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close this bookLaw in Humanitarian Crises, Volume II : Access to Victims: Right to Intervene or Right to Receive Humanitarian Assistance? (ECHO)
close this folderAnnex
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAnnex 6 - State Practice on Intervention
View the documentAnnex 7 - Charter of the United Nations (excerpts)
View the documentAnnex 8 - Maastricht Treaty (excerpts)
View the documentAnnex 9 - Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
View the documentAnnex 10 - EP Resolution A3-0227/94
View the documentAnnex 11 - Cannes European Council, 26 and 27 June 1995 Presidency Conclusions (excerpts)
View the documentAnnex 12 - CSCE - Budapest Document 1994 (excerpts)
View the documentAnnex 13 - Lisbon Declaration (excerpts)
View the documentAnnex 14 - Progress Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda
View the documentNotes on the Contributors
View the documentAbbreviations

Annex 10 - EP Resolution A3-0227/94

Official Journal of European Communities No C 128/225, A3-0227/94

Resolution on the right of humanitarian intervention A3-0227/94

The European Parliament,

- having regard to the motion for a resolution by Mr.Cano Pinto on behalf of the Socialist Group on the right of a state to noninterference in its internal affairs (B3-0494/90),

- having regard to its earlier resolutions on the subject,

- having regard to the outcome of the hearing on the right of humanitarian intervention held in the European Parliament on 25 January 1994,

- having regard to its resolution of 8 February 1994 on the role of the Union within the UN and the problems of reforming the UN,

- having regard to Rule 45 of its Rules of Procedure,

- having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Security ant the opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Citizens' Rights (A3-0227/94),

A. whereas the situation in the world after the Cold War is characterized by a degree of uncertainty which may represent a greater danger to stability and a greater risk of armed conflict than the situation prior to 1989,

B. having regard to the risk, both within and outside Europe, of interethnic conflicts spreading and taking on international dimensions, thus constituting a threat to international peace and security,

C. whereas old and new conflicts, fuelled by ethnic differences, resurgent nationalism and historically conditioned distrust, can no longer be kept in check by the involvement of the superpowers,

D. whereas the repercussions of armed conflicts on innocent civilian populations are a constantly increasing cause for concern,

E. noting with concern that the number of armed conflicts taking place at any one time in the world has grown from approximately 35 during the Cold War to approximately 60 at present, and that, as a result, the need for humanitarian aid and intervention has greatly increased and public opinion in democratic countries is calling for a major commitment to solidarity,

F. whereas one of the most serious consequences of the numerous conflicts is the large number of refugees and all associated problems,

G. whereas the 'usefulness' of the United Nations for resolving conflicts and keeping or restoring international peace and security has grown and altered with the disappearance of the East-West conflict,

H. whereas, demands are being made with increasing frequency on the United Nations Organization, which is in danger of being overburdened; recalling is aforementioned resolution of 8 February 1994, which stressed the need to reform and strengthen the UN and to achieve greater specialization and decentralization of its interventions through UN regional organizations,

I. whereas international law has traditionally followed the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state; whereas, however, the traditional justification of national sovereignty for giving carte blanche to all internal abuses is no longer acceptable,

J. whereas it is generally accepted that human rights, as defined in the Universal Declaration of human rights and the UN International Conventions on civil and political rights and economic and cultural rights, are universal, and whereas important international documents such as the Helsinki Final Act and the Fourth Lomonvention include provisions according to which the human rights situation in a country does not form part of its internal affairs,

K. aware of the valuable role played by non-governmental organizations in the protection of human rights and in providing assistance in emergency situations,

L. having regard to the need for a political stance to be taken as regards the admissibility of humanitarian intervention.

1. Defines the concept of humanitarian intervention as the protection, including the threat or use of force, by a state or group of states of the basic human rights of persons who are subjects of and/or resident in another state;

2. Considers that current international law does not necessarily represent an obstacle to the recognition of the right of humanitarian intervention;

3. Notes that international law is significantly shaped by what individual Member States actually do;

4. Considers that, where all else has failed, the protection of human rights may justify humanitarian intervention, whether military force is used or not;

5. Considers, moreover, that intervention should preferably take place on the initiative of the UN Security Council or with the agreement of a legitimate government, but considers that the option of humanitarian intervention must be left open if there is no reasonable alternative;

6. Considers that a wide range of instruments for humanitarian intervention must be devised and implemented, form the use of political, diplomatic and economic pressure to the sending of observers or arbitration missions and, possibly, the threat or use of force under UN authority, the level of intervention being determined by criteria of justice and effectiveness;

7. Considers that the concept of humanitarian intervention must not undermine the ten principles of the Helsinki Final Act including the territorial integrity of a state and its political independence and unity;

8. Notes that all decisions on humanitarian intervention must take full account of the wishes of the populations directly affected and aim to restore without delay the necessary conditions for self-sufficiency and democratic self-government;

9. Considers it necessary, partly in order to meet existing objections against humanitarian intervention, to draw up criteria which must be satisfied when a state or group of states intervene in this manner;

10. Considers that humanitarian intervention should take account of the following criteria:

(a) there must be an extraordinary and extremely serious situation of humanitarian need in a country where those in power can not be made to see reason other than through military means;

(b) it must be apparent that the UN apparatus is unable to take effective (and timely) action;

(c) all other means must, in so far as possible or reasonable, have been exhausted and must have failed;

(d) the intervenor must be relatively disinterested in the situation in so far as the protection of human rights should be the primary objective and no other motives of a political or economic nature play a role; stresses in this connection the importance of full implementation of the agreements barring the presence of armed forces which might generate further instability;

(e) states which have been formally condemned by the international community for unlawful intervention in a region must not be allowed to take part in humanitarian intervention in other regions until they have put an end to all their unlawful operations;

(f) intervention must be limited to specific objectives and must only have minimal political consequences for the authority of the state concerned;

(g) the use of force must be temporary and not be disproportionate;

(h) the intervention must be reported immediately to the UN and not be subject to UN condemnation;

(i) the intervention must not represent a threat to international peace and security to the extent that it causes a greater loss of life and greater suffering than that which it aims to prevent;

11. Stresses the need for consistency in the application of these criteria;

12. Considers that strict and objective standards must be set, in agreement with the United Nations, with regard to the conduct of military troops engaged in humanitarian intervention and that any illegal actions or other deviation from international laws and legal principles must be penalized as appropriate so as to avoid illegal intervention involving violations of human rights and undermining peace;

13. Underscores the right of non-governmental organizations to intervene in the territory of a country on behalf of the victims of natural disasters, acts of war and/or famine;

14. Calls on the Commission and the Council to support the action of non-governmental aid organizations in carrying out their humanitarian aid operations;

15. Urges the Commission and Council to adopt a position favouring the recognition of the right of humanitarian intervention and calls on them to support the above criteria, thereby encouraging international legal developments in this direction within international bodies;

16. Calls on the European Union to underpin preventive diplomacy as necessary and involve regional organizations such as the CSCE, whose mission is to safeguard peace, maintain existing borders and protect human rights;

17. Considers that agreements between the Union and third countries should all be conditional on their respect of human rights; urges the Council to use more extensively its economic and political leverage to ensure implementation of the existing international human rights instruments in those countries;

18. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission and the Council of the European Union and the governments and parliaments of the Member States, to the United Nations Secretary-General and the CSCE secretariat.