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Document 51997IP0112

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Resolution on respect for human rights in the European Union (1995)

OJ C 132, 28.4.1997, p. 31 (ES, DA, DE, EL, EN, FR, IT, NL, PT, FI, SV)
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51997IP0112

Resolution on respect for human rights in the European Union (1995)

Official Journal C 132 , 28/04/1997 P. 0031


A4-0112/97

Resolution on respect for human rights in the European Union (1995)

The European Parliament,

- having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

- having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the protocols thereto,

- having regard to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination,

- having regard to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women,

- having regard to the 1951 Geneva Convention and the protocols thereto, as well as to the recommendations of the UNHCR,

- having regard to the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child,

- having regard to the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1987),

- having regard to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the protocols thereto,

- having regard to the Treaties establishing the European Community,

- having regard to the Treaty on European Union,

- having regard to its resolution of 12 April 1989 adopting the Declaration of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms ((OJ C 120, 16.05.1989, p. 51.)),

- having regard to its resolution of 9 July 1991 on human rights ((OJ C 240, 16.09.1991, p. 45.)),

- having regard to its resolution of 12 March 1992 on the death penalty ((OJ C 094, 13.04.1992, p. 277.)),

- having regard to its resolution of 11 March 1993 on respect for human rights in the European Community ((OJ C 115, 26.04.1993, p. 178.)),

- having regard to its resolution of 19 January 1994 on conscientious objection in the Member States of the European Community ((OJ C 044, 14.02.1994, p. 103.)),

- having regard to its resolution of 27 April 1995 on racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism ((OJ C 126, 22.05.1995, p. 75.)),

- having regard to its resolution of 18 January 1996 on degrading conditions in prisons in the European Union ((OJ C 032, 05.02.1996, p. 102.)),

- having regard to its resolution of 17 September 1996 on human rights in the Union ((OJ C 320, 28.10.1996, p. 36.)),

- having regard to its resolution of 29 February 1996 on cults in Europe ((OJ C 78, 18.03.1996, p. 31.)),

- having regard to the opinion (2/94) of the Court of Justice of the European Communities of 28 March 1996 (accession by the Community to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms),

- having regard to the European Social Charter adopted in Turin in 1961, and its additional protocol adopted in Strasbourg in 1988,

- having regard to the Community Charter of Fundamental Social Rights,

- having regard to the Final Declaration and action platform adopted in Beijing at the Fourth World Conference on Women,

- having regard to the fundamental principles of international and European law relating to human rights,

- having regard to the case law of the European Court of Human Rights,

- having regard to the motion for a resolution by Mr Newman on hospitalized women prisoners restrained by chains (B4-0031/96),

- having regard to the following petitions:

(a) No 382/95 by Mr Johannes Pohl (German) on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child,

(b) No 459/95 by Mr Norbert Schneider (German) on behalf of the German Federation for the Protection of Children on proposals to improve the situation of children in the European Union,

(c) No 464/95 by Mr Manfred Bruns (German) on behalf of the Federation of Homosexuals (SVD) on difficulties facing homosexual couples, one of whom is a third-country national,

(d) No 597/95 by Mr Leo Klein Lebbink (Netherlands) and 704 cosignatories on amending the Staff Regulations of Officials of the European Communities,

(e) No 684/95 by Mrs Jutta Birnbickel (German) on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child,

(f) No 741/95 by Mrs Helga Lechner (German), on the creation of a children's ombudsperson in the European Parliament,

(g) No 792/95 by Mr Michael Becker (German) on the creation of a committee for children's rights in the European Parliament,

(h) No 1029/95 by Mr Panagotis Karakolidis (Greek) on entry of his religion on his identity card,

(i) No 1197/95 by Mr Russell J. Askew (British) on behalf of 'APART' (Absent Parents Asking for Reasonable Treatment) and by 32 500 other signatories, on the British Child Support Act 1991,

(j) No 1223/95 by Mr Ruben Urrutia, on behalf of 'Coordination européene pour le droit des étrangers à vivre en famille' (European Coordination for the right of foreigners to live as a family) with 147 signatures of chairmen of Family Associations, Immigrant Associations, Human Rights Associations and Lawyers Associations on two proposed amendments to the Treaty on European Union,

- having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

- having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties and Internal Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Women's Rights (A4-0112/97),

A. whereas fundamental human rights are those rights which enable the dignity of the individual to be preserved,

B. whereas the defence of fundamental human rights is a never-ending task which must not be abused for ideological reasons,

