Sarah's speech to Parliament on Human rights issues
Sarah Ludford on behalf of the ALDE Group . - Mr President there is some good material in this strategy paper. I fully support one principal theme and that is the importance of coherence. This is necessary not only across the range of external policies but also in the form of consistency with our internal record.
The EU cannot argue against torture and disappearance in the war on terror as effectively as is necessary when it has failed to fully clean house on our own collusion in secret prisons and rendition flights.
Our credibility in the desperately necessary battle for equality on the basis of sexual orientation is undermined by the shabby prejudice still suffered by LGBT (lesbian gay bisexual and transgender) people in some EU states. Our voice will not be heard sufficiently in condemning ethnic racial and religious discrimination abroad when Roma Muslims and even Jews are not guaranteed proper freedoms and security at home.
One procedural reform in the Council might help and that is to have joint meetings of the Working Party on Human Rights and the Working Party on Fundamental Rights Citizens' Rights and Free Movement of Persons: COHOM and FREMP to use our beloved acronyms. These are committees looking at human rights violations outside and inside the EU.
It is however disappointing that the European Parliament only merits seven lines in a 20-page document. Ironically those lines say that the European Parliament has made human rights and democracy one of its highest priorities. Well not quite high enough to give us a central place apparently in an EU human rights strategy. This could probably have been written in the 1970s taking absolutely no account of our enhanced role under the Lisbon Treaty. There is quite a long way to go before we have a fully coherent and fully credible human rights strategy.