Ilyas Umakhanov: Discussion of the principal documents of the 137th IPU Assembly was productive and showed the participants’ involvement

Several documents were adopted at the International Parliamentary Forum in St. Petersburg

The 137th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly adopted a resolution on “Sharing our Diversity: The 20th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Democracy„. Ilyas Umakhanov, Deputy Chairperson of the Council of the Federation, acted as a co-rapporteur on the resolution initiated a year ago by the Russian delegation.

“The people of every county have the right to their own understanding of democracy, taking into account the diversity of historical, cultural, national and religious specifics, if that does not contravene universally recognized principles and legal standards„, the Deputy Chairperson of the Council of the Federation stressed.

The document confirms that democracy is a universal value and not the property of a particular country or region and, being a system of state governance, democracy promotes realization of human potential, eradication of poverty, development of open and peaceful societies and improvement of relations between nations.

The resolution stresses the central role of parliaments in democracy and the need for representative, transparent, accessible, accountable and effective institutions at all levels.

Speaking at the final session of the Assembly, Ilyas Umakhanov noted the continuing relevance of the Universal Declaration on Democracy adopted 20 years ago in Cairo. The “Sharing our Diversity: The 20th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Democracy„ resolution in no way revises or replaces that document, the Russian senator emphasized.

The Deputy Chairperson of the Council of the Federation drew attention to the fact that MPs believed that, today, new challenges to the basic principles of democratic societies are linked to terrorism and violent extremism, to using the Internet to fuel animosity and hatred, and to gross breaches of international law.

Ilyas Umakhanov stressed that discussion of the resolution at the 137th IPU Assembly was never confrontational. “It was a productive dialogue that showed the participants’ involvement, a dialogue in the spirit of the parliamentary culture President Putin spoke about at the Opening Ceremony of the Assembly. The consensus on the basic conceptual stipulations was present from the outset„, he added.

While discussing the “Sharing our Diversity: The 20th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Democracy„ resolution, the Assembly considered the initiative proposed by the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of the States – CIS members (IPU CIS) to declare 30 June International Parliamentarism Day in honour of the first IPU session held in 1889. “An International Parliamentarism Day will attract the international community’s attention to the important role parliamentarians play in ensuring peace, stability and economic growth, and promote the positive image of parliamentarism as the basic democratic tradition„, Ilyas Umakhanov noted. He also said that the IPU’s initiative would be submitted to the UN.

According to Umakhanov, the discussion of the 137th Assembly’s general subject “Promoting cultural pluralism and peace through inter-faith and inter-ethnic dialogue,„ was also highly productive. “Everyone interested was able to speak on the topic. Various points of view were proposed, sometimes diametrically opposite ones. The discussion went on at all the Forum’s venues and it resulted in the Final Declaration„, the Senator said. He expressed his confidence that the declaration would be studied in detail in the parliaments of all 176 member countries of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and at the 12 inter-parliamentary organizations – IPU’s associate members.

Ilyas Umakhanov drew attention to the fact that the Assembly’s Final Document features, as a separate article, the initiative put forward by Valentina Matvienko, Chairperson of the Council of the Federation, on holding a world conference on the interfaith and inter-ethnic dialogue, which could be organized together with the UN and with participation by heads of state, speakers of parliament and leaders of world religions.

Today, a resolution was also adopted on an emergency item of the IPU Assembly’s agenda “Stop atrocities and forced displacement of Rohingyas and ensure their return to their homeland in the Rakhine State of Myanmar immediately and unconditionally.„

The world’s MPs expressed serious concerns about reports of victims among innocent civilians in the Rakhine State of Myanmar, of a massive exodus of refugees, and of a looming threat of a humanitarian crisis; they also called for the speediest possible resolution of the situation.