1 December 2011 E-011291/2011
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Marietje Schaake (ALDE)
Subject: VP/HR — Renewed Syrian membership of Unesco human rights committee
It was reported today(1) that Syria had been elected during the Unesco general conference as the Arab representative on the Unesco committee (‘CRE’) that deals with the implementation and monitoring of issues relating to human rights. According to the EU Delegation to Unesco in Paris these reports are correct and Syria has indeed been elected — for a second mandate — to this committee. Unesco has also published the election results online(2). This particular Unesco committee also deals with particular cases of human rights violations relating to the fields of competence of Unesco as a whole, for instance the imprisonment of professors and journalists. I have the following questions in this respect:
1. Does the Vice-President/High Representative agree that the election of Syria to the Unesco human rights committee is unacceptable and should be immediately reversed or suspended?
2. What concrete actions can the Vice-President/High Representative take — despite the EU only being an observer to Unesco — in order to undo this incomprehensible situation?
3. What concrete actions has the Vice-President/High Representative taken in order to reach an EU common position and to prevent the election of Syria by a joint EU effort?
4. Is the Vice-President/High Representative willing to condemn the election of Syria to the Unesco human rights committee, and call upon the members of the CRE and Unesco’s governing board to reverse this decision. If not, why not?
5. Is the Vice-President/High Representative willing to press all EU Member States to raise this issue immediately in Unesco and ensure the immediate suspension of Syria from the Unesco human rights committee, if not, why not?
6. Can the Vice-President/High Representative explain how it is possible that countries with a terrible human-rights track record can be elected to UN bodies dealing with human rights violations?
Please find the answer here.