Article 7(1) of the Treaty of Nice, and to its relevant committee to monitor, in cooperation with the national parliaments and those of the applicant countries, respect by the European institutions and by the Member States for the rights set out in the chapters of the Charter;

7.  Welcomes the fact that, on 16 October 2002, the Commission set up the Network of Experts on Fundamental Rights and calls on the Commission to submit to the Council and to Parliament the Network's reports on the human rights situation in the EU and the Member States on the basis of multi-disciplinary material, since this should enable Parliament to be presented with an evaluation of the implementation of each of the rights set out in the Charter, taking account of changes in national law, the case law of the Luxembourg and Strasbourg courts and significant case law of the constitutional and other courts of the Member States;

8.  Considers that the Commission rejected the proposal to set up an EU Human Rights Monitoring Agency without sufficient grounds; intends to keep this proposal on the agenda and calls on the Commission to examine how the Network of Human Rights Experts could develop into a monitoring agency of this kind;

9.  Welcomes the Commission's decision (SEC(2001) 380/3 of 13 March 2001) to review legislative proposals and other decisions in advance to see whether they are compatible with the Charter of Fundamental Rights and to establish this in a special clause; calls on the Commission to provide Parliament with an overview of how many of its legislative proposals and other decisions now include such a clause and what percentage this represents of the total number of decisions;

10.  Reiterates its request to the European Convention to incorporate the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the draft Constitution of the Union;

11.  Welcomes the Council's proposal to ensure greater consistency between the EU's internal and external human rights policies, and to explore the development of possible means and practices to this end (General Affairs Council of 25 June 2001), but is concerned that there has been, to date, no evidence of this being put into practice; calls on the Council to inform Parliament of the action taken by 1 July 2003;

12.  Urges its competent bodies to introduce without delay practical improvements in cooperation and coordination between the parliamentary committees responsible for human rights issues inside and outside the European Union respectively, in particular so as to clarify which committee is to be responsible for human rights in the applicant countries;

13.  Urges the Commission and Council not to restrict the annual fora on human rights and citizens' rights (designed to give the dialogue with NGOs greater continuity) to human rights issues outside the EU but also to consider such issues within the EU, thus making it possible to tackle across-the-board topics; calls on its competent bodies to investigate how Parliament may be involved more closely in the preparations for such meetings with a view to ensuring increased efficiency in practice;

14.  Calls on all the Member States to rectify their failure to comply with their reporting requirements to the relevant United Nations monitoring bodies on the implementation of UN human rights conventions(6) ; calls on the Council and the European Convention to give greater weight to the Member States' obligations to comply with UN human rights conventions in the formulation of European human rights policy;

15.  Calls also on those Member States that are lagging behind in reporting to the relevant Council of Europe committees to comply with their obligations if they have not already done so;

16.  Recalls that democracy is based on full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and on the full application of the principle of legality and on the rule of law; calls on the Member States and EU institutions, therefore, to ensure full respect of the provisions of the international treaties on human rights, and notably the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) and its protocols, together with their respective Constitutions and laws;

Chapter 1: Human dignity
Right to life

17.  Welcomes the fact that Ireland has removed the death penalty from its Constitution and urges Greece to abolish the death penalty in all circumstances in order to meet the human rights obligations of a Member State;

18.  Calls on Belgium, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy and Luxembourg to ratify the UN Convention on the suppression of terrorist bombings and on Belgium, Germany, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg and Portugal to ratify the UN Convention for the suppression of the financing of terrorism;

19.  Reiterates its unconditional rejection and absolute condemnation of terrorism because, whatever outward form it takes and whether it arises or operates within or outside Union borders, it negates the most fundamental human right, the right to life;

20.  Reaffirms that all ideologies are legitimate, provided that they are articulated by democratic means, and roundly condemns, therefore, those terrorist organisations which threaten and kill people because they hold elective office and/or are active in given political groupings;

21.  Reaffirms that terrorism causes irreparable damage and untold misery to its victims and their relatives and accordingly welcomes and calls for the adoption of measures to take account of the special circumstances affecting them;

22.  Notes that, since terrorism seeks to destabilise the rule of law, policies to prevent and combat terrorism should seek first and foremost to maintain and strengthen the rule of law and democracy;

23.  Reiterates its support for measures to combat terrorism and points out that they have to be adopted without exceeding the bounds determined by the rule of law or in any way violating human rights and civil liberties;

24.   Subscribes fully to the Guidelines on human rights and the fight against terrorism adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 11 July 2002;

25.  Expresses its concern at the negative impact on fundamental rights already apparent as a result of the measures taken to combat terrorism;

26.  Appeals to the Member States not to violate fundamental rights in any way when combating terrorism and to fight any restriction of those rights;

27.  Recommends that the Member States should introduce a sunset provision in their specific anti-terrorism legislation, requiring an evaluation and/or review of legislation after a reasonable period;

