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de Brún calls for Strong EU wide Human Rights Agenda: the EU must lead by example

20 May, 2004

Speaking at an Amnesty International debate in Belfast this evening, Sinn Féin EU candidate Bairbre de Brún MLA called for "a strong EU wide human rights agenda".

"Human Rights and human rights abuse goes to the heart of the conflict here. Sinn Féin's peace strategy and our support for the peace process and Good Friday Agreement are about bringing an end to all forms of human rights abuse, no matter who is responsible. This means creating a political environment without armed groups, armies or paramilitary police forces, and with adequate safeguards and institutional protections for the human rights of all. This is the logic contained within the Good Friday Agreement.

"Human rights abuse is not a problem confined to here.

"13 of the 15 established member states of the EU tolerate domestic human rights violations according to Amnesty International ˆ particularly impunity for excessive force by police, and allowing degrading conditions of detention.

"The European Union must lead by example on the protection and promotion of human, civil and political rights. Sinn Féin believes that the elimination of human rights abuses within the EU must become a higher priority objective of EU policy.

"Sinn Féin supports the establishment of an EU Human Rights Agency; incorporation of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights into the next EU treaty, including full enforceability; the introduction of human rights-proofing of all EU law and policy; an end to the blockage at Council of the proposed Framework Decision on Combating Racism and Xenophobia; Common Migration and Asylum Policies that are fully compliant with human rights instruments, that bring rights protections up to the highest standard, and that make the EU more open, inclusive and anti-racist; and the development of an EU framework on corporate accountability with a strong human rights dimension.

"Sinn Féin wants to play an active part in building an Ireland of equals in a Europe of equals. Promoting and protecting human rights is a crucial aspect of this, and needs to be mainstreamed throughout all aspects of the EU. This is a key element of Sinn Féin's EU agenda." ENDS

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