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IPU brings a parliamentary perspective to Human Rights Council

The IPU was actively involved in the 35th session of the Human Rights Council. © UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

The IPU was actively involved in the 35th session of the Human Rights Council, which was held in Geneva from 6 to 23 June 2017. We organized three side events and made two contributions, one oral and one written. On 23 June 2017, the Council adopted a resolution supporting stronger cooperation with parliaments.

On 12 June, the IPU, the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) and the Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy organized a side event on the relationship between parliaments and the judiciary. The event revolved around the report presented to the Council by the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Diego Garcia-Sayan.  Participants discussed ways to safeguard the uniquely different but complementary role of parliaments and the judiciary in promoting human rights and the rule of law. The event was sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Italy, Japan, Mexico and the United Kingdom.

On 16 June, the IPU and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) organized a discussion on reporting violence against women in politics. The aim of the discussion was to highlight the need for stronger tracking and reporting mechanisms regarding violence against women in politics, including in parliament; such, information is sensitive and therefore not easy to access. The key role of UN special rapporteurs was highlighted. Discussions focused on how the various stakeholders could better use their respective platforms to gather information. Speakers at the event included Ambassador Veronika Bard, Permanent Representative of Sweden and Co-Chair of International Gender Champions, Geneva; Ambassador Yvette Stevens, Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone and Member of International Gender Champions, Geneva; and HMs. Dubravka Šimonović, UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, its causes and consequences.

On 20 June, the IPU and Universal Rights Group organized a side event on the role of parliaments in ensuring effective national implementation of UN human rights recommendations. Participants—mainly diplomats and civil society representatives—underscored the need for stronger parliamentary capacity building on human rights, systematic collection of good parliamentary practices, and enhanced engagement with parliaments by the UN Human Rights Council and other UN human rights mechanisms. The event was organized with the support of nine countries and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The IPU also made two contributions to the Council. An oral contribution was delivered to the Interactive dialogue with the Working Group on the Issue of Discrimination against Women in Law and in Practice, regarding ways to increase women’s participation in politics. The second was a written statement concerning the IPU’s work on ensuring access to health services for all without discrimination, which was submitted to the Panel Discussion on Enhancing Capacity Building in Public Health.