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Sinn Féin MEP welcomes European Parliament report on Asylum

14 December, 2004

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has welcomed a report on EU Asylum procedures and protections, to be debated in the European Parliament this afternoon. The draft report is due to be presented by Ms Jean Lambert (Greens).

Ms de Brún was speaking before delivering a speech to the EU Parliament on the issue of asylum. Commenting upon the report entitled 'Report on asylum procedure and protection in regions of origin,' Ms de Brún said: "This report is to be strongly commended for the focus it gives to the issues of humanitarian and civil rights which lie at the heart of the asylum debate."

Speaking in Strasbourg Ms de Brún said:

"One can judge the quality of a society by the way it treats its most vulnerable. Much of the world assesses the EU's commitment to equality, justice and fair play by the way each member state conducts itself in terms of the treatment of those fleeing war and persecution across the globe.

"Ms Lambert is to be strongly commended for the focus her report gives to the humanitarian and civil rights issues which lie at the heart of the asylum debate. I echo her call for the highest possible international human rights standards to guide EU policy in this regard. The report's rejection of so-called 'holding centres' as even a short-term solution to the issue of asylum is welcome and should be strongly endorsed.

"At any given time in my constituency, there are a number of people fleeing persecution who are kept in a 19th century Victorian jail, badly housed and treated like criminals. Such treatment is unacceptable and must be opposed.

"Conflict, poverty and socio-political instability affect millions of people across the world. We need to shift the emphasis towards promoting conflict resolution and prevention under the auspices of the United Nations, rather than moving towards greater militarization and military intervention. The long-term solution to the issue of asylum is to reduce conflict and poverty globally. The EU has a major role to play in this regard and must rise to the challenge.

"I am delighted to support this report and look forward to working with others in future, on this important policy issue. Let us hope that we get the policy right and in turn demonstrate to the world that when it comes to human rights, justice and equality - the policy implementation of the EU is as good as its rhetoric". ENDS

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