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News in brief

Young MPs speak out on their political empowerment

Data from the IPU shows the worrisome lack of representation of young people in parliaments. To commemorate International Youth Day 2017 (12 August), the IPU asked young MPs worldwide to share their views on how to increase youth engagement in politics. We are sharing these views through a social media campaign on Twitter and Facebook . Young MPs provide examples of how they have reached out to youth in their communities, and ensured that their concerns and actions are integrated into parliamentary debates. This campaign is part of the IPU’s work in helping to increase the number of young MPs in parliaments worldwide. This year also marks the 20 th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Democracy (UDD), adopted by IPU Member Parliaments in September 1997. Young MPs have played a pivotal role in advancing its principles.
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IPU showcases its work on parliaments to scholars and MPs

The IPU presented a “sneak preview” of the forthcoming Global Parliamentary Report (GPR) on parliamentary oversight to a group of scholars and parliamentarians at a two-day workshop in Wroxton College, United Kingdom. The GPR will be co-published by the IPU and the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) and presented at the 137 th IPU Assembly in October 2017. The IPU also presented its work on strengthening parliaments.
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Panel at the seminar

Malian MPs discuss their role in SDGs and gender equality

Malian MPs from across all political parties gathered at an IPU seminar in Bamako, Mali, to discuss gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The seminar, which was co-organized with the Parliament of Mali, took place on 25 and 26 July. The seminar aimed to sensitize Malian MPs to their role in promoting SDGs and gender equality and to help them to identify strategies to better integrate these two issues into public policies and laws.
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MPs contribute to the UN process on Global Compact on migration

In September 2016, the UN General Assembly hosted a High-Level Summit during which Member States committed to negotiating a “Global Compact on Safe, Regular and Orderly Migration”. The IPU is closely following this process, which will conclude with a major conference in September 2018. As part of the negotiating process, the IPU organized a group of 17 MPs from 11 parliaments to participate in two meetings at UN headquarters from 24 to 26 July: a thematic session primarily on the economic aspects of migration, led by governmental representatives, and a multistakeholder hearing designed to allow parliamentarians, civil society representatives, academics and other experts to review the main issues that may be part of the global compact.
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 Members of the Opposition (or La Resistencia) in Caracas, Venezuela clash with security forces as they attempt to march to the Supreme Court on July 22, 2017

IPU urges Venezuelan authorities to reconsider 30 July vote in bid to avoid further violence and bloodshed

Both the President and the Secretary General of the IPU have expressed serious concern about the continuing violence and bloodshed in Venezuela. The situation has further escalated in recent days as Venezuelan President Maduro has decided to go ahead with the vote on 30 July to elect a Constituent Assembly to redraft the country’s Constitution. In the interest of peace, the IPU calls on the authorities to reconsider the 30 July vote.
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Workshop participants

IPU supports Zambian Parliament to set up digital library

The IPU has been assisting the National Assembly of Zambia develop a digital library to improve information management and sharing with MPs and the public. As part of this ongoing work, the IPU just completed a technical support mission to Lusaka. During the mission, workshops were held for parliamentary staff to resolve technical issues and enhance the library’s digital interface. The workshops also bolstered the process for submitting documents to the library.
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Growing number of MPs contribute to UN annual SDGs review

A record number of MPs from 36 parliaments participated in the 2017 High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on sustainable development, from 10 to 19 July, in New York. The HLPF is the platform where governments and other stakeholders, including parliaments can monitor progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This year, 44 countries presented national progress reports.
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Protesters argue with security forces outside parliament in Male.

IPU concerned about undue interference in Parliament in Maldives

Opposition MPs claim to have been subjected to a campaign of intimidation and coercion in the lead-up to a vote of no-confidence against the Speaker of the People’s Majlis. There has been recent legal action against three prominent MPs, including, opposition Jumhooree Party Leader, Qasim Ibrahim, who has been prevented from travelling abroad for medical care and is in a critical condition. In addition, six MPs have reportedly been stripped of their seats by the Elections Commission, a decision with apparently no legal basis. The IPU is deeply worried that these actions are seemingly intended to take away the small majority in Parliament that wanted to dismiss the Speaker in today’s vote of no-confidence, which was thwarted as a result.
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The five-year pipeline project will move water to the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

IPU welcomes new water-sharing deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) applauds the new agreement between Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan to deliver water to drought-stricken Palestinian communities in the West Bank and Gaza. We acknowledge the contributions of all participating governments, including the US, to address this longstanding humanitarian issue.
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Discussing human rights at the seminar

