The Inter-Parliamentary Union’s (IPU) Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians condemns the exclusion and repression of opposition MPs in the lead-up to critical elections in Cambodia and Venezuela, and the pattern of intimidation against opposition parties worldwide.
The IPU Committee, at a recent meeting, adopted decisions on 18 cases of violations against 252 MPs in 14 countries. A majority of these cases concerned opposition MPs.
In Venezuela, the Committee expressed increased concern about the ongoing repression of opposition members, and continued efforts to undermine the integrity and autonomy of the National Assembly of Venezuela. It fears that this repression will get worse in the run-up to the spring 2018 presidential election and given the concern about the free and fairness of the vote.
The Committee urged the Venezuelan authorities to put an immediate stop to the harassment of and attacks against opposition parliamentarians, and to take effective action to hold to account those responsible for past abuses.
The IPU Committee also reiterated its longstanding request for an IPU-led human rights mission to Venezuela, declaring that such a mission could help alleviate the worsening situation.
In Cambodia, the IPU human rights body renewed calls for the global parliamentary community to address the deteriorating conditions of opposition MPs.
In November 2017, Cambodia’s Supreme Court dissolved the main opposition party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), and banned 118 senior CNRP members from politics for five years, including all 55 CNRP members of the National Assembly.
The Committee concluded that these actions clearly violate the MPs’ individual and collective rights to take part in public affairs and their right to a fair trial. It called for their immediate reinstatement as elected parliamentarians, and guarantees that their right to take part in upcoming elections is respected.
Also, the Committee expressed serious concerns about the conduct of credible, free, fair and transparent elections in 2018 as a result of the repression of the only opposition party. It also declared that such actions are part of a long-standing pattern of abuse against the opposition that has been documented by the IPU before every election in Cambodia in the past.
Twenty-one members of the Nicaraguan opposition party, Independent Liberal Party, were expelled from parliament in July 2016. In its recent decision on this case, the Committee expressed consternation that the timing of the revocation of the MPs’ mandates prevented them from standing in general elections in November 2016, and also from preparing their candidatures for the municipal elections in 2017.
During this recent session, the Committee closed cases in El Salvador, Colombia, Iraq, Lebanon, Nicaragua, the Republic of Korea and Zimbabwe.
The IPU’s Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians helps MPs under threat. It is currently working on 556 cases worldwide, committed to protecting or seeking redress for MPs whose rights have been violated. In this session, 66 cases were examined for the first time.