28 October 2013
Press Conference

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Press Conference on Promotion of Democratic, Equitable International Order

In order for global decision-making to be genuinely representative, the establishment of a world parliamentary assembly was imperative, said the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order at a Headquarters press conference today.

Alfred de Zayas, who earlier presented his report to the Third Committee (see Press Release GA/SHC/4079), said a world parliamentary assembly or a United Nations parliamentary assembly would ensure the inclusive and open participation of parliamentarians of all Member States and non-member observer States.

The Assembly, he said, would also serve as a platform for the participation of representatives of indigenous peoples, unrepresented peoples and those living under occupation.  “[P]articipation by all is a hallmark of democratic governance, entailing a measure of timely consultations so as to legitimize the exercise of governmental power,” he stated.

Mr. de Zayas said that, although the parliamentary assembly would not have legislative power, it would render the United Nations more open and responsive to the needs of the world’s population by facilitating participation by all stakeholders in decision-making.

He also stressed the need for the democratization of the Organization, noting that, “if the United Nations General Assembly is to be revitalized and strengthened, it also needs to be made more democratic and representative”.  Complementing the General Assembly with a parliamentary body could be a key to achieving the reformation of the United Nations.

In addition, he said that the reform of the United Nations system, including the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council and the Bretton Woods institutions was also necessary to advance an international order that would be more democratic and more equitable.

He noted that such an international order was no utopia and could only be achieved when Governments and civil society work together to make the Charter’s purposes and principles a reality for future generations.

Mr. de Zayas also urged Governments worldwide to provide adequate protection to members of civil society, to ensure transparency in their decision-making processes, and desist from intimidating, harassing and denial of the rights of civil society actors.

He disclosed that his report to the Human Rights Council and the Third Committee included recommendations that aimed at protecting the voices of marginalized groups and their human rights, among others.

Responding to questions, Mr. de Zayas noted that respect for human rights required transparent and accountable institutions and governance, as well as the effective participation of all individuals and civil society.  He advocated for the establishment of a world court of human rights to address issues of human rights violations.

He also said that all disputes must be resolved through peaceful means, instead of resorting to war, calling for the cutting of military budgets and channelling the funds to boost education, reduce poverty and promote social and economic development.

He added that his reports advanced the idea of a declaration on the human right to peace.  He was also supportive of the work of an inter-governmental working group to draft a declaration on the issue, to be submitted to the General Assembly.

Responding to several inquires regarding his mandate, Mr. de Zayas said that, despite criticisms by some Member States and other groups, he reaffirmed his determination to continue to advocate for the adequate participation of all individuals, including civil society, to guarantee adherence to democratic ethics and equitable international order.

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For information media • not an official record