Posts Tagged ‘EU’
Good news – the interior ministers of EU countries have unanimously agreed at a meeting to protect people like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, with the host nation paying the costs.
However the UK government is raising “practical” objections to providing such immediate protection. In which case perhaps it should be sorted out exactly how we are going to operate such protection procedures.
Franco Frattini, the the European commissioner for justice and home affairs commented:
“This is a new decision,” Frattini said, declaring that no new laws were necessary to try to guarantee the safety of Hirsi Ali and others in similar situations. “If we need a law to guarantee the right to life, we’re in a difficult position. We have the decision based on mutual trust.”
While the Members of the European Parliament petition to create a universal fund for protection may have helped in this decision (only one MEP got back to me out of seven saying he would sign the petition) it has to be born in mind this decision is one of intent.
While I am sure that there are issues that the UK may be right to highlight, if the EU is going to really guarantee the freedoms of its member citizens to move around without risk to life because they are targeted, these obstacles can be overcome with enough political will.
It would be a shame if the fear of the anti EU lobby in the UK scuppered this agreement. This measure is one that is needed. It shows the benefits of co-operation where enlightenment values can be defended by nation states. But it may help that there is a legal obligation of member states to offer such immediate protection.
The moral case may not be enough.
Quote from The Guardian that can be found here.
My Labour MEP is getting back to me by post, but the Conservative one has e mailed thanking me for telling him and saying he will sign the petition today in the European Parliament to protect people like Ayaan.
Still waiting for a response from the Liberal Democrat MEP. These were the only ones to give their e mail addresses. Need a new printer which I shall get tomorrow for the others that do not list them.
You can see the comments on the richarddawkins.net site here.
Reposted from BBC NEWS website:
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the former Dutch MP and outspoken critic of Islam, has appealed to the EU to create a fund to help protect people in her position.She told the European Parliament in Brussels her life was in greater danger because the Dutch government had stopped paying for her security.
“I don’t want to die, I want to live and I love life,” she said.
Ms Ali added that the cost of her bodyguards was beyond anything a private person could raise.
The Somali-born former MP has been living under police protection since the murder of Dutch film-maker Theo Van Gogh by an Islamic extremist in 2004.
She was threatened in a note left on his body for writing the script for Van Gogh’s Submission – a highly controversial film alleging that women were being abused under Islam.
But she left the Netherlands for the United States in 2006 after a political row in which she admitted lying in her Dutch asylum request.
She now works for a conservative think-tank in the US and the Dutch government has said it can no longer justify paying for her security.
Ms Ali said she had been working full-time on raising funds.
Dozens of MEPs have signed a declaration backing the creation of a fund.
But for the initiative to become official, half of the parliament’s 785 will have to back the petition.
Earlier this week she announced she was seeking French citizenship.
She said the campaign for her to receive honorary French citizenship was being spearheaded by a group of French intellectuals and was supported by the country’s political leaders.
“Europe needs to defend her because she has defended Europe,” French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy told MEPs.
To contact your Member of European Parliament (MEP) follow this link:
choose language and at the top there should be a “Your MEPs” at the top which will let you find your representive.
I have just e mailed three of my MEP’s for my region. Will publish their replies (should I get any!). My e mail was:
As a resident of the East Midlands I am writing to you about Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and people in similar circumstances in Europe.
She was the screen writer for the Dutch film “Submission” that examined women and Islam; the director Van Gogh was brutally murdered and attached to his chest was a note saying Ayaan would be next. The Dutch Parliament have backed out on a promise to pay for her security, and she recently appeared before the European Parliament to advocate a fund that would help to protect people like herself who are under threat.
When I was in Washington DC in the fall last year I had the pleasure of meeting her, and her attendance at the conference there was nearly cancelled due to the death threats being issued. As a private citizen she does not have the means to pay for her security, and while I hope France will be able to take on the charge to protect her if she obtains honorary citizenship the need for such funding for individual’s security should be available if it is not forthcoming when the need is a matter of life and death.
I would strongly urge you to back the petition before the European Parliament in the creation of such a fund.
More on the story can be found on the BBC News link here.