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December 8, 2015

A Delegation of Parliamentarians from Across the Americas Visits Haiti to Deepen Relations with Different Democratic Actors

Five parliamentarians from countries across the Americas will be in Port-au-Prince on December 8 to 11, to meet with political and civil society actors as part of the Mission d’observation électorale (MiOÉH) deployed by ParlAmericas in Haiti since September 2015.

The delegation’s main objective is to deepen relations between the Mission and Haitian democratic stakeholders. Members of the delegation will meet with parliamentarians from across the party spectrum elected in the August and October 2015 elections, and with representatives of civil society. The delegation will initiate dialogue on electoral best practices in the hemisphere; on political cooperation to promote legislative priorities within a democratic context; and on strategies to improve women’s participation in the electoral process, political parties and civil society.

The delegation is composed of Gina Godoy, Member of the National Assembly of Ecuador, President of the Group of Women Parliamentarians; Ligia Fallas, Member of the National Assembly of Costa Rica and Board Member of ParlAmericas; Máxima Apaza Millares, Senator in the Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia; Carmen Omonte, Member of the Congress of Peru; and Luis Alberto Batres, Member of the National Assembly of El Salvador.

In addition to meeting with their parliamentary counterparts, the delegation will participate in two roundtables on challenges for gender integration in political parties and civil society organizations. The roundtables will be organized in the framework of MiOÉH observation activities of the electoral process.

According to Gina Godoy, head of the delegation, “the exchanges and meetings that the delegation will conduct provide a unique opportunity to reinforce consultations undertaken by the MiOÉH and by ParlAmericas relating to the role of women in the electoral process. These consultations will help to identify participatory barriers encountered by women in the political decision-making processes, and to articulate strategies which take into consideration Haiti’s social realities and the role that women can play at all levels in our countries.”

November 25, 2015

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

On the occasion of November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the Group of Women Parliamentarians of ParlAmericas is sharing resources which are useful references for legislators working to end gender violence in the Americas and the Caribbean.

November 17, 2015

VI Forum of Parliamentary Fronts against Hunger

The Member of the National Assembly of Ecuador, Gina Godoy, President of the Group of Women Parliamentarians, participated in VI Forum of Parliamentary Fronts against Hunger. This event was held in Lima, Peru, from the 15 to the 17 of November.

October 27, 2015

Progress in Improving Electoral Environment Thanks to Collective Effort of Haitians

ParlAmericas, an independent network of national legislatures of 35 countries in the Americas, has been undertaking an electoral observation mission and offers preliminary observations on the conduct of the October 25 vote for the national assembly, local government leadership and the first round of the Presidential elections. Read the full statement here.

August 7, 2015

Marcela Guerra, President of ParlAmericas and Senator of Mexico, participated in the II Inter-American Forum of Presidents of Parliaments.

Marcela Guerra, President of ParlAmericas and Senator of Mexico, participated in the II Inter-American Forum of Presidents of Parliaments, which took place on 6 and 7 August in Santiago, Chile. The forum aimed the dialogue between the Presidents of Legislative powers, the Presidents of Forums and Integration Parliaments; regarding challenges parliamentarian communication faces, and the new strategies undertaken by  the Parliament, reinforcing transparency values, accountability, access to information and probity, of those who exercise political representation.

See the gathering’s agenda (in Spanish), the document of reference (in Spanish) and the declaration (in Spanish).

June 15, 2015

7th Annual Gathering of the Group of Women Parliamentarians: Action Plan for Preventing Political Harassment and Violence Against Women

The 7th Gathering of the Group of Women Parliamentarians of ParlAmericas, Action Plan for Preventing Political Harassment and Violence against Women, concluded Saturday night 13 June. More than 70 participants of the Americas attended the meeting.

​​During the closing ceremony, Marcela Guerra, Mexican Senator and President of ParlAmericas underlined the value, dedication, and commitment that ParlAmericas’ Group of Women Parliamentarians has placed on the cause of gender equality and the empowerment of women. “With the Action Plan for Preventing Political Harassment and Violence against Women, all of us return home with a valuable tool to share with our Congresses and with our citizens. Just yesterday in the National Congress of Argentina, in Buenos Aires, I said that Parliaments in the Americas have made great advances in terms of legislation on gender equality. Now it is our obligation to turn this into action.”

For her part, Claudia Nogueira, member of the Chamber of Deputies for Chile and VicePresident of the Group of Women Parliamentarians, highlighted that “meetings like this one with ParlAmericas are of paramount importance as they allow us to find points of commonality between different societies, but with shared characteristics. This is because gender discrimination and gender violence are repeated across different contexts and realities. As parliamentarians we must raise our voices against those who violate women’s rights in all areas where we are called to represent our citizens.”

Furthermore, Aida Ruiz, member of the Chamber of Deputies of Argentina and host of the Gathering, shared his vision “of what follows after this meeting: we are the voices in our parliaments calling for a life without political, labor, sexual or hierarchical harassment. A life without any harassment where violence gives way to essential respect, the uniqueness of every being.”

On the third day of the Gathering, there was a panel made up of Diego Vintimilla, member of the National Assembly of Ecuador; Sheila Copps, former Deputy Prime Minister of Canada; Sandra Generoso, Justice of the Court of Appeals and former member of the provincial Chamber of Deputies of Argentina; Ligia Fallas Rodríguez, member of the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica; and Margarita Flores, Senator from Mexico. The panellists described the current situation in their respective countries regarding political harassment and violence, identifying obstacles that women that participate in politics face in their respective countries.

