European Interest

Parliament-U.S. Congress relations: MEPs stress importance of transatlantic link in the global fight for human rights

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EU and U.S. parliamentarians should reinforce their cooperation on fighting human rights violations around the world and work jointly to promote a more values-based foreign policy, say MEPs.

Members on the Subcommittee on Human Rights and U.S. lawmakers debated on Tuesday afternoon across two panels how the EU and the U.S. can jointly support human rights and democracy through coordinated sanctions and the need for more cooperation on upholding human rights between like-minded parliamentary bodies and institutions.                     Participants highlighted the need for more transatlantic joint action to fight global human rights violations, and pointed out that sanctions regimes (Magnitsky Acts) must be used consistently and transparently. The usefulness of these actions must also be assessed effectively.                                                                                                                 They further discussed how MEPs and their U.S. counterparts can work together to promote a more values-based foreign policy, defend democracy and foster the rule of law around the world.

Tuesday’s meeting kicked off the European Parliament-U.S. Congress strategic inter-parliamentary consultation on human rights. It is part of a series of remote gatherings organised by MEPs on the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights, together with the United States Helsinki Commission and the House Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives.                                                                                          The first meeting focused on human rights sanctions regimes and values-based foreign policy, with plans to address other global human rights issues critical to the transatlantic partnership over the coming months. The next gathering is expected to address the fight against discrimination, ongoing violations in Belarus, business and human rights and developments in the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa).                                         The consultations will also explore how the European Parliament and the U.S. Congress, as like-minded parliamentary institutions, can work together to reinvigorate multilateralism and bolster global human rights protection and promotion.                                           Distinguished speakers from the U.S. side included Senator and Chair of the U.S. Helsinki Commission Ben Cardin, Representative and Chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Steve Cohen, Representative and U.S. Helsinki Commissioner Gwen Moore and Representative and President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Gerald Connolly.

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