United Nations parliament promoted at the Swedish Forum for Human Rights

16. November 2012

Seminar on "The right to have influence in a global society" features proposal for a UN Parliamentary Assembly

The international Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly was present at the annual Swedish Forum for Human Rights that was held in the city of Gothenburg on Monday and Tuesday this week. On Monday, Christer Winbäck, a member of the Swedish parliament and a supporter of the campaign, and the campaign's national coordinator in Sweden, Petter Ölmunger, held a well-attended seminar on "The right to have influence in a global society."

During the seminar, Mr Winbäck, a member of the national parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs,

Supporters at the campaign's information desk during the Swedish Forum for Human Rights. At the left, Petter Ölmunger, the national coordinator

explained that a big advantage of the United Nations is that almost all countries are members and that the organization is highly respected in almost all of them. However, he said, "what we miss in the UN is parliamentary participation, the democratic character." This could be achieved with the establishment of a parliamentary assembly. "I'm convinced", Mr Winbäck stated, "that with a more democratic UN, which we would have with this parliamentary assembly, we would get a much more transparent and a much more legitimate organization."

As fundamental reforms of the UN are very hard to achieve, a first step could be to establish the new assembly as an advisory body: "If we want to, it's totally possible to create such an assembly within the UN. The existing provisions allow the UN General Assembly to do so," Mr Winbäck told the audience of around 80 people. Answering the question whether such a democratization of the UN could inspire democratic development also at the national level, Mr Winbäck said that he thinks it would, both through the inter-parliamentary exchange that a UN Parliamentary Assembly would enhance, and also because the UN itself would then be more of "a good example" in this regard.

In addition to the seminar, supporters of a UN Parliamentary Assembly used the Swedish Forum for Human Rights as an opportunity to come together and to discuss and promote the proposal and the underlying vision of strengthening the voice of humanity in international affairs. Among those who were there was former Swedish parliamentarian and vice-chair of the Left Party, Johan Lönnroth, who has written about the need of global democracy in his book "Den tredje vänstern" ("The third Left").

Petter Ölmunger, who coordinates the activities of the campaign in Sweden, evaluated the participation in the Swedish Forum of Human Right afterwards: "We had a very good seminar, many valuable talks and meetings and, not the least, lots of fun! Also, it felt perfectly right for us to, through our participation, help highlight the connection between human rights and democracy. If human rights are global, then democracy needs to be global too."

A newly created Swedish flyer was distributed during the forum and "was a big help in marketing the campaign," Mr Ölmunger said.

Photo gallery
Swedish flyer (PDF)
Video recording of seminar

Top image: Christer Winbäck (left) and Petter Ölmunger (right) during the seminar. Photo: CEUNPA

Tags: Sweden