Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has welcomed the introduction of plain packaging for tobacco products to reduce rates of smoking.
Ms Anderson said;
“The introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes and tobacco products is another welcome step towards helping protect people from the dangers of smoking.
“I played a key role in driving the Tobacco Products Directive which brought about this change through the European Parliament.
“This will mean all new tobacco packets will be dark green instead of the previous individual brand colours and will feature graphic images of the deadly impact of smoking.
“Research has shown that young people between the ages of 11 and 16 are more susceptible to tobacco advertising than any other age group and this latest restriction will remove one of the last remaining advertising methods.
“Hopefully this will lead to fewer young people taking up smoking, a habit which kills 50 per cent of tobacco users.”
Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson MEP has condemned international efforts to criminalise the Palestinian civil society-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.
Expressing her concern at increased attacks on the BDS campaign and activists from various governments and state officials, Anderson said,
“The British government is putting in place rules to prevent local councils, universities and other public bodies to make ethical procurement or investment decisions, a move deliberately targeting BDS.
“British Secretary of State for Justice, Michael Gove, has made the outrageous statement that the BDS movement is “a crime worse than apartheid”.
“This strategy of “law fare”, targeting BDS activists on anti-racism grounds is totally unacceptable.
“Anyone who cares about civil and human rights must take a clear stand to defend the right to advocate for BDS as a matter of conscience and free speech and a nonviolent means for society to support the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people.
Chair of the Delegation of Relations with Palestine, Ms Anderson said,
“Sinn Féin fully supports the BDS campaign and will continue to do so until a just and lasting peace is achieved and a Palestinian state is established. Furthermore Sinn Féin totally supports the right for non-violent, grassroots, civil society campaigns for justice to exist.
“The EU and the international community should be doing everything in their power to bring an end to Israel’s human’s rights abuses in Palestine. They should not be targeting those who are trying to end those abuses by peaceful means.
“It is in this vein that Sinn Féin calls for the lifting of the siege on Gaza and we call for the EU to suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement until Israel complies with its international human rights obligations.” ENDS
Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has urged the European Commission to take action on cross-border debit card charges.
Ms Anderson said;
“When people use debit cards in another jurisdiction they are frequently charged multiple times; for using their debit card, for the currency conversion, and for additional charges applied by some shops and businesses.
“This is a particular problem for people living along the border here who regularly face these charges.
“This is yet another example of partition failing communities.
“I asked the European Commission whether any action can be taken to help alleviate this financial pressure.
“The Commission said it is currently studying the responses from a consultation on a green paper on whether fees charged for cross-border transactions between EU member states with different currencies is excessive.
“I would urge the Commission to take action on this issue and help relieve the financial pressures on people in border communities.”
Following confirmation from the English Queen’s speech today, that “proposals will be brought forward for a British Bill of Rights”, Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said that Sinn Féin will oppose this and will fight to protect the rights of all.
A Member of the Civil Liberates, Justice and Home Affairs Committee in the European Parliament, Ms Anderson said,
“The 1998 Human Rights Act underpins the Good Friday Agreement, the internationally recognised peace treaty which helped usher in peace and power-sharing in the north of Ireland and is lodged formally with the United Nations.
“It gives effect to the European Convention of Human Rights and gives citizens direct access to the European Court of Human Rights. The European Convention on Human Rights was viewed as a base, below which the provision of rights could not drop. The British government’s now stated objective is to remove that base.
“In 2015 alone the European Court of Human Rights saw 1,561 applications made to it concerning Britain. Whilst some 500 were deemed inadmissible, over 25% of cases that were ruled on, found Britain in violation of the Convention.
Ms Anderson continued,
“Along with Sinn Féin’s political grouping in the European Parliament, GUE/NGL, we sought specifically commissioned legal advice; the outcome of which confirmed that ‘A repeal of the Human Rights Act risks not only breaching the Good Friday Agreement in a technical sense, but infringing its spirit and leading to a loss of faith in the British Government’s commitment to the peace process.’
“This legal opinion has been launched and circulated in Belfast and across the north of Ireland, it has been launched in and circulated in Westminster and on June 1st it will be launched and circulated in the European Parliament in Brussels.
“Human rights provision for all citizens should be unequivocal and absolute. It is essential that the planned repeal of the Human Rights Act is resisted at every juncture and Sinn Féin will continue to do that.” ENDS
Sinn Féin MEP’s Martina Anderson, Matt Carthy and Lynn Boylan give an update on the upcoming Brexit referendum, TTIP, glyphosate and the Assembly elections.
The Irish government should react immediately to the UN’s Universal Periodic Review and work to enhance human rights provision in Ireland.
Martina Anderson MEP for the six counties and Vice-Chair of the Inter-parliamentary Group on Disability, said
“On March 30th 2007, Ireland signed, but did not ratify, the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD). Since then, the CRPD has been ratified by 156 countries and Ireland remains one of just two EU member states yet to do so.
“Recognising that vulnerable members of society are further marginalised by their disability, efforts should be redoubled to accommodate fully the provision of rights and services for all people, including stateless people, refugees and asylum seekers.
Matt Carthy MEP for Midlands North West added,
“In 2013 the Council of Europe warned that Ireland needed to take action on discrimination against the Travelling community – and that Travellers need to be recognized as an ethnic minority.
“However, the failure of the state to recognise the ethnicity of Travellers and to provide the necessary protections in law has contributed to the appalling and shameful evictions of Travellers, as families with nowhere to go are forced to park illegally.”
Lynn Boylan, Dublin MEP commented,
“Opinion poll after opinion poll has shown that the majority of Irish people believe the 8thamendment to be overly restrictive and that as a nation we cannot continue to ignore this matter.
“The 8th Amendment puts the lives of Irish women at risk and leaves medical practitioners in a very difficult position.”
Liadh Ní Riada, Ireland South MEP and member of the Culture and Education Committee remarked,
“In 2011, the UPR recommended Ireland eliminate discrimination in schools on religious grounds. Last year my party colleague Jonathan O’Brien TD brought forward the Equality in Education Bill in the Dail, which would have repealed the legislative provision that allows religious ethos schools discriminate against children of different faiths and none.
“It is indefensible that in this day and age we have a structure in place that allows for religious discrimination against four year olds.
“Ireland may have been the first country to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote, but the Government still has a lot of work to do in order to avoid continuously violating the human rights of the Irish people.” ENDS