28.  Calls on the Commission and Council to carry out a review in 2003 of the measures taken by the Member States after 11 September 2001, together with a specific evaluation of their potential incompatibility with fundamental rights, and to forward it to Parliament;

Prohibition of torture and inhuman treatment

29.  Points out that Article 4 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights stipulates that "No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" and calls for that article to be scrupulously observed in all the Member States;

30.   notes with concern that, for years, misconduct by police officers and other law enforcement officers and atrocious conditions in police stations and prisons have been recurring themes in human rights reports in virtually all Member States;

31.   considers that the Member States should step up their efforts in this area, in particular by:

   - investigating thoroughly all cases of abuse and, in particular, deaths of persons held in custody in police stations, prisons or on remand pending deportation, and consistently punishing the perpetrators;
   - giving police and other law enforcement officers, including prison staff, better training,
   - exchanging best practice between Member States, encouraging exchanges of views between European partners and permitting training exchanges between prison staff in the various Member States,
   - upgrading prison facilities to the modern age, with appropriate arrangements for obtaining medical and legal assistance; paying particular attention to vulnerable prisoners, especially women, and in particular cases of sexual abuse and intimidation,
   - not restricting the right to private and family life more than is strictly necessary, but creating the conditions necessary for the respect of privacy,
   - devising alternative punishments in the public interest to tackle overcrowding in prisons,
   - encouraging the adoption of administrative penalties and/or fines for minor offences, while promoting alternative penalties such as work in the public interest, developing as far as possible open or semi-open prison regimes, and making use of conditional leave,
   - setting up specific social rehabilitation programmes for prisoners,
   - establishing an independent body to investigate human rights violations and come up with suggestions for improvements,
   - ensuring that sufficient expert staff are available in reception centres for asylum seekers, and by
   - restricting detention as far as possible, even in the case of expulsion proceedings, and completely avoiding taking children into custody save in absolutely exceptional cases;

32.  Notes with concern the report by Amnesty International and the International Helsinki Federation for Human rights, entitled 'Greece: Ill-treatment, shootings and impunity' and shares the view that serious violations of human rights in one Member State are not just the responsibility of that country but should also be the proper concern of the EU as a whole;

33.  Considers that the long-term and serious nature of this problem goes to the core of the community of values to which the European Union aspires but notes that the current Treaties offer little scope for policies in this area;

34.  Recommends that the European Convention should recognise the scope for more effective regulation and policy in this area at EU level;

Prohibition of slavery and forced labour

35.  Calls on Austria, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom to ratify the UN Convention against transnational organised crime and the associated protocols on trafficking in persons,

36.  Calls on Germany, France, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and United Kingdom to ratify the UN Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict;

37.  Welcomes the fact that, in July 2002, the Council adopted Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA on combating trafficking in human beings(7) and calls on the Member States to transpose the framework decision into national legislation without delay and to adopt the proposal for a Council directive on the short-term residence permit issued to victims of action to facilitate illegal immigration or trafficking in human beings who cooperate with the competent authorities(8) as soon as Parliament has delivered its position;

38.  Calls on the Member States, in particular Greece, to devise and implement a balanced policy to prevent and combat all forms of trafficking in human beings, particularly women, focusing not only on the prosecution of offenders but also the protection and rehabilitation of victims and covering not only trafficking for the purposes of prostitution but also other forms of forced labour and exploitation;

39.  Notes that approximately half a million women from Central and Eastern Europe are transported every year to the European Union to be sold into prostitution: calls on the Member States to make serious efforts to combat trafficking by improving the input of the police, judicial and social authorities and through intensive cooperation with the applicant countries and other countries adjoining the EU;

40.  Considers it essential to intensify the efforts to combat illegal immigration, given that it very often creates a pool of workers who have no rights and have to suffer unacceptable conditions of employment and exploitation;

41.  Calls on the Council to conclude its deliberations on the proposal for a Council Framework Decision on combating the sexual exploitation of children and child pornography(9) ;

Chapter 2: Freedoms
Freedom of thought, conscience and religion

42.  Calls on Greece to recognise the right of conscientious objection to military service without restriction and without reference to any religious grounds, to introduce forms of alternative service which do not last longer than compulsory military service and to release immediately all those serving prison sentences in this connection;

43.  Notes that, under Article 6 of the UN Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women (CEDAW), the signatories must take all appropriate measures, including legislative ones, to suppress all forms of trafficking and the exploitation of the prostitution of women;

44.  Deplores the violations of fundamental rights such as freedom of expression and movement, the right of due process and the right to physical integrity that have occurred during public demonstrations, particularly at the time of the G8 meeting in Genoa;

