Ludford: Europeans must be protected from Prism snooping

Baroness Sarah Ludford MEPLiberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford, ALDE group shadow rapporteur on the update of EU data protection law, is demanding that an ‘anti-FISA’ clause be reintroduced in the text of the proposed new Regulation.

She wants to ensure that EU customers are shielded from US National Security Agency data-mining authorised by the Patriot Act and the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court, such as the recently revealed ‘PRISM’ programme. Sarah Ludford said:

“MEPs including me have been pushing the European Commission for years about how the EU can safeguard Europeans against these intrusive powers, but we have been given the brush-off.” Continue reading


Catherine Bearder MEP - South East EnglandShopkeepers and supermarkets are being urged to make sure shelves are stocked with Easter eggs made with traffick-free chocolate.

South East MEP Catherine Bearder is supporting charity Stop the Traffik’s campaign calling on shops to make sure the Easter eggs they sell are not made using child labour.

She said: “Despite the hard work of groups such as Stop the Traffik, it is still tricky to buy Easter Eggs which are Fairtrade. I think the change will only happen with pressure from shoppers. Continue reading


Catherine Bearder MEP - South East EnglandTime to listen to young people across Europe… that is the message from Catherine Bearder MEP.

Catherine hosted BtB (Bite the Ballot) and WIMPS (Where is My Public Servant) in Brussels as they launched an initiative aimed at boosting young voter registration ahead of the 2014 European elections.

The aim was to build interest in the ‘Rock Enrol’ campaign and encourage Members of the European Parliament to put young people at the top of the agenda.

Catherine said: “I have worked closely with Bite the Ballot, so I understand the group’s passion and enthusiasm to engage more young people in politics. Continue reading

McMillan-Scott: Transatlantic push for human rights as Beijing changes bosses

Edward McMillan-Scott MEPBlind Chinese human rights activist Mr Chen Guangcheng made a forceful appeal on Capitol Hill, Washington [5 March 2013] for a transatlantic pact to highlight human rights abuses in China, as the 12th National People’s Congress in Beijing rubber-stamped new president Mr Xi Jinping.

The call was endorsed at a hearing in the US capital by UK Lib Dem MEP Edward McMillan-Scott MEP, Vice-President of the European Parliament responsible for Human Rights & Democracy and transatlantic relations, and Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ), who chairs the House human rights committee: Continue reading

Ludford: ECHR strikes right balance in protection of religious freedoms

Baroness Sarah Ludford MEPToday the European Court of Human Rights has issued a judgment in the case of Nadia Eweida, Shirley Chaplin, Lillian Ladele and Gary McFarlane versus theUnited Kingdom, ruling in favour of the applicant only in the case of Ms Eweida, a British Airways airhostess who was denied the right to wear a cross at work. In the cases of Ms Chaplin, Ms Ladele and Mr McFarlane the court ruled that there had been no violation of human rights.

The applicants are four British nationals who claim that they were discriminated against at work because of their Christian faith and prevented from exercising their right to freedom of religion. LibDem European justice & human rights spokeswoman Sarah Ludford MEP commented: Continue reading

McMillan-Scott welcomes Nobel Peace Prize for European Union

Commenting on the Nobel Peace Prize award to the EU for six decades of advancing peace in Europe, senior Lib Dem MEP Edward McMillan-Scott (Yorkshire & Humber), who has been the European Parliament’s Vice President responsible for democracy and human rights since 2004, said:

“The Nobel Peace Prize for the EU is recognition of the transformative power of the European project that brought a war-torn continent back to prosperity and through its enlargement process helped to spread democracy and freedom to the former Soviet bloc and is a model for reform worldwide. Continue reading

McMillan-Scot: Appointment of EUSR for Human Rights

The EU High Representative, Baroness Ashton, today appointed former MEP, Stavros Lambrinidis, as the new EU Special Representative for Human Rights – a newly created position with the full backing of the European Parliament.

Edward McMillan Scott (Lib Dem, UK), European Parliament Vice President responsible for Human Rights and Democracy welcomed the appointment: Continue reading

Ludford: Assessing European complicity in the CIA rendition programme is overdue

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sarah ludford.jpgFive years from the European Parliament’s report into alleged European  collusion with CIA ‘extraordinary rendition’ (kidnap and secret illegal detention) developed as part of Bush “war on terror”, the Civil Liberties committee voted today on an update report. This addresses the extent to which Member States, Council and Commission have complied with their obligations to carry out full inquiries to ascertain and secure accountability for complicity in human rights abuses

UK Liberal Democrat justice and home affairs spokesperson and the author of the opinion on behalf of the Foreign Affairs committee Sarah Ludford commented: “There has been little progress in national inquiries into rendition allegations and those that have taken place have been far from full and independent. While investigations may only be capable of completion once the US fully cooperates in disclosing information on rendition practices, Member States  must not invoke spurious claims of ‘state secrecy’ to keep transgressions hidden. Continue reading

Ludford: EU must clamp down on torture goods trade

Baroness Sarah Ludford MEPLiberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford has called for tougher EU laws on the trade in instruments used in torture, repression and the death penalty, including drugs used in executions.

An Amnesty International report today, marking this week’s International Day against Torture, shows that torture instruments such as electric-shock belts are being marketed by EU companies while spiked batons are being promoted for sale in the EU and the sale of thumbscrews and leg irons is not banned.

The report follows a successful campaign last year – which Sarah co-led – to close loopholes under which ‘dual-use’ pharmaceuticals which do have a legitimate medicinal use were in fact being exported for illegitimate use as paralytic agents in executions. Continue reading

McMillan-Scott: spotlight on China on International Day against Torture

Edward McMillan-Scott MEP

After her release Zhang, a Beijingaccountant who was imprisoned for her religious beliefs, sent the MEP a list of 50 escalating torture steps used to persuade her to recant. Zhang Lianying and her husband Niu Jinping, another ex-prisoner whom Edward met in Beijing during his last visit in May 2006, now live in theUSA. Another former prisoner of conscience whom McMillan-Scott met, Cao Dong, was then imprisoned and tortured until his release in November 2011. However, on June 8 2012 he was re-arrested and McMillan-Scott fears that he is again being tortured somewhere. Continue reading