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 Full text 
Wednesday, 4 October 2017 - Strasbourg Revised edition

7. Preparation of the European Council meeting of 19 and 20 October 2017 (debate)
Video of the speeches

  Dennis de Jong, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group . – Mr President, after the Second World War, Europe was the driving force behind the many treaties that were concluded to protect human rights. The Geneva Convention on the Protection of Refugees was one of these. Now the European Council is to talk about stemming illegal flows on all migration routes. That same Geneva Convention states very clearly that illegal entry can never be held against refugees, so this type of language undermines respect for the elementary rights of refugees. I call upon the Council to rephrase the wording, putting the emphasis again on Europe’s tradition of caring about people, and to make sure that the refugees are protected.

In the field of human rights, ambition is lacking more generally. The Commission is making no progress whatsoever with the ratification by the EU of the European Convention on Human Rights, nor with the European Social Charter. When, First Vice-President Timmermans, can we expect to see a breakthrough here?

In a few weeks’ time, in Geneva, the UN will again discuss a convention on business and human rights. The Commission and the Member States are not driving forces there, indeed they are reluctant to participate, whereas we all know about inhuman practices, in closing factories, or in mines, and in Africa and developing countries generally. If we want dignity and stability, we need to invest in respect for human rights, including by our companies, instead of in arms and defence.

We all saw the tragic pictures of the attack in Las Vegas. It is cynical that, after such an attack, arms sales in the USA go up – for so-called self-defence. This is a vicious circle: the more arms people buy, or a state buys, the more attacks. Let us learn from this. Instead of speaking about more defence, let us stick to the European tradition of promoting human rights, including through radical disarmament treaties. We should not fall into the Trump vicious circle. Let us be different, let us be ourselves and let us invest in human rights and not in arms.

(Applause from the left)

Last updated: 16 April 2018Legal notice