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THE SPEAKER OF THE SENATE, HON. DAVID EKWEE ETHURO ELECTED TO PREMIER GLOBAL BODY DURING THE 133RD INTER-PERLIAMENTARY UNION (IPU 133RD) CONFERENCE IN GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
The Speaker of the Senate, Sen. David Ekwee Ethuro, has been elected to a prestigious global office by fellow parliamentarians from 167 countries across the world. He will represent the Eastern Africa Region in the Executive Committee of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).
The election took place during the 133rd IPU Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland. The conference themed “The moral and economic imperative for fairer, smarter and more humane migration” brought together legislators and international organization across the globe.
IPU is an assembly of global parliaments aimed at fostering peace, co-operation and democracy by establishing contacts, co-ordination and the exchange of experience among parliaments and parliamentarians of 167 countries who are its Members and meets twice annually.
The Union works through established Standing Committees, headed by a Governing Council and an Executive Committee. The Executive Committee comprises of 15 members who are elected by the Governing Council for a four-year term.The Executive Committee advises the Council on matters relating to affiliation and reaffiliation to the IPU, fixes the date and place of Council sessions and establishes their provisional agenda. It also proposes to the Council the annual work programme and budget of the Union. The Executive Committee controls the administration of the Secretariat as well as its activities in the execution of the decisions taken by the Assembly and the Council.
The election of Speaker Ekwee Ethuro to the global office is a milestone for Kenya as he is set to serve in this prestigious position for the next four years. It comes at a time when the national leadership has invigorated efforts to market Kenya internationally and place the country at the apex of international diplomacy. Speaker Ethuro is well versed in matters concerning IPU, having been the Leader of the Kenyan delegation to the IPU for several years. He led the Kenya Delegation to the IPU, comprising of Senators and Members of the National Assembly to campaign and drum international backing for national efforts to allow voluntary repartriation of refugees by host countries and the UNHCR.The debate comes hot on the heels of Kenya’s campaign to voluntarily repartriate refugees in Kakuma and Dadaab Camps.The country hosts more than 600,000 refugees, the highest in the world- a number comparable to the national population of some countries.
“I appreciate the trust bestowed on me by my colleagues in the region. I indeed assure them of my commitment to ably represent them in the Executive Committee of the IPU as we work together towards making the world a better place,” said Speaker Ethuro.
While accepting the new position, the Speaker observed that Kenya now holds three key positions within the IPU which include the two memberships of Committees held by Sen. Catherine Mukiite, a member of the Standing Committee on United Nations Affairs and Hon. David Pkosing, a member of the Standing Committee on Democracy and Human Rights.This time, the Standing Committee on Democracy and Human Rights tackled issues on “Democracy in the digital era and the threat to privacy and individual freedoms”as the online space has new realities that are in most cases difficult to control.
Other Committees include the Standing Committee on Sustainable Development Finance and Trade and the Standing Committee on Peace and International Security. The 22ndmeeting of Women Parliamentarians and the Forum of Young Parliamentarians was also held during the Assembly.
At the end of the Assembly, Members adopted resolutions on democracy in the digital era and the threat to privacy and individual freedoms as well as discussed ways on strengthening Parliament’s oversight capacity/mechanisms.
The general debate on the theme of the conference resolved on the following among other actions that shall help in providing solutions to the current migration crisis.
- Ratify, and ensure the implementation of, conventions protecting the rights of migrants and refugees.
- Encourage legal responses, whether globally or nationally, to address gaps and grey areas in the legal protection of migrants and refugees.
- Oversee the implementation of laws and policies and their impact on migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees from a human-rights perspective, with a particular focus on refugee protection, gender equality and the rights of the child.
The 133rd Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly kicked off at the IPU Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland on the 17th October 2015 with hundreds of delegates from 167 countries attending the conference.