European Parliament Leaders Call for Increased EU Support for Human Rights
February 22, 2013
Members of the European Parliament, speaking at the European launch of Freedom in the World 2013, proposed additional measures to support human rights around the world. Guy Verhofstadt, Leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe and former Prime Minister of Belgium, said that Europe should step up its assistance, particularly humanitarian aid, for democratic forces in Syria. Elmar Brok, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, stressed that peaceful transfers of power through elections and the rule of law are essential for democracy. Rebecca Harms, Co-Chair of the Green Party Group, said there are no signs of democratic improvement in Ukraine, as those in power have turned opposition leaders into political prisoners. Maria Muñiz de Urquiza from the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats expressed concern about the situation for women in Egypt and Libya, despite political improvements in those countries. She also called on the European Union to address human rights in its relations and agreements with all countries that have poor human rights records.