C. whereas the role of the European Parliament should not be to duplicate the functions of existing human rights tribunals, but to raise and publicise general human rights issues in the European Union which need correcting,

Mechanisms for strengthening human rights

1. Insists that human rights in the Union must be protected without reservation if efforts to secure their observance outside the Union are to be credible;

2. Takes the view that the Community integration process makes the introduction of a system for the protection of human rights at Community level and for monitoring the observance of human rights under Union legislation even more necessary and more urgent;

3. Undertakes, as the sole democratically elected institution of the Community, to publicize human rights violations in the Union;

4. Reaffirms its wish that the European Community should accede to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and calls on the Member States, on the occasion of the Intergovernmental Conference, to adopt the necessary changes to Community law to make accession to the European Convention on Human Rights possible;

5. Calls on the Intergovernmental Conference to confer a separate legal personality on the European Union in order that it too may accede to the ECHR;

6. Reaffirms that every person must be entitled to genuine protection against violations of their fundamental rights on the basis of European directives and regulations; points out that the protection afforded on the basis of the criteria laid down in Article 173 of the EC Treaty for the admissibility of individual proceedings against a decision is insufficient, and that the options for bringing such proceedings must be enlarged by the Intergovernmental Conference; urges that the right to bring proceedings against Community decisions be extended to include legal persons;

7. Notes that the mode of operation and balance of the institutions of the European Union reveal a democratic deficit and a lack of transparency; notes that such a structure impedes democratic parliamentary and public control; advocates regulating a right of access to Council documents under an interinstitutional agreement;

8. Notes that not all forms of discrimination on the basis of nationality have as yet been completely removed in the Union and insists on their definitive abolition;

9. Urges the Intergovernmental Conference to add a new Article 6a to the Treaty enabling the concept of prohibition of any form of discrimination, which at present applies only on grounds of nationality, to be extended to include discrimination on grounds of race, ethnic origin, colour, sex, sexual orientation, age, religion, political or philosophical opinions, membership of a minority or a disablement;

10. Calls on the European Union to issue a European Declaration of Fundamental Rights, with the status of a full component of the Treaty and in which the rights of the individual, including economic, social, cultural and ecological rights, are clearly set out and firmly established;

11. Calls for the Protocol and Agreement on Social Policy and the Charter of Fundamental Social Rights to be integrated into the Treaty and for the European Union to accede to the Council of Europe's Social Charter;

12. Notes with satisfaction that on 27 September 1995 the European Union appointed a European Ombudsman; nevertheless regrets the restrictions placed on his areas of responsibility and his powers;

13. Reaffirms that all agreements that the Union concludes with third countries must contain human rights clauses enabling appropriate sanctions to be taken, including the annulment of the agreement if necessary in the event of serious and persistent human rights violations or interruption of the democratic process;

14. Takes the view that agreements ratified by the Community and/or its Member States are binding and may not be the subject of a restrictive interpretation by the Council;

The right to live and die in dignity

15. Calls on the United Kingdom, Greece and Belgium, which have already signed Protocol No 6 to the ECHR, abolished the death penalty under their respective penal codes and stopped its application, to consolidate that abolition by ratifying the aforementioned protocol;

16. Calls on the Member States to refuse to extradite persons to states in which the death penalty exists for the offence in respect of which extradition is sought;

17. Reaffirms that the right to life includes the right to medical treatment, and that this right must be afforded to all persons irrespective of status, health condition, sex, race, ethnic origin, colour, age, religion or convictions;

18. Calls for a ban on euthanasia to the detriment of the disabled, patients in long-term coma, disabled new-born infants and the elderly; calls on the Member States to give priority to setting up units to provide palliative care for the terminally ill so they can die with dignity;

19. Maintains that to be able to live without fear for personal safety is a need of persons living within the Union;

20. Condemns wholeheartedly any use of violence or any threat to use violence as a serious and unjustifiable violation of citizens' fundamental rights;

21. Considers the existence and growth of criminal organizations to constitute a serious threat to the credibility of the rule of law, to the maintenance of the democratic order and to respect for human rights in the European Union;

22. Calls on the IGC to lay the foundations of a genuine European judicial area guaranteeing the security of persons in the Union by providing in particular for international letters rogatory and the results of investigations to be forwarded direct from one judge to the other without intervention by executive bodies and without using diplomatic channels;

