Press Release
January 21, 2010


GENEVA - Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr., was elected President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians on the first day of its meetings at the IPU Headquarters in Geneva from January 19 to 21, 2010.

Pimentel, who represents the Asia-Pacific Group and the ASEAN+3 in the Body, has been a member since 2007. He succeeded Senator Sharon Carstairs of Canada as President. Elected Vice-President is Senator Rosario Green of Mexico. The IPU Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians is composed of Senator Carstairs (Canada), Senator Green (Mexico), Senator Philippe Mahoux (European Union), and Senator Zahiya Benarous (Africa) as Titular Members. Alternate Members are Senator Kazeem Jalali (Iran) and Senator Alma Boumediene-Thiery (France).

The IPU Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians is a body that discusses allegations of violations of human rights against members of Parliaments in various countries.

Several witnesses personally flew in to Geneva for the Committee's hearings and most notable was the testimony of Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy whose suspension from his Parliament provides a multi-layered exposition of the workings of democracy under Cambodia's present political regime.

The meetings culminated with a press conference at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in Geneva today to apprise the UN with the progress of the Committee's work. The IPU holds an observer status in the UN.

The IPU event also gave Senator Pimentel an opportunity to hold a soft launch of his newest book, "The Human Rights of Parliamentarians - Challenges Around the World" which is a very exhaustive narrative of the many cases of human rights violations against Members of Parliaments all over the world.

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