Mon, 23 Oct 2000

IPU wants persecution of parliamentarians stopped

JAKARTA (JP): A meeting of the Council of the Inter- Parliamentary Union (IPU) on Saturday reasserted the organization's concern of continued acts of persecution against elected members of parliament in several countries throughout the world.

The council meeting, which capped off the weeklong 104th conference of the IPU, adopted several resolutions, including one which urged authorities to immediately and unconditionally release detained elected members of parliament.

During the conference, the IPU Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians examined the situation of hundreds of parliamentarians in 27 countries.

Council vice president Hilarion Etong of Cameroon on Saturday also submitted to the council, for approval, the cases made public by 133 parliamentarians from 16 countries namely Argentina, Belarus, Burundi, Cambodia, Colombia, Djibouti, Ecuador, Gambia, Guinea, Honduras, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Republic of Moldova, Sri Lanka and Turkey.

The council is the governing body of the world organization of parliaments.

The Geneva-based IPU was founded in 1889. Currently 140 parliaments are affiliated to the organization. The 105th Inter- Parliamentary Conference will take place in Cuba in April 2001.

The selected subjects for that conference will be: securing observance of the principles of international law in the interests of world peace and security; and education and culture as essential factors in promoting the participation of men and women in political life as a prerequisite for the development of people.

Meanwhile the Liberian delegation, during the just concluded conference, complained "with abysmal grief" to the IPU of the continued dominance and role of major powers such as the United States and Britain.

In his statement to the conference, a copy of which was received by The Jakarta Post on Sunday, Liberia's Francais Garlawolu noted the exploitation of globalization by these major powers to expand their economic and political power.

"Human rights concept is now being redefined and expanded to justify the use of arbitrary power or force by powerful nations against the sovereign rights of smaller nations," he said.

Garlawolu also charged that these "power nations" emphasized the advantages of modern technology without any reference to its disadvantages "which include the exploitation of the meager resources of smaller nations and the propagation or dissemination of lies designed or orchestrated to undermine the stability of any targeted nation". (mds)