45.  Recalls its recommendation of 12 December 2001 to the Council on an area of Freedom, Security and Justice: security at meetings of the European Council and other comparable events(10) and recommends the Member States to avoid a disproportionate use of force and to instruct national police forces to control violence and preserve individual rights, even in confused crowd scenarios where violent lawbreakers are mixed with peaceful law-abiding citizens; considers that it should be mandatory for national police forces to avoid the use of guns and to comply with the UN recommendation on a proportionate use of force and the Council of Europe ethical code for enforcement; notes in particular that, concerning the disorder in Genoa in July 2001, Parliament will continue to pay particular attention to the follow-up of the administrative, judicial and parliamentary inquiries that were launched in Italy to ascertain if inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (Article 4 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union) took place on that occasion;

46.  Calls on the Member States to guarantee religious pluralism, through equal treatment of all religions and to ensure that religious and secular views are respected and can be expressed on an equal footing;

47.  Recommends that Member States fight the unlawful activities of so-called sects, which threaten the physical or mental integrity of individuals, and in so doing to uphold the principles of the rule of law and apply the normal procedures of criminal and civil law, in line with the views expressed by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe(11) ;

48.  Considers that the freedom no longer to adhere to a religion or ideology and to leave the community concerned should also be deemed a fundamental freedom and that this right should be actively safeguarded by governments where necessary;

49.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that this freedom does not infringe the autonomy of women and the principle of equality between women and men and that it is exercised in accordance with the requirement of separation between Church and State;

Freedom of expression and information, right to privacy, protection of personal data and access to documents

50.  Recommends that the Union adopt a legally binding instrument offering guarantees under the second and third pillars equivalent to those laid down in Directive 95/46/EC(12) ; is disturbed at the substance of Directive 2002/58/EC(13) , which opens up the possibility of data relating to electronic communications being stored (data retention), and advocates once again the adoption of measures to guard against extra-legal communications interception systems;

51.  Calls on Belgium, Denmark and Ireland to sign and ratify the Council of Europe Convention on transfrontier television of 5 May 1989, calls on Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Sweden to ratify this Convention and calls on those countries and Portugal to sign and respectively ratify the Protocol of 1 October 1998 amending that Convention;

52.  Calls on the Member States to guarantee freedom of opinion and the freedom to express one's ideas in public, since these are essential prerequisites for any policy to safeguard fundamental rights;

53.  Urges the Member States to guarantee journalists" freedom of investigation and the right of non-disclosure (the right of journalists not to disclose their sources), by revising their legislation, where necessary;

54.  Calls on members of governments and other politicians in the Member States to attach paramount importance to the value to democracy of a free press and to refrain from public statements that tend to curtail or influence journalists' freedom and independence;

55.  Categorically rejects all violence, intimidation or threats likely to restrict the freedom to exercise the occupation of journalism; calls, therefore, on all the Member States to respect and defend the right to freedom of conscience and expression and reaffirms its solidarity with those journalists on whose lives attempts are made because they refuse to yield and freely exercise that right;

56.  Recommends that the Member States pay particular attention to political interference with the media so as to ensure that they are not divided up on a purely political basis merely for the purpose of using them against political opponents;

57.  Recommends that the Member States closely monitor virtual monopolies or very large concentrations of the audiovisual and written media and calls on those Member States that do not yet have independent self-regulatory bodies to establish the latter so as to combat effectively all anti-democratic tendencies, preserve cultural diversity and guarantee the quality and plurality of programmes and free access for all;

58.  Stresses the fact that the constitution of de facto monopolies must be monitored not only using economic indicators but also in connection to the respect of fundamental rights and in particular of the freedom of expression established by Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and by Article 10 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms; is worried about the situation in Italy, where a large part of the media and the advertising market is controlled - in various forms - by the same person; recalls that such a situation could constitute a serious violation of a fundamental right pursuant to Article 7 of the EU Treaty, as modified by the Nice Treaty;

59.  Recalls Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001(14) and calls on the Commission, the Council and its own Secretariat to guarantee that the Regulation and its spirit are respected and actually result in greater transparency and accessibility for the public; urges the EU to implement the Regulation in a spirit of transparency, apply the exceptions and the stipulations on special treatment for sensitive documents only when absolutely necessary and adopt as soon as possible an instrument to ensure that the rules on access to documents of the EU agencies and bodies conform to the Regulation;

Right of asylum and protection in the event of removal, expulsion and extradition

60.  Reiterates its repeated calls for the Council to expedite the adoption of a common EU asylum policy based on humanism and respect for international conventions and emphasises that observance of human rights is, and must remain, the inviolable principle underlying policy;

61.  Recommends the adoption and implementation by the EU and the Member States of an ambitious programme for the integration of third-country citizens, based on the principle of non-discrimination;

62.  Recommends, in view of the non bis in idem principle, that double jeopardy (conviction and deportation) should be abolished;

63.  Recommends that the Member States increase the flexibility of their naturalisation and/or dual nationality procedures so as to enable residents of foreign origin who so desire to acquire full citizenship;

