Today, as we mark International Women’s Day, we celebrate not only all women, but especially the activists – rural and urban, men and women – who are transforming women’s lives. Right now, women and men across Africa are part of a movement sweeping across the world for women’s rights, equality and justice.
News in brief
On 27 February 2018, IPU Secretary-General Martin Chungong addressed the High-Level Segment of the Human Rights Council. The Council was holding its 37th session in Geneva. In his speech, Mr. Chungong emphasized the close links between the work of the Council and parliaments.
Migration is a reality the world over, too often governed in an ad hoc manner. Migrants need more regular pathways to reduce irregular migration and ensure better integration in their host country and its labour market. The need for a global compact on migration was emphasized at the Annual Parliamentary Hearing at the United Nations in New York from 22 to 23 February 2018. The Hearing allowed MPs to provide a parliamentary perspective on the new UN Global Compact on safe, orderly and regular migration (GCM) currently under negotiation.
As part of its work to help strengthen parliaments, the IPU carried out a mission from 12 to 16 February to Port Vila to assist the Parliament of Vanuatu to assess its needs.
24 February 2018 marks one year since Philippines Senator de Lima has been in detention. The IPU is deeply concerned about her long incarceration and, through its Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians, renews its call for her release. The IPU continues to believe that the legal steps taken against Senator de Lima are in response to her vocal opposition to President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.
Parliaments have a critical role to play in addressing some of the issues on the global agenda and helping to translate international commitments into national realities. This makes the partnership between the IPU and the UN a natural one. On 22 February 2018, IPU President Gabriela Cuevas Barron and Secretary General Martin Chungong met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to review the status of UN-IPU cooperation and examine opportunities for further engagement. The meeting took place in New York in the context of the 2018 Parliamentary Hearing at the United Nations on migration.
Mr. Martin Chungong, IPU Secretary General, welcomed Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), at the IPU Headquarters on 20 February 2018. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus took up his post as Director-General in May 2017, and this was his first official meeting with Mr. Chungong.
The IPU High-Level Advisory Group on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism (HLAG) has been established to serve as the global focal point for parliamentary activities related to counter-terrorism. At its first meeting in Geneva on 5-6 February 2018, the Group approved a programme to be implemented in partnership with the United Nations Office for Drug Control (UNODC).
Parliaments are instrumental in ensuring the implementation of the SDGs and therefore should be closely involved in the process. It was in this context that a self-assessment exercise on SDGs was carried out by the Malian National Assembly, using the IPU-UNDP toolkit, Parliaments and the Sustainable Development Goals. Mali is the first African country to undertake this exercise. The self-assessment was organized by the IPU and took place in Bamako, Mali, on 24 and 25 January 2018.
The IPU Advisory Group on Health visited Rwanda to learn what the Parliament has been doing on reproductive health, to document good practices to share with the global parliamentary community and make recommendations to the Parliament on strengthening its work on reproductive health. The visit took place from 24 to 27 January 2018.