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#IPU140: IPU calls for actions to defend persecuted MPs worldwide

Cote D'Ivoire election

© Sia Kambo / AFP

At the 140th IPU Assembly in Doha, Qatar, the global parliamentary community strongly condemned human rights violations against MPs worldwide.

At the Assembly, the IPU Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians, the only international body with an exclusive remit to support MPs in danger, recommended action in the cases of 187 parliamentarians in a dozen countries whose human rights have been violated.

Venezuela

The Committee examined serious allegations of human rights violations affecting 64 parliamentarians from the coalition of the Democratic Unity Roundtable Party (MUD) in the National Assembly of Venezuela. The allegations range from ill-treatment, arbitrary detention to other acts obstructing the exercise of parliamentary mandates.

The MUD opposes Mr. Maduro’s Government and obtained a majority in the National Assembly following elections in 2015. The government has not provided any funding to the National Assembly since August 2016.

In the most recent development, two members of the National Assembly were prevented at the airport in Caracas from travelling to the IPU Assembly in Doha.

The Committee met separately with MUD members from the National Assembly and members of the Bloque de la Patria parliamentary group that support Mr Maduro.

The IPU condemns the systematic harassment of members of the National Assembly, which is part of the larger political crisis in Venezuela. The IPU reaffirms its ongoing readiness to assist the Venezuelan authorities in finding a solution to the current impasse through political dialogue and mediation.

Turkey

Over 600 criminal and terrorism charges have been made against 61 MPs from the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) since December 2015 when the Constitution was amended to authorize the wholesale lifting of parliamentary immunity. Hundreds of trial proceedings are ongoing against HDP parliamentarians, and former parliamentarians, throughout Turkey.

Ten former parliamentarians continue to be held in detention. 

The President of the Turkish IPU Group has written to the IPU to confirm that an IPU delegation is welcome to come to Turkey to meet with the judicial and executive authorities in a fact-finding mission. The IPU has also stressed the importance of meeting the detained MPs during the mission. 

Democratic Republic of the Congo

The IPU welcomes the release of former MP Franck Diongo and MP Eugène Diomi Ndongala of the DRC. The IPU Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians had been lobbying intensely on their behalf since 2012 in the case of Mr. Ndongala and since 2016 in the case of Mr. Diongo.

Since June 2012, Mr. Ndongala had been targeted by a campaign of political and legal harassment aimed at removing him from the political process. The IPU continues to deplore that Mr Ndongala has not been accorded the presidential pardon granted to other political prisoners.

Mr. Diongo, an opposition MP, was arrested in December 2016 by soldiers of the presidential guard. He was reportedly tortured and then summarily tried, despite a fragile medical condition as a result of ill-treatment in detention. The IPU welcomes the presidential pardon in the case of Mr Diongo. 

Philippines

In the Philippines, the IPU remains concerned that, more than two years after her arrest, Senator Leila de Lima is still in detention despite the absence of any corroborated evidence to justify the charges against her.

The IPU calls on the authorities to release her immediately and for the legal proceedings against her to be dropped. Failing that, the IPU calls for an IPU trial observer to be allowed to monitor the legality and fairness of any trial proceedings.

Maldives

The IPU has decided to close all but one of the cases of Maldivian MPs that had been brought to the attention of the IPU Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians.

At the beginning of the year, the IPU had closed the cases of 44 MPs that had been satisfactorily resolved, leaving seven MPs on its books. The seven members of parliament had been allegedly subject to arbitrary arrest, detention and legal proceedings at a time when they were in opposition. They were all released after September 2018.

The IPU remains hopeful that the legal proceedings against the last remaining case, Mr. Abdulla Riyaz, will soon be concluded.

Background

The IPU is the global organization of parliaments. It was founded 130 years ago as the first multilateral political organization in the world, encouraging cooperation and dialogue between all nations. Today, the IPU comprises 178 national member parliaments and 12 regional parliamentary bodies. It promotes democracy, helps parliaments become stronger, younger, gender-balanced, and more diverse. It also defends the human rights of parliamentarians through a dedicated committee made up of MPs from around the world. Twice a year, the IPU convenes over 1,500 parliamentary delegates and partners in a world assembly, bringing a parliamentary dimension to global governance including the work of the UN and the implementation of the 2030 global goals.

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For more information, contact Thomas Fitzsimons at email: press@ipu.org or tf@ipu.org or tel: +41(0) 79 854 31 53