There was also a pledge ceremony for the HeforShe campaign, an initiative of UN Women that aims to bring together half of the population in support of the other half, for the benefit of humanity as a whole. The parliamentarians in attendance promised to pass this message on to their Parliaments in an effort to better involve men in the fight for gender equality.

The legislators present acknowledged that in order to achieve real equality there is a need for resources, political will, and sanctions against those who commit political harassment and violence. They also concluded that political violence and political harassment constitute barriers to representative democracy that must be eradicated.

During the final day of the Gathering of the Group of Women Parliamentarians, participants made concrete commitments towards continuing in the struggle for equality. Notable initiatives included classifying political harassment as a crime that has clear and specific penalties and involving the media in order to change the social behaviours that promote political harassment and gender stereotyping.

April 18, 2015

Parliamentary Gathering during VII Summit of the Americas: Legislative Transparency

The Organization of American States (OAS) will continue its collaboration with ParlAmericas and Parlatino.

This was confirmed by the Secretary General Elect of the OAS and former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uruguay, Luis Almagro, during the keynote address of the parliamentary gathering held at Parlatino’s headquarters in Panama. The event drew the participation of over 80 parliamentarians from across the American continent.

“It is essential that citizens be able to work together to find a solution to the main problems afflicting Latin American society,” emphasized Almagro. He also pointed out that the OAS offers important resources and spaces to facilitate permanent parliamentary dialogue and engagement with civil society.

During the opening ceremony, Rob Nicholson, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, highlighted that “regional efforts must be directed towards promoting freedom and human rights in all communities across the Americas. Democracy must be cultivated,” he stressed to the parliamentarians in attendance.

The parliamentary gathering was organized by Marcela Guerra, President of ParlAmericas and Senator of Mexico, in collaboration with her colleague and Secretary General of Parlatino, Blanca Alcalá.

President Guerra underlined that since 2009, “we have been involved in the Summit of the Americas.” “I hope this gathering serves to remind us that, as members of the legislative bodies of our countries, we are directly responsible for promoting and developing democratic governments,” the senator stated.

Senator Alcalá, Secretary General of Parlatino, added that it is important to encourage peace agreements in the Americas and that it is necessary to “foster serious discussions and express differing ideas in order to enrich the legislative debate with the goal of devising legislative bills at a regional level.”

The President of Parlatino and Member of the National Assembly of Panama, Elías Castillo, noted that Parlatino is implementing a Latin American Network on Parliamentary Communication, the first phase of which is already being carried out. The project is called Parlatino Web TV, and it provides live transmission of the organization’s events to keep the Latin American community informed. The service is made possible by technical and financial support provided by the Senate of Argentina.

Additionally, the President of the National Assembly of Panama, Adolfo Valderrama, confirmed that, “we have a challenge before us to strengthen democracy and combat corruption, fortify out institutions and at the same time respect the independence of the three branches of the state.

February 26, 2015

Legislative Transparency: Survey Results Available

During the 11th Plenary Assembly, delegates completed a survey designed by Andy Williamson, world-renowned expert on digital democracy and legislative transparency. The survey was adapted from Dr. Williamson’s report MPs Online: Connecting with Constituents, and ParlAmericas will use the data obtained to design future programming on social and digital media in parliaments. Read the survey results.

February 16, 2015

Bilateral of the Canadian Section of ParlAmericas in Colombia

A delegation of the Canadian Section of ParlAmericas comprised by Senator Michael L. MacDonald and Members of Parliament Jim Munson, Earl Dreeshen, and LaVar Payne visited Colombia from February 6 to 13, 2015.

The delegation met with Representative Germán Blanco, 1st Vice-President of ParlAmericas, and other parliamentarians to hear their viewpoints on the challenges and opportunities facing various regions of the country. They also attended briefings with Canadian Ambassador to Colombia Carmen Sylvain, Colombian Ambassador to Canada Nicolás Lloreda, and Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade of Colombia Mariana Sarasti Montoya.

The Canadian Section delegation had the opportunity to meet with several governmental departments: SPRCSociedad Portuaria Regional de Cartagena, and DIRANDirección de Antinarcóticos, to discuss narcotic smuggling methods, and ACRAgencia Colombiana de Reintegración, to hear from demobilized women in the process of reintegration. Alongside representatives of MAPP/OEAMisión de Apoyo al Proceso de Paz, the delegates reviewed a mission to support the peace process in Colombia, and with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), they reviewed the human rights situation in Colombia. The bilateral visit also included meetings with civil society organizations (ProantioquiaInsight CrimeFundación Plan) and the private sector (Red Eagle Mining).

Finally, the delegation received an overview of the Colombian justice system at the Universidad de los Andes, participated in a discussion with the Canada-Colombia Chamber of Commerce, and visited a comuna (urban neighbourhood) to meet with community leaders and victims of the armed conflict.

January 18, 2015

IV Congress of the Future closes

Yesterday the IV Congress of the Future, “The Crossroads of the 20th Century,” came to a close. The congress gathered political leaders, academics, and specialists in Chile for four days of analysis on the future of the planet and on the living conditions of its population.

The congress was organized by the Future Challenges Commission of the Chilean Senate, chaired by Senator Guido Girardi. Summarizing the four days of activities, he stated, “We conversed with first-rate scientists from around the world, on what I would say are the forefront of the most important challenges facing Chile and all of humanity.”

The conclusions of the experts highlight the fact that investment is lacking in science and technology. Senator Girardi will soon present President Bachelet with a proposal on this subject and on the possible creation of a ministry of science, innovation, and technology.