Speaker addresses legislators in Serbia during the 141st IPU Assembly

The 141St Inter-Parliamentary Union (‘IPU’) Assembly took place in Belgrade, Serbia from 13 to 17 October 2019, with renewed focus towards strengthening mechanisms geared at enhancing international co-operation and collaboration, in the wake of increased violations towards international treaties and covenants.

Serbian President, Mr Aleksandra Vučić, opened the Global summit of legislators.

Speaker of the Parliament of Fiji, Sir Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, addressed over 1,750 delegates of the Assembly on the second day of the meeting and called on Parliaments to strive to pass relevant national and regional laws that align to international laws and treaties in order to find lasting solutions to emerging threats from violations to global treaties.

“It is incumbent on us to engage in decision-making for our nations on whether to assume binding international obligations and the implementation mechanisms that can be undertaken”, Sir Ratu Epeli said.

Sir Ratu Epeli further highlighted Fiji’s contribution to peacekeeping missions globally and that Fiji would continue to commit to peacekeeping operations globally.

“For Fiji, we believe that the right of peace should be enjoyed by all of humanity. That is why we have given 40 years of service and sacrifice, to this cause for international cooperation, peace and security and we stand ready, to play our part in this critical global effort. Fiji has always, willingly, answered the call for global peacekeepers and peacekeeping deployments.”

“Fiji is a small country, but we are more than willing to do our part to protect the innocent, shield the vulnerable and uphold the basic human rights of all peoples. This is connected to our national sentiment and to the wider universal values that Fiji seeks to promote globally.”

The week-long Assembly was attended by more than 1,700 Presiding Officers, MPs, UN representatives and civil society representatives. In addition to discussing international collaboration and adherence to the tenets of international law, the delegates were in discussion to further review latest developments to improve gender equality, empower young people, defend MPs’ human rights, and achieve universal health coverage.

Of the MPs in attendance, about 30 per cent were women and 17 per cent were young MPs under 45 years, according to a dispatch from the IPU.  At the same time, the global Parliamentary body celebrated 130 years since its existence.  The IPU body used the opportunity to reflect on the past achievements and challenges as it charts its future.

The Fiji delegation comprised of the Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources, Hon. Ashneel Sudhakar, Opposition MP Hon. Salote Radrodro and senior secretariat staff. The Members attended various Standing Committees and side events in addition to the General debate.

Meanwhile, the Republic of Rwanda is set to host the 143rd IPU in Kigali, Rwanda in October 2020.   Speaker of the Rwanda Chamber of Deputies, the Rt. Hon Donatile Mukabalisa took the opportunity to invite all delegates to Kigali, Rwanda, for the occasion.  His Excellency, Sir Ratu Epeli Nailatikau also met with the President of the Serbian National Assembly, the Chair of the UN Committee on CEDAW and attended the Small Island Developing States Meeting.