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Resolution adopted unanimously by the 118th Assembly
(Cape Town, 18 April 2008)

The 118th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Recalling the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in particular the right to life, liberty and security of the person, and that everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for individual and family health and well-being,

Acknowledging the interdependence between national security, human security, individual freedoms and democracy,

Recognizing the multidimensional nature of human security and noting that understanding of human security must be dynamic and flexible in order to meet the many human security challenges in different regions,

Also recognizing that democracy is adversely affected worldwide by factors such as poverty, unemployment, HIV/AIDS and other pandemics, pollution, natural disasters and human rights violations, as well as by foreign occupation, inter-State conflicts, terrorism, human trafficking and organized crime,

Aware that terrorism in all its forms poses a major threat to national security, human security and individual freedoms all over the world,

Profoundly concerned about human rights violations, including foreign occupation, policies of collective punishment, detention without trial, secret detention centres, surveillance impinging on individual rights, and extradition to countries that practise torture,

Affirming its belief that torture in all its forms has no place in the 21st century as it is one of the most abhorrent violations of human rights and human dignity,

Reaffirming that it is the responsibility of parliaments to ensure that counter-terrorism measures do not in any way jeopardize the right to asylum or the principles underlying the protection of refugees, on the one hand, and that such protection is not refused to those in need, on the other, while recalling that international refugee law provides that persons having committed atrocities or serious crimes may be denied protection as refugees,

Recognizing thecontribution of parliaments to and their impact on decisions promoting the national and international consensus needed for concerted and effective action on these issues,

  1. Calls on parliaments to acknowledge the link between security, development and human rights as recognized in the World Summit Outcome Document, on the understanding that it is crucial to establish the causes and sources of human insecurity and work to address these effectively;

  2. Further calls on parliamentarians to strive to address human security by tackling all current forms of insecurity globally in the political, economic, social, cultural, environmental and humanitarian spheres;

  3. Urges parliaments to enact legislation that will allow countries to strike a balance between national security, human security and individual freedoms;

  4. Strongly urges parliaments to commit to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals as a means of addressing underdevelopment and preventing the marginalization of many in the developing world;

  5. Urges national parliaments to enact effective anti-terrorism legislation, in keeping with the relevant international instruments and commitments, including the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, and to assess such legislation at regular intervals so as to ensure that it is fully compatible with national security and individual freedoms;

  6. Underscores the need for parliaments to work towards a situation where States refrain from resorting to the threat and use of force in international relations, and settle their differences through dialogue and peaceful means;

  7. Urges parliaments to acknowledge that the approach to human security must take into account the gender perspective and specific heritages and cultures;

  8. Calls on parliaments to review the adequacy of the legal measures they have in place to protect people from terrorist attacks and to bring perpetrators to justice, and to take such measures as deemed necessary to provide adequate protection;

  9. Strongly emphasizes that parliaments need to oversee executive action, including when they vote on the budget and monitor its implementation, to ensure that a balance is struck between national security, human security and individual freedoms, and to avert any threats to democracy;

  10. Recognizes that all human rights, the rule of law and democracy are interlinked and mutually reinforcing and that they are part of the universal values and principles espoused by the international community, and acknowledges the need for universal adherence to and implementation of the rule of law at both the national and international levels;

  11. Recognizes the importance of independent courts in striking a balance between national security, human security and individual freedoms, and in averting threats to democracy;

  12. Urges parliaments to ensure an effective system of public participation in their work and invites them to play a pivotal role in making their citizens aware of their constitutional rights, to open two-way channels of communication with citizens that are likely to strengthen parliamentary oversight of executive action, and to ensure that the government is committed to respecting the rights and freedoms of citizens and to promoting human rights; also invites parliaments to use to this end modern information and communication technologies such as the Internet and dedicated satellite channels, and encourages them to enact enabling legislation to facilitate the process of public participation;

  13. Encourages national governments and parliaments to redouble their efforts, and to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the work of the United Nations, to reach an international consensus on the speedy conclusion of a comprehensive international convention dealing with all aspects of terrorism, including its accurate definition, and thereby to provide all countries with a common legal instrument in their fight against this scourge;

  14. Calls on parliaments to scrutinize all measures limiting individual freedoms;

  15. Condemns the oppression and discrimination of which ethnic and religious minorities are victims and urges parliaments to enact laws that guarantee the rights of minorities, identify all acts of oppression and discrimination perpetrated against them and provide for sanctions against the perpetrators;

  16. Encourages national governments in particular to respect international obligations regarding human rights and individual freedoms when preparing the profiles of potential terrorists with a view to preventing attacks;

  17. Rejects the application of double standards with regard to democracy and calls upon all Statesto respect thechoice of all nations democratically electing their governments;

  18. Invites governments to ensure that their proposals limiting liberty are in compliance with international law, and safeguard human rights in particular;

  19. Invites national parliaments to consider whether any further improvements can be made within their own jurisdictions to protect both human security and individual freedoms;

  20. Encourages States, in accordance with their usual practice, to ratify and implement the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and its Optional Protocol;

  21. Welcomes the establishment of the Human Rights Council under United Nations  General Assembly resolution 60/251 of 15 March 2006, and the proposed universal periodic review mechanism intended to help the Human Rights Council handle human rights issues in an objective, fair and non‑selective manner through dialogue and cooperation;

  22. Calls on parliaments closely to follow the national reporting process under the review mechanism, and to ensure that it involves all relevant stakeholders, including non-governmental organizations and national human rights institutions, and invites parliaments to examine and debate the outcome of the review and to monitor its implementation;

  23. Urges States to establish a mechanism, in the most appropriate way, to ensure that human rights are respected and that any violation or disregard thereof is dealt with;

  24. Calls on parliaments to monitor the scope of surveillance and the amount of data collected by public and private organizations, to gauge any changes in the balance between the citizen and the State, and, in this process, to ensure that laws are framed and enforced in such a way as to take account of fast-moving technological developments;

  25. Calls on parliaments to oversee the work of law enforcement and security forces so as to make them accountable for the protection of fundamental individual freedoms in the performance of their public duties;

  26. Emphasizes the needtotrain law enforcement and security forces in order to heighten their awareness of human rights when dealing with terrorism and related activities;

  27. Urges national parliaments to enact legislation that will require law enforcement agents to deliver terror suspects to the judicial authorities immediately upon arrest, thus ensuring that they are not taken anywhere else for interrogation or further detention;

  28. Recommends that national governments work towards greater regional and global cooperation with regard to implementing anti-terrorism strategies and establishing anti-terrorism centres;

  29. Underscores the need to distinguish between terrorism and the struggles of peoples to liberate their land and regain their legitimate rights in accordance with international law;

  30. Calls on all parliaments and urges the IPU to develop training programmes designed to build the capacity of parliamentarians to address complex issues in an effective manner, and welcomes the sharing among parliaments of best practices on such initiatives.

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