Human Rights

Sarah's speech to Parliament on the use of armed drones

Sarah Ludford, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – Madam President, there are several worrying aspects of the use of armed drones to kill people – and I stress this resolution is about the use of armed drones.


Firstly, there is the lack of clarity that they are being used in compliance with international law. As Ms Gomes has said, they are banned for extrajudicial killings outside a conflict zone. That is generally illegal under international human rights law and, even in a state of conflict, civilians must not be targeted according to the laws of war.


Sarah's speech to Parliament on the elimination of Female Genital Mutilation

Sarah Ludford (ALDE ). - Madam President, I am very pleased to join this cross-party debate and I am also pleased that we have abandoned the unacceptable old practice of talking about female circumcision. Female genital mutilation much better conveys the full horror of the practice – that it is child abuse, even child torture. The estimates of girls at risk in the UK range from 20 000 to 65 000. This figure comes from recent research.


Tory and UKIP MEPs fail to condemn female genital mutilation

Lynne Featherstone MP and Liberal Democrat European human rights spokeswoman Sarah Ludford MEP have strongly condemned Conservatives MEPs who voted against or abstained in a European Parliament vote today on condemning the disgraceful practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).


Four Conservative MEPs – Marta Andreasen, Nirj Deva, Sajjad Karim and Timothy Kirkhope – voted against the motion to condemn FGM, and several UKIP and Conservative MEPs including Nigel Farage abstained.


Lynne Featherstone commented: “It is deeply shocking that so many Tory and UKIP MEPs today refused to condemn female genital mutilation."

Shaker Aamer’s 12 years of unlawful imprisonment

Save Shaker Aamer campaign rally

Shaker Aamer’s 12 years of unlawful imprisonment

23 November 2013

Statement of support from London Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford:

Sarah's speech to Parliament on the alleged transportation and illegal detention of prisoners in European countries by the CIA

Sarah Ludford (ALDE). – Mr President, this resolution does two things: it repeats our decade-long criticism of the US-led extraordinary rendition programme of kidnapping, secret and illegal imprisonment and torture, and European countries’ complicity in that programme. It was in fact ten years ago last month that I organised the first hearing in the European Parliament on Guantánamo – plus ça change .


Eurosceptics crazy to dismiss EU legal 'scoreboard'


Sarah's speech to Parliament on the death penalty and human rights

Sarah Ludford (ALDE ). - Mr President, the award of the Nobel Peace Prize and the Sakharov award today certainly make it necessary for the EU to practise what it preaches.

Sarah's speech to Parliament on extraordinary rendition

Sarah Ludford, rapporteur for the opinion of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. – Mr President, given the EU’s well-publicised commitment to democracy, human rights and the rule of law, the fact of highly credible allegations of complicity and CIA abduction, disappearance, rendition and torture after 9/11 is already bad enough, but the continuing refusal to investigate properly is compounding the original failings. Delays and deliberate obstructions to independent and transparent national inquiries are an affront to liberty and justice. It is a travesty to claim state secrecy in order to perpetuate impunity.

Europe needs to act on antisemitism

Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford has called on the EU and its member states to do much more to combat the high level of antisemitic hate crimes.


After attending the latest conference, in Brussels, of the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism (ICCA), Sarah Ludford said:


Applauding community activists against people-trafficking

Croydon Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford has met representatives of a Croydon voluntary organisation, Croydon Community against Trafficking, set up by concerned citizens to help combat human trafficking for sexual exploitation in their community. They are also networking with residents in other boroughs across London to share their expertise.

Sarah's speech to Parliament on EU accession to the European Convention on Human Rights

Sarah Ludford (ALDE), blue-card question. – Madam President, painful as it is to have family disagreements in public, will Mr Fox recognise that in the briefing distributed yesterday to UK MEPs it was said that the UK Government – and of course that is led by your prime minister Mr Cameron – is fully committed to EU accession to the European Convention on Human Rights?

