PLACE DU PETIT-SACONNEX
1211 GENEVA 19, SWITZERLAND
Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), 9 - 14 September 2001
The proceedings of the 106th Inter-Parliamentary Conference began at the Ouaga 2000 Conference Centre on the morning of Monday, 10 September with the election by acclamation of Mr. Melegué Traoré, President of the National Assembly of Burkina Faso, as President of the Conference.
In the morning of 13 September, during the General Debate on the political, economic and social situation in the world, the Conference was addressed by His Excellency the President of Burkina Faso, Mr. Blaise Compaoré, who referred to the tragic terrorist attacks against the United States of America and expressed his utter condemnation of all forms of terrorism. The Conference observed a minute of silence. The President noted that the Conference was taking place at a time when, after a decade in which democratic developments and technological progress had brought great hopes, the vast majority of the world's population found itself marginalized by globalisation. He stressed the urgent need for parliamentarians to combat poverty in the world, particularly in Africa, and invited them to call for the cancellation of the debts of poor countries.
1. Inaugural Ceremony
The 106th Inter-Parliamentary Conference was inaugurated on 9 September at a ceremony in the Ouagadougou International Crafts Show (SIAO) in the presence of His Excellency Mr. Blaise Compaoré. Inaugural addresses were delivered by Mr. M. Traoré, Mr. O. Otunnu, Under-Secretary-General and Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for Children and Armed Conflict, and Dr. N. Heptulla, President of the Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. The ceremony concluded with an address by the President of Burkina Faso, who declared the 106th Inter-Parliamentary Conference officially open.
Delegations of the Parliaments of the following 112 countries took part in the work of the Conference : Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire , Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
The following Associate Members also took part in the Conference: the Andean Parliament, the Central American Parliament, the European Parliament, the Latin American Parliament, and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
The observers included representatives of: (i) Palestine; (ii) United Nations system: United Nations, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (UNODCCP), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Labour Organization (ILO), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), World Health Organization (WHO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), International Organization for Migration (IOM); (iii) African Parliamentary Union (APU), Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union, Association of European Parliamentarians for Africa (AWEPA), Maghreb Consultative Council, Nordic Council, Parliamentary Assembly of the Union of Belarus and The Russian Federation, SADC Parliamentary Forum, Parliamentary Union of the OIC States (PUOICM); (iv) Amnesty International, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
The Parliament of Gambia was represented as an observer with a view to future affiliation.
Of the total of 960 delegates who attended the Conference, 523 were members of national parliaments. The parliamentarians included 21 presiding officers of parliament, 28 deputy presiding officers and 141 women parliamentarians (27 %).
3. Modification of the Conference Programme
During the first sitting of the Council on Monday, 10 September, and following the recommendation of the Executive Committee, it was decided to replace the Conference sitting of the afternoon of Tuesday, 11 September, by a special sitting of the Council devoted to discussion of the reform of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
At the opening of the sitting, and having learnt of the terrorist attack against the United States of America and its tragic consequences, the President of the Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union read aloud a message addressed to the Speaker of the US House of Representatives and to the Majority Leader of the US Senate on behalf of the representatives of the world's parliaments. The message expressed wholehearted condemnation of the attacks, sympathy to the United States Government, Congress and people, and heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims.
The Council decided to cancel the session of that afternoon. A special sitting of the Executive Committee was immediately convened which decided to hold a special sitting of the Conference the following day. The Committee also issued a declaration expressing the IPU's solidarity and compassion to the people of the United States of America, the Congress and Government. At the opening of the special sitting of the Conference on Wednesday, 12 September, a minute of silence was observed in memory of the victims of the tragic events. The Conference decided unanimously to include in its agenda an emergency supplementary item entitled: Condemnation of the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 on the United States of America. The resolution on the item was adopted unanimously by the Conference on Friday, 14 September (see text of the resolution). The Conference subsequently decided to modify its programme in the following manner:
The Conference had before it four requests for the inclusion of a supplementary item presented by the delegations of Kuwait (on behalf of the Arab Group Members of the IPU), France, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Cuba.
At the beginning of the consideration of this item, and after taking the floor, the delegations of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Cuba withdrew their respective proposals: Production and trafficking of drugs: a serious threat to human society, in particular the young, and the prime responsibility of the international community to combat this organised crime, and Terrorist activities directed against Cuba from the territory of the United States, in support of the proposal presented by Kuwait.
