|Tuesday, 20 February 2018|
Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 10-06-13
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 PACE CONFERENCE - RECOMMENDATIONSDelegates to the European Conference of Presidents of Parliament have expressed the firm hope that a lasting and comprehensive solution for a peaceful and united Cyprus would be found, which would guarantee the legitimate rights of both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, in full compliance with the values and principles of the Council of Europe.
The Conference wrapped up its works on Saturday, with the summing up of the proceedings and recommendations on the two themes discussed, namely ``Rights and Responsibilities of the Opposition in a Parliament`` and ``National Parliaments and International Human Rights law: Implementation of the principle of non-discrimination,`` by President of the House of Representatives Marios Garoyian and President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Mevlut Cavusoglu, respectively
The two-day Conference was hosted in Limassol by the House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus, with the participation of 50 presidents and vice presidents of parliaments of members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and third countries, presidents of international parliamentary organisations, MPs and senators, general directors and general secretaries of parliaments and international parliamentary organisations, as well as officers.
Presenting the recommendations for the first session on ``Rights and Responsibilities of the Opposition in a Parliament,`` Garoyian said ``the legitimacy of parliament is based on the free and fair character of the election process and of the possibility of electorate to express a free and informed choice.``
``There is no unique model of electoral system that could be recommended as the best one. However, excluding large sections of the population from the right to be represented is detrimental to the democratic process,`` he added.
He said ``there is scope for improving the legal framework and material conditions, enabling opposition parties in parliament to have the means to fulfill their functions.``
``In particular, the capacity of the opposition to exercise its oversight role could be enhanced. The opposition could also be given more opportunities to influence the parliament`s agenda and take part in the management of parliamentarian business,`` he noted.
Garoyian added that, ``in the light of their mediation role and their duty of impartiality, presidents of parliament hold primary responsibility in ensuring that opposition representatives are given the possibility to fully participate in the functioning of parliament and discharge their responsibilities,`` and that, ``consistent with the different constitutional and political traditions of each country, there is scope for expanding the powers and latitude of presidents of parliament in this regard.``
Furthermore, he said ``opposition parties should not limit themselves to criticising the government but procure all alternative proposals and policies in order to prepare themselves for taking up governmental responsibilities.``
``Opposition parties are strongly encouraged to establish a constructive dialogue with the government in order to contribute to the good functioning of the political system for the benefit of the public interest. Obstructionism should be an exceptional measure to be used as a last resort,`` he added.
Garoyian noted that ``the government should seek to establish a process of consensus building, in particular when matters of national interest are at stake`` and that ``the adoption of electoral legislation should involve the broadest spectrum of political forces, and, similarly, all political forces should play a role in the context of electoral institutions.``
Also, ``national parliaments should ensure that delegations engaged in inter-parliamentary activities reflect a pluralist composition and that opposition members can actively and effectively take part in them,`` he said.
He noted that ``participation in international parliamentarian bodies and other international fora should be encouraged as a way to increase knowledge, exchange of information and good practice, and secure access to information.``
Concluding the recommendations, Garoyian said ``parties supporting the government and those opposing it share a joint responsibility in consolidating the citizens` trust in the political system and democratic institutions, ensuring their good functioning and offering the public an informed choice.``
Presenting the recommendations for the second session on ``National Parliaments and International Human Rights law: Implementation of the principle of non-discrimination,`` Cavusoglu said ``national parliaments should promote the signing and/or ratify Protocol 12 of the European Convention on Human Rights by the competent national authorities, in order to ensure the full respect of the principle of non-discrimination.``
He added that, ``in countries which are still not party to the framework convention on national minorities and the European Social Charter, members of national parliaments could support ratification.``
``National parliaments should also adopt proposals and comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation in line with international standards,`` he said, adding that ``to assist with the implementation of such legislation, national parliaments could support the setting up of specialised national bodies for the elimination of discrimination and the promotion of equality, independent of the executive and provided resources.``
Furthermore, he said ``parliaments could play an important role in promoting the mainstreaming of non-discrimination in all activities of public authorities,`` and that ``parliamentary mechanisms could be devised to screen the domestic legislation so as avoid flaws based on discrimination or amend laws having discriminatory effects.``
Cavusoglu noted that ``national parliaments should be encouraged to take or to promote positive measures in favour of disadvantaged groups, whose members are prevented from the full enjoyment of their rights due to discrimination,`` adding that ``they could support activities aimed at fostering intercultural dialogue, including its religious dimension.``
``In the context of the adoption of the state budget, parliaments should ensure that adequate resources are allocated to counter discrimination and to meet the needs of disadvantaged groups to promote effective equality,`` he said.
He noted that ``national parliaments should attentively scrutinise government policy and call governments to account in regard to policies which might have discriminatory effects,`` adding that ``they could also encourage the governments to adopt anti-discrimination plans and strategies.``
Concluding the recommendations, Cavusoglu said ``national parliaments could have a prominent role in promoting compliance with the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights and could take legislative or policy initiatives to remedy any deficiencies of domestic legislation highlighted by the Court.``
Before closing the works of the Conference, Cavusoglu referred to the Cyprus problem and pointed out that ``participants finally expressed the firm hope that a lasting and comprehensive solution for a peaceful and united Cyprus would be found, which would guarantee the legitimate rights of both Greek and Turkish Cypriots in full compliance with the values and principles of the Council of Europe.``
 PACE - PRESS CONFERENCEThe Council the Europe and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) fully support the ongoing negotiations and peace process in Cyprus, and hope that everlasting peace will be found, President of PACE Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Saturday.
Speaking at a press conference with President of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus Marios Garoyian, after the European Conference of Presidents of Parliament wrapped up its works in Limassol, Cavusoglu said he established very good personal relations with Garoyian and said that he looked forward to meeting him again when he returned to Cyprus for an official visit.
Garoyian said Cyprus and its people await the support of the participants, especially concerning the support of their rights, for a solution of the Cyprus problem, adding that Cyprus and its people are entitled to enjoy the same rights as all states and peoples of Europe.
 DOWNER UN - REMARKSUN Secretary-Generals Special Advisor Alexander Downer has emphasized the need for the peace process in Cyprus to maintain a momentum, pointing out that there needs to be forward movement in the ongoing negotiations.
Downer was speaking at a press conference at the UN headquarters after having briefed the members of the Security Council on the latest developments in the Cyprus issue, ahead of the approval of the resolution on the renewal of the mandate of the UN peace-keeping force in Cyprus and on the Secretary Generals good offices mission.
After the briefing, the Council is expected to hold informal consultations with a view to adopt the resolution by Friday.
Downer said he briefed the Council on the state of the talks, particularly now when the talks have resumed following the illegal elections that took place in the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus, where Dervis Eroglu emerged as the new leader of the Turkish Cypriot community.
He said from the UN point of view we are very pleased with the continuing and strong support we have from the Security Council for the work of the Good Offices Mission and our endeavors to assist the two parties as the negotiations progress.
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