Proposal for a World Parliamentary Assembly presented at Future of Human Rights Forum

20. december 2013

New Parliamentary Assembly would establish its own Human Rights Committee, monitor violations, propose remedies and offer advisory services and technical assistance, experts suggest

The proposal for a World Parliamentary Assembly was presented at a panel on new international structures held at the Future of Human Rights Forum in Geneva on 10 December 2013, the 65th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The representative of the international Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly, Andreas Bummel, who introduced the proposal, stressed that by contrast to all major UN bodies, including the Human Rights Council,

Panel on new international structures at the Future of Human Rights Forum

such a new assembly would be composed of elected representatives and not career diplomats. According to Mr. Bummel, a World Parliamentary Assembly would set up its own parliamentary Human Rights Committee to monitor compliance with human rights and to inquire into specific situations. "The dynamics in such a parliamentary human rights committee would be completely different from what we experience at the Human Rights Council," the expert expects. This government-independent structure would complement existing UN bodies and could help "to boost human rights worldwide."

It was pointed out that the overall purpose of the new assembly would be to give a voice to "the world's citizens." "For the first time in human history there would be a political body to represent humanity as a whole," Mr. Bummel said, stressing that the UN was an organization of member states.

The UN's Independent Expert on democratization, Alfred de Zayas, who moderated the panel on new international structures, said that the creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly is aimed "at empowering world citizens and at giving them direct participation in the political decisions that affect them. Democracy lives from consultation and participation and UN Parliamentary Assembly can meaningfully advance this goal."

In the opening speech of the conference Jan Martenson, former Under-Secretary of the United Nations for Human Rights and former Director-General at the UN Office in Geneva, stressed that the idea of a world parliament was already endorsed in the late 18th century and although it has been a "hot potato" for long, the time for such ideas had come.

The conference chair John Pace, a former high official at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and organizer of the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna in 1993, pointed out that the proposal for a World Parliamentary Assembly and its potential to strengthen human rights worldwide deserved serious consideration. The President of the Future of Human Rights Forum, Eric Sottas, stressed that the forum would pursue the subject further.

Other projects discussed at the conference which was attended by around 250 participants included the establishment of a World Court on Human Rights, the elaboration of an International Bill of Rights which would encompass all existing treaties since the universal declaration, the eradicating Ecocide initiative, and achieving a world without torture.

Website of the Future of Human Rights Forum