Two meetings took place on 17 and 21 May 2021 under the leadership of the Netherlands of the Inter-Parliamentary Union 12 Plus Group. Both meetings were in preparation for 142You are The IPU Assembly session from 24 to 27 May 2021. Senators Job Asma (CDA), PaulienGeerdink (VVD) and Agnes Mulder (CDA) from the House of Representatives participated on behalf of the Dutch group in the IPU. Both meetings were chaired by Senator Arda Gerkens (SP), chair of 12 Plus. The House of Representatives organized the meetings by videoconference with international participants from nearly 40 countries.
Chinese sanctions against parliamentarians
At the request of the British delegation, the sanctions imposed by China on the deputies of several countries of the Group of 12 Plus were discussed. This happened in the spring after they had talked about the Uyghur people in Xinjiang. It was decided that Gerkens would make a statement on behalf of the group during the IPU session and would also present the matter to the union’s governing body. Jerkins: “Parliamentarians around the world should be able to speak without fear, in our parliaments, but also within the Inter-Parliamentary Union.”
Human Rights Conference
The Portuguese delegation proposed to devote a conference to the promotion of human rights around the world. It was agreed that as soon as it became possible to have a physical consultation again, Portugal would organize such a conference. The delegation also expressed its concern about the current situation in Myanmar in the aftermath of the coup last February. Gerkens will make a statement on behalf of the group at the IPU consultation. “We call for the immediate release of all prisoners and an end to all repressive measures against the people of Myanmar. Democratic institutions must be upheld, human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law must be respected.”
12 additional working groups
President Jerkins suggested forming working groups on specific topics. Gerkens: “Now that online meetings are so popular, we can meet more often and faster to share knowledge or to work together, for example in the climate field.” A working group has since begun coordinating initiatives to return the United States to the Inter-Parliamentary Union. A previously approved amendment to 12 Plus regulations has also been discussed. This amendment stipulates that members can also be suspended from membership in the event that democratic principles are violated. Turkey had asked questions about procedures for dealing with this matter. The group considered the procedure to be correct at the time. Finally, developments in the field of human rights and democracy in countries such as Ukraine, Greece and Turkey were discussed.
12 Plus in the Inter-Parliamentary Union
12 Plus Group is a geopolitical group of 47 western countries, including Canada, European countries, Turkey, Israel, New Zealand and Australia. Within this group, positions in the bodies of the Inter-Parliamentary Union are divided and Union matters are discussed. The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is a global organization with currently 179 members of Parliament. Every year the IPU organizes two conferences in which members of parliament meet to discuss peace, democracy, human rights for parliamentarians and sustainable development.
Read more about 12 Plus and the IPU here.
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