64.  Urges the Member States to ensure that national and EU asylum policies, as well as border and entry policies, respect the principle of non-refoulement (as laid down in the Geneva Convention and the ECHR) and be aware that, at present, the combination of the Dublin Convention rules and the safe-third-country and safe-country-of-origin concepts, as well as rules on carrier sanctions and transporters' liability, limited access to interpreters and lawyers and the lack of suspensive effect of certain appeal procedures constitute a threat to this principle;

65.  Urges Member States to refrain from any initiative that aims at changing the Geneva Convention itself; calls once again, however, for the criteria governing the admission of refugees to the EU to be broadened to include, in particular, persecution inflicted by persons other than representatives of the state and persecution based on sex (including the threat and the risk to women of being subjected to genital mutilation) and on sexual orientation;

66.  Calls on the Member States - in compliance with the Refugee Convention and the UNHCR recommendations - to ensure that all asylum seekers, including those without identity papers, have access to the asylum procedure;

67.  Calls on the Member States to monitor constantly whether their decisions in individual asylum cases do not undermine the principle of non-refoulement;

68.  Calls on the Member States, in their fight against terrorism, to ensure that they comply with their international obligations on asylum and that any non-application of the Refugee Convention is based on the grounds listed in the Convention itself (Article 1(f) and Article 32) and that no exclusion of this kind is ever made systematically;

69.  Urges the Member States to limit detention of asylum seekers to exceptional cases, to a limited period and only for the reasons set out in the UNHCR Guidelines on Applicable Criteria and Standards relating to the Detention of Asylum Seekers;

70.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that people are not extradited to countries where they risk the death penalty for their offences or where they risk being tortured or maltreated and not to accept any non-binding guarantees; calls, further, on the Member States not to undermine this right through bilateral agreements;

71.  Is concerned at the cases of collective expulsion that have occurred and reminds the Member States that collective expulsion is prohibited by the Charter and by Article 4 of Protocol No 4 to the ECHR, unless there is a specific, justified and objective reason for the decision on the collective expulsion of aliens;

Chapter 3: Equality
Anti-discrimination policy

72.  Welcomes the fact that, following ratification by Luxembourg in 2001, all the Member States have now ratified ILO Convention 111 concerning discrimination in employment and occupation;

73.  Urges Denmark, Spain, France, Sweden and the United Kingdom to sign Protocol No 12 to the ECHR and all Member States to ratify this Protocol;

74.  Calls on the Member States to pursue a coherent anti-discrimination policy at both national and EU level and, in principle, to afford an equal degree of protection from discrimination on different grounds; calls on the Commission to publish a White Paper on the EU's future strategy for equal treatment, in which the departure point referred to above is given more tangible form and on the Member States to take all the appropriate measures to put this principle into practice;

75.  Notes that, in the period under review, Member States have been condemned by the European Court of Human Rights in Cases Nos 37119/97, 35972/97 and 29545/95 for discrimination in access to public service employment; calls on the Commission to ascertain whether, in the cases in question, Directive 2000/78/EC(15) has been breached and, if so, to take appropriate measures; calls, furthermore, for specific proposals for directives to be submitted on the basis of Article 13 of the EC Treaty to combat all the grounds for discrimination referred to in Article 13;

76.  Calls, further, on Italy to take immediate action to comply with the judgment of the European Court of Justice in Case C-212/99 which established that foreign-language university assistants were subject to discrimination;

77.  Calls on the Commission to finalise as soon as possible its proposal for a directive on equal treatment for men and women outside the employment sphere and to submit it to the Council and Parliament;

Racism and xenophobia

78.  Calls on the Member States to pursue a consistent policy to combat discrimination and to promote equality and diversity in order to tackle racism and xenophobia as a structural problem in society, thereby complying with their obligations under the relevant international conventions, including the reporting requirements, and incorporating dialogue with the relevant international monitoring bodies into the policy-making process in a positive way;

79.  Calls on the European institutions and the Member States to continue the fight against racial discrimination and xenophobia in a consistent way and, in doing so, to focus not only on members of ethnic or religious minority groups that have been living in Europe for some time but also on asylum seekers and new economic migrants;

80.  Expresses concern at the growing incidence of racial discrimination and xenophobia, which is undoubtedly fuelled by reactions to the attacks of 11 September 2001, but is also encouraged by the many good practices on the part of political leaders and opinion-formers who have sent out a message of reconciliation, equality and solidarity;

81.  Expresses concern at the rising number and increasing violence of acts of anti-semitism and calls on the Member States to pay greater attention to detecting and preventing such offences and prosecuting the perpetrators;

82.  Expresses concern at discrimination against the Roma, above all in housing policy (particularly in Greece and Italy), and urges the authorities concerned to guarantee equality of access to education and other public services, to promote integration and to prevent police violence and intimidation;

