European Parliament-Resolution on Syria 14-04-2014

JOINT MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION

Pursuant to Rule 122 (5) of the Rules of Procedure,

European Parliament resolution on Syria: Situation of certain vulnerable communities

 

The European Parliament,

– having regard to its previous resolutions on Syria, in particular that of 6 February 2014 on the situation in Syria, (S&D)

– having regard to the Council conclusions on Syria of 14 April and 20 January 2014, (new)

– having regard to the statements of High Representative Catherine Ashton on the 3rd anniversary of the Syrian uprising of 15 March 2014 and in reference to the killing of Father Van der Lugt, SJ in Homs, Syria of 8 April 2014, (S&D)

– having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, (ALDE, mod; ECR, EFD, mod; EPP, mod; GUE, mod; S&D)

– having regard to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the additional protocols thereto, (ECR)

– having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966, (ALDE, mod; EFD, mod; EPP, mod; S&D)

– having regard to the UN Declaration on the Elimination of all Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination based on Religion and Belief of 1981, (ALDE; EFD; EPP)

– having regard to UN Security Council resolution 2139 of 22 February 2014, (ALDE; EPP; Greens; S&D)

– having regard to the report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic of 12 February 2014, (EPP; Greens)

– having regard to the statement of the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Syria of 7 April 2014, (EPP)

– having regard to the statement of UN Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos on Syria of 28 March 2014, (ALDE, mod)

– having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights of 1950, and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union of 2000, (EFD, mod)

– having regard to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, (Greens)

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

A.  whereas the on-going violent crisis in Syria has resulted in a humanitarian catastrophe of a scale unprecedented in recent history, with more than 150.000 people, most of them civilians, killed, more than 6.5 million people internally displaced, and more than 2.6 million Syrian refugees mainly in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt; whereas ethnic and religious minorities find themselves in a particularly vulnerable situation in this crisis; (S&D, B, first part, mod + EPP, A, mod + S&D, B, second part, mod)

B. whereas the Syrian population has traditionally been composed of a rich diversity of ethnic and religious communities, respectively including Arabs, Arameans, Armenians, Assyrians, Circassians, Kurds and Turkmens, and Muslims, Christians and Druze, as well as other groups; whereas none of the religious or ethnic communities in Syria has been spared by the three-year old conflict, which is increasingly taking on a sectarian dimension; (Greens, A+B)

C. whereas these communities have always been part of the Syrian society, contributing to its development and advancement including their engagement in the sectors of education, health, and culture; whereas, therefore, they have an important role to play in the democratisation of Syria and need to be represented in any consultation on the country’s future and in any reconciliation process; (ALDE, E, mod)

D. whereas until recently most of these communities tried to avoid taking sides in the conflict, as many may recognize the need of a change of regime in Syria but also fear that if the government is overthrown, they will be targeted by Sunni jihadist rebels, calling for the establishment of an Islamic state, or others; (ALDE, C, first part, mod)

E. whereas the Assad regime has deliberately triggered a dynamic of sectarian polarisation as its survival strategy, which inflamed the latent and hitherto largely repressed communal tensions; whereas the increasing presence and infiltration of Islamist extremists and jihadists on all sides in the conflict has created legitimate concerns among minority communities in the country; whereas the deepening Sunni-Shiite cleavage in Syria is affecting inter-communal relations also in neighbouring countries; (Greens, D, first part, mod + S&D, D, second part + Greens, H, mod)

F. whereas Dutch Jesuit Father Frans van der Lugt, who had been living in Syria for many decades and was well known for refusing to leave the besieged city of Homs, was beaten and shot dead by gunmen on 7 April 2014; whereas the UN Secretary General has condemned this inhumane act of violence against a man who stood by the people of Syria amid sieges and growing difficulties; whereas other Christians remain in the monastery where Father van der Lugt was killed and the international community is worried about their safety, as it is worried about the safety of the many civilians stilled trapped in the city of Homs, which continues to be under siege; (EPP, E, mod + EPP, G, mod)

G. whereas Father Paolo Dall’Oglio has been missing since July 2013, and Bishop Boulos Yazigi of the Greek Orthodox Church and Bishop John Ibrahim of the Assyrian Orthodox Church were seized in April 2013 from their car by gunmen outside the northern city of Aleppo; whereas their fate is still unknown; (EFD, F)

