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Human Rights, Democracy and Civil Liberties

Jean speaks on human rights in the EU

Read Jean's 2003 speech

Read full press release


Jean is a member of the Civil Liberties Committee and the Sub-Committee for Human Rights

Terrorism section - click here

Human Rights section - click here


September 2005: Jean joins with four UK Party Leaders to call for more transparency at Council level. For Jean's statement and the Written Declaration CLICK HERE

Opposite Photo: Press Conference on Transparency (European Parliament photo service).



On the 20th June 2003, Jean co-hosted a conference at London's City Hall with the Green Deputy Mayor - Jenny Jones - on the trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation in London.


The trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation is a high-profit, low-risk trade dominated by organised criminals. It results in women and children being exploited in slavery-like conditions in the UK's - but chiefly London's - sex industry, for the use and abuse of British men.

This conference was open to individuals and groups who believe we should work together to stamp out this slavery. It was an opportunity for those who work in this area to share their experiences: European experts, NGOs, police officers, immigration officers, women's and children's campaign groups and organizations. We also welcomed the views of elected leaders, sex-workers' support groups, and health and welfare officers.

Read about the conference

Read the conference recommendations to Government

November 2002: Press release

UK undermines fight against human traffickers says Jean (EU directive on trafficking)


Civil Liberties in the EU

EU-US Judicial cooperation

In September 2002, Jean wrote to David Blunkett to ask for certain guarantees in a worrying agreement being developed with the US on judicial cooperation. As the US has different standards from our own on various issues - including data protection and the death penalty - it is particularly important that there are safeguards to protect our civil liberties.

Read press release

Letter to David Blunkett

Deaths in Police Custody - Police and Human Rights

On 5th March 2002, Jean held a screening in the European Parliament of the controversial film "Injustice" about deaths in police custody in the UK. The film's director Ken Fero and family members of two of the victims shown in the film participated in the meeting, which took the film as a starting point for discussing issues around police and human rights in Europe.

Full report of event

BBC News Press release

Background information & programme

Read Jean's speech

Policing at EU summits & other events

"Genoa to Laeken" - Guaranteeing our fundamental rights

At a hearing in December 2001 organised by Caroline Lucas, Green MEP for the South-East, Jean spoke about our rights as citizens of the European Union and the promises made by our governments to defend the values of democracy, justice and freedom. The presence at the hearing of one of the journalists who was badly beaten up at Genoa - his injuries included a punctured lung and the loss of his front teeth - to present a Petition to the Parliament was a strong reminder that these values are not always upheld by these same governments. We must ensure that authorities are held accountable for behaviour which breaks their obligations under the EU Treaty.

Jean's speech

Green Group Press Release

Terrorism & Civil Liberties

In September 2005 Charles Clarke delivered a speech on the UK Presidency and terrorism to the European Parliament. Read Jean's critical response HERE

Letter to the Guardian on erosion of civil liberties in response to terrorism, August 2005

"This is a cowardly and obscene act of terrorism. Violence solves nothing: it breeds fear and hatred and the world has more than enough of that. At the very point where the G8 have at last begun to talk about poverty and climate change - issues which affect so many millions - there is no clear message coming from these bomb attacks. My heart goes out to the families of the dead and injured, who will doubtless reflect the diversity of London, including race and religion." Jean's statement following the July 2005 London bombs

November 2004: Terror and Public Services Press Release

In February 2002, Jean voted against a European Arrest Warrant. First, she said, we have to make sure that the appropriate minimum standards for penal processes in all members states. At present, we cannot rely enough on each others' systems to justify a European Arrest Warrant and current proposals do not aim to make these changes PRESS RELEASE

29 November 2001 - Jean welcomed Parliament's vote on a terrorism directive but condemned the adoption of a report on the European arrest warrant Explanation of her vote in Parliament

Jean was also involved on behalf of the Greens/EFA group in coming to an agreement on a proposal aiming to freeze the assets of terrorists shortly following the 11th September attacks. She confessed to feeling uncomfortable with the final result. While agreeing with the aims of the measure, she criticised its rushed nature and commented that "If they were really serious about terrorism, they would have introduced a regulation like this years ago".She has been strongly critical of attempts by governments to use the tragic events of September 11th to introduce measures which would reduce civil liberties.


August 2005 Speech to IHRAAM in Geneva on 'Rape as a War Crime'


April 2005:

Jean meets the McCartney family and speaks out in Plenary in May 2005 Jean was the Green Group co Author of Parliament's Resolution Read the Press Release


Speech to the Plenary on Human Rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo, December 2004


useful link! statewatch is a non-governmental organisation which monitors the state and civil liberties in the EU


How governments should react in times of conflict- October 2001: speech by jean


www.injustice - read about the controversial uk film "injustice


link to INQUEST, working against deaths in custody and for changes in the coroner's court system.


letter to the greek authorities regarding britishplane spotters


January 2001: Speech on women in decision-making


message of support to Europe-Roma protests


Letter to Nigerian embassy regarding death sentence


Letter to European Commission regarding bonded labour


link to Amnesty International


link to the global march against child labour website

Democracy, Participation and Access to Information

Introducing policies which will help to enable all citizens to participate fully in society is also a priority for Jean. For many years she has been involved in organisations such as Charter 88, a campaign for a modern and fair democracy, and The 300 Group, campaigning for more women in decision-making.

In March 2001, she spoke at a seminar in Spain on "Parity democracy, citizenship and fundamental rights in the EU". Read her speech

Public Participation in Planning

Fighting to safeguard the rights of both citizens and non-citizens and for a society where the public has more say in making the decisions which affect us all is a theme which runs throughout Jean's work.

The Petitions Committee, of which Jean is a very active member, in particular provides an opportunity to further these ideals. In autumn 2001 the Petitions Committee adopted her Opinion on Public Participation in Environmental Planning, in which she pushed for the broadest possible access to information and the decision-making processes for citizens.

She commissioned the Environmental Law Foundation in London to undertake a study on how far the UK was fulfilling its obligations in this area under international and EU law. Jean and the ELF later co-hosted a conference to discuss this issue. Read the report

Environmental Law Foundation website


Access to Information

Jean wrote a report on access to information on behalf of the Petitions Committee, which was adopted in Parliament on 11th December 2001.

Ombudsman's press release

The report concerns a particular case where public access to information has been denied, in which she argues that the right to information and expression are preconditions for the democratic legitimacy of that society. This case is considered crucial in order to counter attempts by the decision-making institutions to abuse data protection by claiming confidentiality.

Also: Heidi Hautala, co-president of the Green Group in the European Parliament, defeats Council in fight over access to documents.
Press release


Human Rights

Jean regularly takes action where human rights are being violated, both in Europe and in the rest of the world.

In October 2004 she gave a speech when she joined demonstrators outside Belmarsh prison. Press Release

Jean believes that Belmarsh is Britain's Guantanamo. She also believes that the UK Government should do more regarding Guantanamo Bay. She was co Author of Parliament's Resolution on the matter.

This January 2003, Jean spoke in the plenary session condemning the UK's human rights record, on the event of a report on human rights in the EU in 2001 Read full press release Read Jean's speech in Parliament

She has written letters on behalf of a constituent who was condemned to death in Malaysia after an unfair trial (he was later released, partly due to many people taking action); Letter

She is working with many London and Brussels-based groups to keep the issue of human rights in Turkey on the agenda, and has been drawing attention for example to the hunger-strikers campaigning against the F-Type prisons, while the Turkish government continues to negotiate accession to the EU.

11/99 Statement on the Rights of the Child

For more information on human rights issues in specific countries go to Specific Countries and International Relations





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