Concern For Human Rights In Mediterranean Union

President Nicolas Sarkozy has been actively selling the idea of a Mediterranean Union(MU) which would bring together nations which border on that waterway. Some critics charge the French president is merely trying to foster an end run against having Mediterranean nations like Turkey become members of the European Union. Amnesty International has raised an interesting issue concerned with the proposal supported by Sarkozy– the absence of any statement dealing with human rights. The European Union has strong guarantees requiring all its members to adhere to basic human rights, but in the proposed MU there are no guarantees which would ensure all its members must respect the basic principles of human rights.

Nicolas Berger, Director of Amnesty International’s European office, raises the question: “Has this proposal in part been created to bypass human rights obligations? The total absence of human rights provisions leave the question open. If this is the case, we are facing a dangerous precedent: it not only undermines core principles of the EU’s relations with third countries, but openly allows human rights to be sidelined for the sake of business.”

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