As an institution that represents the people, parliament must ensure that democracy takes root, which necessarily implies promoting and defending human rights.
With a view to strengthening parliamentary capacity in this area, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) together with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) have launched a two-year project targeting members of parliament and parliamentary staff in French-speaking African countries.
Funded by the United Nations Democracy Fund, this project aims to build parliamentary knowledge in the field of international and regional human rights instruments and involve parliamentarians both in the preparation of country reports requested by treaty bodies and in the implementation of the recommendations made thereon.
The project started with a regional seminar organized in Ouagadougou from 1 to 3 October 2007 by the National Assembly of Burkina Faso on The role of parliaments in the implementation of international and regional human rights instruments.
The seminar attracted approximately one hundred participants, who exchanged views with experts from OHCHR and the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights on various problems related to the implementation of treaties, as well as ways in which parliamentarians could better play their role as the guardians of human rights.