Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-04-21-Speech-3-299"

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"Mr President, will we ever achieve the level of civilisation at which large-scale human rights violations will be a thing of the past? The most important reason for such violations is often the retention or indeed, conquest, of power at all costs. Similarly, barbaric practices of sowing hatred for purely religious or ethnic reasons have by no means been stamped out; on the contrary, ever more innocent people are being killed on a random basis. This week, we are commemorating the massacre in Rwanda. The world community is collectively hanging its head in shame for its own passiveness. Is this genuine? Have we really drawn the correct conclusions? For Europe, do human rights really weigh as heavily in practice as the solemn declarations would suggest? Are we really prepared to give precedence to human rights over economic and strategic interests? Unfortunately, this is still not the case. Extensive violence, torture, structural violations, such as abuse of women, the caste system, are still a daily occurrence. Luckily, Mrs De Keyser supports the appeals I made in my report last year to make the human rights dialogue with partner countries less non-committal and structure it more effectively. The question is to what extent this has had an effect in practice. Since my report, cooperation with the Council has considerably improved on a number of levels. I expect that the Dutch Presidency will further improve relations with this House where these matters are concerned. We on our part would do well to ensure that the human rights report is published on a set date every year, so that it is possible to include a verdict about the Council report and also about the solutions brought by the UN human rights committee. In addition, our Parliament should follow up human rights violations where we have identified them more systematically. It is unfortunate how the De Keyser report came about. Despite this, my group supports the content, even where the rights of the disabled and reproductive health are concerned. After all, it goes against any fundamental sense of justice that someone should die due to a lack of medical care. Our Christian Democrat friends should agree on this, even if it involves non-enforceable rights. Finally, I should once again like to highlight the increasing abuse of religions for political ends and radicalism. Given the seriousness of the threat and the reality of Madrid, I would repeat last year's appeal that the European Union will need to map out the problem in all its dimensions and should draft a strategy to prevent this religious extremism. It is also high time, in my view, that the EuroMed Foundation, which was decided on in Valencia in 2002, finally got off the ground. The European Union prides itself on being a community of values. That means that our human rights policy should become less non-committal; it also entails an obligation to work to propagate a level of civilisation at which large-scale human rights violations are a thing of the past."@en1

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