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No.179, Geneva, 15 January 2004 IPU Logo-bottom


The President of the National Assembly of Niger, Mr. Mahamane Ousmane, was elected today as President of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), which is holding its 104th sessession from 15 to 18 January 2004 at the IPU Headquarters The House of Parliaments in Geneva.

Mr. Ousmane was born on 20 January 1950 in Zinder, Niger, and is married with several children. He was President of the Republic of Niger from 1993 to 1996. Elected to the Parliament in 1999, he was elected President of the National Assembly of Niger on 29 December 1999.

During the present session, the Committee will examine public cases in : Belarus, Burundi, Cambodia, Colombia, Ecuador, Eritrea, Honduras, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Palestine/Israel, Rwanda, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey and Zimbabwe. The public report of the Committee is available upon request.

Established in 1976, the Committee meets in camera four times a year. The members in Geneva were : Mr. Mahamane Ousmane, Mrs. Veronika Nedvedova (Czech Republic, MP, Vice-President of the Committee), Mr. Mahinda Samarasinghe (MP, Minister of Employment and Labour and Chief Government Whip of Sri Lanka), Mrs. Marie-José Laloy (Belgium, Senator, substitute member for Europe), and Mr. Fernando Margaín (Mexico, Senator, President of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Mexican Senate, substitute member for Latin America).

The Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians acts as an intermediary between the sources of complaints and the authorities of the countries concerned. It endeavours to put an end as quickly as possible to any arbitrary measure affecting MPs, to ensure their protection and, where appropriate, to secure compensation for them. While the Committee’s procedure is essentially written, it frequently conducts hearings with representatives of the authorities and the victims, and may also carry out on-site missions.

Over the years its case load has been increasing; at its first session in 1977, the Committee examined the situation of 40 MPs in nine countries. At its present session it will study 48 cases of allegations of violations of human rights affecting 190 MPs in 28 countries.

Established in 1889 and with its Headquarters in Geneva, the IPU, the oldest multilateral organisation, currently has 138 affiliated national parliaments and five regional assemblies as associate members. The organisation of the world's parliaments also has an office as Permanent Observer with the United Nations in New York.
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