Maltese foreign minister calls on Commonwealth to support a UN Parliamentary Assembly

Secretariat, 18. November 2013

Statement at a meeting of Commonwealth foreign ministers

At the Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka, the foreign minister of Malta, George Vella, urged the governments of the Commonwealth member states and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association to consider backing the campaign for the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly.

Maltese foreign minister George Vella
Image: Parliament of Malta

According to a report of Malta Today, foreign minister Vella made a statement to this regard during a meeting for Commonwealth foreign ministers and argued that "one of democracy's pillars is direct representation in decision making bodies."

Underlining the fact that the Commonwealth includes 54 nations, Vella said according to Malta Today that these countries "could influence the 194-member UN and push through the establishment of an assembly which would strengthen representation and parliamentary diplomacy."

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting CHOGM in Sri Lanka was held from 10-17 November 2013. Up to 3,500 delegates from the Commonwealth member states attended. The Commonwealth heads of government unanimously agreed for Malta to host the 2015 meeting.

In a statement released on 4 July this year, Mr. Vella said that he agrees with "the setting up of a Parliamentary Assembly for the United Nations, as I am a firm believer in parliamentary democracy, and believe that such an assembly will be the embodiment of the whole concept of representative governance and the epitome of what we mean by democratic empowerment of elected representatives."

The Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly is supported by around 800 members of parliament and numerous distinguished personalities from over 100 countries. Mr. Vella is the first sitting foreign minister in recent times to call for the creation of a UN Parliamentary Assembly. In a report presented to the UN General Assembly last month, the UN's expert on democracy, Alfred de Zayas, recommended to the UN member states to consider convening an international conference to study the issue.

Top image: Opening ceremony of CHOMG 2013 in Sri Lanka, by Taskforce Secretariat for CHOGM 2013