Strong support from UK for IPU Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians
The Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group (PHRG), Dame Diana Johnson MP, wrote on 21 April 2021 to the Secretary General of the IPU, Martin Chungong, to express continued support and appreciation for the work of the IPU’s Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians and to reiterate the enduring commitment of UK members to raising greater awareness within the UK Parliament and with the UK Government of specific cases under IPU examination.
Dame Diana confirmed in the letter that she was writing both in her capacity as PHRG Chair and also as the Vice-Chair of the British Group Inter-Parliamentary Union, noting she had consulted its other four officers, including the Chair, Harriett Baldwin MP, in making this undertaking to the IPU Secretary General. In addition to highlighting some priority cases on the Committee’s agenda, Dame Diana said PHRG considers the Committee’s work to be as important as ever, particularly as the rights of Parliamentarians in so many countries are still being flagrantly violated, and, in the spirit of Parliamentary solidarity, will continue to support its work.
Dame Diana had replaced long-standing PHRG Chair and BGIPU Officer, Ann Clwyd, who stood down from Parliament at general elections in 2019. Ann Clwyd had also been a very active member of the IPU Committee over many years and her commitment to the IPU, in particular, the work of this Committee provides continuing inspiration for the enduring support of its work by PHRG members and more broadly within the UK Parliament where recognition of this unique role for the IPU to defend all parliamentarians globally is well understood and very much appreciated.
BGIPU and PHRG have maintained a partnership arrangement since 2006 under which they cooperate and support each other in all aspects of human rights work, particularly to complement our respective efforts globally, including close cooperation under IPU auspices. An initiative of Ann Clwyd MP who at various times chaired both bodies and was a member of the IPU’s Committee, the current arrangements provide for close working cooperation and mutual engagement in support of the human rights of parliamentarians worldwide. The partnership also seeks to highlight human rights matters of concern to UK parliamentarians ensure human rights issues are fully mainstreamed in all of BGIPU’s work. For example, PHRG has a key role in briefing UK parliamentarians involved in any BGIPU exchange visits with counterpart parliaments and BGIPU also supports and participates in many of the PHRG’s activities at Westminster.