23. Considers that the violation of certain basic rights perpetrated by some sects should be combated by means of careful provision of information and application of the laws in force;

24. Voices its deep concern at the unlawful or criminal activities perpetrated by certain sects and at the violation by some of them of their members' psychological integrity, such violations being all the more serious as they sometimes concern minors;

25. Calls on the Member States, with due regard for the principles of the rule of law, to take whatever action is needed to combat violations of fundamental rights perpetrated by certain sects and, if the legal basis and grounds therefor exist, to provide for them to be prohibited;

26. Reaffirms that freedom of religion includes the removal of all forms of discrimination between religions, rites and cults and reiterates its request that the governments of the Member States should not systematically grant the status of religious organization and should provide for the possibility of depriving sects which engage in clandestine or criminal activities of this status, which confers on them tax advantages and a degree of legal protection;

The right to freedom from bodily harm

27. Condemns emphatically the use of violence, torture or inhuman, cruel or degrading punishments or treatments inflicted on persons under arrest or in detention by the security forces or the forces of law and order; condemns the frequently racist character of such treatment;

28. Urges the Member States to take the measures needed to conduct thorough inquiries into justified complaints of ill-treatment, to investigate thoroughly the abuses of power which may result in such cases and to provide initial and ongoing training for police and prison officers to help prevent ill-treatment of prisoners;

29. Reaffirms that not only physical assaults but also threats, intimidation, verbal violence and sexual or racist abuse should also be considered as inhuman or degrading treatment and calls for an end to be put to such practices;

30. Urges the Member States to take the necessary measures to ensure that those responsible for such actions do not go unpunished;

31. Calls on the Member States to restrict the opportunities available to police forces for bringing charges of resisting arrest as a countermove to complaints lodged by victims of police assault;

32. Takes the view that the conclusions of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture must be effectively implemented, and calls on the Member States to authorize the publication of all reports by that committee and to remove all obstacles to its activities;

33. Welcomes the fact that Denmark has adopted legal provisions introducing a new system for dealing with complaints against the police; notes that the relevant provisions of Danish national law are more precise than those set out in the Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;

34. Calls on all Member States immediately to introduce and guarantee effective complaints procedures for prisoners;

35. Calls for persons who are placed under arrest to be informed in a language they can understand of their rights, including the right to lodge a complaint against mistreatment, for them to have the right immediately to inform a third party of their detention, to have access to a doctor of their choice, and for a lawyer to be present during interrogation;

Fundamental rights and freedoms

36. Reaffirms that freedom of thought, conscience and religion and the freedom of association constitute fundamental rights of citizens of the Union;

37. Reaffirms that conscientious objection to military service, to the production and distribution of certain materials, to certain specific medical practices and to certain forms of scientific and military research is a fundamental constituent of the freedom of thought, conscience and religion; calls on Member States that fail to protect that right to guarantee it; urges in addition the removal of all forms of discrimination between European citizens on the grounds of military service;

38. Reaffirms its resolution of 19 January 1994 ((OJ C 44, 14.02.1994, p. 103.)) on conscientious objection in the Member States, and recalls that Member States were urged in that resolution to introduce with immediate effect a civilian service of the same duration as military service;

39. Welcomes the legislative initiative of the Greek defence ministry, which has met widespread approval, to make it possible for those who on grounds of conscience do not wish to take part in military service to do public service instead;

40. Calls on the Member States to ban all discrimination on grounds of religion, rites and cults, notably in the relationship between state and citizen; firmly states that the right to religious freedom entails the right freely to practise and express this religion;

41. Calls on the Member States not to require their citizens to indicate their religion on their identity cards;

42. Condemns unreservedly all tendencies to restrict press freedom and the pressures or intimidation to which journalists are sometimes subjected;

43. Condemns the restriction on freedom of opinion in Ireland, where a law prohibits the publication of any material in favour of abortion;

44. Reaffirms that the right of journalists to keep their sources of information secret is a fundamental attribute of freedom of information and freedom of the press, and calls for that right to be recognized in the legal provisions of all Member States as, for example, a right of refusal to give evidence;

45. Reaffirms that freedom of the press is a fundamental right subject to such restrictions as may prevent the violation of other fundamental rights and that the exercise of that right must not be made dependent on administrative authorization or authorization by a professional association of journalists;

