Parliaments around the world are increasingly prioritizing human rights and rightly so. Parliaments are uniquely positioned to close the gap between the work of UN human rights mechanisms and implementation at the national level. A recent report from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on parliaments’ contributions to the work of the Human Rights Council highlights some good practices to help parliaments better protect and promote human rights. In a parallel workshop and a UN side event organized by the IPU, participants from the wider human rights community in Geneva considered concrete experiences of parliamentarians to protect and promote human rights.
On 2-3 July BGIPU hosted a small cross party delegation from Austria for a timely visit to see a snapshot of the state of the UK’s Brexit process moving forward and hear a wide variety of perspectives on the likely end state for a post-Brexit Britain. It was equally useful for UK members to hear about the key issues and challenges being experienced by Austria including the socio-economic impacts and political changes being created by migration pressures on Europe. The visit provided an important opportunity for inter-parliamentary exchanges to bolster bilateral relations on many common issues and discuss developments in our respective countries.
As the world celebrates for the first time, on 30 June, the International Day of Parliamentarism, data on parliaments shows a mixed picture. The International Day of Parliamentarism is an opportunity to celebrate parliaments as the cornerstone of democracy and as institutions designed to improve the lives of the people they represent. The International Day of Parliamentarism is also an opportunity to celebrate parliaments, as the cornerstone of democracy, and as institutions designed to improve the lives of the people they represent. It’s also a time to take a snapshot of the state of parliaments in 2018, to monitor progression but also identify challenges. In an age of many problems – from climate change, mass movements of people, to the rise of populism and autocracy – the world needs its parliaments more than ever before.