MPs have stake in upholding peace, democracy: Gurirab

22 Mar 2014 14:40pm
WINDHOEK, 22 MAR (NAMPA) – The Speaker of the National Assembly (NA) says the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), as the focal point for world-wide parliamentary dialogue, is the ideal platform for parliaments to pledge renewed commitment to peace and democracy.
Dr Theo-Ben Gurirab made the statement at the 130th IPU Assembly held in Geneva, Switzerland from 16 March to 20 March 2014.
The assembly was held under the theme ‘Renewing Parliaments’ commitment to peace and democracy’.
The event brought together more than 700 parliamentarians from 147 countries, including 48 Speakers of Parliaments, and 215 women Members of Parliament (MPs).
Gurirab was quoted as saying in a statement availed to Nampa here on Friday that regardless of previous efforts, they continue to witness new conflicts and threats to democratic governance.
“It is very disconcerting to know that an estimated 1.5 billion people live in countries affected by violent conflict.
“What is equally alarming is that conflict-affected countries remain furthest away from achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and conflicts destroy lives and livelihoods, especially women and people in vulnerable situations,” the Speaker said.
He noted that peace, democracy and human rights are co-existent features of good governance and there cannot be one without the other.
Gurirab said in an increasingly volatile world, parliamentarians, as proponents of the democratic peace theory, have a growing stake in upholding peace, democracy and promoting respect for human rights and fundamental freedom.
He added that parliaments, as institutions accountable to the citizens, should be more inclined to empower diplomatic institutions responsible for resolving local and international tensions, and also continue to make concerted efforts to complement the role of the United Nations to maintain international peace and security.
“The IPU strives to steer the importance of inclusive political systems and justice. Without justice and equity, human rights, democracy, and other aspects of good governance, there will never be cohesive nation building and development,” the Speaker said.
Gurirab led a five member delegation of Namibian MPs - Margaret Mensah-Williams, Heiko Lucks, Maureen Jankowski, Teopolina Mushelenga, Barakias Namwandi and Bernadinus Shekutamba.
Meanwhile, the women parliamentarians in attendance unanimously elected Mensah-Williams as President of the Coordinating Committee of Women Parliamentarians for a two-year term.
Mensah-Williams also served the IPU in various capacities, including as Member of the IPU Executive Committee from 2007 to 2010, Vice-President of the IPU from 2008 to 2010, and Vice-President of the IPU Coordinating Committee of Women Parliamentarians from 2010 to 2011.