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Parliaments promoting human rights, democracy and the rule of law

© Reuters / Akhtar Soomro

The IPU and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) brought together close to 20 Parliaments, dozens of MPs, representatives of civil society, and the wider international community to the second session of the Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law on 22-23 November in Geneva. The second session focused on the role that parliaments play in promoting human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

In 2015, the Human Rights Council decided to establish the Forum “to provide a platform for promoting dialogue and cooperation” and to “identify and analyze best practices, challenges and opportunities for States in their efforts to secure respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law”.

Martin Chungong, IPU Secretary General and Chair of the two-day Forum, said “In this year in which we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, IPU Member Parliaments have to use their powers to the full, through legislation, oversight or public outreach, to champion the rights of all people living in their territories.” 

Participants shared good parliamentary practices on ensuring that national legislation complies with the human rights obligations of States. MPs discussed different ways in which parliaments can hold policymakers to account. They also explored the discrimination and structural inequalities affecting the capacity of women and marginalized groups to participate in parliaments and what actions to take home to mitigate this.