Lawmakers pledge to enact more legislation to fight inequality
Representatives from various parliaments around the world last week concurred to adopt by consensus the Manama Declaration, “Promoting peaceful coexistence and inclusive societies: Fighting intolerance,” and providing a platform for delegates to deliberate, exchange views, and galvanize parliamentary action in this area.
This included, among others, an agreement to enact more legislation criminalizing hate speech and violence at the recent 146th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly in Manama, Bahrain.
The Manama Declaration follows a debate in which a record of 151 parliamentarians spoke before an audience of their peers from every corner of the world, including Parliamentarians from Namibia according to the information and communication department of the National Assembly.
In the Declaration, the lawmakers pledged to fight inequality through rights-based economic and social policies that put people before profit and the weak before the strong and uphold the equality and dignity of every person.
It also urges parliamentarians “to implement the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, leaving no one behind as the best hope for peace, democracy, and sustainable development for all.”
“Furthermore, the Declaration is a message of hope which calls for a more tolerant world where diversity is celebrated, and every human being is recognized for their contribution to the society. In addition, the Declaration calls for parliamentarians to make hate-motivated acts and all forms of violence linked to religion, belief, xenophobia, racism, or intolerance of marginalized groups an offense under the law.”
Meanwhile, the Assembly also adopted a resolution on cybercrimes citing it to be timely given the increase in cybercrimes worldwide due to a growing reliance on technology and the digitization of many aspects of life, which accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The resolution underlines the need for international cooperation to address cybercrimes as well as to protect global peace, security, and economic stability while upholding human rights, including freedom of speech.
This resolution emphasizes the responsibility of parliaments in building a regulatory framework to protect citizens in cyberspace in the same way as in the physical world noting that cybercrimes potentially constitute a serious threat to democratic processes, especially interference in elections through cybersecurity breaches or false social media accounts. The resolution further acknowledges that women, young people, and children are among the most vulnerable and suffer from the most aggression on the internet.
This particular resolution is the result of a long consultative process, including a record 320 amendments received from Member Parliaments, often with opposing views, culminating in a final agreed text, demonstrating the importance and sensitivity of the issue.
The Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Peter Katjivivi (left) signing the declaration adopted by the 146th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union on the need to combat hate speech and violence through national legislation.