December 6, 2006
In response to increasing concerns about the viability of present means of democracy promotion, leading Members of the European Parliament Marco Pannella MEP, Marco Cappato MEP, and Annemie Neyts-Uytterbroeck MEP, from the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), and in partnership with UNPO, the Transnational Radical Party and No Peace Without Justice, have organised a conference on “Democracy Promotion: The European Way” held at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium from 6 - 7 December 2006.
The Conference aims to contribute to the process of
The Conference was Chaired and addressed by a number of leading Members of the European Parliament, as well as representatives from the European Commission, including: Edward Mc-Millan Scott MEP, Vice-President of the European Parliament, Graham Watson MEP, Leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, Marco Pannella MEP, Leader of the Transnational Radical Party, Alessandro Battilocchio MEP, Annemie Neyts MEP, Leader of the ELDR Party, Hélène Flautre MEP, Chairperson of the Sub-Committee on Human Rights, Marco Cappato MEP, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, EU Commissioner for External Relations, and Emma Bonino, Minister of Italy for International Trade and European Affairs.
As leading policy makers in the field of democratisation, all noted the numerous benefits of promoting democracy world-wide, not least with respect to security and the promotion of Human Rights, but also acknowledged the complexity and uncertainty that always accompanies this process. This underlined the necessity of reflecting upon the most effective strategies available to policy makers, as well as the importance of learning from the valuable experiences and knowledge of grass-roots practitioners in the field of democratisation.
As a first step of this learning process, and under the banner of “urgent messages to
From the Ogoni, the President of the UNPO General Assembly Mr. Ledum Mitee stressed the importance of focusing not only on elections when promoting democracy, but also of supporting and strengthening the institutions and values that uphold and constitute a genuine democracy during the time in between elections. From Taiwan, Dr. Parris Chang, Honorary President of UNPO, and Dr. Wen-Cheng Lin, both emphasised the need to support emerging and practicing democracies whilst they remain fragile, both from internal and external threats, and drew attention to the work UNPO is conducting in this respect. From the Ahwazi, Dr. Karim Abdian spoke with great passion about the situation faced by minorities in Iran, as well as elsewhere in the world, and urged members of the parliament to inform themselves of the ethnic and political situation within countries such as Iran, so as enable better identification and support of emerging non-violent democratic forces. From
UNPO Members were joined also by representatives from other groups working to promote democracy: Marco Perduca, Executive Director of the International Antiprohibitionist League, Osvaldo Alfonso, Former President of the Liberal Democratic Party of Cuba, Evgheny Zhovtis, Director of the International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law, Walid Salem, Palestinian Centre for the Dissemination of Democracy and Community Development, Vanida Tephsouvanh, Lao Movement for Human Rights, Vo Van Ai, President of Quê Me: Action for Democracy in Vietnam, Carl Gershman, Director of the National Endowment for Democracy, Roel Van Meijenfeld, Director of the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy, Scott Carpenter, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, and Wei Jingsheng, Overseas Chinese Democracy Coalition and 1996 Sakharov Prize Laureate.
In his address to the Conference, UNPO General Secretary Marino Busdachin joined UNPO Members and the MEPs present in expressing UNPO’s strong support for this initiative, emphasising that it marks a positive first step in the crucial process of reflecting upon and developing a new policy for democracy promotion, in particular with respect to recognising and incorporating the contributions of NGOs and grass-roots organisations, such as those represented at UNPO.
Democracy Promotion: The
Urgent Messages to
Programme of Proceedings
Annemie Neyts MEP (President of the ELDR Party)
Democracy Promotion: Actions "On The Ground"
Introduction and Chair by:
Hélène Flautre MEP (Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Human Rights)
Marco Cappato MEP (Vicechair of the Mashreq Delegation)
Michael Kau (Senior adviser, Taiwan Foundation for Democracy)
Marino Busdachin (UNPO Secretary General)
Kok Ksor (Transnational Radical Party and Montagnard Leader
Enver Can (Former President of the East Turkestan National Congress
Vanida Tephsouvanh (Lao Movement for Human Rights)
Erion Veliaj (MJAFT! Movement
Bakhtiar Amin (Foundation for the Future
Osvaldo Alfonso (Former President of the Liberal Democratic Party of
Evgheny Zhovtis (Director International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law
Walid Salem (
Pierre Akel (Director Middle East Trasparent website)
Democracy Promotion: Initiatives For Institutional Reform Inside And Outside The European Union
Introduction and Chair by:
Edward Mc-Millan Scott MEP (VicePresident of the European Parliament)
Marco Pannella MEP (Leader of the Transnational Radical Party)
Benita Ferrero-Waldner (EU Commissioner for External Relations)
Graham Watson MEP (Leader of the
Natan Sharansky (Former Soviet Dissident, Member of the Knesset)
Carl Gershman (Director, National Endowment for Democracy)
Roel Van Meijenfeld (Director, Nederland Institute Multiparty Democracy)
Parris Chang (Former Vice-President of
Emanuele Ottolenghi (Director, Transatlantic Institute)
Alessandro Battilocchio MEP (Development Committee Rapporteur on EIDHR)
Vo Van Ai (President of Quê Me: Action for Democracy in
Samer Abu Libdeh (Senior Fellow Centre for
Riad Malki (
Mohsen Marzouk (Founder and Coordinator Kawakibi Democracy Transition Center; Director Regional Civil Society Program
Wei Jingsheng (Overseas Chinese Democracy Coalition; 1996 Sakharov Prize Laureate)
To know more on UNPO’s partners to the conference “Democracy Promotion: The European Way” please visit the following links to their official website:
Transnational Radical Party: http://www.radicalparty.org/welcome2.html