ISLAMABAD: The Asian Parliamentary Assembly on Tuesday resolved to work in unison to promote cooperation and solidarity and demonstrating a collective vision to combat the challenges facing the Asian nations in a concerted manner.
The members of the Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA), elected representatives of the people of Asia in 41 member countries and 17 observer countries had gathered in Islamabad from Dec 08 to Dec 10, 2013 for the APA Sixth Plenary Conference adopted the Declaration resolving to preserve, protect and promote the interests, aspirations and dreams of the teeming millions of Asians who are now determined that Asian hands must decide Asia’s destiny.
“We resolve to work in unison to promote cooperation and solidarity among Asian nations so that a collective vision and will is demonstrated to combat in a concerted manner the complex challenges that Asia faces in the ‘Asian Century'” stated the
They mentioned that history was witnessing historic transformations, with a decisive shift in the balance of economic, cultural and political power away from the West to the East, as the 21st Century is now generally considered as the ‘Asian Century.”
“We commit to promote the pivotal role of Parliaments, emerging from inclusive democratic processes that have popular sanction through the ballot box, in realising the hopes and dreams of their people for resolution of their long-standing problems, foremost among these being poverty alleviation and quest for a better quality of life,” the delegates said in the declaration.
They further expressed faith in building a just and equitable economic order, which provides for sustainable development, with fruits of progress benefiting the marginalized, the deprived, the minorities, women and youth, and all sections of society.
The declaration states to recognize regional economic cooperation as an important pillar of promoting peaceful development and sharing prosperity, underlining the need for trade, commerce, investment, special economic zones, economic corridors, roads, railways and promoting energy cooperation.
It also emphasized to encourage collaboration among countries in energy and environment, so that together these result in ‘green, clean and civilized development’ and climate change and environmental degradation are combated, contained and controlled, thereby mitigating the consequences of the havoc caused in parts of Asia through natural and man-made disasters.
The delegates affirmed the inalienable right of every country to acquire, develop and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes under IAEA safeguards, including access to civil nuclear technology without discrimination.
The participating countries expressed strong commitment to pursue corruption-free politics and promote accountability in a transparent manner upholding the rule of law, so the credibility of political processes is enhanced among people, empowering them as stakeholders by giving priority to providing opportunities for common man to rise on the basis of merit and hard-work.
They resolved to reject any form of prejudice, bigotry, bias, racism, xenophobia or Islamophobia, or discrimination on the basis of caste, class, religion, gender or ethnic origin, since these are repugnant to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, also signed this day in 1948, and to all canons of international law and principles of humanity.
They expressed their strong desire to promote dialogue among civilizations as well as strengthen inter-faith harmony and cooperation and resist all attempts to threaten the use of force or the actual use of force to resolve disputes among nations, believing that all conflicts require resolution through peaceful means including dialogue, bilateral or multilateral negotiations or mediation according to the United Nations Charter.
The members called upon all parties in the Syrian conflict to agree to a ceasefire and to promote political dialogue in Syria in order to stop bloodshed and restore peace to the country. Syrian people have the sole right to determine their own destiny without outside interference. There is no military solution to this conflict.
The declaration stated to recognize the legitimate right to self determination of all people under foreign occupation; and condemned all kinds of foreign occupation, interference in internal affairs and violations of territorial integrity and state sovereignty, be it through drone attacks, spying or telephone tapping, invasion or covert operations, which are not in compliance with the civilized conduct of interstate relations based on the rule of law.
It further stated to consider foreign occupation, terrorism and extremism as evils and added, terrorism and extremism have no religion, nor any national boundaries, since these are enemies of humanity, which need to be condemned universally and combated collectively as these are common threats, and underlined the need to remove their root causes.
The participants desired to build a better future for Asia, based on cooperation in economy, energy and environment, by providing equal opportunity in all areas particularly education and employment for all, so the progress and prosperity are shared, and wealth is not concentrated in few hands.
They appreciated the role of Asian countries and societies in hosting refugees, who are victims of war, foreign occupation, violence, climate change or other kinds of disaster, since this demonstrates the Asian spirit of resilience, generosity and a large- heartedness to host suffering humanity upholding brotherhood and camaraderie.
The Assembly sought to promote the path of peace and reconciliation as the way forward for Asia in the ‘Asian Century’ by promoting supremacy of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, the United Nations Charter and International Law.
It resolved to consider establishing a group of eminent and skilled persons from member parliaments of the Asian Parliamentary Assembly to develop and provide vision for a more peaceful and developed Asia, bearing in mind that their valuable experience can be beneficial for Asian prosperity.
The participants determined to activate and build the Asian Parliamentary Assembly to realise its potential as a unique organization that can emerge as a credible, representative, institutional voice of the Asian people in the ‘Asian Century.’
At the end the Assembly expressed gratitude to the Parliament and the Government of Pakistan for hosting the 6th Plenary Conference of the Asian Parliamentary Assembly.