In 2018, for the first time, the international community will be celebrating the International Day of Parliamentarism on 30 June. The International Day of Parliamentarism will be an opportunity to recognise the important role played by parliaments as the core institution of democracy and the responsibilities of parliamentarians in representing people to ensure they have a say in how they are governed. It will also be an key opportunity to celebrate our global parliamentary community and to promote the values that we hold dear, namely: strong parliaments, gender equality, human rights, sustainable development, peace and security, global governance and youth.
At an event arranged by the Chair of the APPG for Human Rights, Rt Hon Ann Clwyd MP, and attended by members of the APPG for Malaysia led by its Chair, Sir William Cash MP, the UK Parliament warmly welcomed the recent full pardon of Anwar Ibrahim, the former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia. In his comments to MPs and Peers, Mr Anwar recognised the important role parliamentarians had played in supporting his struggle for justice, particularly through the work of the IPU Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians. Mr Anwar took the opportunity to call for UK support for addressing investigations underway into corruption in Malaysia including repatriation of assets seized in the UK and UK parliamentarians pledged to provide parliamentary support for any UK efforts to do so.
From 28th May to 1st June BGIPU Vice-Chair Rt Hon John Whittingdale OBE MP led a cross-party delegation to Belarus, the second only since Independence. He was joined by Wayne David MP (Labour), Daniel Kawczynski MP (Conservative), Kerry McCarthy MP (Labour), Mark Menzies MP (Conservative) and Steve Pound MP (Labour). The programme of this 5 day visit was busy and varied, including meetings with counterparts, government representatives, and visits to manufacturing facilities, the Opera House, Nesvizh Castle and meetings with NGOs and Civil Society. The delegation left with the impression that Belarus is a country that has been somewhat overlooked by the UK both politically and economically and are determined to change that.