46. Reaffirms that the right freely to express opinions entails the right of individuals to state their convictions publicly and peacefully; provided that this is done with due respect for the principles of a constitutional state and that such opinions are not racist in nature or constitute an apology for terrorism; rejects restrictions on the exercise of that right;

47. Calls on Greece to guarantee the right to freedom of association and assembly by authorizing meetings of ethnic, religious or other minorities; points out that the ECHR recognizes restrictions to the freedom of association and assembly only in situations where the territorial integrity and the national security of a country are threatened or violated, and where the social peace is disturbed; consequently, any other restriction is unacceptable;

48. States that the right to found and/or join a union also applies in general to people in government organizations;

49. Calls for the right to decide whether or not to join a trade union to be recognized without that decision entailing any disadvantage whatsoever to those who exercise it; states that members of a union should be able to fulfill representative positions in that union regardless of their nationality;

50. Urges once more ((See documents on the right of association for service personnel, some of which date back a long time: the EP initiative of 1984, the Council of Europe initiative of 1988, the Bertens initiative of 1995, the summary record of the EP hearing (question by Hundt) and written question E-0282/96 to the Council by Mr Konrad of 27 February 1996 (OJ C 305, 15.10.1996, p. 6).)) the Member States and the countries interested in joining the EU to introduce rules for the recognition of the right of association within the armed forces for both conscripts and regular service personnel;

51. Endorses the practice of some Member States who have appointed special representatives whose main task is to ensure that human rights are respected in the armed forces and proposes that the European Ombudsman be given a similar remit;

52. Reaffirms that the European Union and its Member States should ratify and unreservedly implement the Social Charter of the Council of Europe, that they should adhere to the international conventions and recommendations of the ILO, and that the government of the United Kingdom should immediately sign the Agreement on Social Policy annexed to the Treaty on European Union;

The right to freedom of movement

53. Regrets that Article 7a of the Treaty, stipulating the entry into force of freedom of movement in the Union by 1 January 1993, has to this day still not been implemented;

54. Welcomes the fact that in July 1995 the Commission submitted three proposals for directives to improve freedom of movement in the Union; regrets, nevertheless, the delay in submitting these proposals, together with the fact that they are being made dependent on the entry into force of the relevant conventions on the basis of the third pillar;

55. Notes the entry into force of the Schengen Agreement on 26 March 1995 and its implementation from that date by seven Member States of the European Union;

56. Repeats its wish for the Schengen implementing Convention to be brought under the authority of the Court of Justice of the European Communities;

57. Reaffirms yet again that freedom of movement must apply to all persons lawfully resident in the territory of the Union, and must do so regardless of their nationality;

Rights before a court

58. Points out that independence of the judiciary is one of the pillars of a constitutional state and the ultimate basis for the effective protection of fundamental rights and freedoms for all people and in particular those required to appear before a court; considers that it is also necessary to ensure the impartiality of judges by distinguishing between the career of examining magistrate and that of judge, in order to ensure a fair trial;

59. Reaffirms its commitment to such universal legal principles as the principle of the independence of the judiciary, the principle of non bis in idem, the principle of presumption of innocence, respect for the rights of the defence and the principle that defendants shall not be required to prove their innocence but the state to establish guilt; is opposed to any limitations on the right to defence and stresses that, in the interests of genuine equality between prosecution and defence, evidence must be produced during the hearing and not a result of confessions extracted during custody or, even worse, allegations by informers;

60. Urges the Member States to provide for the possibility for any individual at any time to exercise his right to require that magistrates be held liable in the event of serious error or dereliction of duty on their part;

61. Calls on the Member States to carry out the necessary reforms to their criminal procedures so as to strengthen the rights and redress available to victims, placing the emphasis not only on punishing the guilty, but also on providing compensation for material damage and suffering experienced by the victims;

62. Requests that the rights of victims of crimes and terrorism also be protected and an adequate system of compensation guaranteed for these victims; with this in view, calls for all the Member States of the Community to adopt the European Convention on the Compensation of Victims of Violent Crime of 24 November 1983;

63. Calls on the Member States to provide adequate protection for witnesses as swiftly as possible taking into account the Council Resolution of 23 November 1995 on the protection of witnesses in the fight against international organized crime ((OJ C 327, 7.12.1995, p. 5,.));

64. Calls on the Member States to adopt the necessary procedural measures to overcome delays in legal proceedings, in compliance with Article 6 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights;

65. Urges the Member States to continue to cooperate closely on combating terrorism, and in so doing to adhere strictly to the rule of law;

