The Parliamentary Forum for Democracy was invited for the second time to Tunisia on 14 June to share parliamentary experiences, both theoretical and practical about transitional justice with encouraged, enthusiastic young participants of the Tunisian School of Politics.
The Parliamentary Forum delegation consisted of current and former parliamentarians from European Union countries - Members of the Lithuanian Parliament Agnė Bilotaitė and Domas Petrulis, a former member of the Netherlands Senate and the Board Member of the Justice Sector Development Institute Hanneke Gelderblom-Lankhout, and PFD Secretary General and a former member of the Hungarian Parliament Matyas Eörsi.
Domas Petrulis, Member of the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party Political Group in the Seimas and Member of the Committee on State Administration and Local Authorities, made a presentation titled Transitional Justice in Lithuania focusing on the process of adoption of the Law on Citizenship in 1989 and the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania in 1992 as well as the reform of the legal framework. After the presentation, most listeners expressed an interest in the Seimas Ombudsmen’s Office. Agnė Bilotaitė, Member of the Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrat Political Group and Member of the Anticorruption Commission, concentrated in her presentation on the most relevant domestic issues of transitional justice: lustration, restitution of the nationalized land and the objective to punish the perpetrators of the Soviet terror. It was acknowledged that solutions to these issues were belated and ineffective in Lithuania, which led to public distrust of the judiciary and administrative bodies. The Member of the Seimas said that it was necessary to resolve the problems as soon as possible because only the society with a restored sense of justice, could overcome fragmentation and work together towards common goals.
The Tunisian School of Politics is a continuing project that started in 2012 and was supported by the Development Cooperation and Democracy Promotion Programme of the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The project directly contributes to the implementation of the Lithuanian Development Cooperation policy objectives – spreading and fostering democratic values in the MENA region, improving the democratic governance and strengthening the civil society.
The project was carried out in close cooperation with the Mediterranean and international studies center in 2012 - 2013. Last year during the Tunisian School of Politics PFD experts shared their experience about democratization in the Eastern and Central European countries, strengthening the local government, decentralization and transitional justice. The trainings that started last year are being continued this year by analyzing the transitional justice more comprehensively. The Tunisian School of Politics is planned to be continuing in the future in order to consolidate the shaping of the democratic political culture in Tunisia.
The Parliamentary Forum for Democracy was established during Lithuanian Presidency of the Community of Democracies. In 2010 marking the 20th anniversary of Lithuania’s Independence in 2010 was the Vilnius Declaration, which was signed by 43 parliamentarians from 18 countries who committed themselves “to work together to strengthen democracy where it is weak and invigorate even where it is longstanding, to promote peace, development, human rights and freedoms, gender equality and equal opportunities in their respective countries and around the world.” (Vilnius Declaration, 12 March 2010)
The Forum currently complements the cooperation between the Community of Democracy’s governments and non-governmental organizations. The Forum members regularly meet each year, prepare proposals for the development of democracy around the world and share their parliamentary experiences with the countries heading towards democracy and the groups seeking democracy in authoritarian regimes. One of the main objectives of the Forum is to strengthen the role of parliament as one of the most important public institutions ensuring democratic governance.
Parliamentary Democracy Forum Secretariat