| Distribution: immediate - April 14, 2009, 3:54 pm |
Watson: Human rights must remain an EP priority
| A roundtable on human rights issues initiated by the ALDE Leader Graham Watson took place in the European Parliament today. Attended by representatives of NGOs active in that field, the meeting underlined the determination of European Liberals and Democrats to keep human rights atop the EP agenda during the next parliamentary mandate. |
"Over the last 30 years the European Parliament has grown in strength and stature. On many vital issues - such as our shared values and principles including respect for human rights - there is political consensus. During the next mandate, the European Parliament should promote those shared values both within the EU and beyond," said Graham Watson during the meeting.
"I believe that the next President of the European Parliament should use Parliament to promote those values to others and, from experience, I am confident that we can do that.
Tomorrow, Egypt's opposition leader Ayman Nour will visit the European Parliament at my invitation.
It was after Members of this House went to Cairo and lobbied on his behalf, that Ayman Nour was released from prison to fight the 2005 presidential election. That is the kind of difference I believe that the President of Parliament can make".
European Liberals and Democrats have consistently campaigned against human rights abuses. Press freedom in Russia, Tibetan right to self-determination and a global moratorium on death penalty are just a few of the causes ALDE MEPs have relentlessly worked for during the present parliamentary mandate.