La Treizième Étoile: 28/10/12 - 04/11/12 Blog Archives
News from the European Union with a focus on the South West UK and Gibraltar region and its MEPs
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MEPs call for greater respect of human rights in Cambodia

Thursday, 1 November 2012
Last week in Strasbourg, two of the South West MEPs spoke in the debate on the situation in Cambodia and called on the Cambodian government to grant its citizens the fundamental right to freedom of expression, conduct free and fair elections and ensure its land and natural resources are developed in a proper manner.

Conservative Julie Girling remarked that the human rights situation in Cambodia has continued to deteriorate in 2012 while Liberal Democrat Sir Graham Watson suggested that “unless the conditions exist for the opposition to play a full and fair role in the elections, no international support should be provided for those elections”.

Prime Minister Hun Sen has been in power in Cambodia for 27 years,” he said. “He presides over a government which is authoritarian and corrupt and, as I found when I visited the country, a people which lives in fear of arbitrary government action.

Though there has been some improvement – largely due to the efforts led by the European Union – the judiciary is not independent, elections are not free and fair, and just this week the Prime Minister welcomed the threats by the two main opposition parties to boycott next year’s elections.

Speaking on behalf of her political group, Mrs Girling said: “violations of land and housing rights are still common, along with intimidation and criminalisation of human rights defenders and political activists. The cases of Mom Sonando and Chut Wutty and others are all worrying examples of the human rights situation.

In addition to the gross violation of the right to adequate housing, agro-industry-induced displacement in Cambodia has led to widespread violations of numerous human rights and freedoms, such as forced eviction, reduced access to farming and grazing lands and the destruction of the forests which people depend upon for their livelihoods,” she said.

The proper development of Cambodia’s land and natural resources could have a positive impact on the lives of its people if undertaken in a sustainable and equitable manner and within the framework of the human rights obligations of the government.

Both Mrs Girling (full) and Sir Graham (substitute) are members of the European Parliament’s Delegation for relations with the countries of South East Asia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

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European Arrest Warrant pilot MEP writes to all SW PCC candidates asking how they would tackle cross border crime

Monday, 29 October 2012
On November 15th voters in the South West will go to the polls to elect their first Police and Crime Commissioners. Whether you agree with the appointments or not, the ‘PCCs’ will have a powerful role and oversee the police in each area and define what crime they prioritise tackling.

Ahead of this election date and in light of Conservative Home Secretary Theresa May’s comments that the government is “minded to exercise” the UK’s opt-out of over 130 policies to help tackle cross border crime, Liberal Democrat MEP Sir Graham Watson, who piloted the European Arrest Warrant through the European Parliament, has written to all candidates wishing to become a Police and Crime Commissioner in the region to ask for their thoughts.

"Criminals should face justice in the country they committed their crime. But criminals do not recognise national borders and therefore we need to ensure we have the tools to catch perpetrators of very serious crimes at a European as well as national and local level,he said.

"Each Police authority has many examples of the European Arrest Warrant being used or being part of a wider cross border initiative […] By pulling out of these policies, what message would we send to the rapists, paedophiles, murderers and drug and human traffickers who have fled this country or have yet to be caught?

"That's why I have written to the candidates. To give them a chance to condemn the proposals, and call for the retention of the policies which have brought some of the most dangerous criminals back to this country to face justice for their crimes,he said.

It is dangerous to assume all crime in the South West is locally derived because we are largely a rural community. Serious crime can be traced back hundreds if not thousands of miles over many countries.

I think this was a good move to make and I hope any responses received will be shared publicly prior to election date.

Don’t know who are your candidates? Log on to and enter your postcode to see who you could vote for on November 15th.


Last election:

Click here to see which six MEPs were elected.