January 2010

London MEP Sarah Ludford protests Symeou EAW treatment

Left to Right: Wafa Shah (FTI) Sarah Ludford MEP Sophie Symeou and Jago Russell (FTI)

Sarah Ludford joined Andrew's sister Sophie and Jago Russell and Wafa Shah of Fair Trials International to protest Andrew's unjust incarceration outside the Greek embassy in Holland Park.

European convention safeguards British human rights

Reacting to the news that two Londoners have won a judgement at the European Court of Human Rights declaring anti-terrorism stop and search powers illegal Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford said:

"Yet again it is the European convention on human rights that is protecting Britons from the Labour government's authoritarian laws. This key judgement shows just how damaging Tory plans to refuse to obey Strasbourg court decisions would be."

"It is both a relief and a scandal that we need to rely on European institutions to safeguard the fundamental rights that Labour has so undermined. Liberal Democrats will make civil liberties a key issue in the forthcoming election campaign."

ENDS

Sarah puts pressure on Commissioner-Designate Stefan Fule about Bosnia

I am now going to give you the chance to specifically talk about Bosnia. Last year a US academic charged that the EU lacked a viable policy towards Bosnia. And indeed you omitted any mention of Bosnia in your list of policy priorities in your written answers. Meanwhile Bosnia and Herzegovina is a dysfunctional state sliding towards disintegration. It was judged unfit to get visa liberalisation on December 19th while Serbian citizens among others did.

Question to Commissioner-designate Stefan Fule (enlargement and neighbourhood policy) about Bosnia

I am now going to give you the chance to specifically talk about Bosnia. Last year a US academic charged that the EU lacked a viable policy towards Bosnia. And indeed you omitted any mention of Bosnia in your list of policy priorities in your written answers. Meanwhile Bosnia and Herzegovina is a dysfunctional state sliding towards disintegration. It was judged unfit to get visa liberalisation on December 19th while Serbian citizens among others did.

Commonwealth should act to protect gay rights in Uganda

The European Parliament has joined the effort to raise awareness of the stream of aggressive state-sponsored homophobia that is sweeping across much of Africa and Daniel Howden's article ("The love that still dare not speak its name" Independent 11th January) gave valuable coverage to this huge and frightening human rights threat. Just before Christmas MEPs called on the Ugandan government not to approve the anti-homosexuality bill put forward by that country's parliament.

Fairness at heart of Liberal Democrat campaign

The Liberal Democrats have announced they will fight the General Election on four key issues designed to make Britain a much fairer place. The four priorities are fair taxes; better education clean reformed politics and green jobs.

Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford said:

"People in London have been let down by their politicians and are rightly frustrated. We are going into the election with determination and a manifesto that is short direct and based on achieving fairness in our society and our economy."

EU disaster response flaws highlighted in Haiti

Commenting on statements by EU foreign policy chief Cathy Ashton and development Commissioner Karel de Gucht to the European Parliament about assistance to Haiti after the recent earthquake London Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford said:

"The European Union's response to the Haiti relief effort has been generous in humanitarian aid but woefully uncoordinated in disaster relief. Proposals over many years for planning and management of crises but have fallen on stony ground and now we see the result."

"French cooperation minister Alain Joyandet has unhelpfully whinged about the US role. This is a bit rich when it is Europe's 27 governments including France who blocked a 'Europe-Aid' proposal. Thank goodness the Americans have taken charge in Haiti somebody had to."

EU must guarantee highest standards of criminal justice

Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford has said in a European Parliament debate on rights in criminal proceedings:

"Ensuring rights in criminal proceedings is not just a matter of procedure: they make the difference between a fair trial and a miscarriage of justice. Action on defence rights is a decade overdue ever since the European Arrest Warrant was instituted."

"A case in point is the treatment of my constituent Andrew Symeou who has been in prison in Greece for six months awaiting trial on a manslaughter charge which seems to be based on mistaken identity and police brutality to witnesses."

Orams ruling no substitute for Cyprus political settlement

Commenting on yesterday's Court of Appeal ruling that David and Linda Orams have to surrender their land in northern Cyprus to its original Greek Cypriot owner Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford said:

"The Cyprus property issue should not be settled in British courts in this way. A political solution re-uniting the island has to be found between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities."

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