The Parliament of Namibia has made substantive gains in women’s participation, with a significant number of women holding leadership positions. This was one of the conclusions of a self-assessment exercise on gender-sensitive parliaments carried out in Windhoek from 27 February to 1 March 2018. However, work still remains to be done in terms of work-life balance and expectations about the roles of men and women in parliament.
News in brief
Men and women MPs from Zambia met to tackle child, early and forced marriage (CEFM) at a parliamentary seminar organized jointly by the IPU and the National Assembly of Zambia. This was the first time in the country that male MPs joined their female counterparts in acting on this issue. The seminar, which took place on 24 and25 February 2018 in Lusaka, discussed effective parliamentary responses to CEFM in terms of legislation, oversight, budget allocation and representation.
Today, as we mark International Women’s Day, we celebrate not only all women, but especially the activists – rural and urban, men and women – who are transforming women’s lives. Right now, women and men across Africa are part of a movement sweeping across the world for women’s rights, equality and justice.
On 27 February 2018, IPU Secretary-General Martin Chungong addressed the High-Level Segment of the Human Rights Council. The Council was holding its 37th session in Geneva. In his speech, Mr. Chungong emphasized the close links between the work of the Council and parliaments.
Migration is a reality the world over, too often governed in an ad hoc manner. Migrants need more regular pathways to reduce irregular migration and ensure better integration in their host country and its labour market. The need for a global compact on migration was emphasized at the Annual Parliamentary Hearing at the United Nations in New York from 22 to 23 February 2018. The Hearing allowed MPs to provide a parliamentary perspective on the new UN Global Compact on safe, orderly and regular migration (GCM) currently under negotiation.
As part of its work to help strengthen parliaments, the IPU carried out a mission from 12 to 16 February to Port Vila to assist the Parliament of Vanuatu to assess its needs.
24 February 2018 marks one year since Philippines Senator de Lima has been in detention. The IPU is deeply concerned about her long incarceration and, through its Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians, renews its call for her release. The IPU continues to believe that the legal steps taken against Senator de Lima are in response to her vocal opposition to President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.
Parliaments have a critical role to play in addressing some of the issues on the global agenda and helping to translate international commitments into national realities. This makes the partnership between the IPU and the UN a natural one. On 22 February 2018, IPU President Gabriela Cuevas Barron and Secretary General Martin Chungong met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to review the status of UN-IPU cooperation and examine opportunities for further engagement. The meeting took place in New York in the context of the 2018 Parliamentary Hearing at the United Nations on migration.
Mr. Martin Chungong, IPU Secretary General, welcomed Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), at the IPU Headquarters on 20 February 2018. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus took up his post as Director-General in May 2017, and this was his first official meeting with Mr. Chungong.
The IPU High-Level Advisory Group on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism (HLAG) has been established to serve as the global focal point for parliamentary activities related to counter-terrorism. At its first meeting in Geneva on 5-6 February 2018, the Group approved a programme to be implemented in partnership with the United Nations Office for Drug Control (UNODC).