The European Parliament has backed a call by Lib Dem MEP Phil Bennion for the EU to encourage tougher safety laws and proper inspections in Bangladesh and Pakistan, after huge loss of life in recent fires in clothing factories in Dhaka and Karachi.
Phil Bennion MEP has worked closely with Bangladesh ambassador to the EU Ismat Jahan (left) on issues of concern to the EP South Asia Delegation.
Lib Dem Euro MP Phil Bennion has warned that India's continued use of the Public Safety Act to lock up political opponents is a block to a Kashmir peace process as well as an abuse of human rights.
At a cross-party seminar at the European Parliament in Brussels today organised by the ICHR Kashmir Centre, Dr Bennion said that while dialogue had recently expanded, human rights issues continued to be a focus of concern for friends of Kashmir in the EU and globally and had to be tackled by both the Indian and Pakistan governments.
October 23, 2012 6:34 PM Malala Yousafzai is at the QE hospital Birmingham after being shot by the Taliban Birmingham Lib Dem MEP Phil Bennion has tabled an 'urgency resolution' in the European Parliament condemning the attempted murder of 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai by the Taliban and calling for more to be done to prevent such crimes in future.
The motion, backed by the EU-wide ALDE group of Liberals and Democrat MEPs, praises the staff of Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth hospital for their efforts to save the teenage campaigner for girls' education after she was flown to the UK for treatment.
Liberal Democrat MEP Phil Bennion says he is optimistic that 'quiet diplomacy' from the EU can help the two major parties in Bangladesh to negotiate on safeguarding a free and fair process at the next general election.
The West Midlands MEP co-hosted round table talks at the European Parliament today, sponsored by the ALDE group, after growing concern at escalating violence between supporters of the ruling Awami League and the opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) as the next general election approaches.
Reacting to reports that more than 289 people had died in the Karachi clothing factory fire, West Midlands Euro MP Phil Bennion said the disaster highlighted the need for the EU to help the government crack down on corruption and enforce safety laws properly.
The Lib Dem MEP, whose constituency includes hundreds of thousands of people from the Pakistani diaspora, was part of an EU Parliamentary Delegation visit to Islamabad in July.
As a Member of the Employment Committee, I'm able to contribute to the Liberal Group position on a variety of issues. I'm particularly involved in work to supporting Small Businesses (for more information please see my "Boosting SMEs" page) but am also involved with issues like "eco-innovation". I'm also keen to ensure a good deal for our farmers, and have worked closely with Liberal colleagues from the Employment Committee and the Agriculture Committee to ensure that new proposals for the EU Globalisation Adjustment Fund, don't end up hurting farmers by shifting money from the Common Agricultural Policy.
I've been using my influence to try and steer the debates in the Committee in a more sensible direction, highlighting the practical problems with some of the fluffy policy ideas being floated. I consult with stakeholders from Business, NGOs, the European Commission, and crucially from the UK civil service based in Brussels (UKREP) to make sure that I have a well rounded view when making important decisions.
On top of being a "transport enthusiast", I am convinced that an effective, ambitious and innovative European transport policy is essential not only for growth and jobs, but also for European, and notably UK, citizens. Establishing the right European Transport policy is key to encouraging and promoting mobility, labour mobility, cultural and educational mobility but also tourism mobility. We also need to do much more to better connect Europe with efficient and sustainable transport links, to improve road safety, to develop our European Union external aviation policy to remain a hub in the world, and to support SMEs. Those are my top priorities as the Liberal Democrats transport Spokesperson in the European Parliament
As a substitute Member of the European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with the Palestinian Legislative Council (DPLC) I follow the situation on the ground in the Palestinian Territories, Israel, and the surrounding countries which are affected by the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict.
Though the Palestinian Legislative Council itself does not currently function, the Delegation continues to monitor the situation of Palestinians on the ground and the ongoing political developments.
The most pressing issue that is raised with us is the situation of refugees, many of whom are now the descendents (second and third generation) of refugees displaced following the 6 day war, and who have lived outside of what was once Palestine for all of their lives.
As such these "stateless persons" enjoy no citizenship of any state, and are primarily supported by aid through the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) and to a lesser extent the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Our work due to its basis on the Palestinian political situation is by nature focussed on the situation of Palestinians, rather than Israelis, though this is counterbalanced by the European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with Israel.
Despite this Palestinian focus, I and my colleagues try to remain objective and neutral - looking at the political failings, whatever their root causes which result in the humanitarian problems which blight ordinary people in the region.
We as a delegation continue to call for a peaceful, political resolution of the conflict between Israel and Palestine, based on a two state solution, a safe and secure state of Israel, and a viable, economically and politically independent Palestinian State.
For more information please see the following links:
European Parliament Delegation for relations with the Palestinian Legislative Council
United Nations Relief Works Agency
United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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