I've been thinking lately on how people across Europe felt in the early 1930s as they watched events around them and in faraway places with unfamiliar names. Of course, they were unaware of the future so could not imagine the horrors ahead. But would they have done anything differently? Or would most folk just have done what they did, put it all out of their minds and get on with their lives as best they could? Replace Pastor Niemöller’s “First they came for the socialists and I did not speak out, for I was not a socialist …” with Syrians, or refugees, or sick, poor or disabled, or immigrant, and you get my idea. Solidarity is all encompassing or it doesn't exist.
First published in The Sunday Herald, 2 July 2017
SNP Member of the European Parliament Alyn Smith has raised the plight of EU nationals in the UK and UK nationals in the EU in Brussels, saying that these rights must be agreed now before the rest of the Brexit negotiations
MEP Alyn Smith has welcomed the European Parliament’s formal approval of a regulation to stop the trade of conflict minerals.
AN estimated one in three women in the EU has experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15. I’m ashamed to type that. But just as the UK is pushed closer to finally ratifying the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, Poland announces it plans to withdraw its signature.
First published in The National, 13 December 2016.
Two women who escaped sexual slavery by the so-called Islamic State have received the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, recognising their exceptional courage and advocacy work.
Alyn Smith MEP has hit out at Google for what appears to be a deliberate and unwarranted omission of Israel’s Separation Wall from Google Maps, a service developed and maintained by Google.
I had the privilege of speaking at Pride on Saturday, Edinburgh’s annual celebration of equality, always a riotous colourful shambles of happiness. But Pride is not just a celebration, it is also a protest, against inequality. A remembrance of how far we’ve come, those who went before, and those elsewhere who do not enjoy the rights we do. Scotland has been ranked as the top country in Europe for equalities by ILGA-Europe, the Brussels based LGBTI charity. We have come a long way, and we have a lot to celebrate.
First published in The National, 5 July 2016
Alyn Smith MEP is joining the campaign to have the Kurdish PYD end the use of child soldiers in Syria, organised by the European Center for Kurdish Studies.
Following detailed reports of human rights violations by the Kurdish PYD organisation in Syria, notably by Amnesty and Human Rights Watch, the Scottish member of the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee argued that "war was no excuse" for such gross human rights violations.
In an act of defiance against the UK Government’s proposed Trade Union Bill, SNP MEPs Alyn Smith and Ian Hudghton have added their support to an EU-wide campaign to promote trade union rights as human rights.
In today's plenary debate on Syria with the EU's top diplomat Federica Mogherini, Alyn Smith MEP warned that accountability was key for the future of Syria. After hosting an important exhibition on crimes against humanity in Syria last year and inviting leading independent reporters from the field, the Scottish member of the Foreign Affairs Committee called on the EU to support the documentation of war crimes and human rights violations in Syria.