PARLIAMENTARY FORUM FOR DEMOCRACY ACTIVITIES REPORT
I. BACKGROUND INFORMATION
In 2009–2011, Lithuania chaired the Community of Democracies, an intergovernmental coalition, which was established in Warsaw on 25–27 June 2000 under the initiative of former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Polish Foreign Minister Bronislaw Geremek. Today it comprises more than 100 democracies or developing democracies, with a view to strengthening democratic standards and practices worldwide.
Marking the 20th anniversary of Lithuania’s Independence in 2010, the Parliamentary Forum for Democracy (hereinafter referred to as PFD) was established by adopting the Vilnius Declaration in 2010. The Vilnius Declaration was signed by 43 parliamentarians from 18 countries who committed themselves “to work together to strengthen democracy where it is weak and invigorate it 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)
When Mongolia took over the presidency of the Community of Democracies in 2011, Lithuania committed itself to fully support its parliamentary dimension in front of the international community. Consequently, PFD was officially registered in Vilnius on 2 August.
PFD currently complements the cooperation between the Community of Democracy’s governments and non-governmental organizations. PFD members meet each year, prepare proposals for the development of democracy in the world, and share their experience of parliamentary work with countries heading towards democracy, and groups seeking democracy in authoritarian regimes. They also aim to reinforce democracy in their countries. One of the main objectives of the Forum is to strengthen the role of a parliament as one of the most important public institutions ensuring democratic governance.
The Lithuanian Parliament assists PFD by providing office and all expenses related to the maintenance of the office. On special occasions it will be possible to use other parliamentary facilities and services in order to organize international meeting, seminars, conferences, teleconferences or similar events.
The Lithuanian of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides support for different international projects aimed to strengthen democracy development.
II. ACTIVITES REPORT (JANUARY – JUNE, 2014)
1. During the special trip to Asia, Parliamentary Forum for Democracy Chairman Emanuelis Zingeris met the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and discussed future cooperation in the international framework of parliamentarians for democracy in Asia-Pacific region.
2. The Parliamentary Forum for Democracy Chairman Emanuelis Zingeris participated at the 2014 World Freedom Day Celebrations & WLFD‧APLFD General Conference in Taiwan and gave a presentation “Nation with Ambition: Parliamentary Legitimacy as a Tool- Lithuanian Example”. The conference was attended by parliamentarians from Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Fiji, Guam, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Kiribati, Macao, Malaysia, Marshall Inds, Nepal, New Zealand, Papua, New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Mongolia, Burkina, Faso, Mauritius Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Hungary Iceland, Italy Lithuania, Malta, Spain, U. K. Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Uruguay, Venezuela as well as representatives of the international organizations and NGOs. The conference was focused on new prospects and challenges of democracy and freedom all over the world and the role of parliamentarians and further cooperation.
3. The Parliamentary Forum for Democracy delegation participated at the 5th European Friends (EFI) of Israel Joint Remembrance Mission to Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland, on the occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, 27th January 2014. The mission organized by EFI and the Israel-Jewish Congress in cooperation with the Knesset. After the Commemorations PFD Members had an opportunity to speak before all the assembled Parliamentarians from around the world, during an 'Inter-Parliamentary Gathering' held under the auspices of the Knesset and the Polish Government. Delegation of the Parliamentary Forum for Democracy consisted of Mr. Emanuelis Zingeris (Chairman), Mr. Rinchinyamyn Amarjargal (Member of the Governing Council), Mr. Michal Tomasz Kaminski (Member of the Governing Council).
4. As the initiative of the Parliamentary Forum for Democracy a book presentation - discussion “Why Europe Needs a Magnitsky Law” took place in February in the Parliament of Lithuanian Republic. The discussion included the Lithuanian MEP Leonidas Donskis (ALDE group), the editor of the book Elena Servettaz and the Russian human rights defender Lilia Shibanova, who was a Nobel Peace Prize Nominee in 2013, parliamentarians, academia, youth and civil society.Leonidas Donskis Lithuanian MEP started with the remarks, why this initiative is important for Lithuania and why Lithuanian politicians as well as foreign policy makers cannot be ignorant to the Magnitsky Law in Europe. Elena Servettaz a French journalist and the editor of “Why Europe Needs a Magnitsky Law” shared the main findings and conclusions of the book. Lilia Shibanova the human rights defender from Russia and the director of “Golos” presented the reactions towards the Magnitsky Law and the most common arguments there. The participants of the event have had an opportunity to get the book “Why Europe Needs a Magnitsky Law” (in English) with the autograph of the editor Elena Servettaz. The book contains the opinions and articles of world-known politicians, foreign policy makers and human rights defenders from the EU, U.S., Russia and Belarus discussing the importance of the Magnitsky Law and the current developments in Russia.
5. Before the annual General Assembly, PFD held discussion “Democracy Challenges: Addressing the Ukrainian Case”, where the PFD members, the parliamentarians of the European Parliament, other honorable guests and friends were invited to share their insights about democracy development in the world and particularly the situation in Ukraine and its impact to the stability and security of the Euro-Atlantic democratic community with the prominent guest and the leader of the Crimean Tatar National Movement, a persistent defender of human rights and a long-term member of the Ukrainian Parliament Mustafa Abduldzhemil Dzhemil.
6. In April, during the annual General Assembly, PFD has amended Articles of Association that best reflect the needs and realities of running a successful organization, approved action plan for 2014, approved efficient and logical organizational structure that will allow a room for growth, approved the new Governing Council composition and its leadership, the Acting Secretary General and the Governing Council work regulations that are essential elements of well-functioning organization. It is important to mention, new members to increase strength and global reach and a well-defined set of roles and responsibilities for the Secretariat were approved as well.
7. As continuation of the international project “Development of Professional Competencies in Drafting, Execution and Control of a State Budget”, which was conducted last year in December in Chisinau, representatives of the different Moldavian parliamentary fractions and the assistants of the Members of the Moldavian Parliament visited PFD in order to discuss and share the best practices on everyday parliamentary work.
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