Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2012-02-15-Speech-3-480-000"

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"Mr President, as we approach the annual high-level session and the European Parliament’s own delegation to the UN Human Rights Council at the end of the first round of the Universal Periodic Review process, and now that the Council’s own review is completed, the challenge of our commitment to human rights has never been greater – greatest perhaps at the moment as in the debate we have just conducted on Syria. Kofi Annan, speaking after the launch of the UN’s ’responsibility to protect’, said: ’“Responsibility to protect” will remain pure rhetoric unless and until those with the power to intervene effectively – by exerting political, economic and, in the last resort, military muscle – are prepared to take the lead’. At least 400 deaths this year; sexual violence against those held in custody; children as young as ten in solitary confinement; High Commissioner Pillay herself saying that these crimes against humanity are likely in Syria – it is right that Europe goes to Geneva and gets the UN to act where the UN Security Council has failed to do so. But we should have praise too. On lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights as the President-in-Office rightly said. On Libya, too: the expulsion of Libya was an essential part of the transition in that country which should not be forgotten and which sets a historic precedent for the Human Rights Council itself. It also allowed the country to appoint a new administration explicit in its support for human rights. Amnesty International says its people are enjoying freedom of expression for the first time in 42 years. As this Parliament’s rapporteur, we should also give full backing to the framework on business and human rights adopted by the Council and signal Europe’s determination to promote and to implement it, including, I am proud to say, this week, the announcement by the Enterprise Commissioner, of proposed human rights guidelines for the ICT and employment sectors here in Europe. The need to challenge ourselves in Europe on other issues remains, though. Let us recall the recommendation of the Goldstone Commission following the Gaza conflict and the Panel of Experts’ recommendations following the end of the conflict in Sri Lanka. Time may or may not heal when we suffer an individual bereavement, but when hundreds and thousands die in what are said to be crimes of war, there will never be a healing without justice and the European Union must show that all war crimes will be held to account. In Sri Lanka, having visited the last combat zone this year whilst maintaining my Group’s consistent support for an independent commission of inquiry, I acknowledged the government can change the debate if it genuinely conducts investigations against perpetrators and secures convictions, as at least inferred in its own report. Finally, on behalf of the Socialist Group too, we should send a clear warning against countries refusing to ratify human rights instruments by being consistent in our own support, including, nine years after it was signed in, the International Convention on Migrant Workers, seeking to protect over 200 million of the most vulnerable people worldwide. It is to our deep shame that no EU country has either signed or ratified this Treaty."@en1

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