The Speaker of the Parliament Uganda, Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, has told world legislators that the international community has fallen short of its commitments to ensuring dignity and equal rights of men and women.
Kadaga said the gap between the rich and the poor has continued to widen, with primitive accumulation of global wealth by few individuals being a permanent feature of most economies.
“We have shortchanged the poor, the old and youth and must avail clear opportunities for them,” Kadaga told the over 650 MPs from 132 countries meeting in Dhaka, Bangladesh on Sunday, 2nd April 2017. The 136th Inter Parliamentary Union Assembly is meeting from 1-4 April under the theme “Readdressing inequalities: delivering on dignity and well-being for all.”
“The most obnoxious drivers of inequality are corruption, impunity and failure to reign in the corrupt,” she said.
During the high level segment of the general debate, Kadaga urged world parliaments to deal with the international drivers of inequality, such as corporations that have degraded the environment and evaded taxes; financed militias and have engaged in natural resource exploitation and pushed indigenous communities from their lands.
She said leaders and parliaments should plan and budget for uniform infrastructure such as hospitals, schools, roads and electricity in different parts of the country so as to reduce their concentration in a few areas.
Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, the Speaker of the Bangladesh Parliament and President of the 136th IPU Assembly, in her remarks said that every political and development agenda should be attentive to the needs of those who might be left out. She said the new development agenda needs a multi-pronged approach that defines a set of principles which, would ensure proper distribution of wealth.
“The Millennium Development Goals were largely unsuccessful because they lacked equitable development. Taxation systems, minimum wages and investment in basic amenities, healthcare and education are a critical factor that needed to be addressed.
Nobel Peace Prize laureate and children’s rights activist, Kailash Satyarthi, in his keynote address to the Assembly said that if women were empowered and treated equally, the world would not be facing the challenges it has. He urged the legislators to use their positions and power to change the world for the better.
On the issue of violations of the human rights of parliamentarians, the Secretary General of the IPU, Martin Chungong, said that legislators should not be victimized on the account of performance of their duties. He said in some parts of the world, they face intimidation, torture and arbitrary arrest and detention, citing Turkey where MPs have been jailed on terrorism charges.
Chungong informed legislators that the membership to the global body has risen to 173 national Parliaments following the admission of the Parliament of the Central African Republic and the Parliament of Tuvalu. He said that the next IPU Assembly will be held in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Uganda’s delegation to the 136th IPU includes, Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, also leader of the delegation, Hon. Latif Ssebaggala (Kawempe North), Hon. Raphael Magyezi (Igara County West), Hon. Mourine Osoru (Arua), Hon. Julie Mukoda Zabwe(Mayuge), and Hon. Francis Mwijukye (Buhweju County).