• July 16th, 2019
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Katjavivi calls for global religious tolerance at IPU


George Sanzila St Petersburg The Speaker of the National Assembly, Prof Peter Katjavivi, has called for tolerance amid an explosion of deadly religious conflict in the world. Katjavivi was speaking at the just concluded 137th Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly that took place recently in St Petersburg, Russia. He was participating in a general debate that looked at promoting cultural pluralism and peace through inter-faith and inter-ethnic dialogue. The Speaker, who hailed Russia for having offered refuge for countless Namibian freedom fighters during the days of the independence struggle, said there is a great need for tolerance in the world today and parliaments have a role to play to change the status quo. “I want to pay tribute to this great country of Russia. It provided logistical support to our freedom endeavours and has continued to be our important partner post-independence. The world we live in today has so much intolerance, conflicts and a radical interpretation of faiths. This calls for our various parliaments to do what we can to ensure that we accommodate each based on cultural pluralism.” Katjavivi further noted that Namibia herself as a victim of colonial domination and apartheid has forged ahead and put in place mechanisms anchored in social justice and fundamental human rights, post-independence. “In Namibia we emerged out of colonial domination and apartheid system that was built on division of the people along ethnic and racial lines. In independent Namibia we put emphasis on fundamental human rights and freedoms, protection of life and liberty and forging unity in diversity,” he said. In efforts aimed at harmonising national laws for better protection of human rights for all, including disenfranchised citizens, Katjavivi said the country through stakeholders has been tirelessly working in collaboration with various traditional authorities. “The University of Namibia (Unam) recently undertook to ascertain customary law. This project endeavoured to ensure that laws relating to all the various traditional authorities in the country are aligned with the national constitution. The traditional authorities took this initiative as a major project and started revisiting their customary laws,” he further noted. He said democracy encompasses fundamental epitomes that are important to the welfare of all people, regardless of class, gender, race or ethnicity. “Parliament is a representative of the people across the board from elites who argue democracy in terms of functional institutions to the most humble citizens who argue democracy in terms of having a roof over their heads and food on the table. Democracy encompasses all these ideals and values,” Katjavivi stressed. He also called for the restoration of human rights and dignity in Western Sahara and Palestine. “The world is so badly in need of morals and values. In this regard, the situation in Western Sahara and the suffering in Palestine, amongst others, should not be forgotten,” the Speaker reiterated. Founded in 1889 the IPU Assembly is a global organisation of parliaments around the world that brings together lawmakers to identify international challenges and make recommendations for action. There are currently 173 members and 11 associate members of the IPU. The gathering this year brought together more than 160 delegations and 96 Speakers. The election of a new president of the IPU took place at the conclusion of the assembly, which saw Gabriela Cuevas Barron of Mexico emerge victorious in the race for the top seat over fellow lawmaker from Uruguay, Ivonne Passada. Barron, who enjoyed support from Namibia and many other African countries, takes over from Saber Hossain Chowdhury of Bangladesh, who has been at the helm of the body for the past three years. * George Sanzila is as chief information officer in the research, information, publications and editorial services division at the National Assembly. ======== Caption (IPU):
New Era Reporter
2017-10-24 09:13:24 1 years ago

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