The President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Mr Saber Chowdhury, has called for a change in the approach to tackling conflicts across the world.
Chowdhury made the call at the opening of the 137th IPU assembly on Saturday in St. Petersburg, Russia.
He said that it was not enough to win wars but was also important to win peace.
He reminded participants at the assembly that the importance of peace in seeking solution to world peace was reflected in the United Nations Charter.
The president said that the document referred to wars only on five occasions and referred to peace 47 times, adding that there was a need to have a change in focus and win the minds of people.
“We have to find out what are the root causes of terrorism and extremism. No one is born a terrorist. Why does someone become a terrorist?
“We have to look at conflicts that are unresolved over time. We have to look at why the people have been marginalized; we have to understand and listen to the young generation.
“So we need to reach out, listen and understand. We need to talk less and listen more as parliamentarians. If we can do that, we will fulfill the aspirations of the people,’’ he said.
Chowdhury called for all hands to be on deck towards achieving a world free of hunger, fear, justice, and respect for all people regardless of race, gender or sexual orientations.
He said “no one is above or below the law. We are here to stand for democracy, justice and for equality.
“We are all aware that the world that we live in is laced with dangers, perils, opportunities as well as challenges.
“It is true that the world has made phenomenal progress; more children have enough to eat, fewer mothers die giving birth.
“ It is true that we are more connected in economic terms; in terms of a global community, it has been less so.
“We need to see how we can do that and the people that we represent are not all happy; that is the situation.
“People are upset in many parts of the world. On the one hand, we are growing in inequality. One per cent of the world richest persons own more than 99 per cent of the rest.’’
He expressed concern over the crisis in Myanmar, and said that it was an unfolding tragedy that required global attention.
He said that no fewer than half a million people had moved to Bangladesh within few weeks of the conflict.
Chowdhury added that about a total of 65 million people had been forced to move out of their homes.
He decried prevailing situation where no fewer than 10 million people in the world were stateless, while about 20 million people were being displaced by conflict or by persecution.
He noted that the growing trend in conflicts across the world would impede the Sustainable Development Goals expected to be met in 2030.
The IPU president charged parliamentarians to rise to the occasion by making their input to global peace felt.
He commended the efforts made by the delegates to the 137th assembly of the union and other participants, saying that it was a defining moment in the history of inter-parliamentary relations.
According to him, this is the largest ever gathering of the union in terms of level of attendance.
He urged parliaments not to tow the path of sanctions, restrictions and limitations, saying that such would impede robust inter-parliamentary relations.
Nigeria’s delegation to the IPU assembly is led by President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki.
Saraki is a member of the Governing Board of the IPU, and had started meeting with relevant stakeholders and he is expected in the days, to participate in debates and other activities.
He would brief on the parliamentary contribution to the 2017 general Nations Climate Change Conference.
He will also participate in a debate on engaging the private sector in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), especially on renewable energy by the IPU Standing Committee on Sustainable Development, Finance and Trade.
The 137th IPU has “Promoting Cultural Pluralism and Peace through Inter-faith and Inter-ethnic Dialogue” as theme. (NAN)