An update on campaign activities in Sweden » Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly

An update on campaign activities in Sweden

Petter Ölmunger, 12. September 2012

Next week, on Tuesday, September 18, the annual opening ceremony of the Parliament of Sweden will be held in Stockholm, marking the end of the summer break and the beginning of the 2012/2013 session. As a national coordinator of the Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA), I will of course continue to follow the Swedish political discourse with big interest. Could this be the year when global democracy (and democracy, according to the Swedish government, is parliamentarian!) is seriously brought up in the political debate in Sweden for the first time?

Petter Ölmunger, Andrew Strauss and Andreas Bummel meeting in Lund, Sweden, in April 2012 (right to left)

Since this spring, 21 members of the Swedish Parliament and 4 Swedish members of the European Parliament have endorsed the appeal for a UNPA, bringing the total number of Swedish parliamentary supporters to 29. Among them, three are leaders or spokespersons of a national party, and several are members of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. In June we published a report that included comments from some of these Swedish representatives. 17 of the Swedish signatories are professors, many are very respected within the fields of political science and international relations. Torbjörn Tännsjö, a professor of practical philosophy, has written the book "Global Democracy: The Case for a World Government", and Leif Lewin, a professor of political science, is about to published his book "2119 – The Year Global Democracy Will Be Realized" (I think it could be sooner).

Furthermore, several other individuals, former politicians, experts and NGO representatives also support the proposal to strenghten democratic governance on global issues through the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly. Most famous outside of Sweden is probably the author and activist Henning Mankell. But the crowd of supporters also includes influential and respected personalities such as KG Hammar, former archbishop of the Church of Sweden, Stefan Edman, environmentalist and former adviser to the Swedish prime minister and Ove Bring, a professor of international law who in 2011 was declared "UN friend of the year" by the Swedish UN association, partly thanks to his big book in Swedish from the same year on "The road of Human Rights - through history and literature".

From November 12-13, Human Rights Days will be celebrated in Gothenburg. Well-known politicians, NGOs and experts with an interest or a stake in human rights issues will gather for seminars and workshops. The UNPA Campaign will also be there. Christer Winbäck, a Swedish MP who supports the UNPA Campaign, and I will arrange a seminar on "The right to have influence in a global society."  It will be a good opportunity for us to promote the UNPA proposal, and also to show that one of the most fundamental human rights is actually the right to have a say and to be heard on issues and challenges that affect us all. The establishment of a UN Parliamentary Assembly would be a decisive step on the road toward strengthening the voice of humanity.