Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)
Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is the oldest and the biggest parliamentary international peace organization that connects parliaments of different countries in the world. The main role of the Inter-Parliamentary Union is to achieve world peace and foster democracy through inter-parliamentary dialogue. IPU has got 155 member-countries. Today, it is the only international organization that accepts all parliaments in the world. The Headquarters of the Inter-Parliamentary Union is Geneva.
During the whole 20th century, the Inter-Parliamentary Union was and still is a forum where representatives of national parliaments discuss issues of international importance and global challenges the world faces with. The organization operates in accordance with its guiding principles, i.e. freedom, peace in the world, protection of human rights, equality and respect of democratic principles. The focal point of the Union is inter-parliamentary dialogue, so it promotes contacts, co-ordination and exchange of experience between parliamentarians of various countries. IPU has been supporting development of democratic principles and international standards of free elections for years as well as establishment of parliamentary systems in more than 50 countries. The IPU also promotes democracy at the world level through its programs, activities, recommendations and resolutions and fosters the institution of parliament. The IPU supports participation of women in policy and in this regard has already become a recognized authority. The Statute of IPU stipulates that all delegations must ensure equal representation of women and men.
The Inter-Parliamentary Union meets in Assembly twice a year (spring and fall session). Governing Council of the IPU decides on the date and venue of the session. The Governing Council is composed of three representatives from each Member of the Union. The Governing Council elects the President of the IPU for a period of three years.
The IPU members have different number of votes at the Assembly sessions depending on the country’s population. Bosnia and Herzegovina has got totally 11 votes, but it does not mean that the delegation must be composed of 11 members.
On the occasion of appointment of BiH delegation for the Inter-parliamentary Union, equal national and gender representation is taken into account.
In addition to the Assembly as a major body, the Inter-Parliamentary Union has got two standing councils: Governing Council and Executive Council, and three standing committees:
- Committee on Peace and International Security
- Committee on Sustainable development, finance and trade
- Committee for democracy and Human Rights
Since the issues of peace and security have always been on the top of priority list, in 1994 the IPU formed a special Committee to promote respect for international humanitarian law. In 1976, the IPU formed Committee on human rights of parliamentarians the responsibility of which is to investigate violations of human rights of parliamentarians and find relevant solutions. The Organization also has parliamentarian committee for solutions for Middle East issues, and the group which promotes dialogue between representatives of political parties of the two part of Cyprus. The work of the Inter-Parliamentary groups is organized according to the principles of geopolitical groups. For the time being, there are six geopolitical groups: African Group, Arab Group, Asia-Pacific Group, Eurasia Group, Latin American Group, and Group G12+. These groups play the most important role in the functioning of the Inter-Parliamentary Union because each group decides on its own operational methods and adopt a common opinion on the most important political issues related to member-countries. Bosnia and Herzegovina is a member of Group G12+ which includes European countries, Australia, Canada and New Zeeland.