Having heard a statement by Kuwait, a statement by Israel opposing the Kuwaiti proposal, as well as statements by France and Egypt, the latter opposing the French proposal, a vote was held by roll call with the following outcome:
5. Choice of an Emergency Supplementary Item
Following the terrorist attack against the United States, the Conference decided unanimously at its special sitting on Wednesday, 12 September, to include in its agenda an emergency supplementary item entitled: "Condemnation of the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 on the United States of America." A text was prepared by the Steering Committee of the Conference in consultation with various delegations and was unanimously adopted by the Conference at its closing sitting on Friday, 14 September (see text of the resolution).
6. Proceedings and Decisions of the Conference and its Study Committees
(a) General Debate on the political, economic and social situation in the world (Item 3)
The General Debate on the political, economic and social situation in the world took place on the afternoon of Monday, 10 September, on the morning of Tuesday, 11 September, on the afternoon of Wednesday, 12 September and on the morning of Thursday, 13 September. A total of 109 speakers from an equal number of delegations took part in the debate, which was chaired by the President of the Conference. Moreover, and in accordance with the decision taken by the Conference, six other speeches which could not be delivered were submitted to the Secretariat of the Conference for inclusion in the final summary records. During the various sittings, the President invited the Vice-Presidents from the delegations of Benin, Cambodia, Ghana, Lebanon and Venezuela to replace him in the chair.
(b) Protecting and caring for children, the driving force of future society (Item 4)
This item was considered on 11 and 13 September by the Second Committee (Parliamentary, Juridical and Human Rights Questions), that met in three sittings with its President, Mrs. B. Mugo (Kenya ) in the chair. The Committee had before it 16 memoranda submitted by the delegations of Argentina, Australia, Benin, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, Congo, Egypt, Hungary, India, Iraq, Japan, Russian Federation, Senegal, Sudan and Sweden as well as four information documents provided by the IPU Secretariat, UNICEF, the International Labour Organization and the International Committee of the Red Cross. The Committee also had before it 26 draft resolutions submitted by the delegations of Australia, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, Cuba, Egypt, Estonia, France, Germany, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Japan, Kuwait, Niger, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Romania, Senegal, Sudan, Sweden, United Kingdom, Venezuela and the Meeting of Women Parliamentarians.
A total of 47 speakers took the floor during the debate on this item, including keynote addresses from Mr. O. Otunnu, UN Under Secretary-General and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflicts and Mrs. R. Salah, UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa. Thereafter, the Committee appointed a drafting committee composed of representatives from Australia, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Romania, Sweden, Tunisia and Uruguay. The committee met all day on 12 September and in the morning of 13 September with Mrs. F. Al-Refaie (Egypt) in the chair and Mr. N. Kathangu (Kenya) as Rapporteur. It used the draft resolutions submitted by the delegation of the United Kingdom and the Meeting of Women Parliamentarians as the basis for its proceedings and drew from the other drafts, notably those of Belgium, Egypt, Japan and Romania. It also incorporated several proposals made by members of the committee. The resulting consolidated draft was adopted by consensus.
During its sitting on 13 September, the Second Committee heard the report of Mr. N. Kathangu on the work of the drafting committee. It then proceeded to examine the various paragraphs of the draft resolution. A number of editorial amendments were introduced to the text. An amendment submitted by the representative of Tunisia, under operative paragraph 4 on the negative effects of embargoes, to make specific reference to the children of Iraq and Palestine, was rejected after a vote. A proposal by the same representative to include a new operative paragraph referring to family planning was also rejected after a vote. The Second Committee then adopted the amended text by consensus.
On the afternoon of 14 September, Mr. N. Kathangu submitted the Second Committee's draft resolution to the Conference which adopted it by consensus (see text of the resolution).
(c) Urgent action to combat HIV/AIDS and other pandemics which seriously endanger public health, and economic, social and political development and even threaten the survival of many nations (Item 5)
This item was considered on 12 and 14 September by the Third Committee (Economic and Social Questions), which met with its President, Mr. E. Gudfinnsson (Iceland), in the chair. The Committee had before it 17 memoranda submitted by Australia, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, Congo, Cuba, Egypt, France, Hungary, India, Iraq, Japan, Russian Federation, Senegal and Sudan; five information documents prepared respectively by the World Health Organization, International Labour Organization, United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women, UNESCO and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS); and 25 draft resolutions submitted by Angola, Australia, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, Cuba, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Japan, Kuwait, Niger, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Senegal, Sudan, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Venezuela.
