So after all the rhetoric and spin, despite 97% of Scotland's representatives voting against, Scotland is again involved in what I believe to be a misguided military adventure in the Middle East. I fear for the future, there and here, and I struggle to see much cause for optimism. The stated aim of the intervention, to tackle the odious gathering of psychopaths, misogynists and gangsters which calls itself the Islamic State will I fear prove entirely counterproductive.
First published in The Sunday Herald, 18 October 2015Read more
Alyn writes calling for clemency.
As execution looms for at least 50 people on death row in jails across Saudi Arabia, including juveniles and Shi’a activists, Scottish MEP Alyn Smith has written to the Vice President of the Saudi Majlis as-Shura urging him to take all possible actions to prevent the beheadings.Read more
Syrian refugees to receive EU life-saving assistance as Britain deliberates air strikes.
The EU Trust Fund has today (Tuesday) announced a major aid package in response to the Syrian refugee crisis. Up to 1.5 million refugees and their host communities in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq will benefit from the EU assistance totaling €350million.Read more
IN this year, alone, at least four atheist bloggers have been murdered by machete-wielding attackers in the south-central Asian country of Bangladesh. Most recently, Faisal Arefin Dipan, a secular publisher was hacked to death and three other people, also bloggers and publishers, were severely injured in two separate attacks. The outbreak of violence has sparked protests in Dhaka. Hundreds took to the streets against perceived government inaction; writers and publishers set fire to books in protest.
First published in The National, 23 November 2015Read more
The European Commission (Wednesday) adopted a package of measures to make it more difficult to acquire firearms in the European Union, to better track legally-held firearms, to strengthen cooperation between Member States, and to ensure that deactivated firearms are rendered inoperable.Read more
Alyn Smith MEP, Scottish member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, welcomed today (Wednesday) the release of the EU guidelines on the import of produce from illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, but said they should be improved and extended to cover all commercial dealings with illegal settlements, not just goods but also services.Read more
EU-based companies can no longer market and trade in a range of security equipment that can be used to torture and ill-treat people, following a vote in the European Parliament in Strasbourg this week.Read more
Saudi blogger and human rights defender, Raif Badawi, becomes the 2016 laureate of the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.