|Handbook for Legislators on HIV/AIDS, Law and Human Rights - Action to Combat HIV/AIDS in view of its Devastating Human, Economic and Social Impact (UNAIDS, 1999, 152 p.)|
The Inter-Parliamentary Union ("IPU") was established in 1889 as the world organization of parliaments of sovereign states, and was the first permanent forum for political multilateral negotiations. At the end of 1999, 139 national parliaments were members, and five international parliamentary assemblies were associate members. Finance for the IPU is provided by its members out of public funds, and its head-quarters is in Geneva, Switzerland.
The IPU brings together the representatives of national parliaments for the study of political, economic, social and cultural problems of international significance. It is the focal point for worldwide parliamentary dialogue, and works for peace and cooperation among peoples and for the firm establishment of representative democracy. The IPU supports the efforts of the United Nations, whose objectives it shares, and works in close cooperation with, in respect of their complementary roles. In July 1996 the IPU concluded a Co-operation Agreement with the UN to strengthen relations between the two world organizations, and it was welcomed in October 1996 by the UN General Assembly.
The IPU fosters contacts, coordination, and the exchange of experience among parliaments and parliamentarians of all countries. It considers questions of international interest and concern, and expresses its views on such issues in order to bring about action by parliaments and parliamentarians. It contributes to the defence and promotion of human rights - an essential factor of parliamentary democracy and development. Finally, it contributes to better knowledge of the working of representative institutions and to the strengthening and development of their means of action.
The Statutory Conference of the IPU meets twice a year at different venues and it is the principal statutory organ that expresses the views of the IPU. Delegations attending the conference customarily include members of parliament from all parties. Voting rights vary according to a State's populations, and votes can be split to reflect the different opinions of delegation members. Four plenary study committees assist the conference in its work, one of which is the Committee on Education, Science, Culture and the Environment. This Handbook was drafted with the assistance of that Committee.
IPU members submit to their respective assemblies and governments the recommendations adopted by the IPU at its conferences and promote their implementation. Numerous measures of a legislative, policy or technical nature have been taken all over the world as a result. At the 87th IPU Conference in Yaounde, Cameroon, a resolution was adopted on the pandemic nature of AIDS and its threat to world economic growth, political and social stability, and the promotion of policies to transform scientific knowledge into public policy and social and political commitment to mitigate its effect. A follow-up resolution was made at the 99th Conference in Windhoek, Namibia, on action to combat HIV/AIDS in view of its devastating human, economic and social impact. This Handbook was developed in accordance with that resolution.
The address of the IPU web-site is: http://www.ipu.org