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Inside the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center. © Trocaire 

Human rights

We defend the human rights of parliamentarians and help them uphold the rights of all.
Genocide memorial

Human rights are essential to democracy and development. One of the IPU’s key roles is defending and promoting the rights of parliamentarians.

Through its Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians, the IPU has a unique mechanism to defend the rights of an increasing number of parliamentarians around the world who face abuse, mistreatment or even death simply for doing their jobs. 

We also provide MPs with information, knowledge and training to improve the human rights of the people they represent – especially women, children, minorities and indigenous peoples. 

We help parliaments implement the recommendations of the UN Human Rights Council and UN human rights treaty bodies. We also ensure that countries, through their parliaments, sign up to human rights conventions and adopt and implement relevant domestic laws.

We also collect data on parliamentary human rights committees and empower and mobilise them to make human rights a priority for parliaments.

Our Committee on Democracy and Human Rights spearheads our work on key issues such as freedom of expression, youth participation and children’s rights.

The work of our Committee to Promote Respect for International Humanitarian Law centres on protecting civilians caught up in conflict or disaster, such as refugees.

Defending the rights of MPs
Number of cases currently treated by the IPU Committee on the Human Rights of MPs
Report a Member of Parliament in danger
Explore human rights
Parliaments have a critical role in protecting people's human rights. Photo: © Catching.Light (CC BY 2.0)
Parliaments have a critical role in protecting people's human rights. We take action to strengthen their work protecting the rights of all citizens, as well as those of MPs themselves.
The landmark UN Convention on the Rights of the Child transforms children from passive objects to active right-holders. Photo: ©NurPhoto/Alvaro Fuente
We help parliaments respect children's rights, by using their powers to pass laws; and also to allocate resources for the implementation of child-rights related programmes and policies.
The IPU has been defending MPs in danger for the past 40 years through its Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians.
Latest news and stories on human rights
Press releases
hr map

Human Rights of MPs: Some success stories despite uptick in abuse

A few days before Human Rights Day on 10 December, the IPU has released its annual map of the number of reported cases of human rights violations suffered by parliamentarians around the world. Although the numbers continue to rise, there
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Press releases

IPU and UN Human Rights launch toolkit to encourage parliaments to champion human rights

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the UN Human Rights Office have today launched a toolkit to help parliaments better integrate human rights into their work. Parliaments and Human Rights: A self-assessment toolkit provides a practical introduction to assessing how human
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Victor Gonchar

IPU notes Swiss verdict in case of Victor Gonchar

The IPU notes with interest the verdict delivered by the Swiss district criminal court of Rorschach (St. Gallen) in the case of the Belarusian opposition parliamentarian Mr. Victor Gonchar (Hanchar). Mr. Gonchar disappeared in September 1999, along with opposition colleague
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News in brief

The CEDAW Handbook: Still a vital tool, 20 years later

In 1979, the United Nations adopted a global treaty to make gender inequality a thing of the past. 189 countries have since ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). A Handbook first
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Press releases

New handbook: Mobilizing parliaments to eliminate discrimination against women

Twenty years after the first edition, the IPU and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) have published a new version of a handbook for parliamentarians on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms
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Human rights
Latest publications on human rights
The IPU Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians is the only international mechanism with the remit of protecting and defending MPs suffering human right violations. This map lists the number of human rights cases examined by the Committee in
Parliaments and Human Rights: A self-assessment toolkit was jointly prepared by OHCHR and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). The toolkit seeks to help parliaments better integrate human rights into their work and empower parliamentarians as champions of human rights for their
In 2003, the IPU and the United Nations published The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and its Optional Protocol: Handbook for Parliamentarians. That first handbook aimed to foster a better understanding among parliamentarians of
Human rights
Related events


This year's Information Seminar on the structure and functioning of the Inter‑Parliamentary Union will be conducted in French and held from 28 to 31 May 2024.

Port of Spain
Trinidad & Tobago

The seminar will aim to showcase the latest data and developments, promote dialogue with experts and among parliaments, and highlight good practices.