H. whereas the fights between regime forces and rebel fighters, including elements linked to Al-Qaeda, at the end of March 2014 led to the evacuation of the vast majority of the population of Kassab, an Armenian town on the Syrian-Turkish border; whereas there are contradicting reports about the number of victims in these events; (S&D, F, mod)

I. whereas the latest reports out of Syria show that rebels from the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front have captured a number of Christian and Kurdish villages on the Turkish border, like the Kurdish town of Ayn-Al-Arab/Kobane; (EPP, K, first part, mod)

J. whereas Palestine refugees remain a particularly vulnerable group in the crisis in Syria; whereas many of them live in besieged areas, in particular in Yarmouk camp which continues to be under heavy attack by regime forces and various armed groups, leading to inhuman suffering of the 18,000 Palestinians staying in this area; whereas almost all of the 540,000 Palestine refugees in Syria are in need of assistance today, with more than half of them being internally displaced within the country, and they face major obstacles or increasing restrictions when trying to flee to Egypt, Jordan or Lebanon; (S&D, H)

K. whereas women and children continue to suffer from aggression, sexual and gender-based violence, abuse and the lack of basic goods and services in the on-going crisis in Syria; whereas a disproportionately high number of women and children are among Syrian refugees; whereas nearly 3 million children have dropped out of school in Syria since 2011, while at least 500,000 registered child refugees are not enrolled in schools in neighbouring countries; (S&D, I, first part + ALDE, F, second part + S&D, I, last part)

L. whereas human rights defenders, intellectuals, religious figures, journalists and civil society activists continue to be victims of the violent crisis in Syria; whereas 2011 Sakharov Prize winner Razan Zaitouneh, who was kidnapped together with her husband and two other human rights activists more than four months ago in Douma, continues to be held at an unknown place; (S&D, J)

M. whereas political and religious leaders have a duty at all levels to combat extremism and terrorism and to promote mutual respect among individuals and religious and ethnic groups; (ALDE, K)

N. whereas international humanitarian and human rights law prohibits the targeting of individuals or groups based on religious or ethnic identify as well as attacks against civilians not taking part in hostilities; whereas such actions may constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity; whereas UN Security Council resolution 2139 stressed the need to end impunity for violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights, and reaffirmed that those who had committed or were otherwise responsible for such violations and abuses in Syria must be brought to justice; (Greens, G + S&D, K)

1. Expresses its profound dismay at the unprecedented level of human suffering and loss of life, and expresses its solidarity with the families of all innocent victims in the Syrian conflict; strongly condemns the violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by the Assad regime and by pro-government militia; condemns any human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law by armed groups opposing the regime; strongly condemns the increasing number of terrorist attacks carried out by extremist organisations and individuals in the country; (Greens, 1, first part, mod + S&D, 2, first part mod + EPP, 1, mod)

2. Is convinced that a lasting solution to the current crisis in Syria can only be achieved through a Syrian-led, inclusive political process with the backing of the international community; déplore l’échec à ce stade des négociations de paix, due to the regime’s obstruction of these talks, et demande de toute urgence à toutes les parties en présence et à la communauté internationale d’œuvrer de toute leur force à de nouvelles négociations permettant de mettre fin au massacre; stresses the importance of the participation and contribution of all parts of Syrian society, including ethnic and religious minorities, in this process, and underlines the crucial role of minorities in the field of preserving the unique cultural heritage and the tradition of intercultural, interethnic and interreligious coexistence in Syria, with the aim of creating a vibrant society for future generations of Syrians; (EPP, 3, last part + GUE, 3 + S&D, 4, mod)

3. Reiterates that the rights of minorities are inextricably linked to respect for other fundamental human rights and freedoms, such as the right to liberty, security, equality and the right to freedom of expression; (ALDE, 1, second part, mod)

4. Strongly condemns the recent attacks against certain religious and ethnic communities in Syria, notably the Christians, Armenians and Kurds, and calls on all involved parties to stop all actions aimed at inciting inter-ethnic and inter-confessional conflict; stresses that all actors involved in the conflict have a duty to protect all the different minorities present in the country; recognises, however, that the attacks against certain vulnerable communities are only one aspect of the Syrian civil war; (ALDE, 3, mod + EPP, 7, middle part, mod; ALDE, 8, mod)

