Political instability represents record number of persecuted MPs around the world – world



IPU has recorded a new record number of parliamentarians victims of alleged human rights violations, according to its annual figures published on the eve of Human Rights Day.

Data shows that at least 673 parliamentarians from 44 countries are at risk, most of them in countries experiencing political instability.

2021 figures confirm a steady increase since 2014 in the number of cases examined by the IPU Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians, a body made up of Members of Parliament from around the world who act on complaints of abuse suffered by their peers.

The figures for 2021 represent an increase of 22% compared to 2020 (552 MPs in 42 countries).

The majority of cases concern opposition MPs. The most frequently reported violations are: improper suspension and revocation of parliamentary mandate; violations of freedom of expression; threats or acts of intimidation; and the lack of a fair trial.

Recent 143rd IPU Assembly in Madrid (Spain), the Governing Council, the plenary decision-making body of the IPU, approved a number of the decisions presented by the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians.

Burma

Since the military seizure of power and the suspension of parliament in February 2021, the IPU has received specific reports of human rights violations against 55 parliamentarians elected in the November 2020 elections.

The violations include threats, acts of intimidation, arbitrary arrests, acts of torture, ill-treatment and criminal charges without apparent justification.

The IPU is particularly alarmed at the well-being of parliamentarians in light of the announcement earlier this week that the detained leaders Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi and Mr. Win Myint have been sentenced to two years in prison, following charges of incitement and violation of COVID- 19 rules.

Their high-profile sentences could herald more arrests and prison sentences handed down against parliamentarians elected by the military authorities.

The IPU is closely monitoring the situation of parliamentarians in Myanmar. At its recent meeting during the 143rd IPU Assembly, the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians heard first-hand accounts from some of the parliamentarians who are either in exile or in hiding.

Tunisia

The IPU has recorded a significant increase in complaints from Tunisia following the suspension of the Tunisian parliament by President Saied in July 2021.

The IPU has received reports concerning 24 Tunisian parliamentarians. The parliamentarians complain that they have been deprived of their parliamentary immunity and their freedom of movement. They would also suffer from an orchestrated campaign of demonization that puts them at personal risk.

Some members of parliament are indicted for activities which took place before the suspension of parliament and are now to be tried by a military court.

In addition to the individual rights of parliamentarians themselves, the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians is concerned about the continued suspension of parliament, which was supposed to be of limited duration.

Venezuela

The Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians has consistently lobbied for dozens of persecuted opposition MPs elected to Venezuela’s National Assembly in 2015.

In August 2021, after repeated requests, an IPU mission was finally able to visit Venezuela. The parliamentary delegation met state authorities as well as more than 60 opposition parliamentarians elected in 2015 to assess the situation on the ground as well as to identify solutions to resolve the political crisis.

The IPU was pleased to learn of the release of two opposition MPs before and after the mission.

Mr. Freddy Guevara was released in August, a week before the arrival of the IPU delegation. The IPU had raised concerns about the circumstances of his imprisonment and his right to due process.

Another opposition parliamentarian elected in 2015 who was in detention at the time of the mission, Mr. Gilberto Sojo, was released a week after the departure of the delegation from Caracas.

In 2022, the IPU plans to send more missions composed of parliamentary delegations to obtain first-hand information on persecuted parliamentarians in Cambodia, Colombia, Gabon, Iraq, Tunisia and Zimbabwe.

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The IPU is the world organization of national parliaments. It was founded over 130 years ago as the world’s first multilateral political organization, fostering cooperation and dialogue among all nations. Today, the IPU comprises 179 national member parliaments and 13 regional parliamentary bodies. It promotes democracy and helps parliaments to become stronger, younger, more gender balanced and more diverse. It also defends the human rights of parliamentarians through a dedicated committee made up of deputies from around the world. Twice a year, the IPU brings together more than 1,500 parliamentarians and partners in a global assembly, bringing a parliamentary dimension to global governance, including the work of the United Nations and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Agenda. horizon 2030.

For more information on the IPU, contact Thomas Fitzsimons by e-mail: [email protected] or [email protected] or tel: +41 (0) 79 854 31 53


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