28-06-2018

PAM stands to support, promote and advocate for the respect of human rights in the Euro-Mediterranean region

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) hosted on 21-22 June a high-level meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean, in parallel to the works of the 38th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
 
Senior officials of the OHCHR, from HQ and the field, in the course of a unique gathering, updated PAM delegates on the current status of the implementation of the fundamental instruments and mechanisms relevant to Human Rights in the region under the mandate of PAM, and portrayed an unprecedented situation where the critical role of parliamentarians is called upon to assert the obligation of all States towards their respect.
 
Debates focused on the present status of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) for PAM Member States, the specific situation in Tunisia, Libya and Syria, the trends in the European Union, as well as the current stage of negotiations for the adoption of the UN Global Compact on Migration and Refugees.
Individual sessions dealt with counter-terrorism, mass displacement of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, freedom of expression, preventing and countering violent extremism, freedom of religion in connection with blasphemy and apostasy, individual and collective rights, respect of the rule of law, and the special procedures related to Mandate Holders and Rapporteurs.
 
Over 40 delegates representing PAM national Parliaments, the European Parliament, observer NGOs and international experts had the opportunity to confront on real cases and were able to define a roadmap for a detailed structured cooperation and partnership between PAM and OHCHR aimed at addressing, as a matter of urgency, the growing number of challenges to the correct and unimpeded application of Human Rights instruments under threat due to the current climate of political, security and socio-economic uncertainty prevailing in the region, and the national agendas associated to them.
 
The measures agreed as pillars of this exceptional partnership build on dedicated study tours for newly elected PAM MPs, specific hearings in connection with the various cycles of national UPR, including follow-up on the recommendations addressed by the High Commissioner to the individual countries, advocacy campaigns in relation to thematic and/or country reports, as well as strengthened interaction among PAM, civil society and OHCHR. 
 
As an immediate target, PAM committed to operate as a catalyst in the Euro-Mediterranean region to promote and adopt, independently from other entities, the “Principles on Parliaments and human rights”, as recommended in the annex to the report A/HRC/38/25 , presented by OHCHR to the 38th HRC Session, which specifically requests national and regional parliaments to fully assume their responsibility in this regard.//
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