Learning Series for Myanmar MPs on human rights

Fair and democratic societies are built on human rights and the rule of law, and MPs have a vital role in ensuring that these rights are upheld. To raise awareness on the role of Parliament to promote and protect human rights, the Parliament of Myanmar (Hluttaw) and the IPU, with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), organized an introductory seminar on the role of Parliament to promote and protect human rights. The seminar, held on 5 July in Naypyitaw as part of the Hluttaw Learning Centre’s series of professional development programmes for MPs, was delivered to over 300 parliamentarians and formed the first step of their engagement with human rights issues.
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Participants at the Regional Seminar on promoting child nutrition in Burkina Faso

Regional seminar on promoting child nutrition held in Burkina Faso

An estimated one million children under five die annually from causes related to undernutrition in the Western and Central African Region (WCAR). MPs from the region met in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, from 27 to 29 June, to discuss how parliaments could contribute to improving maternal and child nutrition. The regional parliamentary seminar was co-organized by the IPU, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Alive & Thrive with support from the Parliament of Burkina Faso.
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Ministry of local government addressing audience

Rwandan Parliament reaches out to religious leaders on civil registration and statistics

Rwandan parliamentarians met with religious leaders on 24 June to sensitize them to their role in civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS). The outreach activity covered all 30 districts in the country and involved 65 MPs. It was supported by the IPU as part of its work with the Parliament of Rwanda on maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH).
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Participants at the gender mainstreaming workshop.

Kenyan Parliament hosts gender mainstreaming workshop

The IPU held a capacity-building workshop for staff of the Kenyan Parliament on mainstreaming gender into parliamentary work. The workshop, co-organized with the Parliament of Kenya on 19-23 June in Nairobi, was a follow-up of a self-assessment exercise conducted in 2016 on the Parliament's gender-sensitivity. One of the recommendations from the self-assessment was to ensure that staff have strengthened capacities and tools to mainstream gender into parliamentary work.
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Expert Group Meeting on gender-sensitive parliaments

Five years ago, the IPU’s Plan of Action for Gender-Sensitive Parliaments was adopted by the 127 th IPU Assembly in Quebec. Since then, the IPU has been helping parliaments become more gender sensitive and has developed a self-assessment toolkit to help them examine their strengths and challenges in embodying gender equality and delivering on it. The five-year anniversary provides an opportunity to reinvigorate the strategy and take stock of lessons learned from gender assessments of parliaments. To this end, the IPU organized an Expert Group Meeting, which brought together researchers, experts and practitioners involved in parliamentary gender assessments or audits. The meeting took place at IPU headquarters in Geneva on 11-12 June.
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IPU brings a parliamentary perspective to Human Rights Council

The IPU was actively involved in the 35 th 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.
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Participants at the seminar on CEDAW listening to Dr Olive Sentumbwe, WHO (Uganda).

Implementing CEDAW in Uganda

Dealing with gender inequalities in the economy and family; improving the health of women and girls; and encouraging bills by private members to tackle sexual offences and amend discriminatory legislation: these were some of the priorities identified during a seminar on Uganda’s implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). The focus of the seminar—organized by the Parliament of Uganda and the IPU and held from 14 to 15 June—was parliament’s role in the implementation of CEDAW.
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Participants at the Regional Conference.

Making laws work to end violence against women and girls

Preventing violence against women and girls (VAWG) requires more than adopting laws—they need to be effectively implemented. Parliamentarians, NGOs and legal officers met to discuss the issue at a regional conference for Eastern and Central Europe on Making Laws Work to End Violence against Women and Girls . The conference, held from 12 to 14 June, was co-organized by the IPU, Vital Voices, Global Rights for Women and the Romanian Chamber of Deputies, with the support of the Senate of Romania.
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: Crime scene tape blocks off the baseball field where House Majority Whip Congressman Steve Scalise was shot along with 4 others during an ambush style shooting attack by a gunman in Alexandria, Washington, United States on June 14, 2017

IPU condemns attack on US Congressman and staff

The IPU condemns in the strongest terms the recent attack on US Congressman Steve Scalise and three other individuals, including a congressional staff member. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families as they struggle to deal with the tragic consequences.
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IPU participates in the UN Ocean Conference

Vital to our survival and providing livelihoods for millions of people, the Ocean is severely threatened by climate change, pollution and unsustainable practices. The United Nations held a five-day conference on the Ocean from 5-9 June to begin to address these issues and, at the end of the Conference, Member States adopted a Call to Action to protect the ocean. In February, the IPU and the United Nations held an Annual Parliamentary Hearing that focused on the ocean. The hearing provided a parliamentary component to the preparatory process for the conference; several of its recommendations were included in the Call to Action.
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IPU President receives award for his work on tobacco control

IPU President Saber Chowdhury is the proud recipient of this year’s World No Tobacco Day award. The award, given by the World Health Organization (WHO), recognizes Mr. Chowdhury's contribution to tobacco control at the local, national, regional and international levels.
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