A total of 58 speakers from 53 countries and 4 international organisations participated in the debate that took place in the Third Committee on 12 September. The Committee appointed a drafting committee comprising representatives of parliaments of the following countries: Angola, Australia, Canada, Cuba, France, Indonesia, Nepal, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Switzerland and Uganda. Representatives of UNAIDS, ILO and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies participated in the work of the drafting committee as advisers.
The drafting committee, after electing Ms. S. Knowles (Australia) as chairperson and Ms. J. Augustine (Canada) as rapporteur, met throughout the day on 13 September. It took the draft resolution submitted by Germany as a basis for its work and drew extensively on many of the other texts before it, on the proposals and ideas put forward during the debate in Committee, as well as on two suggestions concerning HIV-infected children formulated by the drafting committee on item 4 of the Conference agenda. The resulting consolidated draft was adopted by consensus.
On the morning of 14 September, the Third Committee examined the text submitted to it by the drafting committee, introduced a number of amendments and adopted the draft, as amended, by consensus.
On the afternoon of 14 September, Ms. J. Augustine (Canada) submitted the Third Committee's draft resolution to the 106th Conference, which adopted it by consensus (see text of the resolution).
(d) Contribution of Parliaments to dealing with the continuing tragic situation in the occupied Arab territories, to the provision of international observers and monitors, and to the protection of the Arab Palestinian people, especially unarmed civilians (Item 6)
Having decided to add this item to its agenda, the Conference referred it to the First Study Committee (Political Questions, International Security and Disarmament) which, in keeping with the decision of the Conference Steering Committee taken in the light of the tragic events in the United States, did not hold a debate on the subject.
The Committee met briefly at the end of the morning of 12 September under its President, Mr. A.H. Hanadzlah (Malaysia), to appoint a drafting committee. It had before it a draft resolution submitted jointly by the delegation of Kuwait, the author of the initial proposal for a supplementary item, and the delegation of Egypt, draft submitted by the Islamic Republic of Iran and three amendments by the delegation of Canada to change the title of the item. The drafting committee appointed by the Committee following proposals by various regional groups was composed of delegates from the following countries: Algeria, Argentina, Benin, Cambodia, Canada, Egypt, France, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Israel, Morocco, Mexico and Poland. The drafting committee met on the afternoon of that same day and began its work by electing Mr. Y. Tavernier (France) as President, and Mr. F. El-Baradei (Egypt) as rapporteur.
The drafting committee decided to take the draft resolution submitted by the delegations of Kuwait and Egypt as a basis for its work. It discussed the Canadian proposals to modify the title of the resolution and decided to reject one of them and accept another. The third proposal was referred to the Steering Committee for a decision on its admissibility.
The committee met the following day when it was informed that the Steering Committee had declared the proposed amendment to the title inadmissible. The Steering Committee had also confirmed that the delegate of Israel (who had had to leave the Conference) could not be replaced by a delegate from another country. The drafting committee subsequently prepared a consolidated text, which was approved with one abstention.
On the morning of 14 September, the First Committee began by hearing the report of Mr. F. El-Baradei. It then adopted two amendments to include new elements in the text and rejected another amendment to delete a paragraph. The draft resolution, as amended, was adopted by consensus. The delegation of Iraq then expressed reservations as to the second preambular paragraph, while the delegation of the Islamic Republic of Iran expressed reservations on all paragraphs implying recognition of Israel. On the afternoon of that same day, the Rapporteur submitted the draft resolution at the final plenary sitting of the Conference, which adopted it by consensus after having declared inadmissible amendments submitted by Lebanon and Canada. After the adoption of the resolution, reservations were expressed by the delegations of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Syrian Arab Republic (see text of the resolution).
(e) Condemnation of the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 on the United States of America (Item 7)
At its sitting on 12 September, the Conference decided to include this topic on its agenda as an emergency supplementary item. It then decided to refer it for consideration to the Conference Steering Committee.
At its sitting on the afternoon of 14 September, the Conference examined and unanimously adopted the draft resolution which had been submitted to it by the Steering Committee (see text of the resolution).