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.
Amid all the horror in Syria and Iraq, I fear that we are on the brink of another conflagration in a much older conflict. What is all the more tragic is that the violence erupting in Palestine and Israel is so utterly foreseeable to anyone minded to look.
First published in The Sunday Herald, 18 October 2015Read more
As a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, I have to observe a lot of doublespeak, wilful ignorance, selective memory and sometimes outright hypocrisy, all in the name of Realpolitik or Statecraft. But sometimes we do need to sup wi’ a lang spoon and I’m no boy scout. Few things are black and white.
First published in The National, 18 October 2015Read more