MEPs want to prosecute Syrian war criminals and maintain EU sanctions

MEPs express grave concern over the persistent political deadlock and the lack of progress in finding a solution to the conflict in Syria

European Parliament condemns atrocities and violations of human rights in Syria by the Assad regime, but also by Russia, Iran and Turkey
European Parliament condemns atrocities and violations of human rights in Syria by the Assad regime, but also by Russia, Iran and Turkey

The economic collapse and the disastrous humanitarian crisis in Syria is deeply worrying, MEPs say, in a resolution marking 10 years since the uprising.

With 90% of the Syrian population living under the poverty line, MEPs call on the EU to increase its financial and political response.

MEPs insist that a sustainable solution to the Syrian conflict cannot be achieved through military means and criticise the Syrian regime’s lack of willingness to negotiate in drafting a new constitution, despite the opposition being ready to cooperate.

As long as there is no fundamental progress on the ground with clear, sustained and credible engagement in an inclusive political process, MEPs oppose any normalisation of diplomatic relations with the Syrian regime.

“Given the current context, the upcoming 2021 Syrian Presidential elections are completely lacking in credibility in the eyes of the international community,” they stress.

European Parliament strongly condemns all atrocities and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Syria, in particular by the Assad Regime, but also by Russia, Iran and Turkey, and urge the Syrian regime to immediately release the 130,000 political prisoners unjustly detained.

Reaffirming that those responsible for core international crimes must be duly prosecuted, MEPs call on the European Commission to present an EU Action Plan on Impunity, with a specific chapter on Syria. This action plan should seek to better coordinate and harmonise member states' efforts and resources to prosecute war criminals in the EU.

Calling on EU member states to maintain sanctions on individuals and entities involved in the repression in Syria, MEPs stress that it is vital to avoid inflicting any unintended negative consequences that sanctions may have on Syrian citizens by using humanitarian exemptions for principled humanitarian action.

Finally, they remind all EU member states that Syria is not a safe country to return to and believe that any return should be safe, voluntary, dignified and informed, in line with the EU’s stated position.

The resolution was adopted by 568 votes for, 79 against and 37 abstentions. 

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This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

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