January 2012

Sarah's speech to Parliament on Human rights issues

Sarah Ludford on behalf of the ALDE Group . - Mr President there is some good material in this strategy paper. I fully support one principal theme and that is the importance of coherence. This is necessary not only across the range of external policies but also in the form of consistency with our internal record.

The EU cannot argue against torture and disappearance in the war on terror as effectively as is necessary when it has failed to fully clean house on our own collusion in secret prisons and rendition flights.

Close Guantanamo and bring UK residents home

Sarah is pictured at a rally organised by the London Guantanamo campaign to mark the ten year anniversary of the camp opening and to call for its closureLiberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford attended a rally on Saturday to protest against the continued Illegal detention of prisoners in Guantanamo to mark tomorrow's tenth anniversary of the camp's opening.

London residents need to be protected from credit website scams

London MEP Sarah Ludford is calling for national action following an EU-wide investigation which found that 80% of British consumer credit websites fail to supply legally required consumer information.

The 2011 EU Consumer Credit investigation into more than 500 websites has found that 70% (393) of sites lack at least some of the legally required information to help consumers make an informed decision. In the UK 38 out of 47 (80%) checked websites revealed irregularities which will now be investigated further by the UK's Office of Fair Trading.

Commenting after the publication of the initial findings Sarah Ludford commented:

Investigation into torture collusion allegations must be stepped up

Commenting on the conclusion by the Metropolitan Police and CPS that no MI5 or MI6 officers will be charged over torture collusion claims Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman Sarah Ludford MEP who was vice chair of the European Parliament's inquiry into European involvement in 'extraordinary rendition' said:

"This by no means ends the matter. That British officials helped to question prisoners before or after their torture was not in doubt and is confirmed by this statement. The further criminal investigation into renditions to Libya are welcome."

Sarah's bulletin: 13th January

2012: a year for even more achievements in government 

Let’s start the New Year – and I wish you a very happy one - by reminding ourselves of the impressive Liberal Democrat achievements in government in 2011. Of course there have been some electoral disappointments, but taking a seat from the Tories in a Wootton Bassett byelection this week is a right (royal) boost!  

Our distinctive Lib Dem voice has been heard on a wide range of issues, from the NHS to phone hacking and from human rights to Europe. Despite tough economic times we are making a difference in government and much of our manifesto has been implemented, such as:

UN body rules Sikh turban a human rights issue

The UN Human Rights Committee has this week concluded that France violated the religious freedom of a French resident and Sikh Ranjit Singh by refusing to let him wear his turban for a photograph for a residence card. It has asked the French government to notify by March how it will remedy this human rights breach.

Welcoming the ruling Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford said:

"It is shameful that Mr Singh's right to wear his turban was violated by the French authorities. Not only was his religious freedom violated but the denial of the residence card left him unable to access health care and benefits. This must be reversed and if it is not the EU must get involved."

MEP supports UCL students in use of 'religious' cartoon

University College London's Atheist Secularist and Humanist society have started a petition defending their freedom of expression in response to the college student union asking them to remove from their Facebook ad for a pub social page a cartoon depicting Jesus and Mohammed.

London Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford who has signed the petition commented:

"As LibDem MEP for London active on civil liberties as well as equalities issues I believe a clear distinction must be upheld between inciting religious hatred and causing offence."

Breach of battery hen rules must attract tough sanctions

London Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford has welcomed an assurance by the European Commission that EU states failing to comply with improved welfare rules for egg-laying hens will if necessary be taken to taken to the European court.

Sarah Ludford commented:

"This assurance is the result of intense political pressure by Liberal Democrats in the European Parliament. It would be intolerable ifUKegg producers investing in bigger and better cages suffered from illegal competitors undercutting their prices by persisting in poor welfare standards.

Outrage of EP honouring Francoist jointly with Havel

Liberal Democrat European human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford has criticised outgoing European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek for honouring Spanish Francoist politician Manual Fraga simultaneously with Czech statesman Vaclav Havel in a joint minute's silence.

Sarah Ludford commented:

"Havel's democratic and human rights credentials underpinned his whole life while Fraga never renounced or apologised for the repressive standards of the Franco regime he served. Linking the two was a cheap trick presumably to head off an MEPs' protest."

Qatada judgement teaches us useful lessons

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that theUK cannot deport extremist Islamic cleric Abu Qatada. Although it accepted the validity of diplomatic assurances from Jordan that Abu Qatada would not face torture it said evidence obtained from others under torture could be used to try him thus jeopardising his right to a fair trial.

Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford commented:

"This ruling is clearly right on human rights grounds because using evidence obtained through torture is a common practice in Jordan. But we should learn at least 2 lessons from this debacle."