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UN HRC Expert calls for Parliamentary Assembly

The UN Human Rights Council’s Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, Alfred de Zayas, presented his seventh and final report at the HRC’s 37th session taking place this month in Geneva.

The report surveys highlights from his previous reports to the Council and UN General Assembly. Among the many issues he highlights is the need for the international community to create a World Parliamentary Assembly. “The idea is to address democracy deficits by giving expression to global public opinion and including citizens in global decision-making, through elected officials,”

The need for a global parliamentary assembly was first proposed by de Zayas in 2013 when he called for an international conference to begin work on the idea. In 2016 de Zayas was joined by five other UN Independent Experts who all endorsed the call for the creation of a UN Parliamentary Assembly.

Other topics covered in de Zayas’s final report include strengthening democracy, the right of self-determination, the social responsibility of business corporations, bilateral investment treaties, free trade agreements, military expenditures, tax evasion, reform of the United Nations system and the obligations of intergovernmental organizations.

The proposal for a UN Parliamentary Assembly is supported globally by over 1,500 current and former members of parliament. A prime supporter quoted in Mr. de Zayas’ final report is former UN Secretary-General, the late Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

WFM – Canada is the Canadian organizational member of the international Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly. After a campaign by a group of WFMC volunteers in January and February of this year, the number of members of Canada’s current parliament supporting establishment of a UNPA stands at 55.

The UN Human Rights Council is to name a replacement for Prof. de Zayas as Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order before the conclusion of the Council’s current session.

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