In an end-of-year message, reflecting upon increased threats to democracy in the world, the President and Secretary General of the IPU maintain that in promoting democracy and strong parliaments the work of the IPU is more important than ever. They said that parliaments are becoming ever more crucial in translating the peoples' aspirations for peace, development and prosperity into reality. They looked forward to the year ahead to make democracy work better for people in accordance with the IPU Strategy which is firmly anchored in the Global Goals in pursuit of the 2030 Development Agenda.
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’s annual review, launched ahead of International Human Rights Day on 10 December, reports that, in 2017 the Organization’s Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians examined the cases of 507 MPs in 41 countries.
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.