Alyn hails 'moral victory' of updated anti-torture legislation

Scottish MEP Alyn Smith has voted today (Tuesday) to oppose and restrict the trade of goods used for torture and capital punishment. 

Following sustained talks with the industry and human rights NGOs, a clear majority of MEPs have now adopted a legislative report that prohibits transit through the EU of tools intended to be used for torture or the death penalty in third countries, most notably for lethal injection in some American states, and bans the marketing of prohibited equipment at trade fairs and exhibitions in the EU. All 28 EU member states have abolished the death penalty in times of peace, and most have extended the abolition of the death penalty to war times. This is a key component of the European Convention on Human Rights disparaged by senior figures in the Westminster government last year.

Alyn said:

“The EU remains the most relevant level for us to further our values. That nobody should be killed or tortured goes without saying in European democracies, yet as a lawyer by trade I know some loopholes had to be tackled and this has been achieved jointly between all EU countries.

“Our discussions throughout the year was on how we in the EU could ban also the mere passage of these lethal products on our soil, through airports, and how we could let the European Commission quickly update our watch list as technological innovation proved faster than regulation could keep up with, lately.

“This advancement reminds us of a very important fact: if there is a common will to work together, there is nothing that is going to stop us from acting swiftly and smartly to uphold and defend our values in the world. This is a lesson to those who disparage the EU on the false premise that it is anti-democratic, bureaucratic and unprincipled - I represent the Scottish people in this Parliament, this is much more efficient than the UN, and today is a moral victory for Europe.”