|Public disillusionment with politics is leading to increased marginalisation of groups within society and is undermining peace and democracy. ©Reuters, 2003.|
Politicians will need to overcome the lack of trust in them and embrace a more inclusive approach to politics if democracy is to thrive as it should in the future, says the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) ahead of its 125th anniversary next week.
The oldest multi-lateral political organization in the world, founded by a group of parliamentarians with a unique vision for a new and more peaceful world on 30th June 1889, IPU is urging parliamentarians everywhere to take a natural lead in bringing change.
“Democracy is always facing new challenges. Public disengagement and disillusionment with traditional politics today is leading to increased marginalisation of groups within society and is undermining peace and democracy,” says IPU President Abdelwahad Radi.
“Parliamentarians, representing the will of the people, have to change both mind-sets and behaviour and reconnect with the people through a less conflictual and more inclusive way of doing politics. IPU’s founders knew this approach was the answer when they created this unique organization with a vision that others have since adopted or acknowledged,” he added.
An advocate of an inclusive approach to politics since its creation, IPU is urging its members to renew that commitment with vigour as the Organization looks to the future. Real change will occur through greater engagement and empowerment of youth in political processes.
“Democracy can only work if parliamentarians are attuned to the will of the people. It is after all, a mechanism to ensure the better welfare and well-being of a country’s population. A continuous engagement with the youth to deliver on that and a nation’s future and that of democracy is secured,” states Radi.
An Organization currently composed of 164 national parliaments and constantly growing, IPU has led the way in actively promoting and engaging in inclusive dialogue as a fundamental tool to resolve conflicts and build democracy.
It is the remit that underpins IPU assemblies, which since 1889 have brought together parliamentarians to find alternative means of ending national and international conflicts.
“Our history has taught us that in fragile societies, a ‘winner takes all’ approach doesn’t work in ending wars or other types of conflict. A strong democracy built on peace is only possible if all parties and voices have a say in political decision-making when coming out of a crisis,” says Anders B. Johnsson, who ends his 16-year tenure as IPU Secretary General also on 30th June.
“Iraq is tragically the latest example of what can go wrong when that doesn’t happen. Our future is committed to ending these kinds of tragedies.”
Some facts about IPU
IPU was officially created on 30th June 1889 in Paris on the initiative of two parliamentarians and tireless campaigners for peace – William Randal Cremer from Great Britain and Frédéric Passy from France.
Cremer and Passy were among the eight IPU leaders who have won the Nobel Peace Prize.
IPU was also instrumental in setting up the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in 1899.
Its calls for an international institution linking governments helped lay the foundation for the creation of the League of Nations in 1919 and the United Nations in 1945.
What began as an association of individual parliamentarians in 1889 has since been transformed into a constantly growing organization of national parliaments, reflecting the global demand for democracy.
Its remit is safeguard peace and drive positive democratic change through political dialogue and concrete action. IPU has been at the vanguard of women’s political participation, both within the Organization and in its work to increase women’s representation in parliament.