The IPU had a strong presence at the 62nd session of the Commission for Women (CSW). Apart from holding a parliamentary meeting, the IPU also held a series of side events on 14 March 2018.
News in brief
Although rural girls and women made up 40 per cent of all the women in the world in 2015, according to the United Nations, they lack a voice in decision-making. In many countries, they are either not taken into account in national laws and policies, development strategies and budgets, or their needs are insufficiently addressed.
To draw attention to this, the priority theme of the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which took place in New York from 12 to 23 March 2018, was the empowerment of rural women and girls. On 13 March, the IPU, in cooperation with UN Women, held a parliamentary meeting at the CSW, entitled “Parliaments deliver for rural women and girls”.
A country’s future depends on the education and nurturing of its children, and child trafficking and labour go against this. To tackle this very real issue, MPs from the National Assembly of Burkina Faso took part in a seminar organized by the IPU in Ouagadougou from 9 to 10 March 2018. The seminar was a follow-up to one held in 2016 at the ECOWAS Parliament, which called for information sessions on the issue to be organized in member country parliaments.
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.
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.