Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans from 21 coun­tries ap­pre­ci­ated Bhutan for suc­cess­ful APA

Bhutan Times - - Front Page - Sonam Pen­jor

Host­ing for the first time of in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence on Asian Par­lia­men­tary As­sem­bly (APA) in Bhutan, the par­lia­men­tar­i­ans from 21 coun­tries ap­pre­ci­ated for suc­cess­ful con­duct­ing of two days con­fer­ence which ended last Fri­day.

More­over, all 21 coun­tries rep­re­sen­ta­tive ap­pre­ci­ated about His Majesty The King for the lead­er­ship pro­vid­ing to the Bhutanese Govern­ment, adopt­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion and de­volv­ing the power to the peo­ple and amongst all preser­va­tion of cul­ture that Bhutan holds closed to our heart.

The Speaker Jigme Zangpo was newly elected chair of the stand­ing com­mit­tee said that he was re­quested by 21 coun­tries rep­re­sen­ta­tive that this ap­pre­ci­a­tion should go straight to His Majesty The King.

“So Chair­per­son of Na­tional Coun­cil and I have as­sured to them that this ap­pre­ci­a­tion will be sent to Of­fice of Gyalpoi Zim-pon right away,” added the Speaker.

Mean­while, the 10 res­o­lu­tions of a stand­ing com­mit­tee meet­ing on so­cial and cul­tural af­fairs cov­ered a wide range of is­sues of mu­tual in­ter­est such as cul­ture, in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy, health eq­uity, mi­grant work­ers, cor­rup­tion, woman par­lia­men­tar­i­ans, in­ter-faith dia­logue, smug­gling of cul­tural ob­jects, drug traf­fick­ing, and hu­man­i­tar­ian aid to the Asian coun­tries go­ing through a hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis.

The Chair­per­son of the Na­tional Coun­cil, Dasho (Dr) Sonam Kinga in the clos­ing ses­sion said build­ing friend­ship and part­ner­ship among the Asian coun­tries was crucial for no coun­try could walk into the fu­ture in iso­la­tion. He said that the meet­ing was the be­gin­ning of many such mul­ti­lat­eral par­lia­men­tary meet­ings and in­ter­ac­tions.

Hon’ble Chair­per­son shared a story about the high level of sup­port Bhutan en­joyed dur­ing its ad­mis­sion bid to the United Na­tions in 1971. He named a num­ber of Asian coun­tries, in­clud­ing Bangladesh, Bahrain, Pak­istan, and Syria that sup­ported Bhutan’s mem­ber­ship to the UN on ac­count of its nat­u­ral beauty, rich cul­ture and tra­di­tions. “These coun­tries were not re­fer­ring to Bhutan as an eco­nomic power but as a coun­try rich in cul­ture and tra­di­tions,” he said. “The very sub­ject we have been dis­cussing in this meet­ing.”

The Speaker said that the meet­ing was truly a meet­ing of minds. “This is go­ing to ben­e­fit the 4.4 bil­lion peo­ple in all the Asian coun­tries and be­yond,” he said.

The res­o­lu­tion on mea­sures to pro­mote cul­tural diver­sity and pro­tect cul­tural her­itage in Asia un­der­lines the sig­nif­i­cant role of par­lia­ments play in pro­mot­ing cul­tural diver­sity and mul­ti­cul­tural dy­namism. It calls for APA mem­ber par­lia­ments to con­sider, among oth­ers, fa­cil­i­tat­ing in­ter­cul­tural dia­logue, peo­ple-to-peo­ple in­ter­ac­tions, com­mon leg­is­la­tions, and in­sti­tut­ing an award for Asian artists.

The res­o­lu­tion on ICT un­der­lines how in­te­gra­tion among the peo­ples of Asia could be en­hanced through in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nol­ogy. The res­o­lu­tion on har­ness­ing the power of ICT calls upon the APA mem­ber par­lia­ments to vol­un­tar­ily com­mit their ser­vices and re­sources for

the cre­ation of a ‘Vir­tual Asian Par­lia­ment’ which is ul­ti­mately ex­pected to re­sult in a model Asian par­lia­ment.

