The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) will be sending fact-finding missions to the Maldives and Turkey as part of renewed efforts to resolve cases involving the human rights of MPs.
The decisions are among the many being adopted today by IPU during its 127th Assembly in Quebec City, Canada, upon the recommendation of its Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians.
IPU is deeply concerned at the on-going climate of violence and confrontation in the Maldives, expressing shock at the recent killing of MP Afrasheem Ali.
In a resolution on the case of 19 MPs from the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), alleged victims of excessive violence, arbitrary arrests and criminal charges believed to be politically motivated, the Organization is similarly perturbed by reports of renewed ill-treatment, detention and harassment by law enforcement officers.
Maldives has been in political crisis since February when incumbent President Mohamed Nasheed was replaced by his Vice-President Mohamed Waheed. There has been growing international concern at the political intimidation and serious outbreaks of violence in the country.
The IPU mission to the Maldives will gather first-hand information. At the invitation of the Maldives government, it will meet parliamentary, government and judicial authorities as well as the MPs concerned.
A similar mission to Turkey is aimed at resolving the case of nine MPs, six of them Kurdish, imprisoned either for allegedly belonging to organizations conspiring to overthrow the ruling party or for being part of alleged military coup plots.
Although the Turkish parliament has adopted legislation which would allow MPs in preventive detention to be provisionally released, the nine MPs remain in prison. Some of them have been in jail for three years.
The IPU Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians examined 37 cases involving 135 MPs from 21 different countries in this session and took decisions on 20 of the cases. Over four days, the Committee held hearings with delegations from Maldives, Turkey, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Among the many African cases reviewed, IPU is deeply concerned by the serious allegations that DRC opposition MP Diomi Ndongala was arbitrarily arrested on 27 June this year when he was due to attend the signing of a charter on a new opposition party. He claims he was held incommunicado by intelligence officers for almost four months, reappearing on 11th October in a very weakened state and in urgent need of medical care. His claim is denied by the authorities.
The IPU is also very disturbed that Ndongala’s family and friends have been subjected to threats, intimidation and surveillance since his arrest with the situation having worsened since his reappearance. IPU calls on the DRC authorities to ensure his safety and that of his family and for an independent enquiry on the case.
On a more positive note, two human rights cases were resolved involving Chad and Cambodia.
IPU is also welcoming the release in recent months of 18 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, including its Speaker, from administrative detention. IPU trusts that the remaining five Palestinian MPs held in such detention will be similarly released or prosecuted according to normal criminal proceedings if there is any criminal involvement on their part.
IPU’s Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians is a unique mechanism to protect MPs against violations of their fundamental rights. It currently has 83 cases involving 236 MPs from 39 countries.