PLACE DU PETIT-SACONNEX
1211 GENEVA 19, SWITZERLAND
Beijing (China), 16 and 21 September 1996
At the start of its work on the morning of 16 September, the Council first adopted the agenda proposed by the Executive Committee at its 222nd and 223rd sessions.
It then considered a request by the Canadian Group for the inclusion
of a supplementary item concerning "Changes to the titles
of Committees pursuant to the amendments to the Statutes and Rules
at the Istanbul Conference (April 1996)". In conformity with
the provisions of Council Rule 13, the Executive Committee had
considered this request at its 223rd session and had decided to
express a negative opinion to the Council concerning the addition
of this item to the agenda. After hearing statements from the
sponsors and one delegate holding a contrary opinion, the Council
decided by 18 votes in favour, 47 against, with 17 abstentions,
not to include the proposed item in the agenda.
At its first sitting, the Council decided, on the recommendation of the Executive Committee, to accept the requests for affiliation to the Union presented by the Parliaments of Guinea, Kyrgyzstan and Mauritius. However, also on the recommendation of the Executive Committee and on the basis of the provisions of Article 4.2 of the Statutes, it decided to suspend the affiliation of the Group of Burundi following the coup d'Etat of 25 July 1996, hoping nonetheless that representative institutions would be rapidly restored in that country.
As a result of that decision, the Union now comprises 135 member
Parliaments and three Associate Members.
(a) Report by the President of the Council
At its first sitting, the Council took note of the written report by the President on his activities and contacts since the 158th session.
At both sittings, the Council also took note of the oral report of the President on the activities of the Executive Committee in the context of its 223rd session in Beijing. In particular, the President informed the Council on 20 September that the Working Group set up to study the communication from the Speaker of the Palestine National Council to the 93rd Conference (April 1995) concerning the situation of Palestine in the IPU had met in Beijing, where it had received a comprehensive file in answer to a number of precise questions that had been put to the Palestine National Council. After hearing the Working Group's report on 19 September, the Executive Committee had decided that the situation as it stood at that stage and as set out in the documents did not allow it to consider the communication admissible as a request for affiliation to the Union under the Statutes and Rules of the IPU. Welcoming the fact that, during the Beijing Conference, the Union had for the first time been able to bring the Palestinian and Israeli delegations together around the same table, the President expressed the hope that there would be future opportunities within the IPU to further enhance and deepen the dialogue between the two parties in the interests of the Middle East peace process.
(b) Annual report of the Secretary General on the activities of the Union
At its first sitting, the Council had before it the written report
of the Secretary General on the activities of the Union in the
last year and on the activities of the National Groups during
the same period. After hearing an oral presentation by the Secretary
General, in which he described the various activities of the Union
and its members and the Union's external relations, particularly
with international organizations and its new presence on the Internet,
the Council took note of the report.
At its second sitting, the Council had before it the proposals of the Executive Committee and the latter's Working Group which had met at IPU Headquarters on 26 and 27 July 1996 to consider a possible major restructuring of the Union and its working methods. The proposals before the Council included a survey designed to canvass the views of the Union's members on a number of fundamental questions and were based on two fundamental considerations: (i) that the restructuring should ensure a more permanent presence of the IPU on the world scene with possibilities to adopt positions on major issues confronting the world as and when they occur while considering them in greater depth; and (ii) that this objective should be attained without at the same time causing any significant increase in the Union's budget.
Following a debate in which several delegations expressed general
interest for this exercise and asked for clarifications on certain
points, the President strongly urged all the Union's members
to give the survey the close attention it deserved and
to send to the Union's Secretariat their replies and observations
so that a comprehensive report containing the views of all National
Groups on this question can be considered by the Executive Committee
at its next session in April 1997.
At the second sitting, the Council had before it the text of the
Agreement of Co-operation between the UN and IPU which had been
signed by the Council President, the UN Secretary-General and
the IPU Secretary General at UN Headquarters on 24 July 1996.
In the discussion it was stressed that the Agreement ushered in
a new era in relations between the two Organizations and that
it was for the Union's members to give substance to the provisions
of this text. The Council then agreed on measures designed to
ensure that, when the item on co-operation between the UN and
the IPU comes up in the UN General Assembly later this year, there
will be a concerted and co-ordinated expression of support
for the subject on the part of Permanent Representatives to the
UN, with a view to the General Assembly passing a resolution asking
the UN Secretary-General to report at the next year's session
concerning the implementation of the agreement.
