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Indian MPs back idea for UN parliament

Saturday December 10, 2011 05:20:13 PM, IANS

New Delhi: Around 40 Indian MPs have backed the proposal for a UN parliamentary assembly that will comprise member nations' legislators and lead eventually to direct election of UN parliament members by citizens worldwide.

Among those who have endorsed the proposal are Science and Technology Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and ministers of state Saugata Roy and Dinsha Patel. Former minister of state for external affairs Shashi Tharoor, former panchayati raj and sports minister Mani Shankar Aiyar and former minister for water resources Saifuddin Soz also backed the idea of a UN parliament which is gathering momentum.

They have appealed to the UN and the governments of its member states "to establish a Parliamentary Assembly at the United Nations". They recommended "a gradual implementation of democratic participation and representation on the global level".

"I support the establishment of a UN Parliamentary Assembly and it would be good if the proposal is seriously considered by the United Nations," said Desmukh.

"Of course, a lot of details need to be investigated. Still, the government of India could express at the UN General Assembly that in principle, it regards the proposal of a UN Parliamentary Assembly with favour," said Tharoor at a meeting with representatives of the Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly in Delhi Thursday.

Eminent filmmaker and Rajya Sabha member Shyam Benegal also declared his support for a UN parliament.

"Today, doubts are often expressed with regard to global democracy. Based on our experience, I believe that obstacles can be overcome and that first small steps to build democracy at the global scale are now necessary and possible," said Benegal.

"At Independence, Jawaharlal Nehru said, 'We look upon the world with clear and friendly eyes'. One proof of that would be Indian support to a World Parliament," said Aiyar.

Eminent scientist M.S. Swaminathan, rated by Time magazine "one of the most influential Asian people of the 20th century", and social worker Ela Bhatt, the recipient of Right Livelihood Award, have also backed the idea.

The idea of a global parliament has a long history, but has acquired momentum in the last four years with the launch of the Campaign for the Establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly in 2007. Over 600 members of parliament from over 90 countries have packed the proposal.

The campaign website says a UNPA would give citizen representatives, not only states, a direct and influential role in global policy.

"The assembly would not replace existing UN bodies but would be an additional means to integrate parliamentarians more effectively into the shaping of globalisation," says the campaign.







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