8 December 2017

Africa: IPU Data Confirms Link Between Democracies in Crisis and Surge in Human Rights Abuses Against MPs

press release

Geneva — Human rights abuses against parliamentarians reached a new high in 2017, according to Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) statistics. Parliamentarians from Cambodia, Maldives, Turkey and Venezuela alone, where the political situation has been worsening in recent times, account for 35% of the cases.

Cases of abuses against women MPs have also reached a record number this year, having tripled since 2014. El Salvador, Turkey and Venezuela account for this year's huge increase.

The IPU's annual review, launched ahead of International Human Rights Day on 10 December, reports that, in 2017 the Organization's Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians examined the cases of 507 MPs in 41 countries. These included 62 new cases involving MPs from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malaysia, Maldives, Palestine and Venezuela. In 2013, for example, there were a total of 266 cases under review.

The Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians seeks to protect and offer redress for parliamentarians whose human rights are at risk or have been abused. Through a dialogue with the countries concerned, the Committee aims to promote concrete solutions that are in line with international and national human rights standards.

"The unprecedented number of cases the Committee is addressing is unacceptable. It is another alarming reminder that democracy, its institutions and MPs are increasingly under threat," said IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong. "All of us in the parliamentary community need to do better to protect the principles and values of democracy as set out in the IPU's Universal Declaration on Democracy and guarantee the rights of all our colleagues."

The regional breakdown of the data shows that 39% of MPs affected by violations are from the Americas, 23% from Asia, 17% from Africa, 12% from Europe, 8% from the Middle East and North Africa, and 1% from the South Pacific.

Most of the MPs concerned are from the opposition, accounting for 76% of the cases.

In 2017, 42 new decisions were adopted by IPU. They express specific concerns, acknowledge progress and setbacks in the cases and call on the authorities of the countries concerned to take effective steps towards a satisfactory settlement of the cases. They also call on all IPU members to take action to assist in finding solutions through an array of measures available pursuant to the principle of parliamentary solidarity.

SOURCE Inter-Parliamentary Union


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