6. RESULTS OF THE JOINT IPU-UNESCO CONFERENCE ON "EDUCATION, SCIENCE, CULTURE AND COMMUNICATION ON THE EVE OF THE 21st CENTURY" (Paris, UNESCO Headquarters, 3-6 June 1996)
At its second sitting, the Council had before it the Final Document
of the Conference and a draft resolution presented by the Groups
of Egypt, France, Senegal and Uruguay concerning follow-up to
the Conference. After a brief debate, the Council adopted
the draft resolution in which it endorsed the conclusions of the
Conference and requested the Secretary General to enter into negotiations
with UNESCO with a view to the preparation of an agreement of
co-operation between the IPU and UNESCO and to report on this
matter to the Union's governing bodies at their next session.
At its second sitting, the Council received the report of the
Tri-partite Meeting held at UN Headquarters in New York on 5 and
6 September 1996, presented by Mrs. V. Furubjelke (Sweden), who
had chaired the meeting which had brought together members of
Parliament and representatives of Governments and international
organizations. The Council approved the findings and recommendations
formulated by the Executive Committee on the basis of the work
carried out by the meeting.
At its sitting on 21 September, the Council had before it a report
on the work of the IXth meeting of representatives of the parties
to the CSCM process, presented by Mr. A. Michel (Monaco). The
Council took note of the report and, in particular, of
the fact that the parties had amended the criteria to become a
main participant in the process and had admitted two Parliaments
in that category. The Council also took note of the arrangements
made to prepare the IIIrd Inter-Parliamentary Conference on Security
and Co-operation in the Mediterranean and its preparatory meetings
which the Council had included in the Union's work programme last
At its sitting on 21 September 1996, the Inter-Parliamentary Council heard a report on the results of the Meeting of Women Parliamentarians held in Beijing on Sunday, 15 September under the presidency of Mrs. Chen Muhua, Vice-President of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China. The report was presented by Mrs. Wang Suxhian, also Vice-President of the NPC's Standing Committee. The Council took note of the fact that the women parliamentarians had taken stock of the national activities to follow up the Beijing Platform for Action, adopted by the Fourth World Conference on Women, and of the Plan of Action to correct present imbalances in the participation of men and women in political life and the Beijing Parliamentary Declaration, adopted by the Union within the framework of its contribution to this governmental conference. It also noted that they had discussed at length the topic of "Poverty and extreme poverty: women as victims of this phenomenon and as key actors in its eradication".
They laid before the Inter-Parliamentary Council recommendations
concerning various aspects of the functioning of the specialized
Conference on "Towards partnership between men and women
in politics"; these recommendations were subsequently
adopted by the Council. The women MPs strongly hoped that
the specialized Conference would be attended by as many men as
women. Lastly, the Council took note of the fact that,
in the light of the work done by the World Congress held in Stockholm
in late August 1996, the women MPs wished to discuss the question
of "Education as a means to prevent the sexual exploitation
of children" at their next session, on 9 April 1997 in
On 21 September, Mr. N. Anastasiades (Cyprus), President of the Committee, reported to the Council on the work carried out by the Committee at its 74th session held in Geneva from 15 to 18 July and its 75th session which took place in Beijing from 15 to 20 September 1996.
On the proposal of the Committee, the Council adopted without a vote resolutions concerning 109 serving or former MPs in 13 countries: Albania, Burundi, Cambodia, Colombia, Gambia, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Togo, Tunisia and Turkey. The presentation of the Committee's report on three of the cases gave rise to comments from the delegations of Indonesia, Togo and Tunisia. The delegation of Indonesia declared its disagreement with the resolutions on two Indonesian former members of parliament, requesting that this be formally noted, whereas the delegation of Tunisia did the same with respect to one member of the Chamber of Deputies in Tunisia.
At the close of his report, the Council endorsed Mr.