83.  Calls on political parties in the Member States to sign and enforce the Charter of European parties for a non-racist society and, hence, refrain from any political alliance or cooperation with political parties which commit or incite racial or ethnic prejudice and racial hatred;

84.  Welcomes the efforts of the European Monitoring Centre for Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) to compile the necessary data on racism and xenophobia and analyse it and urges the EUMC to use this information proactively; calls on the EUMC to step up its dialogue with governments and administrative bodies in the Member States;

Cultural, religious and linguistic diversity

85.  Welcomes the fact that, in 2001, Belgium signed the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the protection of national minorities; urges France to do likewise; further urges Belgium, France, Greece, Luxembourg and the Netherlands to ratify the Convention;

86.  Urges Belgium, Greece, Ireland and Portugal to sign the European Charter for regional or minority languages; welcomes the fact that Austria, Spain and the United Kingdom ratified the Charter in 2001 and calls on Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Luxembourg and Portugal to do likewise;

87.  Calls on all the Member States (except Denmark and the Netherlands, who have already done so) to sign and ratify ILO Convention No 169 on indigenous and tribal peoples;

88.  Calls on the Member States to recognise the national minorities living in their territory and to guarantee their rights as enshrined in the above conventions; urges the Member States to interpret the concept of 'national minority' broadly and to extend it to all ethnic minorities whose emancipation and social integration is a policy objective;

Equality between men and women

89.  Considers that women's rights must be seen as individual rights and should not be made conditional on women's role in the family or on any other social restriction;

90.  Welcomes the fact that Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain have ratified the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women (CEDAW); calls on Belgium, Luxembourg, Sweden and the United Kingdom to follow their example;

91.  Notes that there is no extensive and up-to-date, yet comparable and accessible, review of the current state of equal treatment of men and women in the Member States; urges the Commission once again to present an analysis of implementation by the Member States of the equal treatment directives and to develop its strategies in order to improve implementation, not least by initiating Treaty infringement procedures and possibly by revising the directives themselves; urges the Commission to ensure that action is taken to combat and punish sexual harassment, since it constitutes humiliating and degrading treatment for any human being;

92.  Calls on the Member States to recognise that freedom from domestic violence and marital rape is a fundamental human right; notes that, despite the breakthroughs achieved, violence against women is continuing to increase; takes the view that it is necessary to explore effective new ways of combating this intolerable form of inhuman treatment;

93.  Considers that a legal approach to equal treatment of men and women must be seen against the background of the process of social emancipation and calls therefore on the Commission to make a comparative analysis of the current situation regarding the emancipation process in the Member States, so that the results of a quarter of a century of European equal treatment policy may be identified and form the cornerstone of future policy;

94.  Urges the European institutions and the Member States to make gender mainstreaming a systematic and visible part of all their activities in the human rights sphere;

95.  Draws attention to the fact that trafficking in human beings largely involves trafficking in women and is linked in particular to women's lack of economic independence and discrimination on the labour market; invites the Member States to continue to recognise this gender-specific dimension and to be careful not to confuse it with the smuggling of human beings;

96.  Urges the Netherlands to comply with the CEDAW and to take to heart the conclusions of the CEDAW; therefore advises the Netherlands to take measures to combat effectively the exclusion of women from membership of political parties and to eliminate the remaining sexual discrimination in the Law on Names;

97.  Calls on France to abolish the difference in the minimum age for marriage for young women and men (15 and 18 years of age respectively);

98.  Requests the lifting of the ban on women entering Mount Athos in Greece, a geographical area of 400 km2 , where women's access is prohibited in accordance with a decision taken in 1045 by monks living in the twenty monasteries in the area, a decision which nowadays violates the universally recognised principle of gender equality, Community non-discrimination and equality legislation and the provisions relating to free movement of persons within the EU;

Discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation

99.  Calls on the Commission to compile an up-to-date and comparative review of the situation of homosexual men and women in the Member States so as to provide an insight into the increase or reduction in incidences of discrimination and the success of European and/or national anti-discrimination policy;

100.  Calls on the Member States to pursue an explicit and coherent policy to combat discrimination against homosexual men and women, to promote their social emancipation and integration and to combat prejudice through culture and education and, in particular, by launching an information and solidarity campaign at European level;

101.  Welcomes the fact that, on 13 August 2002, Austria repealed Article 209 of its Criminal Code and thus ended discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in legislation;

Forms of partnership

102.  Calls on the Member States to recognise unmarried partnerships - between both couples of different sexes and same-sex couples - and to link them to the same rights as apply to marriage;

103.  Urges the European Union to put the mutual recognition of unmarried partnerships and the issue of marriage between persons of the same sex on the political agenda and to draft specific proposals on the subject;

Rights of the Child

104.  Calls on Belgium and the United Kingdom to sign Protocol No 7 to the ECHR; welcomes the fact that Ireland ratified the Protocol in 2001 and calls on Belgium, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal and the United Kingdom to do likewise;

