On 10-15 March, the Ukrainian parliamentary delegation headed by the First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Oleksandr Korniienko worked on the sidelines of the 146th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

During the Assembly, the delegation of the Ukrainian Parliament took part in parliamentary debates, committee meetings, held more than 30 official bilateral meetings, as well as a number of informal meetings, in particular, with countries from Africa, the Global South, delegations from France, Spain and Poland. The delegation also met with the President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union Duarte Pacheco and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bahrain Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, visited the US Navy Regional Headquarters in Bahrain. Delegates from Ukraine participated in meetings of the Executive Committee, the Committee on Sustainable Development, the UN Committee on Peace and Security, and the Women’s Forum Bureau.

The main narratives emphasised by the Ukrainian delegation during the visit were the introduction and strengthening of sanctions against the russian federation, the establishment of an international special tribunal to condemn russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the illegality of russia’s membership in the United Nations and the UN Security Council, and support for the peace formula of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi.

“Busy days and productive diplomatic work. I am grateful to our international partners and parliamentarians from other countries for the dialogues. I thank our Ukrainian delegation and team. All these days we have been achieving our goals together, meeting with parliamentarians from other countries, talking about our Ukraine,” the First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine said. In particular, Oleksandr Korniienko said that the Ukrainian delegation continued to work towards the countries of the Global South, prepared and held a special event on mine action, which was attended by more than 25 countries. The event was aimed at drawing attention to the importance of humanitarian demining as an integral part of the return to peaceful life. More than 25 countries took part in the session, including: Chile, Indonesia, Cambodia, Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, Croatia, Lithuania, Latvia, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and others. “On the sidelines of the 146th IPU Assembly, an important topic was raised – the demining of the territory of Ukraine. We call on the world’s parliaments to unite to help free our land from mines and bombs. We want our citizens to be safe as soon as possible,” said Oleksandr Korniienko, adding that russia is using anti-personnel mines in Ukraine, including various modifications of anti-personnel mines, completely ignoring the norms and principles of international humanitarian law aimed at protecting civilians.

On the sidelines of the 146th IPU Assembly, the First Vice-Speaker mentioned about the adoption of the resolution on the humanitarian catastrophe and the protection of civilians in Ukraine, especially women and children, from the aggressor, and the return of Ukrainian deported children.

In addition, as a result of the active work of the Ukrainian Parliament’s delegation on the sidelines of the Assembly, important documents initiated by the Ukrainian delegation were adopted in the committees, including the final resolution with amendments by the Ukrainian delegation on the protection of forests and the harmful impact on the global environment of russian aggression in Ukraine, i.e. ecocide, its criminalisation in both military and civilian contexts.

On the sidelines of the 146th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Bahrain, the First Vice-Speaker Oleksandr Korniienko spoke at the General Debate. “Intolerance is a scourge that affects our societies. Over the past year, this issue has become much more acute for Ukraine. As russia has escalated its war of aggression into a full-scale genocidal invasion, the Ukrainian nation has witnessed unprecedented unity,” he said, expressing gratitude to all “who are fighting for freedom, democracy and peace, joining the defence of Ukraine and helping IDPs” and calling for support for President Zelenskyi’s peace formula.

Lesia Vasylenko, the Member of Parliament of Ukraine, Member of the Ukrainian delegation to the 146th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, delivered a speech at the opening of the meeting. The parliamentarian’s speech was focused on russia’s military aggression against Ukraine, its consequences for the future of our country and the world, the fight against intolerance and the building of inclusive societies. For his part, Oleksii Zhmerenetskyi, the Member of Parliament of Ukraine, spoke at the session of the Inter-Parliamentary Union dedicated to gender leadership of parliaments in times of crisis: “When russia launched a large-scale unprovoked aggression against Ukraine, every MP became a universal figure – each of us is now an international diplomat, volunteer, psychologist, driver delivering humanitarian aid. Both men and women in the Ukrainian parliament risk their lives equally in the performance of their duties.”

Three Ukrainian MPs were also elected to senior positions in the Inter-Parliamentary Union. In particular, Olha Rudenko was elected to the Bureau of the Forum of Young Parliamentarians for the second time, Aliona Shkrum was elected to the Bureau of the UN Committee, and Lesia Vasylenko was elected to the Bureau of the Standing Committee on Democracy and Human Rights.

During the visit, the First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Oleksandr Korniienko presented the President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union Duarte Pacheco with a Certificate of Merit of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine for his significant personal contribution to strengthening Ukraine’s international authority and active work to provide effective assistance to Ukraine in the face of russian armed aggression.

“We tell each of the parliamentarians about the war in Ukraine, the forced deportation of Ukrainian children and the peace formula of the President of Ukraine. russian troops must leave our land, and we must restore our internationally recognised borders of 1991, including Crimea,” said Ukrainian delegate Oleksandr Sanchenko, stressing that the world should condemn russia’s aggression against Ukraine as much as possible, and Ukraine will continue to work on this.

Speaking about the results of her working visit to Bahrain, Aliona Shkrum, the Member of Parliament of Ukraine mentioned: “The meetings were difficult, but effective.” It is related to the meetings focused on the countries of the Global South, as well as those “financed and maintained by the russian federation”.

“We continue to work as an international team to isolate the russian federation from the Inter-Parliamentary Union and its processes. The task is difficult, but we believe that the aggressor will be properly sanctioned. Each country has its own agenda. We are expanding the geography of cooperation, and, accordingly, the perception of Ukraine in the world and strengthening support,” said Ukrainian delegate Lesia Vasylenko. She also said that representatives of the Verkhovna Rada delegation called on the parliaments of other countries to condemn the crime of genocide that russia is committing against Ukraine today and committed during the Holodomor of 1932-33.

The delegation includes members of the Ukrainian Parliament: the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Policy and Interparliamentary Cooperation Oleksandr Merezhko, the Member of the Committee on Environmental Policy and Nature Management Lesia Vasylenko, the Member of the Committee on Finance, Taxation and Customs Policy Aliona Shkrum, the Member of the Committee on Foreign Policy and Interparliamentary Cooperation Olha Rudenko, the Member of the Committee on Agrarian and Land Policy Artur Herasymov, the Head of the Subcommittee on Anti-Corruption Policy in the Field of Digital Innovations and Public Data of the Committee on Anti-Corruption Policy Oleksii Zhmerenetskyi and the Member of the Committee on Humanitarian and Information Policy Oleksandr Sanchenko.

For reference. The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is a global organisation of national parliaments. It was founded more than 133 years ago as the world’s first multilateral political organisation to promote cooperation and dialogue among all nations.

Today, the IPU is made up of 178 national parliaments and 14 regional parliamentary bodies. It promotes democracy and helps parliaments become stronger, younger, more gender-balanced and more representative.

During the 146th IPU Assembly in Bahrain, hundreds of parliamentarians from around the world took part in a discussion on the theme “Promoting peaceful coexistence and inclusive societies: combating intolerance”.

 

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