The Inter-Parliamentary Union’s (IPU) Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians will carry out several human rights missions in the coming months to push for progress on cases involving the abuses of the human rights of MPs.
In a range of decisions adopted by the IPU Committee during a three-day meeting on cases concerning a group of 40 MPs, priority has been given to missions to Cambodia, the Maldives and Venezuela.
A mission to Cambodia in mid-February will investigate an increasing number of cases, including last year’s attacks on MPs Kong Sophea and Nhay Chamreoun and the legality of new action taken against opposition leader, Sam Rainsy.
In the Maldives, the Committee will examine what the authorities are doing to follow up on allegations concerning threats and attacks against MPs and to better understand developments in the case concerning the murder of an MP, Afrasheem Ali in 2012.
A mission to Venezuela will investigate a case where three MPs have been prevented from taking their parliamentary seat, as well as other long-standing cases.
The IPU Committee will also continue to engage the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on IPU cases in the region. It also reiterated its commitment to carry out missions to Belarus, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq and Lebanon.
The Committee has urged authorities in the DR Congo to allow former MP Pierre Jacques Chalupa to travel abroad to receive proper medical care and to release Diomi Ndongala. The former MP was sentenced in 2014 for sexual offences in a case marred by irregularities. A possible IPU mission to Kinshasa would include a prison visit to also ascertain Ndongola’s state of health.
The IPU Committee, which is currently investigating cases concerning more than 270 MPs globally, also adopted decisions on cases from Colombia, Niger, Palestine, Rwanda and Turkey.
The Committee has called for legal reforms and urgent action to address concerns over freedom of expression and association related to anti-terrorist laws in a case of nine Turkish MPs prosecuted for destabilizing or overthrowing the constitutional order. With one of the MPs, Engin Alan, having been cleared and given compensation, the Committee trusted that justice would be rendered promptly and fairly in the remaining cases.
In Colombia, there was concern that the political career of Iván Cepeda Castro - one of five MPs who had received death threats - might come to an end due to disciplinary proceedings which the Committee sincerely hoped would be dropped.
The Committee also expressed concern about the parliamentary procedure followed to allow for the arrest of two MPs in Niger. It was disturbed by the circumstances under which former Speaker of Parliament and current presidential candidate Amadou Hama was arrested and detained upon returning to the country from self-imposed exile. The Committee called on the Niger authorities to ensure full respect for due process in his case and decided to send an observer to attend his trial.
There were concerns over the arrest and detention of Palestinian MPs and the lack of progress in shedding light on the case of Rwandan MP Léonard Hitimana, who disappeared 13 years ago and is feared dead. The Committee asked for specific information on what action has been taken to shed light on this case.
During a three-day meeting in Geneva, the Committee elected a new President, Bangladeshi MP Fazle Karim Chowdhury, and a Vice-President, Margret Kiener-Nellen of Switzerland.
A unique mechanism in the world, the IPU Committee works to address alleged violations of parliamentarians’ human rights and to seek redress. Cases range from harassment and unlawful exclusion from office, to imprisonment, torture and murder.
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is the global organization of national parliaments. It works to safeguard peace and drives positive democratic change through political dialogue and concrete action.
For further information, please contact
IPU, Jemini Pandya, Director of Communications
Tel: +41 22 919 41 58/+41 79 217 33 74