“Parliamentarians of the world, in the middle of the world”
PRI received a warm welcome when it arrived in Ecuador for the 128th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. Along with more than 1,200 participants representing parliamentarians from around the world, PRI attended the inaugural ceremony at the National Assembly of Ecuador.
The President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, opened the Assembly with a strong message of democracy and good governance coupled with economic and social development. President Correa’s key note address was followed by others from Ecuador’s National Assembly, President Fernando Cordero, A UN Secretary general envoy, and President of the IPU, Abdulwahid Al-Radhi.
The speeches mainly focused on the topic of the Assembly: From unrelenting growth to purposeful development: “Buen Vivir” – new approaches, new solutions. However, the President of the IPU also made an impassioned plea on addressing the endemic violence against women across the globe.
On the first day of the General Debates, PRI was allocated five minutes to address approximately 700 parliamentarians plus their advisers, Associate Members and other Observers. In line with the theme of the Assembly, PRI encouraged new approaches and new solutions to sustainable development. In particular highlighting that some of the most vulnerable and marginalised people will never benefit from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) without attention paid to equality and social justice, based on access to justice and rule of law for all.
PRI called on the IPU and parliamentarians, while they work towards the post-2015 agenda, to take into account all drivers of poverty, including unfair criminal justice systems and disproportionate imprisonment, which indirectly criminalise the poor and marginalised, and work towards promoting and protecting the rule of law and access to justice as a founding norm for achieving sustainable development.
Download the full statement
The representative from New Zealand made an ardent speech on the rights of homosexuals. She referred IPU members to a Declaration they had unanimously adopted at the 127th Assembly in Quebec City, which called for all individuals to be allowed the full enjoyment of their equal and inalienable rights, and any limitation of these rights should not lead to any discrimination whatsoever based on, amongst others, sexual orientation. The delegate highlighted that there are at least 76 states which have laws that criminalise consensual sex between adults of the same sex, and called on the members of the IPU to pass legislation in their own countries that will decriminalise homosexuality.
During the second day of the Debates, an interactive dialogue on the place of democratic governance in the post-2015 development agenda took place. Delegates questioned what is missing from the development agenda, and highlighted that people are the centre of sustainable development, and therefore without democratic governance, which empowers people as well as their national government, sustainable development cannot be achieved. The representative of Sudan stressed that justice is necessary for development purposes.
Members of the IPU also adopted an emergency item for debate, initiated by the Syrian Arab Republic, and supported by the United Kingdom, on “The status of Syrian refugees”. IPU debated the role of parliaments in bringing pressure to bear on their governments to assume their international and humanitarian responsibility towards these refugees and to support the neighbouring countries that receive them.
PRI will be distributing its briefing paper ‘What can parliamentarians do on penal reform?’ at the Assembly. It can be downloaded in English, Spanish and Russian here.