On behalf of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the Deputy Prime Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa inaugurated the 146th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly and related meetings being held for the first time in Bahrain.
This year’s theme is "Promoting peaceful coexistence and inclusive societies: Fighting intolerance", the IPU Assembly and related meetings is taking place from March 11th to March 15th 2023.
The IPU President Duarte Pacheco, IPU Secretary-General Martin Chungong, Secretary, Speaker of the Council of Representatives Ahmed bin Salman Al Musallam and Chairman of the Shura Council Ali bin Saleh Al Saleh are all participating in the event, which is being held at the World Exhibition Bahrain.
On this occasion, Shaikh Khalid expressed his gratitude to HM the King for patronising the event and reaffirming Bahrain’s commitment to join efforts and improve global security, stability and peace.
The Deputy Prime Minister noted Bahrain’s history in laying democratic systems that today reflect crucial pillars of the Kingdom’s comprehensive development, led by HM the King and supported by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince and Prime Minister.
Noting, this global meeting of minds as a reflection of the Kingdom winning the confidence of the international community to host diplomatic events such as the Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly and related meetings.
On behalf of HM the King, Shaikh Khalid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa delivered HM the King’s address and announced the opening of the IPU 146th Assembly and its related meetings.
The following is a translation of HM the King’s address:
"In the name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful
Your Excellency Duarte Pacheco, President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union
Your Excellency Martin Chungong, Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union
Your Excellency the Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations
Your Excellency Ahmed bin Salman Al Musallam,
Speaker of the Council of Representatives
Your Excellency Ali bin Saleh Al Saleh,
Chairman of the Shura Council
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Peace and God’s mercy and blessings be upon you
It is with great pleasure that we welcome you today on the occasion of the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s 146th Assembly and its related meetings.
We wish you a pleasant stay in the Kingdom of Bahrain, the country of tolerance and the meeting point for religious, cultural and civilizational harmony and coexistence.
We are also pleased that the 146th Assembly General Debate will focus on the overall theme of "Promoting peaceful coexistence and inclusive societies: Fighting intolerance" as it reflects our common goals in establishing values of tolerance and peace, rejecting division and hatred, and consolidating human solidarity, as basic pillars for enhancing security, stability, prosperity and sustainable development.
We affirm our pride in your trust in choosing the Kingdom of Bahrain to host the largest and most prestigious international parliamentary assembly and related meetings.
We wish you every success during the international parliamentary assembly and hope the meeting reflects the will of the peoples of the world and their aspirations to live in a secure, stable and peaceful society.
Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests
Your assembly and related meetings are being held during exceptional circumstances. The world is currently affected by waves of hatred, enmity, war and natural disasters. The exacerbation of extremism, terrorism, and other challenges continue to impact the present and threaten future generations.
Such challenges impose on all of us, leaders, governments, and parliaments, far greater responsibilities in achieving a more just, equitable, and cohesive political, and economic system that is underpinned by the foundations of friendship, mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and international partnership, as we work together to maintain international peace and security, as well as advance the principles of the United Nations Charter and international laws.
Here, the significance of parliamentary diplomacy under the Inter-Parliamentary Union in raising awareness of current issues and challenges is highlighted.
Parliamentary diplomacy should encourage cooperation and the exchange of experiences among national parliaments. It should also strengthen the parliament’s oversight and developmental role in urging governments to develop and implement more effective measures and procedures in the interest of human security and prosperity.
In this regard, we look forward to joint action on two levels.
The first level is the consolidation of justice and the rule of law, adherence to the principles of responsible parliamentary action, and the protection of human rights, freedoms and dignity in accordance with modern legislation, consistent with international human rights conventions.
The second level is adopting foreign policies that respect the sovereignty of the state and its cultural and civilizational specificities, unity and territorial integrity, without tutelage or external interference.
The diplomacy should be keen to settle disputes through diplomatic means, and revive opportunities for just, comprehensive and lasting peace in all parts of the world.
It should also consolidate the values of human solidarity and dialogue among civilizations, religions and cultures, as well as cooperation in combating extremism and terrorism, and preventing the dangers of weapons of mass destruction.
The Kingdom of Bahrain, while appreciating the opportunity to host this global parliamentary forum, affirms its pride in its civilized approach to coexistence, the rule of law, respect for human rights, and cultural and religious diversity.
These have been essential pillars since the national consensus on the adoption of the National Action Charter, and the consolidation of the state of law and constitutional institutions.
In this regard, we are proud of the success of our bicameral Parliament, with its Shura Council and Council of Representatives. For over six legislative terms and more than two decades have been a prime example of our vibrant development process and reflected the will of our citizens.
This is particularly evident in the success of the parliamentary elections in November with a popular turnout of more than 73 percent and the continuation by the Parliament of its legislative and monitoring duties as per the separation of powers and cooperation stipulated throughout the Kingdom’s Constitution.
Thanks to constructive cooperation and effective partnership between the legislative and executive branches, we have been able to enact advanced legislation that strengthened respect for human rights and political, civil, economic, social and cultural freedoms in the presence of a judiciary and fully independent human rights and civil institutions.
While we affirm our determination to continue our democratic and human rights achievements, we do reiterate our full commitment to peace as a strategic choice and an imperative necessity to achieve security, prosperity, comprehensive development, and the protection of rights and freedoms, in accordance with religious and historical values, well-established constitutional principles, and sustainable legislation and policies.
These are clearly reflected in the "Declaration of the Kingdom of Bahrain", the initiatives of the King Hamad Global Center for Peaceful Coexistence, the signing of the "Declaration in Support of Peace" agreement, and diplomatic and parliamentary initiatives that have affirmed our permanent commitment to advancing the values of peace and tolerance, and promoting harmony among all peoples of different religions, cultures and civilizations.
With hope and anticipation, we look forward to your Assembly and related meetings in Bahrain reaching a consensus on decisions that enhance the spirit of tolerance and peaceful coexistence, deepen international partnerships in achieving security and peace, ending wars and crises, supporting sustainable development goals through just solutions to environmental issues and climate change, securing energy supplies, economic cooperation in ensuring water and food security, facilitating trade exchange, and investing in renewable energy projects for digital transformation and future sciences.
In order to address current global challenges, we also need to encourage international humanitarian action in assisting the developing countries by providing relief to millions of afflicted refugees, displaced persons, victims of wars, disasters and epidemics, optimizing the use of financial resources for developmental purposes, putting an end to conflicts and preventing the waste of wealth.
In line with the theme of the 146th Assembly, we reiterate our call to the international community to enhance legislative and technical cooperation in approving an international agreement to criminalize religious, sectarian and racist hate speech in all its forms, and to prevent the abuse of media and digital freedoms and platforms to disrespect religions or incite fanaticism, extremism and terrorism.
We also call for collective action to spread a culture peace, understanding and acceptance of others, strengthen the bonds of fraternity and friendship among nations, and integrate and disseminate these values in educational curricula and religious, cultural and sports activities, guided by the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the call of all religions for tolerance and love.
Once more, we extend our welcome to your second home, the Kingdom of Bahrain, and we hope that your meetings here will present an opportunity to learn more closely about the reality of our country, its developmental achievements as well as it’s religious and cultural coexistence.
We wish you success in ensuring security, peace, tolerance and prosperity to the world.
Thank you and peace and God’s mercy and blessings be upon you."