Human Rights

16 Jan 2009 11:09:40

Daniel Hannan says EU human rights agenda is crowding out democracy

Daniel_hannan_mepDaniel Hannan, a Conservative MEP for the South East, made a splendid speech yesterday about how the growth of "EU human rights" is crowding out democracy.

The European Parliament has passed a resolution on human rights, which Mr Hannan describes as:

"a litany of nagging demands about abortion law, same-sex unions, the status of asylum seekers and so on.

Now I'm pretty soggy on some of these issues ... But that's not the point. I have no right to impose my views on the electorates of, say, Ireland or Poland. They have their own legislators, whom they can hire and fire."

Mr Hannan's 45 second speech is well worth watching. In an exceptionally elegant speech, perhaps the best line is as follows:

"There is no crisis of human rights in the European Union. But there is a crisis of democratic legitimacy."

14 Oct 2008 11:23:42

Human rights debate

Yesterday the House of Commons debated democracy and human rights. A number of Conservative MPs made interesting contributions.

Tony Baldry, chairman of the International Development select committee, highlighted the desperate situation in Sudan:

"Before we move on from Sudan, let me point out that Darfur shows the fragility of the international community’s ability to support the emerging norm of the international community’s responsibility to protect. The matter is not just about the failure of the Security Council to enforce that; the international community does not have the military lift capacity to do so either. We are hoping that things in Darfur will not get worse and that something will turn up. There is no UN peacekeeping force in Darfur, effectively, and there is no real process in Darfur. The responsibility to protect is just being forgotten."

David Lidington, part of the Shadow Foreign Affairs team, indicated his determination to make the promotion of human rights a central plank of foreign policy:

"The promotion of human rights should not be seen as an add-on, but as an integral part of our thinking, incorporated in, for example, our national security strategy and our policies on international development. For instance, I should like us to build plans for the reduction and eradication of human trafficking into our poverty reduction programmes, and to find a way in which to integrate our concern for human rights into the pursuit of millennium development goals."

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