Buzek opens February plenary session: Egypt, child soldiers, executions in Iran
At the start of this week's Strasbourg plenary session, EP President Jerzy Buzek commented on the popular uprising in Egypt, the fresh arrival on European shores of refugees from north Africa, International Day against Child Soldiers and the recent death sentences passed on dissidents in Iran.
On Egypt, the President spoke of "a new wind blowing" through the country. He said peaceful demonstrators should not be persecuted and emergency rule should be ended. The European Union must "not be afraid to be involved economically and politically", he continued, adding "let us help our neighbours" and "act in solidarity as a true community".
As a result of the upheaval in north Africa, significant numbers of immigrants are arriving in the EU. "The EU Member States must share this responsibility", argued Mr Buzek.
International Day against Child Soldiers took place on 12 February. "We as a parliament abhor the practice" of recruiting child soldiers, said the EP President, pointing out that there are between 200,000 and 300,000 such children in armed groups around the world.
The "shocking news from Iran" of death sentences passed on dissidents and political prisoners was the final issue highlighted by Mr Buzek. In the name of Parliament, he urged Iran to abolish capital punishment.
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