Nearly 750 MPs worldwide condemned the discrimination and abuse of refugees and migrants at the conclusion of the 138th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly in Geneva. The Assembly Declaration emphasized the critical role of parliaments in transforming the aspirations of the two Global Compacts – one on migrants and the other on refugees - into national laws.
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) expressed serious concerns about the scale and type of alleged human rights violations of parliamentarians in Cambodia, the Maldives, Turkey and Venezuela with the effect of jeopardizing parliamentary democracy in these countries.
Parliamentarians from over 137 countries will seek to identify and agree upon parliamentary inputs to the UN-led reforms on the rights and protection of migrants and refugees. Meeting at the 138th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly in Geneva (24-28 March), more than 740 MPs, including 65 Speakers of Parliament and 216 women parliamentarians, will ensure that the interests of the 6.5 billion people they represent are part of the global negotiations on the new migration regime. MPs will look in detail at their contribution to ensuring domestic enforcement of the two related Global Compacts expected to be adopted by the UN community later this year.
Statement by Senator Gabriela Cuevas Barron, President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union
The year 2017 saw some positive developments in women’s participation in elections, according to the Women in Parliament in 2017: The year in review, released by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) ahead of International Women’s Day. However, in global terms, the number of women in national parliaments has only increased by 0.1 percentage point from 2016, from 23.3% to 23.4%.
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is deeply concerned about the latest attempt to undermine Venezuela’s National Assembly and urges the Venezuelan authorities to fully respect the Assembly’s integrity. The IPU expresses grave concern about statements from high-ranking Venezuelan officials indicating that parliamentary elections might be organized on 22 April 2018, thereby effectively cutting short the term of the current National Assembly, which is due to expire in January 2021.
The Inter-Parliamentary Union’s (IPU) Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians condemns the exclusion and repression of opposition MPs in the lead-up to critical elections in Cambodia and Venezuela, and the pattern of intimidation against opposition parties worldwide. The IPU Committee, during a recent meeting, adopted decisions on 18 cases of violations against 252 MPs in 14 countries. A majority of these cases concerned opposition MPs.
An international gathering of MPs has called for renewed momentum to conclude international trade negotiations that foster sustainable development, known as the Doha Development Round. The parliamentarians urged all WTO Members to show flexibility and the willingness to compromise in order to conclude this trade round that has already lasted too long. Over 500 participants, including some 220 MPs from 56 countries, attended the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO from 9-10 December in Buenos Aires, which preceded the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference.
Human rights abuses against parliamentarians reached a new high in 2017, according to Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) statistics. Parliamentarians from Cambodia, Maldives, Turkey and Venezuela alone, where the political situation has been worsening in recent times, account for 35% of the cases. Cases of abuses against women MPs have also reached a record number this year, having tripled since 2014. El Salvador, Turkey and Venezuela account for this year’s huge increase.
The IPU notes with satisfaction the groundbreaking decision of the Mongolian government to make publicly available records related to the investigation into the 1998 assassination of Zorig Sanjasuuren, an MP and pro-democracy leader. The decision to declassify the majority of the judicial records and evidence was taken as a result of recent actions by the IPU’s Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians, and a request from the newly appointed Minister of Justice, Mr. Ts Nyamdorj.