105.  Calls on Belgium, Spain, Finland and the Netherlands to sign the European Convention on the adoption of children and further calls on Belgium, Spain, France, Finland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands to ratify the Convention;

106.  Calls on Belgium, Germany, Spain, Finland and the Netherlands to sign the European Convention on the legal status of children born out of wedlock; also calls on Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Finland, Italy and the Netherlands to ratify that Convention;

107.  Calls on Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom to sign the European Convention on the exercise of children's rights; urges Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, France, Finland, Italy, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom to ratify that Convention;

108.  Urges the Member States to continue to guarantee the rights of children in accordance with their existing international obligations and to pay particular attention to disadvantaged children, such as children of asylum seekers, children from poor families and children in child protection institutions, and to combating the smuggling of children for the purposes of sexual or commercial exploitation;

109.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that all children present on their territory have the right of access to education;

110.  Considers that the placing of children in care solely on the grounds that they are living in extreme poverty constitutes a violation of fundamental rights; takes the view that, where this cannot be avoided, it should, as far as possible, be regarded as temporary and should seek to achieve the return of the child to its family; believes that the conditions of such care, whether in a foster family or in an institution, and the process aiming at eventual adoption, must respect all the rights of the family and of the child in question; believes that the parents, in particular, must be given help in continuing to exercise their full responsibilities vis-à-vis the child and to maintaining the emotional links necessary for the child's development and well-being;

Protection against discrimination on the ground of age

111.  Considers that the rights of both young people and the elderly must be seen as an integral part of human rights and, in this connection, refers in particular to the right to liberty, the right to exercise autonomy in decision-making and the right to privacy; calls on the Member States to adopt a coherent policy to combat age discrimination and promote access and participation in society, in particular by combating any form of isolation;

Rights of disabled people

112.  Welcomes the fact that, in 2001, Luxembourg ratified the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Disabled Persons) Convention and calls on Austria, Belgium and the United Kingdom to do likewise;

113.  Welcomes the fact that 2003 has been declared European Year of Disabled People and calls on the Member States and the EU institutions to compile sufficient comparable data to give a clearer picture of this issue and to develop a coherent policy and legislation to combat discrimination against disabled people and to promote the social integration of disabled people in all aspects of life; calls on the Member States to monitor closely anti-discrimination measures and, in so doing, to consider the impact thereof on the disabled; calls for policy development in this field to be undertaken in consultation with representative disability organisations;

Chapter 4: Solidarity

114.  Notes with regret that the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights, the fifteenth report of the Committee of Ministers of the European Social Charter and the report of experts of the International Labour Organisation point to a significant number of violations of fundamental social rights in the Member States in 2001;

115.  Calls once again on the Member States to ratify, more than a decade after it was signed, the UN Convention of 18 December 1990 on the protection of the rights of all migrant workers and the members of their families;

116.  Calls on Germany and the Netherlands to sign the revised European Social Charter and on Austria, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom to ratify the revised Charter;

117.  Is concerned at the large number of violations of the European Social Charter in Member States revealed by the survey conducted by the European Committee for Social Rights and urges the Member States to rectify these infringements;

118.  Calls on the Commission to draw up a review of the similarities and differences between, on the one hand, the obligations of Member States under the European Social Charter and, on the other, the fundamental social rights that are part of the Community acquis and the rights enshrined in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and to forward this review to the Council and Parliament, together with a communication putting forward proposals on how any inconsistencies may be eliminated;

119.  Criticises the fact that seven Member States are violating their obligations under the European Social Charter as regards the access of foreigners to the labour market;

120.  Regrets that there are still major restrictions in some Member States on the right to form trade unions, to engage in collective bargaining and to take part in collective action for people employed in the public sector, particularly in the uniformed services such as the armed forces, the police, the customs service, etc.; calls for the possibilities for exceptions to these rights included in the European Social Charter to be applied much more restrictively and, where possible, to be abolished altogether;

121.  Points out that the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has established 56 cases of violations by the Member States of the provisions of the European Social Charter in the fields of child labour, maternity protection and the access of foreigners to the labour market;

122.  Criticises the fact that most Member States have failed to meet their obligations with respect to child labour under the European Social Charter; notes, in this connection in particular, that the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has issued a reasoned recommendation to Ireland and a warning to Spain in this matter; calls on the Commission, in view of the scale of the violations, to submit a proposal revising Directive 94/33/EC(16) ;

123.  Criticises the fact that most Member States have failed to comply with their obligations under the European Social Charter as regards maternity leave, the protection from dismissal of pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and as regards the right to breastfeeding periods; calls on the Commission to take into account the findings of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in revising Directive 92/85/EEC(17) and also to put forward a proposal for the revision of Directive 96/34/EC(18) ;