The res­o­lu­tion on health eq­uity calls upon APA mem­ber par­lia­ments to co­op­er­ate and col­lab­o­rate on bring­ing eq­uity in health ser­vices. The res­o­lu­tions urge par­lia­men­tar­i­ans to rec­tify in­ter­na­tional con­ven­tions on health and push for rel­e­vant poli­cies.

The res­o­lu­tion on mi­grant work­ers un­der­lines the im­por­tance of es­tab­lish­ing a na­tional le­gal frame­work as well as a broad le­gal frame­work for the pro­tec­tion of mi­grant work­ers in the re­gion.

The res­o­lu­tion on cor- rup­tion un­der­lines the im­por­tance of pre­vent­ing and com­bat­ing all forms of cor­rup­tion at all lev­els, in­clud­ing money laun­der­ing and abuse of power.

The res­o­lu­tion on women par­lia­men­tar­i­ans un­der­lines the im­por­tance of reaf­firm­ing the in­clu­sion of women in po­si­tions of power and elected bod­ies, and their in­volve­ment in the de­ci­sion-mak­ing process. It calls upon par­lia­men­tar­i­ans to adopt leg­is­la­tions to en­cour­age women’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in so­cial, cul­tural, eco­nomic, and po­lit­i­cal af­fairs.

The res­o­lu­tion on in­ter­faith dia­logue un­der­lines that in­ter-faith har­mony, par­tic­u­larly in Asia, ‘is of ut­most im­por­tance for the sur­vival of mankind and the pro­mo­tion of the cul­ture of peace, se­cu­rity, and tol­er­ance’. It urges par­lia­ments to pro­mul­gate laws to en­hance tol­er­ance for re­li­gious be­liefs of oth­ers.

The res­o­lu­tion on com­bat­ing the smug­gling of cul­tural items un­der­lines that los­ing cul­tural items to smug­gling is a threat to the rich­ness of Asian cul­tural her­itage and, there­fore, calls for a na­tional strat­egy and a le­gal frame­work to com­bat it. The res­o­lu­tion also calls for the rat­i­fi­ca­tion of the In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion for the Safe­guard­ing of World Nat­u­ral and Cul­tural Her­itage and the In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion for the Safe­guard­ing of the In­tan­gi­ble Cul­tural Her­itage.

The res­o­lu­tion on il­licit drug traf­fick­ing un­der­lines the neg­a­tive im­pact of drug traf­fick­ing on health, safety, pub­lic or­der, gover­nance, eco­nomic devel­op­ment and so­cial health. It calls for a re­view of rel­e­vant leg­is­la­tion, ex­change of in­for­ma­tion and best prac­tices, and en­list­ing civil so­ci­ety as part­ners of par­lia­ments.

The next pro­posed res­o­lu­tion which was pro­posed by Rus­sia about the Hu­man­i­tar­ian Aid to Syria, Iraq, Ye­men, and Myan­mar on the Verge of Hu­man­i­tar­ian Catas­tro­phe was also adopted anony­mously by the par­lia­ments.

This res­o­lu­tion un­der­lines the ur­gent need to ex­tend hu­man­i­tar­ian aid to coun­tries fac­ing a hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis such as Syria, Iraq, Ye­men, and Myan­mar.

Mean­while, the ten res­o­lu­tions of the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee will be sub­mit­ted to the Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil of the APA and fur­ther to the 10th Ple­nary for the fi­nal adop­tion.

While more than 100 par­lia­men­tar­i­ans from 21 coun­tries, in­clud­ing 12 par­lia­men­tar­i­ans from Bhutan at­tended the APA com­mit­tee meet­ing and the next APA com­mit­tee meet­ing will be held in Cam­bo­dia.

The Asian Par­lia­ment As­sem­bly was born in 2006 at the sev­enth ses­sion of the As­so­ci­a­tion of the Asian Par­lia­men­tary for Peace (AAPP). There are 42 Mem­ber coun­tries, 16 Ob­servers for APA.

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