Year: 2018

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Some reflections on BGIPU visit to Vietnam

Like many of my generation my knowledge of Vietnam is shaped by the harrowing images of the war in the 1970s. I wanted to know how Vietnam has moved on since that dreadful time and the extent to which it has managed to recreate and rebuild itself. I was also really curious to know about whether the communist system was managing to keep relevant and how, if at all, it seeks to promote its legitimacy and genuinely modernise the infrastructure and economy of the country.  I reflect upon what I found during this recent BGIPU visit.

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UK delegation receive a unique insight into Cuban politics and society

From 16 to 21 September 2018, a UK parliamentary delegation visited Cuba with the aim of further strengthening bilateral relations, including new opportunities for trade and cooperation, and to see how recent national developments were changing the country and its people.  In Havana and visiting rural areas, the delegation gained a good understanding of the effect of the long-standing US embargo on everyday people’s lives and how this unnecessarily limits progress in Cuba and is detrimental to the everyday lives of Cuban people.

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Cuba: vibrant culture & huge potential, but slow change

The visit provided us with a great opportunity to learn about political, economic and social aspects of Cuba and I was especially struck by two or three things.  The first was the exceptional cultural richness in Cuban society.  The second was how little change seemed to have occurred since the death of Fidel Castro.  Lastly, I remember impressive examples of bio-tech, medical research and drug development with pharmaceuticals being an areas where Cuba where there should be scope for British investment or joint ventures.

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IPU launches new platform with data on parliaments

To celebrate International Day of Democracy on Saturday 15 September, the IPU is launching New Parline, a new version of its online open data platform on national parliaments. The IPU has been collecting data on parliaments since its inception in 1889, including information on women’s participation in politics since 1945. Through New Parline, the IPU has pooled all of its data into one hub, allowing the user to see trends over time, as well as compare progress or regression between different regions of the world.

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IDD 2018: What if parliamentary oversight did not exist?

On 15 September, the IPU celebrates the 21st anniversary of its Universal Declaration on Democracy and the 11th anniversary of the International Day of Democracy. The date is an opportunity to reaffirm our shared commitment to protect and promote democracy.  Democracy Day is also a time to review the state of democracy around the world. This year we are focusing on the importance of parliamentary oversight – a core function of parliaments and a vital part of the checks and balances in any healthy democracy.

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International Parliamentary Seminar on the Western Balkans

Following the UK Government’s hosting of the Western Balkans Summit, BGIPU convened an International Parliamentary Seminar on the Western Balkans from 10-12 September 2018 at UK Parliament.  By bringing together parliamentarians from across the Western Balkans Region to discuss the outcomes of the Western Balkans Summit, BGIPU sought to ensure that regional issues and priorities are not just being discussed at the Executive level but that the Berlin Process is also better understood and scrutinised at the Parliamentary-level.  

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Parliaments around the world stand up for human rights

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.

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Austrian MPs get timely update on UK Brexit plans

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.

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World to celebrate International Day of Parliamentarism

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. It will also be an key opportunity to promote the values that we hold dear, namely: strong parliaments, gender equality, human rights, sustainable development, peace and security, global governance and youth.

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#WorldParliamentDay: Are parliamentary democracies in danger?

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.  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.