The rights of persons in detention

66. Endorses the conclusions of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture to the effect that a state that places human beings in detention also bears the responsibility for conditions of detention that are unworthy of human dignity;

67. Calls for the prison standards drawn up by the Council of Europe (R(87)3) finally to be implemented in their entirety in all places of detention;

68. Draws attention to the unacceptable conditions in some European places of detention, in particular the serious problem of overcrowding and the abject material conditions and circumstances deleterious to health that prevail in the European penal system; calls on the Member States to improve living conditions and hygiene facilities in places of detention, to provide adequate medical staff, offer detainees useful occupational activities and regulate working conditions in prisons;

69. Calls on the Member States:

- not to imprison minors except in very exceptional circumstances,

- to acknowledge that drug addiction is not a criminal offence in itself but an issue which is best tackled through treatment and social rehabilitation,

- to provide prisoners with HIV or AIDS with conditions appropriate to the medical and psychological requirements deriving from their condition;

70. Calls for open or semi-open prisons to be used for less serious offences that pose no threat to third parties, along with conditional leave and all other measures conducive to rehabilitation; calls for increased use of alternative penalties to detention such as community service orders;

71. Calls for effective protection against assault to be guaranteed in detention centres; for body searches and interrogations of female prisoners to be carried out by female personnel; for appropriate childcare facilities to be available to pregnant women and mothers with infants and small children held in detention;

72. Calls on the Member States immediately to launch a fundamental reform of the system of detention on remand;

73. Reaffirms the principle that imprisonment should in most cases take place at a location that is as near as possible to the detainee's family and/or social environment;

74. Emphatically condemns the practice of placing asylum-seekers in detention on remand pending deportation;

75. Calls for appropriate accommodation facilities to be provided for mentally ill persons who have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment;

Rights of immigrants and right of asylum

76. Reaffirms that the policy of 'zero immigration' has no effect in preventing the influx of immigration, but simply encourages unlawful residence; calls consequently on the Member States to refrain from viewing immigration solely from the restrictive, repressive, policing point of view, and to recognize the human dimension of the question and acknowledge the favourable impact immigration can have on society as a whole, and to incorporate criteria for lawful immigration into their legislative provisions;

77. Points out that human dignity is sacrosanct and that inviolable and inalienable human rights are therefore the basis of any human society, of peace and of justice in the world and hence must apply unconditionally to all people in the territory of the European Union;

78. Urges the Member States to take into consideration the fact that significant numbers of foreigners 'without identity papers' are persons who have lost their legal status as a result of restrictive legislation against foreigners; calls for that legislation to be amended and for such persons to receive a secure legal status;

79. Reaffirms that on the basis of the right to family life the right to reunification of families may in no circumstances be called into question, and that no family may be separated on account of the status of one of its members;

80. Reaffirms that eligibility for social security and education of children must be guaranteed independently of social and administrative status;

81. Calls on the Member States not to expel from their territory any person requiring medical treatment where failure to continue the treatment under the same conditions would jeopardize their chances of recovery or survival;

82. Points out that collective deportations are inadmissible under the European Convention on Human Rights;

83. Points out that the right to request asylum is a universal right that is established pursuant to Article14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

84. Calls, as regards the right of asylum, on all Member States of the European Union to apply in their entirety the 1951 Geneva Convention and the 1967 Protocol relating to the status of refugees together with the principles drawn up by the Executive Committee of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the ECHR;

85. Points out that the Geneva Convention makes no distinction between victims of persecution, whether perpetrated by state institutions or other bodies, where the state is unable or unwilling to afford the person concerned the protection that the latter can expect; renews its call on the Council and the Member States to recognize that victims of persecution by third parties or in situations of general internal violence require the same international protection;

86. Calls on the Member States to recognize the existence of sex-specific persecution;

87. Takes the view that the sanctions imposed on transport undertakings represent a significant obstacle to right of access and to asylum procedure;

88. Takes the view that an asylum-seeker may only be deported to a 'safe third country' if the state concerned has given the deporting state an absolute guarantee that the asylum-seeker's application will be scrupulously investigated under an appropriate and fair procedure;

89. Is concerned that the Council recommendation concerning the standard form of agreement on bilateral readmission between Member States of the Union and a third country does not contain adequate guarantees for the protection of asylum-seekers and refugees;

