(Sponsored by Indonesia)
The 14th Annual meeting of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum,
Recalling the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted on 10 December 1948, as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights adopted on 16 December 1966, the International Covenant on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination adopted on 21 December 1965 and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women adopted on 18 December 1979,
Recognizing that Asia-Pacific region comprises of multiethnic and multi-linguistic states–with political, social and economic differences and home of numerous religions and beliefs– which might pose potential conflicts, yet at the same time, which could also be embraced as a strong incentive for building a diversified and harmonized Asia-Pacific through dialogue and cooperation.
Emphasizing that the key element in the exercise of democracy is the holding of free and fair elections at regular intervals enabling the people’s will to be expressed;
Emphasizing that the effective exercises on freedom of association and freedom of expression are essential to the foundation of a democratic society;
Stressing that democratization implies the participation of all, both men and women, and that the proper functioning of democracy requires full realization of human rights for all and the building of sustainable development which base on the realization and preservation of human security;
Cognizant of interdependence between peace, development, respect for and observance of the rule of law and human rights;
Bearing in mind the Bangkok Declaration on Human Rights (1993) signed by over forty Asian governments stating that universality of human rights should be considered “in the context of a dynamic and evolving process of international norm–setting, bear in mind the significance of national and regional particularities and various historical, cultural and religious background”;
Reaffirming that the Parliament is a central institution to promote and preserve democracy and it has a particular responsibility to demonstrate its relevance to the life of each nation;
1. Urge Parliaments of APPF member countries to make contribution to democracy by performing its functions effectively, representing the people’s voice, providing access and chances for public participation, being accountable and transparent regarding parliamentary proceedings for public inspection and knowledge;
2. Also urge the commitment of governments and parliaments of APPF member countries to strengthen the functioning of democracy, observe the internationally recognized democratic norms, and work together in spreading democracy to all corners of the world;
3. Encourage the governments of APPF member countries to join the path of democratization and respect for human rights, including holding free and fair elections at regular intervals and working to facilitate the access of women to decision-making posts and their greater participation in the decision-making process at the national and regional levels.
4. Call on parliaments of APPF member countries to ensure that all laws guarantee equality between men and women in political and public life, as well as laws on media to fully respect the principle of freedom of expression and freedom of the press in order to promote the media as a strategic pillar for the building of human rights, democracy and human security;
5. Recognizing that states have the primary responsibility for the promotion and protection of human rights and Call upon parliaments to support the efforts and programmes of regional organizations in promoting and protecting human rights as a necessary condition for strengthening democratic institutions and popular participation;
6. Call on governments and parliaments of APPF member countries to support good governance so that states and their peoples can enjoy security from military conflicts, community security, personal security, environmental security and personal freedom;
7. Call for the implementation of seven principles –enshrined in the Vancouver Declaration- governing relations among countries in Asia-Pacific and the approach of “Asia-Pacific Way” –consensus gradually through dialogues and respects for the customs, values and traditions of different countries- to develop and formulate human rights policies in accordance with specific historic, economic and political circumstances of the respective countries.