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12.6.

2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 137 E/89

Will all those who have committed these acts be brought to justice by a prompt and impartial
investigation?

I urge the Commission to implement in full the recommendations made by the Office of the UN High
Commission for Human Rights towards tackling the human rights crisis in Colombia.

Answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission

(6 November 2002)

Like the Honourable Member, the Commission condemns all violations of human rights and of
international humanitarian law and believes that only a negotiated solution will bring about a lasting
peace in Colombia.

There is no quick fix to the conflict situation in Colombia, but the Commission has used, is using and will
continue to use all the instruments at its disposal. Human rights, international humanitarian law, and the
insistence on the need to seek a negotiated solution between the parties remain at the heart of the political
dialogue the EU has with the Colombian government, be it bilaterally or at the regional level (Andean
Community of Nations  CAN). In this sense growth will be key to ending the conflict that Colombia also
benefits from a very favourable Community trade regime (the ‘drugs’ Generalised Scheme of Preferences)
that helps its exporters to reach out to European markets. The Community cooperation instruments are
also used to help resolve the crisis. These are focused on the support of on-going Colombian activities in
the search for peace, targeting the root causes of the conflict, and providing humanitarian assistance to the
victims of the conflict. Cooperation is implemented in partnership both with the Government (e.g. the
‘Peace Laboratory’ in the Magdalena Medio region, worth EUR 34,8 million) or through the civil society
and non-governmental organisations (e.g. Colombia is a focus country for the European Initiative for
Democracy & Human Rights).

As far as impunity is concerned, the Country Strategy Paper for Colombia (1) foresees support to the
administrative and judicial reform efforts of the Colombian government.

Finally the Commission, is in regular contact with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for
Human Rights and follows closely its recommendations. It is also supporting the work of this Office in
Colombia (Municipal ombudspersons support project, phase II, EUR 800 000).

(1) http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/colombia/csp.

(2003/C 137 E/101) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2528/02


by Camilo Nogueira Román (Verts/ALE) to the Council

(11 September 2002)

Subject: Use of Palestinian human shields killed by Israel

As denounced by the Israeli human rights organisation Betselem on 14 August, when a young Palestinian
was unlawfully used as a human shield in an action which caused his death, the Israeli Army is using
human shields in its repressive colonial war against the Palestinian population. Why is the EU looking on
passively whilst such acts are carried out by a State which is deploying all its might against a defenceless
population? What will the Council do to stop this criminal behaviour on the part of the State of Israel?
C 137 E/90 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.2003

Reply

(18 February 2003)

The Honourable Member of the European Parliament is pointing at one of the most tragic aspects of the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is the suffering of the civil population. Although both sides have to
respect their obligations both to refrain from targeting civilians and to avoid actions which put them in
harm’s way, Israeli and Palestinian men, women and children continue to pay a high price. The Council
has, therefore, in its statements time and again unreservedly condemned violence and terrorism in the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Council has regularly raised the issue of civilian casualties in its contacts with Israel.

(2003/C 137 E/102) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2552/02


by Astrid Thors (ELDR) to the Commission

(12 September 2002)

Subject: Inadequate storage of pesticides

It has been calculated that in Russia there are currently 24 000 tonnes of obsolete pesticides which are not
correctly stored; these include POP compounds (persistent organic pollutants). The impact of these
environmentally damaging toxic substances extends throughout the Arctic, with the result that, for
example, indigenous peoples in the region are exposed to risks because they eat large quantities of fish and
sealmeat in which toxins have accumulated. Polar bears have even been found at the North Pole which had
both male and female sex organs. At the dump at Krasbyj Bor waste disposal facility outside St Petersburg,
tonnes of obsolete pesticides are likewise inadequately stored.

Has the Commission held discussions with the Russian authorities concerning the inadequate storage of
these toxins or will the Commission raise the subject, for example, in the context of the EU’s partnership
and cooperation agreement with Russia? What will the Commission do to ensure that the Stockholm
Convention on POPs is complied with and that it is ratified and enters into force as soon as possible?

Answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission

(25 October 2002)

The Russian Federation signed the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) on
22 May 2002. While the Commission welcomes this step it has not received information from Russia
about its plans to ratify and implement the Convention.

The Commission proposals for a Council decision on ratification of the Convention by the Community
and on the necessary implementation legislation are both under preparation and are likely to be adopted
during the 1st quarter of 2003. The aim is that the Community becomes a Party before the first
Conference of the Parties, which may be held in mid-2004.

The Commission will raise the subject of Russian ratification and implementation of the Convention both
in forthcoming multilateral meetings and in bilateral meetings under the Partnership and Cooperation
Agreement. It will also study possible funding for related projects in the light of progress.