90. Urges the Commission, the Council and the Member States to apply the non- involvement clause provided for in Article 11 of the standard form of agreement with regard to the European Convention on Human Rights and the Geneva Convention relating to the status of refugees and to include further guarantees in order to ensure that:

- the human rights situation in third countries is being studied objectively and as a whole,

- asylum-seekers, the substance of whose applications has not been investigated in accordance with the concept of safe third countries, be recognized in a third country as persons requiring protection and access to a fair and complete asylum procedure;

91. Regrets that the Council has again in 1995 dealt with the right of asylum in resolutions and other instruments that escape both parliamentary and judicial control;

As regards the Council Resolution of 20 June 1995 on minimum guarantees for asylum procedures,

92. Considers that the resolution on minimum guarantees for asylum procedures, which sets out a number of essential principles concerning commitment to the values of freedom, democracy and respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, provides an important basis for the Community; recalls that Member States significantly have the right to lay down in their national provisions on procedural guarantees for asylum-seekers rules which are more favourable than those contained in the common minimum guarantees;

93. Is concerned that the resolution introduces exceptions to universal principles such as the suspensory effect of appeal proceedings as well as the principle that every decision relating to an asylum application must be taken by the competent authority;

94. Is concerned that the resolution introduces the concept of a 'safe third country' without however providing for adequate judicial guarantees against the repatriation of persons to countries where they are under threat of persecution;

As regards the Council Resolution of 25 September 1995 and the Resolution of November 1995 on burden-sharing as regards the reception and temporary residence of displaced persons

95. Urges the Council to conclude an agreement without delay on the temporary admission of refugees from civil wars;

96. Considers it inappropriate for the humanitarian and military aid supplied by a Member State to be offset against its responsibility to admit refugees or displaced persons;

As regards the common position of the Council on harmonization and interpretation of the concept of refugees of 23 November 1995,

97. Regrets that the common position presupposes that persecution can apply only to individuals and excludes groups seeking refuge from civil wars and generalized armed conflicts;

98. Takes the view that the introduction of the concept of 'resettlement' in the country of origin will act as a further obstacle to securing refugee status in the Union;

99. Takes the view that, on the grounds of the subsidiarity principle, the Council is not competent to introduce any harmonization of the concept of refugees that restricts the scope of the Geneva Convention;

100. Notes with profound concern that in 1995 133 refugees are known to have died while attempting to enter the territory of the Union;

101. Is deeply concerned by the part played by organized crime in illegal immigration;

Combating racism and xenophobia

102. Unreservedly condemns all forms of racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism, and other discrimination on grounds of religion or ethnic-cultural background; calls for this condemnation to be formally written into the Treaty on European Union;

103. Welcomes the fact that the Justice and Home Affairs Council has adopted a joint action programme against racism and decided to declare 1997 European Year Against Racism; urges the Commission to continue to launch and support initiatives against racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia in the Union, while seeking to complement the measures taken by the Council of Europe;

104. Calls on Member States not to classify the dissemination of racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic pronouncements as legal forms of freedom of speech but as a criminal offence and to adopt appropriate preventive measures;

105. Calls on Member States to make every effort to prevent public-service officials, and in particular the forces of law and order, from exhibiting racist attitudes, and to call them to account whenever they display such behaviour;

106. Again emphasizes the need to promote measures in the areas of education and training to combat racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism effectively, and takes the view that such measures should concentrate on social workers, police officers, administrators of justice and students in schools and in higher education;

Economic and social rights and the right to social security

107. Takes the view that poverty and exclusion are unworthy of a democratic and rich society;

108. Endorses the appeal launched by Father J. Wresinski, founder of the Fourth World organization, on the principle that if slavery could be abolished, so too can poverty;

109. Views critically the restrictions imposed on fundamental rights by poverty and marginalization, a situation that in particular affects persons of no fixed abode, who are effectively denied their political rights, including the right to vote;

110. Advocates the drawing up at Community level of a binding legal instrument laying down minimum guarantees in respect of income, social protection, and the right to medical treatment and housing as an essential prerequisite for ensuring a quality of life consistent with human dignity; calls for the policy pursued in this connection to devote particular attention to the needs of the elderly;

111. Is outraged at the deaths of numerous homeless persons and those of no fixed abode on account of severe weather conditions; calls for appropriate accommodation to be provided as a matter of urgency;

112. Takes the view that in parallel with social and economic protection measures, fundamental policy measures must be implemented so as to put an end to the process of social impoverishment;

