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The European Parliament today backed a resolution condemning the attacks on the Rohingya in Myanmar and Bangladesh and calling for economic measures against Naypyidaw and for the perpetrators to be held to account.

The resolution calls on the European External Action Service and EU countries to seek accountability for those responsible for committing crimes in Myanmar, and to take the lead at the UN, to ensure the urgent establishment of an international, impartial, and independent mechanism to support investigations into alleged atrocities.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, has described the operations of the Myanmar government as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” and a “cynical ploy to forcibly transfer large numbers of people without possibility of return”.

Wajid Khan MEP, member of the European Parliament foreign affairs and human rights committees, and Socialists and Democrats Group negotiator, said:

“There is a dire need to step up the international support during this critical time to address the humanitarian needs of both refugees and host communities. But sadly, only a fifth of the UN Joint Response Plan’s appeal for funding has been met.

“We need a comprehensive and long-term approach to this humanitarian crisis because there is no realistic prospect of safe and voluntary return. We also cannot forget the root cause of this tragedy.

“Myanmar must feel the pressure of economic action against it, and the perpetrators of these vile, unspeakable atrocities must be brought to justice. We cannot sit by and watch as ethnic cleansing takes place.”

Wajid Khan MEP added:

“Tomorrow is the festival of Eid, a time to feast and celebrate with family and friends. Sadly, this will be an Eid to forget for Myanmar’s Rohingya community.

“Rohingyas are going from crisis to crisis. The next four months threaten catastrophic risk for the refugees, especially children - heavy rains mark the start of the monsoon season, which is predicted to bring with it disease, landslides, flash flooding, and death.

“The EU must lead the call for justice and, with the wider international community, explore all avenues to hold perpetrators to account and ensure evidence of atrocities is collected and preserved for future legal proceedings.

“But the monsoon season is now. So saving lives must be our priority.”

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Labour MEPs: EU must step up pressure on Myanmar and work with UN to seek justice for Rohingya

The European Parliament today backed a resolution condemning the attacks on the Rohingya in Myanmar and Bangladesh and calling for economic measures against Naypyidaw and for the perpetrators to be...

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The stranding of more than six hundred migrants on board a ship off the coast of Italy once again highlights the urgent need for reforms to the EU Dublin Regulation on asylum and action to tackle the root causes, Labour MEPs warned as the European Parliament debated the humanitarian emergencies in the Mediterranean.

Claude Moraes MEP, chair of the European Parliament civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee, said:

“The scenes we have seen are terrible. People in urgent distress, being turned away. Desperate. Cold. Tired. Hungry. We have a duty, a responsibility, to help these people - and we need a system in place that enables us to help them, we need to reform the current Dublin Regulation so that it is fit for purpose.

“Ministers need to stop stalling and agree the reforms we desperately need, including our proposals to introduce more objective criteria to determine where migrants are sent to in Europe, such as family ties, cultural factors or knowledge of the language.

“Only with these long-awaited reforms to Dublin and modernisation of the Common European Asylum System will we be able to stop governments from using migrants as a political football.

“And we need to take action to tackle the root causes that compel people to flee their homes, their communities, their families, often in fear of persecution, torture and death, and undertake precarious, deadly journeys thousands of miles across treacherous waters in unimaginable conditions.

“We need more, better-targeted humanitarian aid, greater assistance for those on the ground, more education, and economic opportunities; we must open our hearts, minds and markets, and ensure people do not live under such dreadful conditions that they are willing to risk their lives to escape them.”

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Labour MEPs: Migrant ship stranding shows urgent need for reform of EU rules and action to tackle root causes

The stranding of more than six hundred migrants on board a ship off the coast of Italy once again highlights the urgent need for reforms to the EU Dublin Regulation...

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The European Parliament voted today for new laws that will make aviation safer by strengthening the rights of workers in the sector - measures the UK government must not weaken after Brexit, Labour MEPs warned.

Under the new regulations, due to come into force in the next month, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) will now have the power to monitor and sanction precarious working conditions if they endanger flight safety. Overall, the regulations on civil aviation safety will cover all key areas of aviation, namely airworthiness, aircrew, aerodromes, air operations and the provision of air navigation services.

The European Commission has said the UK will not have automatic membership of EASA if it leaves the EU, though there is an established legal mechanism for third country EASA participation – one that requires adherence to ECJ rulings and a financial contribution.

Lucy Anderson MEP, Labour’s European Parliament spokesperson on transport and tourism, said:

“These new laws show a greater recognition of the clear link between poor working conditions and flight safety, giving more power to EASA to monitor precarious working conditions and take action.

“Labour MEPs also secured an amendment emphasising the role of EASA in promoting passenger confidence in aviation safety.

“Pilots, cabin crew, ground staff, air traffic controllers, everyone working in this sector works long hours under great pressure in jobs where stress-induced mistakes could have catastrophic consequences.

“It is therefore vital the UK continues to participate in EASA after Brexit - as the government implied it would in its EU-UK transport framework agreement last week - and does not weaken these new measures that will bring additional safety for passengers and employees.

“And we also welcome this week’s historic recognition agreement between Unite and Ryanair. For the first time ever, Ryanair’s UK cabin crew have a union on their side providing representation and negotiating pay, hours and holidays, which can only improve safety.”

There will also be new rules on drones, which will now need to be registered - with higher-risk drone operations requiring certification - and limits on the noise and emissions generated by drones.

Lucy Anderson MEP added:

“Drones will be safer from now on, with clearer rules for the registration of drone operators and certification of larger drones. The new rules on drones will protect security, privacy and the environment.”

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Labour MEPs: New EU laws will make aviation safer by strengthening workers’ rights - UK must not weaken them after Brexit

The European Parliament voted today for new laws that will make aviation safer by strengthening the rights of workers in the sector - measures the UK government must not weaken...

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