5. Condemns in the strongest possible terms the killing of Father Frans Van der Lugt, an inhumane act of violence against a man who stood by the people of Syria amid sieges and growing difficulties; pays tribute to his work, which extended beyond the besieged city of Homs and continues to help hundreds of civilians with their everyday survival needs; (EFD, 1 + EPP, 4, second part, mod)

6. Urges all parties to the conflict to adhere strictly to international humanitarian and human rights law, and calls for the protection of all vulnerable communities, including by allowing humanitarian access and lifting all sieges of populated areas, including the Old City of Homs; reiterates its call for the establishment of safe havens along the Turkish-Syrian border, and possibly within Syria, and for the creation of humanitarian corridors by the international community; (Greens, 3 + EPP, 15)

7. Condemns the attack against the Armenian town of Kassab; supports all efforts at local level to avoid and combat sectarian violence in rebel-held areas as well as in Kurdish-majority areas; urges current and future Syrian authorities to provide reliable and efficient protection for vulnerable communities in the country and to ensure their safe and secure return to their homes as well as that the perpetrators of the attacks against them are brought to justice and tried by due process; (EFD, 2, first part, mod + Greens, 5, first part, mod + ALDE, 4, mod)

8. Calls again for special attention to the vulnerable situation of Palestine refugees in Syria, and particularly the inhuman living conditions of Palestinians staying in Yarmouk camp; reiterates its call to all the parties involved in the conflict to allow UNRWA and other international aid organisations unhindered access to this camp, as well as to all other besieged areas in the country, in order to alleviate the extreme suffering of the local population; commends the work of UNRWA in Syria and calls for increased international support for its activities; (S&D, 5)

9. Calls on the international community and the EU to pay special attention to the suffering and needs of women and children in the Syrian crisis; calls for zero tolerance on the killing, abduction and recruitment of children in particular, as well as for strengthening humanitarian aid capacities in the field of support to traumatised victims; (S&D, 6, mod)

10. Recalls the pressing need to release all political detainees, civil society activists, humanitarian aid workers, religious figures – including Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, Greek Orthodox Bishop Boulos Yazigi and Assyrian Orthodox Bishop John Ibrahim -, journalists and photographers held by the regime or by rebel fighters, and to grant access to independent monitors to all places of detention; urges again the EU and its Member States to make all possible efforts to achieve the release of 2011 Sakharov Prize winner Razan Zaitouneh and of all other human rights activists in Syria, including Internet activist Bassel Safadi Khartabil; (Greens, 10, first part, mod + S&D, 7, first part, mod)

11. Remains convinced that there can be no sustainable peace in Syria without accountability for the crimes committed during the conflict, including for those based on religious or ethnic grounds; reiterates its call for the referral of the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court and supports all initiatives in this direction; commends the work of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic and of other international actors collecting and preserving a large volume of testimony on serious crimes committed by the regime and by some rebel groups in Syria, and calls for action in order to bring perpetrators to justice; (Greens, 8, first part, mod + S&D, 8, mod)

12. Expresses its grave concern at the profound consequences of the fragmentation of Syria for the stability and security of the region, particularly in Lebanon and Iraq; is deeply concerned about the high number of Syrian refugees in the neighboring countries, especially in Lebanon, where according to UNHCR the number has now passed the 1 million mark, not including the tens of thousands who have not registered with the agency, while 12.000 people are fleeing Syria for Lebanon each week; is deeply concerned also about the continued refugee outflow affecting Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt; encourages the European Union and its Member States to continue providing substantial humanitarian assistance to the populations affected by the Syrian conflict; (Greens 6, mod + EPP, 10+11, mod + Greens, 12, middle part, mod)

13. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the High Representative/Vice-President, the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Secretary General of the United Nations, the UN-Arab League Special Envoy to Syria, the government and parliament of Egypt, the government and parliament of Iraq, the government and parliament of Jordan, the government and parliament of Lebanon, the government and parliament of Turkey, the Secretary General of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, and all the parties involved in the conflict in Syria. (new)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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