Rep. Barbara Lee Speaks at United Nations

Rep. Barbara Lee, the congressional representative to the United Nations, spoke this morning at the 68th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City.

Lee, D-Oakland, spoke in support of the consensus resolution “Interaction between the United Nations, national parliaments and the Inter-Parliamentary Union.” The Inter-Parliamentary Union is an international organization created in 1889, long before the U.N., as a venue for world-wide dialogue, efforts toward for peace and cooperation, and establishment of representative democracy. Here’s what she said.

[Barbara Lee at UN 5-19-2014] “Good morning and thank you, Mr. President. I am honored to be addressing the Assembly on behalf of the United States delegation as the United States Congressional Delegate to the 68th UN General Assembly. My colleagues and I recognize the close ties that are shared between the United Nations, national parliaments, and the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

“Let me also thank the distinguished representative from Morocco for presenting the draft resolution ‘Interaction between the United Nations, national parliaments and the Inter-Parliamentary Union’ (A/68/L.44) and the draft resolution’s co-sponsors.

“The United States Congress was a founding member of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and played an active and prominent role for many decades. That is why I am especially honored and pleased that the United States supports and joins consensus on today’s adoption of the resolution.

“The resolution builds on previously adopted resolutions and has the important aim to promote a stronger role for parliaments in the debates and activities held at the United Nations and in the implementation of international commitments at the national level.

“Mr. President, the core mission of the Inter-Parliamentary Union is the promotion of parliamentary democracy, the elaboration of standards and criteria for democratic parliamentary practice, the protection of human rights, the political empowerment of women, and greater transparency and accountability at the global level, which are in line with United States interests and priorities.

“As a Member of Congress myself, I have participated in several delegations and meetings of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. Most recently, I had the pleasure of hosting a meeting of parliamentarians at the United States Congress during the International AIDS Conference in July of 2012.

“Working with the Inter-Parliamentary Union over my congressional career, I have witnessed firsthand the important work in mobilizing parliamentary action towards universal access to HIV treatment care and treatment.

“Mr. President, I want to also note the important work of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in working towards meeting the 2015 Millennium Development Goals and its contributions toward the post-2015 development agenda. Governance is a key goal for the next generation of development goals and the United States welcomes the presence of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in our shared quest to have strong governance goals.

“The Inter-Parliamentary Union also helps to strengthen parliaments and increase parliamentary capacity around the world to ensure effective, accountable governments, and the United States welcomes the work of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in this regard. The US also welcomes the initiative of the Inter-Parliamentary Union to convene the 4th World Conference of Speakers here at the United Nations in 2015 as a contribution to the post- 2015 process.

“Finally, Mr. President, as the global community is ever so challenged contending with several complex challenges simultaneously, it is more important than ever for the Inter-Parliamentary Union and national parliaments at large to be involved in the work of the United Nations to promote peace and diplomacy, uphold international law, protect the human rights of all, support empowerment of women, and turn the tide of global climate change.

“My colleagues and I look forward to supporting and enhancing IPU’s activities at the United Nations. Thank you, Mr. President.” 

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