Term Paper: Inter-Parliamentary Union and Its Role in Enhancing International Law

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Inter-Parliamentary Union and Its Role in Enhancing International Law

Legal Status of the Inter-Parliamentary Union

The Development of the International Institutions

The Public International Unions

The Private International Unions

Historical background of the IPU

Brief Overview of the IPU Statutes (Assemblies and Committees, Members,

Functions, Goals and Activities)

The Relationship between the IPU and the United Nations

Beneficial Cooperation between the IPU and the United Nations (Common

Goals, Agenda and Concerns)

The Importance of the Recognition of the IPU Contribution

The Role the IPU Played in Implementing Decisions taken by the Assembly of the United Nations and the Implementation of the Millennium Development

Goals

The UN as a Framework of International Machinery for the Peaceful

Settlement of Disputes

What Role can the IPU Play in This Field?

Chapter Summary

Chapter III. The IPU Role in the Settlement of International Disputes by Peaceful

Means

General Introduction: The role of the IPU in providing a forum for dialogue and peaceful resolution of conflicts

Methods of Peaceful Settlement and Role Played by the IPU

Negotiation, Mediation and Good Offices

Reconciliation

Chapter Summary

Chapter IV. The IPU and the Protection of Human Rights

The Role of Parliamentarians in the Protection and Promotion of Human

Rights

General Human Rights

Human Rights of Parliamentarians

Women's Rights and Participation of Women in Political Life

The IPU and the Beijing Process

The Case of the Saudi Delegation

Chapter V. Conclusion

Dissection and Critical Evaluation of the IPU Work

Future Directions in IPU Jurisprudence

Conclusion

List of Abbreviations

IPU: Inter-Parliamentary Union

UN: United Nations

The Inter-Parliamentary Union and its Role in Enhancing International Law

You are here, if I read the times aright, in the fullest sense as the accredited representatives of your fellow countrymen and women, and in this capacity you are entitled to express, with an authority attaching to no other assembly in the world, the conscience, the reason, and the sentiments of a large and not the least influential portion of the human race.... - Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, prime minister of Great Britain, addressing the Conference of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in 1906 at London

Introduction

Chapter I.

Legal Status of the Inter-Parliamentary Union

The Development of the International Institutions.

While the relevance and importance of international institutions has grown in recent years as the world has experienced the powerful effects of globalization, but the history of such organizations is truly ancient. Indeed, ever since mankind first established cities and engaged in trade with their neighbors, the need for international institutions of some sort to mediate conflicts and resolve differences has been clear and the need has been met in one fashion or another throughout the millenia. According to Reuter (1961), "There was a system of international law in ancient civilisations and also within the great exotic civilisations of America and Asia. In some cases international relations were limited to indirect contact; but in others foreign peoples were able to enter into direct relationships with each other" (p. 35). In this regard, Reuter adds that, "Primitive and even old-established cities have generally been hostile to foreigners, but in all ages traders have been treated favourably for the sake of trade which neither the seas nor deserts prevented" (1961 p. 35).

This author also notes that today, "International organisations are formed as soon as international societies have their own organs and through them become groups. This definition rests on the sociological ideas in the Introduction; it stresses one fundamental point: the emergence of separate organs, independent of the States. But this notion only gradually emerged in international practice, after great obstacles and setbacks" (Reuter 1961 p. 205). By any measure, primitive people did in fact have a difficult time making a living and conducting international commerce during a period when transportation and communications were limited, but the need for international unions grew as a concomitant to the introduction of innovations in these areas through the years and these issues are discussed further below.

The Public International Unions.

In those fields where co-operation between governments became imperative, there developed the public international unions; these were, in fact, an essay into international organisation in the administrative sphere. The transition from private to public organisations was gradual, and no generally accepted definition of the public international union has ever been reached. 3 In general, however, they were permanent associations of governments or administrations (i.e. postal or railway administrations), based upon a treaty of a multilateral rather than a bilateral type and with some definite criterion of purpose (Bowett, 1970).

In the field of communications, the Congress of Vienna of 1815 established the Rhine Commission, invested with considerable powers. The Commission had power to amend the Reeglement (though not the Convention) and had, in addition to this legislative power, a judicial power in its capacity as a court of appeal from the local courts in each littoral State established for the purpose of implementing the Convention and the Reglement. Each littoral State had one vote within the Commission, and, whilst equality and unanimity were the normal rule, in certain administrative matters voting power varied with the length of the river bank of the member State. The European Commission for the Danube, established in 1856, similarly had administrative and legislative functions. Its budget came from tolls levied on river traffic, it frequently resorted to a majority vote, and the members of the Commission enjoyed diplomatic immunities. An "International Commission" for the Danube, with competence over the Upper Danube, was established after 1919 (Bowett, 1970).

Other international commissions existed for the Elbe (1821), the Douro (1835), the Po (1849) and the Pruth (1866); however, none of these were comparable in importance and power with the Rhine and the Danube (Bowett, 1970). Another means of transport that was susceptible to international administration was the railroads which resulted in a number of international conferences; in response, the International Union of Railway Freight Transportation was established in 1890 which essentially eliminated the complete independence of the national administrations (Bowett, 1970). Although it possessed an Administrative Bureau, this agency did not have any legislative power besides the conference of member States meeting at regular intervals. It should be pointed out as well that the Bureau had power to arbitrate over disputes. Other unions, dealing with various aspects of rail communications, have been established and, in the European Conference on Time Tables (1923), there assembled delegates of States, of railway and steamship administrations, and of Pullman and air companies (Bowett, 1970).

The advent of wireless telegraphy similarly brought forth problems which called for international control, and in 1865 the International Telegraphic Union was established with a permanent bureau. The Conference of the Union had power to alter the Reglement (though not the Convention), and admitted representatives of private telegraph companies but without the right to vote. In 1906 the Radiotelegraphic Union was established, modelled on the Telegraphic Union and using the same permanent bureau (Bowett, 1970).

The Universal Postal Union, established in 1874, provided for a five-yearly congress of plenipotentiaries, a conference of delegates of administrations, and a permanent international bureau. This combination of a diplomatic conference with a conference of postal administrations was not successful, and the latter ceased to meet. The conference had power to amend either Convention or Reglement and frequently used the majority vote. Moreover, in order to eliminate the need for a formal conference for any and every amendment, the practice developed whereby the Bureau would circulate proposals for amendment by post and, depending on the amendment, a notification of acceptance by either two-thirds or a simple majority would make the amendment binding on all members; this was a marked departure from the requirement of specific consent in the traditional "political" conference of States. The postal administrations of colonies and dependencies acquired separate representation and, in the case of the British Empire, did not always vote with the Mother Country. The financing of the permanent bureau was by a technique, now common, of dividing members into seven classes and varying the contribution according to the class (Bowett, 1970).

In the field of health, since disease was no respecter of the national boundaries, much could be accomplished by international co-operation. After a number of conferences, sanitary councils on which several States were represented were set up at Constantinople, Tangiers, Teheran and Alexandria. The first was unsuccessful, being frustrated by Great Power rivalry. The last affords an example of moderate success, for with a staff of eighty-seven international health officers it regulated shipping and enforced quarantine regulations, having power to fine for the breach of those regulations. In 1903, the International Office of Public Health was established in Paris, with a much wider competence, and can be regarded as the predecessor of the World Health Organisation (Bowett, 1970).

In the economic field the Metric Union (1875), the International Copyright Union (1886), the International Sugar Union (1902) and the International Institute of Agriculture (1905) are good examples of the scope of the types of activities engaged in by these early public international unions (Bowett, 1970). For example,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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