ACTA confirms "need of an elected global parliament", says Committee

4. February 2012

Treaty could become "dangerous precedent for undemocratic global rule-making"

The Committee for a Democratic United Nations (KDUN), a non-governmental think tank based in Berlin, Germany, says that the "shockingly intransparent and undemocratic" international negotiations for an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement ACTA confirm the urgent need "for a global watchdog that is elected by the world's citizens." According to the Committee that adovcates democratization of global governance, "there was no meaningful public consultation, no involvement of

ACTA is a "masquerade", says Kader Arif, MEP (picture: May 2011)
Image: S&D Group in the EP

parliaments or elected representatives, the drafts were only published very late and after strong public protests, and on top of that governments did invite global corporate lobbyists to provide feedback, giving them, and not the public and their elected representatives, an opportunity to influence the treaty’s regulations according to their wishes." According to the Committee's chairman, Andreas Bummel, "ACTA is an example for secret diplomacy, something that should belong into the history books" and its ratification "should be rejected."

"We strongly oppose this attempt to establish a precedent for undemocratic and intransparent global rule-making. By ratifying this treaty, parliaments would rubber-stamp the scandalous negotiation process and thus approve of their own complete disempowerment. It has to be made clear that so-called plurilateral negotiations that are conducted in this manner are unacceptable and will not succeed. For this reason alone, parliaments should reject the treaty," said Mr. Bummel.

KDUN argues that the power of corporate lobbyists and secretive intergovernmental negotiations should be counterbalanced by an elected global parliament. "ACTA is a most fitting example that illustrates the democratic vaccuum at the global level. International agreements no longer only deal with foreign policy issues. They can deeply interfere into people's lives. For this reason, civil society and, above all, elected parliaments need to be involved from the beginning. It is no longer sufficient to present parliaments with finished and signed treaties."

KDUN acts as Secretariat of the international Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly that is supported by legislators and civil society groups from over 100 countries. A United Nations Parliamentary Assembly is conceived as a first pragmatic step towards a world parliament. At the most recent international meeting in the Senate of Argentina, the campaign declared that "those who are to be affected by a decision should have a chance to take part in it. As important decisions taken at the global level today affect all human beings, we recognize the need to democratize global governance."

Recently, the European Parliament's rapporteur on ACTA, Kader Arif from France, a supporter of the campaign, resigned from this position, condemning "the whole process which led to the signature of this agreement."

Avaaz, a global citizen’s movement, is collecting online signatures to call on the European Parliament to not ratify ACTA. After strong public protests, the ratification process of ACTA was stopped in Poland yesterday. According to Reporters without Borders, ACTA would restrict the freedom of expression on the internet.

See also previous reports:

12 November 2009: Committee: Intransparency of negotiations on ACTA confirms need of global parliamentary body

Top image: "Stop ACTA" protests in Poland, 25 January 2012, by olo81 (Flickr), CC BY 2.0