The General Senate of the States – 12 plus convenes under the Dutch Presidency

Two meetings were held on 17 and 21 May 2021 under the Dutch leadership of the 12 Plus Group IPU. Both meetings were in preparation for 142You Session of the IPU Assembly from 24-27 May 2021. On behalf of the Dutch Committee in the Interim Union, members of the Upper House participated in the Jupiter Atsma (CDA), Pauliangirding (VVD) and from the lower house Agnes Mulder (CDA). Senator Arta Gerkens (SP), chairman of the 12-plus group, chaired both meetings. Meetings were organized by the House of Representatives via video link with international participants from about 40 countries.

Chinese sanctions against members of parliament

At the request of the British delegation, the sanctions imposed by China on the 12-plus group of MPs from several countries were discussed. This happened in the spring after they talked about the Uyghur people in Xinjiang. It was decided that during the IPU session, Jர்கrgensen would issue a statement on behalf of the panel and submit the matter to the IPU Board. Gerkens: “Members of parliament around the world can speak without fear in our own parliaments, but also within the IPU.”

Conference on Human Rights

The Portuguese delegation proposed to dedicate a conference to the promotion of human rights worldwide. It has been agreed that Portugal will host such a conference once the physical consultation is over again. The delegation also expressed concern over the current situation in Myanmar following the coup last February. Gergans will issue a statement on behalf of the panel in the IPU consultation. “We call for the immediate release of all prisoners and an end to all forms of repression against the people of Myanmar. Democracy and human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law must be upheld,” Gerkens said.

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12 plus working groups

Chairman Gerkens suggested setting up working groups on specific subjects. Jrgens: “Now that online meetings have become more common, we can meet more often to exchange knowledge or work together, for example in the field of climate.” A task force has begun to coordinate efforts to re-integrate the United States into the IPU. A previously adopted amendment to the 12-plus rules was also discussed. The amendment provides that members may also be suspended if democratic principles are violated. Turkey had asked questions about the practice surrounding dealing with this. At that time the committee considered the procedure to be correct. Finally, developments in the field of human rights and democracy in countries such as Ukraine, Greece and Turkey were discussed.

12 plus in IPU

The 12 Plus Group is a geopolitical group of 47 Western countries, including Canada, European countries, Turkey, Israel, New Zealand and Australia. Within this group, positions on IPU systems are divided and IPU issues are discussed. The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is a global body of which 179 are currently Members of Parliament. Each year, the IPU hosts two conferences where members of parliament discuss peace, democracy, the human rights of parliamentarians, and sustainable development.

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