UN expert recommends study on a UN Parliamentary Assembly, Egypt voices support

16. september 2013

UN's Independent Expert on a Democratic and Equitable International Order presents progress report in Geneva

The UN's Independent Expert on "the promotion of an equitable and democratic international order," Alfred de Zayas, recommends that the UN's Human Rights Council should conduct a study on how a World Parliamentary Assembly "may advance genuine participation." The study should be assigned to the Council's Advisory Committee, Mr. de Zayas said.

The UN's independent expert Alfred de Zayas

Mr. de Zayas made the recommendation during a September 10 presentation in Geneva of a progress report on his activities as an independent expert, part of 24th session of the Human Rights Council. The legal scholar and former UN official noted in his statement that "participation in international decision-making is still far from equal or even equitable. Indeed, the United Nations Security Council is not democratic, nor are the Bretton Woods institutions."

According to Mr. de Zayas, a world parliamentary body that would give civil society a voice at the UN through more direct representation is "a promising initiative worth exploring in future reports." In his written report he elaborates more on the proposal and states that the idea of a world parliamentary assembly "is to address democracy deficits by giving expression to global public opinion and including citizens in global decision-making through elected officials." He concludes that global decisions would have greater legitimacy through citizen input and involvement, if the General Assembly represented people as well as states.

Egypt views proposal of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly "positively"

During the debate, the representative of Egypt emphasized that his country views "in positive regard the reference to the proposed United Nations Parliamentary Assembly as one instrument of involving the global public opinion in the global decision-making process." He said that Egypt welcomed "the important findings the independent expert included in his report regarding good practices aimed at enhancing and promoting a democratic and equitable international order."

In a first reaction, the Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, an international network of legislators, civil society representatives and experts, said that a study conducted by the Human Rights Council's Advisory Committee on the subject of a UN Parliamentary Assembly would be an important step forward. "This would be the first time that a UN body actually considers the matter in detail. We very much applaud this suggestion," said Andreas Bummel, the campaign's Secretary-General. "We urge the members of the Human Rights Council to follow this recommendation of its independent expert," he added.

Read more

6 August 2013: Report to the Human Rights Council elaborates on the idea of a World Parliamentary Assembly

17 May 2013: New world citizens' assembly should be part of post-2015 agenda, campaign suggests

03 November 2012: UN's Independent Expert to examine proposals for a UN Parliamentary Assembly

Top image: 24th session of the Human Rights Council, UN Photo, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0