MEPs have missed their chance to protect human rights

The European Parliament is always eager to lecture the world about human rights. To a degree, this annoys the world’s despots and we should, of course, never underestimate how ‘sunlight is the best disinfectant’. But the Parliament’s overall influence on foreign affairs is still limited. On Tuesday, however, MEPs received an opportunity to actually make a difference when it came to protecting human rights. The European Parliament had to decide whether to lift the immunity of three Catalan nationalist MEPs – former Catalan government leader Carles Puigdemont and former ministers Antoni Comín and Clara Ponsatí – that are facing criminal charges in Spain for their roles in organising an independence