11 November 2011 E-010306/2011 Question for written answer to the Commission Rule 117 Marietje Schaake (ALDE) Subject: VP/HR — Technology exported to Iran by EU‑based companies which is used to violate human rights An investigative article(1) has brought to light the involvement of several EU‑based telecom and ICT companies in providing monitoring, surveillance and other technologies to the Iranian Government which are being used in Iran to violate human rights. 1. Can the Vice-President/High Representative confirm that no EU sanctions against Iran have been violated by EU‑based ICT and telecom companies? If not, why not? 2. Can the Vice-President/High Representative explain why she has failed to answer my repeated calls, in parliamentary questions(2) and open letters, for an EU inquiry into the role which EU‑based ICT and telecom companies play, or have played, in human rights violations across the world? 3. Does the Vice-President/High Representative agree that such an inquiry is urgently needed in order to provide a transparent and comprehensive account of the role which EU‑based companies play, or have played, in human rights violations, and to assess international (criminal) liability? If not, why not? 4. How does the European External Action Service intend to substantiate its stated prioritising of ICT and human rights? 5. Does the Vice-President/High Representative agree that technologies exported from the EU and used by authorities and state-controlled entities should be closely monitored and banned, if necessary, on the basis of benchmarks applied EU‑wide? If not, why not? 6. Does the Vice-President/High Representative agree that the Commission and the Member States have a shared responsibility in establishing an effective framework of (export) mechanisms that prevent the misuse of European technologies for human rights violations? Can the Vice-President/High Representative explain how the Commission and the Member States are currently cooperating in this regard and how future cooperation can be optimised? If not, why not? 7. Does the Vice-President/High Representative agree that exporters have a duty to perform their own due diligence, regarding possible human rights violations, before exporting to governments of closed or semi-closed societies? If not, why not? 8. Does the Vice-President/High Representative agree that businesses are specialised organs of society that perform specialised functions and are required to comply with all applicable laws and to respect human rights? If not, why not? 9. Does the Vice-President/High Representative agree that the UN ‘Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework’ should be mainstreamed into the policy of all EU‑based companies and, as such, set clear guidelines for corporate social responsibility? If not, why not? 10. Given the lack of effective mechanisms to prevent human rights violations with the help of EU‑based companies, what measures will the Vice-President/High Representative take to ensure transparency and accountability? (1) http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-10-31/iranian-police-seizing-dissidents-get-aid-of-western-companies.html (2) http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+WQ+E‑2011-007865+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN&language=EN and http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+WQ+E‑2011-002212+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN&language=EN Please find the answer here.