IPU calls for action to defend 187 MPs prosecuted worldwide

BY: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso

At the end of the 140th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly in Doha Qatar, the global Parliamentary community has strongly condemned human rights violations against Members of Parliament worldwide.

Committee on the Human Right of Parliamentarians of the IPU, an international body with the remit to support MPs in danger recommended action in the case of the 187 Parliamentarians in 13 countries whose human rights have been violated.

This was made known in a press statement issued on Wednesday April 10, 2019 at the end of the 140th Assembly of the IPU in Doha Qatar,

The committee examined allegations of human rights violations affecting 64 Parliamentarians from the coalition of the Democratic Unity Roundtable Party in the Assembly of Venezuela.

The allegation ranges from ill-treatment, arbitrary detention to other acts obstructing the exercise of Parliamentary mandates.

The Democratic Unity Roundtable Party opposed the government of Mr Maduro obtained a majority in the National Assembly following elections in 2015 and the government has since 2016 not provided funding to the National Assembly.

In a recent development, two MPs from the National Assembly were prevented at the airport in Caracas from travelling to the IPU Assembly in Doha.

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The committee met separately with Democratic Unity Roundtable Party members from the National Assembly and members of the Bloque de la Patria Parliamentary group that support Maduro.

And again condemned the systematic harassment of members of the National Assembly, which is part of the large political crises in Venezuela, it reaffirmed its ongoing readiness to assist the Venezuela authorities in finding a solution to the current impasses through dialogue and mediation.

In Turkey over 600 criminal and terrorism charges is said to have been made against 61 MPs from the People’s Democratic Party (HPD) since December 2015 when the constitution was amended to authorise the wholesale lifting of Parliamentary immunity.

Hundreds of trial proceedings are ongoing against HPD Parliamentarians and former parliamentarians, throughout Turkey, ten former parliamentarians continue to be held in detentions.

IPU has confirmed invitation by its members in Turkey to meet with the judicial and executive authorities in a fact-finding mission. The IPU has also stressed the importance of meeting the detained MPs during the mission.

Meanwhile, IPU has welcomed the release of former MP Frank Diongo and Eugene Diomi Ndongala of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as IPU committee on Human Rights had been lobbying intensely on their behalf since 2012 in the case of Ndongala and 2016 in the case of Diongo.

Since June 2012, Ndongala had been targeted by a campaign of political and legal harassment aimed at removing him from the process, the IPU continues to deplore that the MP has not been accorded the Presidential pardon granted to other political prisoners.

In the case of Mr. Diongo, an opposition MP, he was arrested in December 2016 by soldiers of the Presidential guard, he was reportedly tortured and then summarily tried, despite a fragile medical condition as a result of ill-treatment in detention.

The Inter-Parliamentary-Union (IPU) welcomed the Presidential pardon in the case of Mr. Diongo.

In the Philippines, the world Parliamentary body remains concerned that for more than two years after her arrest, Senator Leila de Lima is still in detention despite the absence of any corroborating evidence to justify the charges against her.

As IPU calls for her immediate release by the Philippines authorities and for legal proceedings against her to be dropped, failing that, the IPU calls for an IPU trial observer to be allowed to monitor the legality and fairness of any trial proceedings.

The IPU has decided to close all but one of the cases of the Maldivian MPs that had been brought to the attention of the committee on Human Rights of Parliamentarians.

At the beginning of the year, the IPU had closed the case of 44 MPs that had been satisfactorily resolved, leaving seven members of Parliament who had been allegedly been subjected to arbitrary arrest, detained and legal proceedings started at the time when they were in opposition.