The 146th General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, which was hosted by the Kingdom of Bahrain from 11 to 15 March, concluded this evening.
The global event was hosted in the presence of more than 1,700 parliamentary figures representing about 143 parliaments, as well as parliamentary organizations and unions.
Chaired by Council of Representatives Speaker, IPU 146th Assembly Chairman, Ahmed bin Salman Al Musallam, the 146th IPU Assembly issued the final statement -"Manama Declaration" - affirming parliaments' commitment to enacting laws criminalizing hatred and violence and establishing constructive dialogue with parliamentarians of all beliefs.
“We, members of Parliament from around the world, gathered at the 146th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain, are acutely aware of the dangers that hatred, intolerance, exclusion and violence in all its forms pose to the foundations of democracy and the social contract that binds our societies”.
“Plagued by greed and competition, our world faces social and economic inequalities on an unprecedented scale and worsening economic insecurity that leads to the disintegration of communities, leaving increasing numbers of people socially isolated, self-reliant and often without adequate access to public services and social safety nets”.
“Inequality and economic insecurity can fuel anger and frustration in communities everywhere. The inherent dignity of every human being can be undermined by factors such as poverty, denial of inalienable economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights, violations of the rule of law, discrimination against women, lack of youth inclusion, and the de facto exclusion from politics of the most vulnerable and marginalized”.
“Xenophobia, racism, intolerance, negative stereotyping, stigma, discrimination, and extremist narratives are all expressions of this deep malaise in our societies. It manifests itself in hate speech or explicit violence in various forms against immigrants, persons with disabilities and marginalized national, ethnic, religious, linguistic or other groups that are perceived as a threat to the established order”.
“It can also be expressed in the desecration of religious sites and symbols, actions that are deeply offensive to people of faith. However, we recognize diversity within our communities as a source of enrichment, and we reaffirm the fundamental rights and freedoms of all peoples, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”, said the final statement.
“Unfortunately, some in positions of power in society seek to exploit the weaknesses of others, and to sow hatred and division as a means to advance their own interests. Digital platforms designed to facilitate social interaction and communication are being misused to target, amplify and spread misinformation and bad faith against others.
“The ease with which some speak in complete disregard for the truth carries profound dangers to democracy, and most disturbingly, their words can be a direct cause of violence and intolerance within communities and between nations.”
“We can address these challenges by encouraging collaborative networks that foster dialogue and joint ventures in community service, creating channels for conflict prevention and mediation, promoting moderation, advancing education and building awareness, and by encouraging community and religious leaders to contribute to these goals”.
“We commit to speaking out against intolerance and especially any advocacy of hatred that constitutes discrimination, hostility or violence, and we will also help resolve the conflict through the exercise of parliamentary diplomacy”.
“We consider it our unique responsibility, as parliamentarians, to speak and act responsibly towards all people, especially those who disagree with us, in ways that bring people together in pursuit of the common good”.
“We affirm that societies that are inclusive and just, and in which rights are respected, are more likely to be cohesive, peaceful and democratic”.
“We pledge to combat inequality through rights-based economic and social policies that put people before profits and the weak before the powerful, and uphold equality and dignity for every person”.
“We reaffirm the urgent need to implement the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 – leaving no one behind – as our best hope for peace, democracy and sustainable development for all.”
"We pledge to take this Declaration forward through concrete actions and in accordance with the core values of the IPU as articulated in its current strategy.", the final statement concludes.