The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) has called for a set of actions enforcing the responsibility to protect civilian lives during conflict on the closing day of its 128th Assembly in the Ecuadoran capital, Quito.
Adopting resolutions on the Syrian refugee crisis and on the role of parliaments in safeguarding civilian lives, the IPU Assembly urged parliaments to ensure governments protected their people from genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity through legislation, the ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and by overseeing government action to combat terrorism.
If national authorities fail to safeguard their population, then collective action should be applied in a timely and decisive manner through the Security Council on a case-by- case basis.
Particular focus was put on the need for laws and measures to protect women and children, prevent and criminalize sexual violence and to provide redress for survivors in conflict.
Parliaments should also ensure they support governments in peace-building efforts through the allocation of necessary funds.
In the second resolution on the conflict in Syria in 12 months, IPU called for an immediate end to the violence there. Concerned by the displacement crisis which has left more than one million Syrian refugees seeking shelter and protection in neighbouring countries and stretching resources and capacity there, the Organization is urging donor countries to fulfil pledges to provide US$1.5 billion for humanitarian aid. So far, only $US200 million has so far been received.
IPU’s Committee on International Humanitarian Law in session during the 128th Assembly will send an urgent assessment mission to Jordan which hosts a large number of Syrian refugees.
The Quito Assembly, which brought together more than 1,250 delegates, including nearly 630 MPs from 121 countries, also called for a radically new way of tackling economic growth and sustainable development as the world begins work on an agenda to replace the Millennium Development Goals.
Aiming for human well-being, IPU members highlighted the need for more attention to be paid to the nature of growth, the distribution of its benefits, prioritizing action on youth unemployment and job creation, better management of the world’s resources and eradicating gender inequalities once and for all.
As a result, IPU has called for democratic governance to be included as a stand-alone goal in a new set of sustainable development targets post 2015.
Defining participation, transparency and accountability as the core of democratic governance, the Organization’s membership declared that it was more important than ever for parliaments to be strengthened in their oversight and legislative functions and to assert their place in decision-making processes at national and international levels.
The 128th IPU Assembly also adopted resolutions on the promotion of fair trade and innovative mechanisms for sustainable development and on the use of social media to enhance citizen engagement and democracy.
Link to all Resolutions, President Cordero's Statement and the Quito Communiqué:
- Presidential statement on sexual violence against women
- Quito Communique
- Resolution 4: Enforcing the responsibility to protect: the role of parliament in safeguarding civilians’ lives
- Resolution 5: Fair trade and innovative financing mechanisms for sustainable development
- Resolution 6: The use of media, including social media, to enhance citizen engagement and democracy
- Resolution 9: The role of parliaments in addressing the security and humanitarian impact of the crisis in Syria and in bringing pressure to bear on their governments to assume their international and humanitarian responsibility towards syrian refugees and to support the neighbouring countries that receive them
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