113. Regrets that more and more local authorities, in particular in France and Germany, have decided to outlaw begging in their localities;

114. Calls on Member States to recognize the special situation of travelling peoples (Sinti, Roma, and others), to show respect for their traditional lifestyles, to guarantee them full observance of their fundamental rights and fundamental needs, to refrain from any form of discrimination against such people and not to subject them to any form of pressure to become permanently settled;

115. Calls on every municipality to comply with its legal obligation to provide suitable reception facilities for itinerant groups and calls on Member States to ensure that such requirements are complied with or are laid down in national legislation;

116. Takes the view that the right to work is a fundamental right, and that a universal duty of care is incumbent upon the Member States to protect that right; renews its call for appropriate measures to combat mass unemployment to be incorporated into all Community policies;

117. Supports the right to a basic minimum level of income in old age;

The right to privacy and to self-determination with respect to information

118. Insists that the right to respect for individual privacy, the home and the protection of confidential personal data are fundamental rights which it is incumbent on States to protect and consequently that any optical or acoustic surveillance measures must be adopted on the basis of the most rigorous respect for such rights and, in all cases, be accompanied by legal guarantees;

119. Recalls that the European Court of Human Rights recently imposed penalties for manifest violations of individual privacy and stressed that any violation of the home or of private communications, other than in exceptional circumstances laid down by law or subject to judicial scrutiny, represents a serious violation of human rights;

120. Calls on Member States to adopt joint legislative provisions to protect these rights that take the extremely rapid rate of technological development fully into account;

121. Calls, in relation to databases such as SIS, EIS, CIS and the Europol databank, for the right to protection of individual privacy to be respected, for no criteria to be used which discriminate against any social group, and for references to religion, philosophical or religious convictions, ethnic origins, health condition and sexual orientation to be excluded from these databanks;

The right to non-discrimination

122. Reaffirms that a place must be found in Community policies for the fundamental right of the disabled to equality of opportunity and non- discrimination;

123. Again stresses the right of the elderly to live with dignity and reaffirms the substance of its resolution of 24 February 1994 on measures in favour of the elderly ((OJ C 77, 14.3.1994, p. 24));

124. Reaffirms that the right to equality and the right to non-discrimination derive from Article 14 of the ECHR and Article 119 of the EC Treaty, and as such are protected rights that Member States are committed to respecting;

125. Calls on Member States to guarantee effective participation on equal terms in public life for women;

126. Calls on Member States to implement as soon as possible the agreements reached on human rights at the Fourth World Conference of Women in Beijing;

127. Considers that the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women should be supplemented with an optional protocol giving individuals and groups the right to bring complaints to court and that an additional protocol to the ECHR should be adopted on women's rights;

128. Considers that further study of the specific human rights situation of women is needed and calls on Member States to take appropriate measures to combat sexually oriented violence and other abuses of women's human rights;

129. Is disturbed at the increase in trafficking in women in the European Union and urges that European agreements be concluded soon to combat this degrading practice;

130. In this respect, advocates a European code of conduct against trafficking in women, taking as its starting point the needs of the victims and providing for the appointment of national rapporteurs on violence against women;

131. Points out that there are very many obstacles making it difficult for female asylum seekers to obtain refugee status and calls on Member States in this connection to regard sexual violence as a form of torture;

132. Considers that Member States should grant migrant women specific rights;

133. Considers that Member States should refrain from concluding and applying bilateral agreements with countries which allow intolerable violations of the basic rights of women;

134. Sees a clear connection between economic dependence and vulnerability to sexual violence and therefore urges that all workers, including migrants working in domestic situations, be made aware that they are protected by legislation, which means that their being allowed to remain in the European Union does not entirely depend on the goodwill of their employer;

135. Reaffirms that no-one must be discriminated against on account of their religion, origin, gender, sexual orientation or opinion;

136. Renews the call made in its resolution of 8 February 1994 on equal rights for homosexuals and lesbians in the European Community ((OJ C 61, 28.2.1994, p. 40.)) for an end to all forms of discrimination and all forms of unequal treatment of homosexuals and lesbians, in particular as regards different ages of consent for homosexual acts and disadvantages encountered in relation to employment, civil, contractual, social, economic, criminal and adoption law;

137. Takes the view that the absence of legal recognition for same-sex couples throughout the Union is tantamount to a form of discrimination, in particular as regards freedom of movement and family reunification;