124.  Calls on Finland to sign the European Code of Social Security (1964) and on Finland and Austria to ratify it; calls on Finland, Austria, Spain and the United Kingdom to sign the Protocol to the European Code of Social Security, on Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Austria, Spain and the United Kingdom to ratify it, on Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom to sign the revised European Code of Social Security (1990) and on all countries to ratify it;

125.  Calls on Denmark, Germany, Finland, the United Kingdom and Sweden to sign and ratify the 1972 European Convention on Social Security and on Ireland and France to ratify that Convention;

126.  Welcomes the fact that Italy has ratified the ILO Maternity Protection Convention and calls on the other Member States to do likewise;

127.  Is concerned that the report by the committee of experts of the International Labour Organisation has established a large number of violations by the Member States of ILO Conventions, including violations of the following basic international labour standards:

   - Convention 29 concerning forced labour by Germany, France, Austria and the United Kingdom through their domestic rules on work by prisoners;
   - Convention 87 concerning freedom of association and protection of the right to organise by Austria through discrimination against foreign workers as regards the right to stand for election to works councils;
   - Convention 98 concerning the application of the principles of the right to organise and to bargain Collectively by Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and the United Kingdom owing to restrictions on the right of trade unions to merge and on autonomous collective bargaining for certain professional groups and, in the case of the United Kingdom, owing to the acceptance of discrimination against workers due to their membership of a trade union;
   - Convention 100 concerning equal remuneration for men and women workers for work of equal value by Greece, Spain and the United Kingdom owing to the wide disparity in these countries between the wage levels of women and men;
   - Convention 105 concerning the abolition of forced labour by Belgium and the United Kingdom owing to domestic provisions which continue to allow the imposition of forced labour as a disciplinary measure in certain economic sectors;

128.  Calls for a continuing policy of ratification by Member States of recent ILO conventions such as those on part-time work, home work and private employment agencies, which tie in closely with the issues of atypical employment relationships also addressed in EU directives; urges constructive participation in, and input into, the discussion on other inadequately protected forms of employment which are often on the borderline of self-employment and wage dependency; emphasises the need for better harmonisation and coordination between policies and activities in the framework of the ESC, the ILO and the EU, with regard to both the EU Charter and concrete (secondary) legislation and regulation, and warns that coordination in an EU context must not lead to neglect of, or even deliberate withdrawal from, obligations arising from ILO and ESC membership; recommends that its Committee on Employment and Social Affairs draw up an own-initiative report on this subject;

129.  Expects the applicant countries to take practical and effective measures to implement fundamental rights, with particular regard to combating trafficking in human beings and prostitution;

Chapter 5: Citizenship
Right to vote in local and European elections

130.  Calls on Austria, Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg and Portugal to sign and ratify the European Convention on the participation of foreigners in public life at local level, on the United Kingdom to ratify that Convention and on all Member States to apply it;

131.  Calls on Belgium, Spain, Ireland, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom to sign and ratify the European Convention on nationality and on Germany, France, Finland, Italy and Ireland to ratify that Convention;

132.  Calls on the Member States to provide citizens of other Member States living in their country with more targeted information on the opportunities for them to vote and stand for election in local elections and elections to the European Parliament;

133.  Calls on the Commission to submit a further report on the implementation of Directive 94/80/EC(19) in Member States, in the light of the new circumstances which have occurred since the previous report dated May 2001;

134.  Recognises the universal right of people with disabilities to have access to all aspects of the electoral process, as promoted by the international disability movement, the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES), and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), and calls on the Member States to make this right a reality;

135.  Calls on the Member States to promote a balanced representation of women and men in local and European elections, as the lack of balanced participation of women and men in the decision-making process diminishes the democratic values of our society and our political system;

136.  Calls on the Member States to extend the right to vote and stand for election in local and European elections to all citizens of non-member countries who have been legally resident in the European Union for at least three years;

137.  Takes the view that support should be given to the proposal to the European Convention that the European Ombudsman be granted the power to refer fundamental rights cases to the Court of Justice if no solution can be found in the course of a normal investigation;

138.  Believes that the right to petition is very important as it is a fundamental right of EU citizens to bring matters of concern directly to the European Parliament for redress;

139.  Considers that an assessment should be made of the means by which Parliament may address human and fundamental rights violations in instances where redress to these has been sought by citizens through petitions to the European Parliament;

Freedom of movement and residence

140.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to eliminate without delay the remaining obstacles to the effective free movement of persons that have been revealed by the decisions of the Court of Justice thereby preventing all forms of discrimination and, in particular, not to allow any restriction on freedom of movement in connection with European Council meetings where this seems likely to prevent people from taking part in demonstrations;

141.  Calls for legislation on the free movement of persons to be simplified in accordance with the principle that any citizen of a non-EU country enjoys full freedom of movement and residence, provided that he or she holds long-term residence status;

142.  Calls on Greece to remove as soon as possible the administrative obstacles to the issuing of valid residence documents to those entitled to them;