Anastasiades' proposal that all delegations formally table the
Committee's report in their respective parliaments as part of
the official records. The Chairman of the Committee also suggested
that each National Group "adopt" a few cases before
the Council and systematically follow up on the Council's recommendations
with respect to them. Noting that Mr. Anastasiades' mandate on
the Committee expired at the Beijing session, the President paid
tribute to his contribution over the years to the defence of the
human rights of parliamentarians.
At its sitting on 21 September, the Council had before it the
report containing the views and recommendations of the Committee
to Monitor the Situation in Cyprus presented by its President,
Mr. H. Kemppainen (Finland). The delegation of Turkey wished amendments
to be made to a number of the Committee's findings; the Council
however ruled that it was not for it to amend the Committee's
findings but that it could only modify the recommendations. The
delegation of Turkey did not object to the Committee's recommendations.
The Council took note of the Committee's report and endorsed
At its second sitting, the Council heard the report of the Committee
on Middle East Questions, presented by Mr. M.A. Martinez (Spain).
In its report, the Committee welcomed the fact that, for the first
time, the representatives of certain Arab delegations and the
Israeli delegation appeared together before it, and that this
meeting could be viewed as a significant step in itself encouraging
the Union to continue its efforts to promote peace in the Middle
East. Following a brief discussion, the Council approved
the Committee's report.
At its second sitting, the Council had before it the report and
recommendations of the Committee to Promote Respect for International
Humanitarian Law. The Committee, whose members are the officers
of the IInd Committee (on Parliamentary, Juridical and Human Rights
Questions), had met under the presidency of Mr. F. Borel (Switzerland).
After hearing a report from Mr. Borel, the Council took note
of the report and endorsed the Committee's conclusions
At its second sitting, the Council considered the Executive Committee's proposals for the programme and budget of the Union for 1997, presented by Mr. G. Haarde (Iceland), Rapporteur of the Executive Committee. In his presentation, Mr. Haarde reported that the Executive Committee proposed the following changes in relation to the original budget estimates: (i) that an additional SF. 70,000 be allocated for the specialized Conference in New Delhi since it would not be known until very shortly before that meeting whether external funding would be forthcoming; (ii) that an additional appropriation of SF.10,000 be provided for the Committee for Sustainable Development, in the light of the Council's decision to increase its membership by two; (iii) to delete a provision of SF. 30,000 following the Council's decision on 16 September to abolish the Consultative Committee of Experts of the Programme for the Study and Promotion of Representative Institutions and to reallocate its tasks to other bodies; and (iv) to draw the net increase of SF. 50,000 from the Working Capital Fund on the understanding that this sum would be repaid to the Fund should it prove possible to obtain external financing for the New Delhi Conference.
After a short debate and after hearing some clarifications provided
by the Secretary General in response to questions from certain
members, the Council approved the programme and budget for
1997 as proposed, amounting to SF. 9,138,500. The Council
also approved the scale of contributions to the 1997 budget.
At its second sitting, the Council approved the Executive
Committee's recommendations concerning the agenda of the 97th
Conference which will be held in Seoul (Republic of Korea)
from 10 to 15 April 1997, as well as the list of observers
to be invited to that meeting.
With regard to Conferences in coming years, the Council accepted with gratitude the invitations of the Group of Namibia to host the 99th Conference in Windhoek in April 1998 and that of the Group of the Russian Federation to host the 100th Conference in Moscow in the autumn of 1998. Subject to later confirmation of the dates and the period of the year when the events will be held, the Council also gratefully accepted the invitations of the German Group to host the Conference in Berlin in 1999 and that of the Indonesian Group to host the Conference in Jakarta in 2000.
It also approved the proposals of the Meeting of Women MPs and the Executive Committee that the 1997 planned symposium should be called a Specialized Conference on the theme "Towards partnership between men and women in politics". It took note that it would now be held in New Delhi (India) from 14 to 18 February 1997 and would include, in addition to a roundtable with the media on "The Image of Women Politicians in the Media" and six Regional Workshops, additional workshops on Women's political and electoral training and Financing women's election campaigns. Furthermore, the Council decided that the Preparatory Committee of the Conference would be composed of Mr. G. Haarde (Iceland), Mrs. N. Heptulla (India), Mrs. F. Kéfi (Tunisia) and Mr. E. Menem (Argentina) and would meet at IPU Headquarters in Geneva on 8 and 9 November 1997.