138. Is critical of the fact that nearly all Member States have still not implemented the Council of Europe provisions on ethnic groups and linguistic minorities, and that the call for a charter for ethnic groups and linguistic minorities in the EU has not been taken up by the Council, the IGC or the Member States, for which reason the rights of ethnic groups and linguistic minorities present in many Member States are either not protected or are so only on a regional or national basis;

139. Stresses that no-one must be discriminated against on account of their belonging to an ethnic or linguistic minority and that specific assistance given to minorities to enable them to resist the pressure to assimilate exerted by the majority population does not run counter to the principle of equality but, on the contrary, helps to put that principle into practice;

140. Calls urgently on Austria to repeal its anti-homosexual legislation, and in particular the provisions fixing the legal age of consent for homosexual relations at 18 years, whereas for heterosexual and lesbian relations it is 14 years;

141. Points out that the foregoing provisions run counter to the recommendations of the Assembly of the Council of Europe (924/81);

142. Notes that the Commission of the European Communities has been condemned by the Court of Justice for violation of the ECHR subsequent to the abusive practice of requiring AIDS tests in pre-recruitment medical examinations (Judgment of 5 October 1994, Case C-404/92, P, X vs Commission);

143. Calls on Member States to introduce specific legislation laying down criteria and obligations for scientific research, with particular reference to genetic manipulation and the protection of embryos;

The rights of the child

144. Reaffirms that the right to education with a free choice of education system is a fundamental right and that Member States must ensure the provision of a free and comprehensive education for all;

145. Calls on the European Union to eradicate the economic exploitation of children in the form of child labour;

146. Calls for mechanisms to be introduced for the purpose of monitoring and protecting the fundamental rights of children;

147. Calls on Member States to harmonize without delay the minimum age for entry to employment by adjusting it upwards to 16 years, and at the same time to make free schooling compulsory up to that age;

148. Calls on Member States to classify the use of physical violence against children as a criminal offence;

149. Calls on Member States to agree on a Joint Action setting up a centralized register of missing children, pending completion of the Convention on the European Information System;

150. Calls on Member States to reinforce the incentives to prevent and eradicate gross neglect of children;

151. Calls on Member States to launch searching investigations into child abuse;

152. Takes the view that close cooperation between medical services, public-health services and judicial authorities is essential in taking effective action against child abuse;

153. Condemns unreservedly the sexual exploitation of children, child abuse in any form, and the degradation of children as sexual objects reduced to the status of commodities; calls for a total ban on the production, trade in, transport and possession of child pornography in any form; calls for the proposals currently being discussed in Sweden whereby the possession of paedophile material would become illegal to be enacted as soon as possible;

154. Welcomes the development of systems to lock out illegal and harmful content on the Internet; urges the Commission to work out a system of a European Quality branding for Internet access providers, and to support international coordination in this area;

155. Considers that every child has a right to a family or to grow up in an environment similar to that provided by a family, as such environments improve a child's chances;

156. Notes that a child's right to grow up in a secure environment could be impaired if the right to divorce either does not exist or is subject to rules, e.g. on the apportionment of blame, which could adversely affect a child's relationship with one of its parents;

157. Calls on Member States to uphold in principle a child's right to both its parents, even following a divorce;

158. Considers that a child must be consulted as to who is to be its guardian in the event of its parents' death, and that the wishes of the child should be given greater weight the older it gets and be the deciding factor after it reaches a certain age;

159. Calls on Member States to adopt provisions making it possible to bring criminal prosecutions against tour operators and airlines who advertise sex tourism;

160. Calls for the penalties for trafficking in children and for sexual violence against children to be made more stringent in all European countries, and for all Member States to adopt legislative provisions on extraterritoriality making it possible for them to prosecute offenders on their territory for criminal offences committed in another state;

The right to a healthy environment

161. Reaffirms that the right to life implies a responsibility to present and future generations that cannot be discharged otherwise than by showing greater respect for nature as the inescapable prerequisite for survival;

162. Takes the view that it is incumbent on the public authorities to guarantee a healthy environment for all and to create options enabling everyone to influence decision-making affecting their environment;

163. Calls on Member States to harmonize national legislative provisions and penalties for infringements against environmental protection measures in accordance with the 'polluter pays' principle;

164. Calls for the export of all materials, foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals and comparable products, the marketing of which is prohibited in the European Union, to be banned;

165. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council and the governments and parliaments of the Member States and of those states that have lodged formal applications for accession to the European Union.

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