Richard Howitt MEP addresses scholars
Trust scholars had the opportunity last week to pose questions about human rights to Richard Howitt, Labour MEP for the East of England, Vice-Chair of the Human Rights Sub-Comittee, a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Security & Defence Policy, and Labour European Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs.
Speaking to a gathering of students from many parts of the world, Richard gave an overview of the European Parliament, the world's first transnational parliament, which represents 28 countries and over 60 million people. He explained the context for discussions of human rights, particularly the European Convention on Human Rights and the Council of Europe.
He then talked about the nature of human rights - which often do not entail doing what is popular, but require the protection of what is unpopular.
The role of Europe as a powerful trading partner and valued ally worldwide enables the European Parliament to leverage 'soft power', using diplomacy and conditionality to persuade governments to uphold the human rights of all of their citizens.
The talk, which was followed by a lively Q&A session, was the first of a series of occasional events organised by the Trust for the scholars it supports.