Chapter 6: Administration of justice

143.  Welcomes the Commission's consultation exercise on procedural safeguards for suspects and defendants in criminal proceedings and urges it to present proposals in the near future on standards for criminal proceedings that should apply in the European Union;

144.  Calls on the Council to adopt a framework decision on common standards for procedural law, for instance on rules covering pre-trial orders and the rights of the defence and including criteria for investigation methods and the definition of evidence, so as to guarantee a common level of fundamental rights protection throughout the EU;

145.  Urges the Member States, therefore, to promote the publication and translation of a 'letter of rights' to be handed to persons to be questioned, either upon arrival at a police station or at the location where questioning is to take place;

146.  Welcomes the debate launched by the Commission on the need to lay down minimum common standards for compensating the victims of crime;

147.  Welcomes the fact that all Member States have now ratified the Statute of the United Nations International Criminal Court and that this Statute entered into force on 1 July 2002, but calls on the governments and parliaments of the Member States to refrain from concluding any (bilateral) agreement that undermines the effective implementation of the Statute of the International Criminal Court, in particular agreements on immunity enabling certain citizens to evade prosecution by the International Criminal Court;

148.  Is concerned at the large number of serious violations reported by the European Court of Human Rights on the right to a fair trial (Finland, Greece and Italy), the right of access to the courts (Belgium, France, Greece and the United Kingdom), the right to a public hearing (Austria), the principle of adversarial proceedings (Germany, France, Finland, Italy), the right to proceedings within a reasonable time (Austria, Germany, Spain, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg and Portugal), the right to an impartial and independent tribunal (Belgium - for criminal proceedings - France and the United Kingdom), the right to a defence (Austria, Belgium, France, Greece and the United Kingdom), the presumption of innocence (Austria) and the right not to be tried or punished twice in criminal proceedings for the same offence (Austria);

149.  Urges the Member States to comply scrupulously and in good time with the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights concerning procedural safeguards and to ensure that legislation is brought into line with those judgments;

150.  Urges the Member States to apply their legal aid schemes for all internal and cross-border cases to citizens who do not have adequate financial resources;

151.  Urges the Member States to guarantee the effective application of the right to a fair trial by implementing the principles of adversarial proceedings, trial within a reasonable time, the presumption of innocence of the person charged until judgment is delivered, and the right to an independent and impartial tribunal;

152.  Is alarmed at the very large number of cases in which the European Court of Human Rights has established infringements in Italy of the right to trial within a reasonable time; sees this trend as damaging confidence in the rule of law and calls on Italy to take all the requisite measures to ensure speedy and fair proceedings;

153.  Is seriously concerned at the climate of impunity that has arisen in a number of Member States (Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom) in which misconduct and violence by police and prison staff, particularly against asylum seekers, refugees and members of ethnic minorities, are not punished by adequate criminal penalties and urges the Member States concerned to give higher priority to this matter in their law enforcement and prosecution policies;

154.  Takes the view that the substance of this resolution will not have any restrictive effect on the (future) interpretation and development of the rights, freedoms and principles applying to citizens within the European Union, as laid down in the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the European Union;

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155.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Communities, the European Court of Human Rights, the European Ombudsman, the Council of Europe, and to the governments and parliaments of the Member States and of the applicant countries.

(1) OJ C 65 E, 14.3.2002, p. 350.
(2) http://europa.eu.int/scadplus/leg/en/lvb/r10103.htm.
(3) OJ C 34 E, 7.2.2002, p. 208.
(4) UN:CAT (Committee against Torture), CCPR (Human Rights Committee), CEDAW (Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women), CERD (Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination), CESCR (Committee on Economic, Cultural and Social Rights); CRC (Committee on the Rights of the Child); Council of Europe : CPT (European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment), ECRI (European Commission against Racism and Intolerance), ECSR (European Committee for Social Rights).
(5) http://www.coe.int/T/E/human_rights/Ecri/4-Publications/1- Ecri's_Publications/ ECRI_Publications.asp #P440_4915.
(6) Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Convention on the Rights of the Child,
(7) OJ L 203, 1.8.2002, p. 1.
(8) OJ C 126 E, 28.5.2002, p. 393.
(9) OJ C 62 E, 27.2.2001, p. 327.
(10) OJ C 177 E, 25.7.2002, p. 194.
(11) Recommendation 1412 (1999) and Resolution 1309 (2002).
(12) OJ L 281, 23.11.1995, p. 31.
(13) OJ L 201, 31.7.2002, p. 37.
(14) OJ L 145, 31.5.2001, p. 43.
(15) OJ L 303, 2.12.2000, p. 16.
(16) OJ L 216, 20.8.1994, p. 12.
(17) OJ L 348, 28.11.1992, p. 1.
(18) OJ L 145, 19.6.1996, p. 5.
(19) OJ L 368, 31.12.1994, p. 38.

Last updated: 7 May 2004Legal notice