Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2017-06-12-Speech-1-190-000"

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"Mr President, I am honoured to address today’s plenary as the rapporteur for the report on Statelessness in South and South East Asia. For the overwhelming majority of colleagues in the Committee on Foreign Affairs, it was felt that this report was worth embracing – from the very first draft through to the final text – unequivocally, and irrespective of political affiliation, because we are deeply appalled at the UN Refugee Agency’s estimates that 135 million children under the age of five, across the South and South East Asia region, have not had their births registered and are at risk of becoming stateless. We are mindful that being a Rohingya, for instance, (the largest stateless ethnic group in the world) equals living literally in the shadows, as a non—person in the eyes of the authorities, unable to stay in, unable to move out, stripped of property rights and denied access to health, education and the right to start a business. As a proud British Conservative, I uphold a rich tradition that champions the cause for the small state, both in number and regulatory functions. The raison d’être of the state, anywhere in the world, is to defend, protect and enforce the rule of law so that each and every individual is genuinely free. People of all ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds must have their unalienable rights protected, down to the last individual, because the smallest minority is the individual. My thinking is influenced by Aristotle’s emphasis on the individual. Our prosperity in Europe is the result of the consciousness that no one should be above the law. It was the Magna Carta, in the early 13th Century, and the contributions of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke on the social contract, that paved the way forward. As in 18th Century Prussia, those at the mercy of the Myanmar authorities must be able to stand up and say that there are judges in Berlin. The Myanmar authorities’ failure to fulfil these essential state functions must spur the international community to act. We must recognise the progress made in Indonesia, Cambodia and Vietnam. However, there are still millions who are stateless and persecuted every day because of it. Enhanced political and economic relations with Europe go in tandem with individual freedoms and the rule of law. These are the messages that Myanmar, and any other country in this region and the world, must be reminded of. I am proud of this House, honourable colleagues, because we seized this noble opportunity to focus across the political spectrum on the absolute essentials of life, liberty and the right to happiness. Tomorrow’s vote will provide hope to those who are suffering and ensure that promoting citizenship is a priority for the EU."@en1

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