Sarah's speech to Parliament on Human rights in the world and the European Union's policy on the matter

Sarah Ludford (ALDE ). - Madam President, I am pleased that the rapporteur is backing the amendment that I originally tabled in committee on the need for European accountability for rendition and torture abuses if the EU is to lead in the promotion of human rights in the world. I hope it will get wide support in plenary and that we will also push all EU states to sign and ratify the Convention against Forced Disappearances.

May gets it right on Qatada

Commenting on the statement by Home Secretary Theresa May on Abu Qatada, Liberal Democrat European justice and human rights spokeswoman Sarah Ludford said:

'The guarantees she has secured from Jordan seem sound. Unlike her I supported the Strasbourg court judgement, but I applaud her hard work in ensuring that evidence extracted under torture will not be used at his trial."

"I also welcome her robust rejection of any suggestion that the UK government could 'just ignore Strasbourg and put Qatada on a plane.' It is reassuring that she insists on the UK respecting the rule of law."

Notes to Editors

Theresa May’s statement can be read here:

Iranian death penalty for drug offences and EU funding

Question for written answer E-011425/2011to the Commission
Rule 117
Baroness Sarah Ludford (ALDE)

Subject: Iranian death penalty for drug offences and EU funding
Iran is one of 32 countries which apply the death penalty for drug-related crimes, including trafficking, cultivation, manufacturing and possession of illicit drugs. However, under Article 6(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights capital punishment should be reserved only for 'the most serious crimes', and the UN Human Rights Council has stated that drug offences do not fall into this category. It is estimated that Iran executed approximately 590 people for drug offences in 2010 alone[1].

EU needs to lead international end to rendition and torture

Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford is co-rapporteur of a new European Parliament report assessing the state of play on extraordinary rendition, secret detention and torture.

This follows up MEPs' 2007 report on complicity by European states in 'war on terror' abuses, which pointed to a dozen countries which had colluded in extraordinary rendition. They appear to have allowed CIA rendition flights to use their airports, harboured secret prisons or colluded in abductions.  MEPs then urged EU states to carry out full inquiries, and are now reviewing what progress has been made in Europe and internationally. Today a hearing has been held in the sub-committee on human rights. 

Sarah Ludford commented:

Campaigns supported by Sarah

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UK courts should be first option for trials

Commenting on the ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that extradition to the US would not breach the rights of several terrorist suspects, including Abu Hamza and Babar Ahmad, Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford said:

"The finding by the Court that there would be no inhuman treatment if extradition to the US took place still leaves open the question of whether the US is the right place to try all of these suspects."

"There should be a bar to both EU and US extradition if the offence took place mainly in the UK. Those like Gary McKinnon and Richard O’Dwyer whose alleged crimes were perpetrated from their computers at home in Britain should face home-grown justice."

Sarah's bulletin: 2nd April

Dear friends,

We were particularly busy on consumer and citizens' rights in Brussels last week, as well as - very importantly - the interests of taxpayers. More on those stories later, first a word about the London Liberal Democrat conference last Saturday. 

London LibDems

Citizenship report shows LGBT community still face discrimination

The European Parliament has adopted its latest annual report on implementation of rights for European citizens under EU law. One of the issues highlighted was the barriers that still exist for same-sex couples.

The report demands full freedom of movement with recognition of legal rights for same-sex couples and an end to Member States' obstruction of a 2004 EU law meant to achieve this.

Sarah Ludford, Vice President of the LGBT+ Liberal Democrat group commented:

“Due to disarray in the ranks of the European Socialist and Democratic group (S&D) to which the Labour party belong, the key relevant paragraph got deleted at committee stage due to the voting power of the right-wing parties.”

About Sarah


Sarah Ludford

Baroness Sarah Ludford is a Liberal Democrat Member of the House of Lords. She was a Member of the European Parliament for London from 1999 until June 2014 and a councillor in Islington from 1991 to 1999.



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