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Robust regulations needed on minerals from conflict zones – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said robust regulations must be put in place to govern the extraction of minerals from conflict zones around the world.

Ms Anderson said;

“It is a sad reality that minerals from conflict-affected regions across the world are being exploited.

“In some cases the export of these minerals is being used by armed groups to finance continuing violence and human rights abuses.

“It is vitally important that business and industry uses responsibly-sourced minerals from conflict areas, particularly as the European Union is one of the biggest markets for such minerals.

“The proposals put forward by the European Commission governing the importation of minerals from conflict areas were not ambitious enough.

“I voted in favour of progressive amendments for an obligatory system of due-diligence that would apply to all levels of the supply chain where minerals from conflict areas are involved.

“The international community has a role to play in ensuring that all materials from conflict areas are responsibly sourced.”

Anderson welcomes Vatican recognition of Palestine

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has welcomed the Vatican’s recognition of the state of Palestine.

Ms Anderson, the chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation to the Palestinian Legislative Assembly, said;

“More than 130 countries across the world have already recognised the state of Palestine.

“The Vatican State has now joined a growing number of countries both in Europe and across the world who support the Palestinian people and recognise their statehood and that is to be welcomed.

“The international community has a role to play in opposing Israel’s aggression towards Palestine and its people.

“Recognition of the state of Palestine on the 1967 borders sends a clear message that a growing number of states in the international community are opposed to the Israeli occupation and committed to achieving a peaceful settlement based on a two-state solution.”

Approach to migrant crisis must focus on saving lives – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said any approach to dealing with the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean must be focused on saving the lives of migrants.

Ms Anderson said;

“The migrant crisis in the Mediterranean is first and foremost a humanitarian one and must be treated as such.

“Any approach to deal with this crisis has to be focused first and foremost on saving the lives of migrants crossing the Mediterranean.

“It is disappointing that the British government has rejected the idea of EU states adopting quotas for resettling migrants.

“The concept of having a quota system on resettlement of migrants which takes into account a state’s population, GDP and unemployment rate is a fair way of distributing the responsibility.

“The scale of the crisis is deepening and tens if not hundreds of thousands have already tried to cross the Mediterranean. The reality is that thousands more will try throughout the summer to flee war, persecution and abject poverty.

“They make the journey knowing that they could drown at sea, suffocate in overcrowded trucks or be killed by a train.

“Enhancing border enforcement measures will only make the trip more dangerous and increase the vulnerability of migrants.

“Military action will also not solve the migrant crisis; it was military intervention that created the conditions that drives many migrants to their deaths.”

Anderson concerned over Britain’s human rights plans

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has written to European Human Rights Commissioner Nils Muiznieks expressing concern that Britain may pull out of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Ms Anderson said;

“The re-election of the Tories in Britain and their intention to scrap the Human Rights Act and pull out of the European Convention on Human Rights is very concerning.

“Any moves by Britain to roll back from human rights commitments are unacceptable.

“If Britain does pull out of Europe, the European Convention on Human Rights would no longer be binding over Britain’s supreme court.

“As well as denying people access to this essential human rights body, it would also mean that Britain would be in breach of the Good Friday Agreement.

“I have written to Nils Muiznieks, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, to express concern at the possibility of Britain further attempt to abandon its human rights responsibilities.

“Given the seriousness of this situation I have asked Commissioner Muiznieks to visit the North of Ireland and to provide an analysis of the human rights implications of a possible British government withdrawal from the European Convention of Human Rights.”

Enforcement needed to prevent sale of alcohol to young people – Anderson‏

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said stringent enforcement legislation is needed to help prevent the sale of alcohol to young people.

Speaking from Brussels, Ms Anderson said;

“Alcohol-related harm is the third highest cause of preventable premature death and disease in Europe.

“Excessive drinking is an extremely serious public health issue, which takes a heavy human toll on individuals, families and the community at large.

“We had an alcohol strategy in place from 2006 until 2012. This focused on preventing the negative impacts of alcohol on the unborn, young people, as well as on the workplace and road safety.

“Unfortunately, industry lobbying prevented the mandatory labelling of the calorie count in alcoholic drinks but we want the Commission to revisit the issue.

“The Commission had a mandate to report on this requirement, which was due last December, and we are still waiting for it.

“Prevention and the stringent enforcement of legislation to prevent the sale of alcohol to minors are an absolute priority at a time when drinking habits and patterns are causing serious harm.”

Anderson meets European Parliament president over denial of access to Gaza

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson met with President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz to discuss Israel’s continued refusal to allow EU delegates into Gaza.

Ms Anderson, the chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation to the Palestinian Legislative Council, said;

“I met this morning with President Martin Schulz alongside my fellow MEPs Neoklis Sylikiotis and Edouard Martin to discuss the persistent denial of access to Gaza to delegations from the European Parliament.

“It is a part of the role of the Delegation to the Palestinian Legislative Council to scrutinise and access the effectiveness of EU funding projects on the ground.

“Given that the EU is the largest donor to Palestine it is particularly important that delegates are granted access to Gaza.

“It is unacceptable for Israel to continue to deny access to Gaza.

“I welcome the fact President Schulz agreed to push Israel to allow access to Gaza for delegations from the European Parliament.

“We also raised the recent arrest of Palestinian Legislative Council member Khalida Jarrar.

“It is deplorable that Palestinian elected representatives are being arrested and detained by Israel and we presented President Schulz with a letter signed by 57 MEPs calling for her immediate release.”

Anderson meets Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks in Strasbourg

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson met with the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks, to discuss ways of handling the past.

Speaking from Strasbourg after meeting Commissioner Muiznieks, Ms Anderson said;

“I met with Commissioner Nils Muiznieks in Strasbourg today to discuss how legacy issues from the conflict are addressed.

“It followed on from Commissioner Muiznieks visit to Belfast last year when he called on the British government to fund investigations into the legacy of the conflict.

“At today’s meeting we discussed the mechanisms for dealing with the past contained in the Stormont House Agreement, in particular Article 2 right to life obligations and issues around coroners courts.

“We discussed the importance of the Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) which could also assume the role undertaking investigative support for the coroners courts for legacy inquests.

“We also discussed the role of the Implementation and Reconciliation Group which would identify themes, trends and patters and outline initiatives which promote reconciliation.

“I also invited Commissioner Muiznieks back to the North and I look forward to him returning.”

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