37th AIPA General Assembly opens in Myanmar

05 October 2017

The 37th General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA-37) was opened in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar on September 30. The opening ceremony was attended by parliamentary delegates from the 10 AIPA member countries and some guests of host.

The theme of AIPA for this year is ‘Vibrant AIPA for a progressive ASEAN Community’.

In the welcoming address, Speaker of Myanmar Union Parliament and House of Nationalities Mahn Win Khaing Than, who is also AIPA-37 President, said there are many urgent and pressing challenges facing ASEAN citizens today such as balancing the need for foreign workers and the protection of guest workers’ rights, human trafficking, gender inequality, and environmental protection.

He said that the regional countries will overcome those challenges adding that the AIPA has “the type of vibrant dynamism and optimism inside our ASEAN Community which will enable us to consult and cooperate to create solutions for all challenges posed.”

In this ceremony, State Counselor of Myanmar Daw Aung San Suu Kyi delivered Keynote Speech and urged legislatures of AIPA member to abide by laws.

“Lawmakers can’t be lawbreakers,” she said.

“They must know the rules and procedures of the parliaments that they serve and also the laws of the land that they may truly be the representatives of the legislative branch of democratic government.”

She also said cooperation in the ASEAN region must be across all the pillars of government: executive, judicial and legislative.

Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s State Counselor, said the host country wants the member parliaments to expand cooperation and actively contribute to the AIPA.

She asked participants to discuss and propose resolutions and initiatives to affirm the AIPA’s resolve in serving the ASEAN people and express the friendship, goodwill and cooperation in the ASEAN Community.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said Friday marked exactly six months since the new government was formed and that it is determined to persevere and bring about positive change in Arakan State, standing firm against prejudice, intolerance and extremism to bring an end to decades-long conflict and secure “lasting peace.”

She asked for “constructive support” from regional neighbors in bringing harmony and understanding between the different communities in Arakan State. She described the situation in the state as “complex” and “the subject of close attention and concern” outside the country’s borders in the Asean region and beyond.

In a message to the assembly, Burma’s President U Htin Kyaw highlighted the importance of strong cooperation between Asean countries and AIPA as “instrumental” in facilitating cooperation in the region. “Our region is faced with many challenges including non-traditional security issues and bridging development gaps among some Asean member states,” he said.

Myanmar is hosting the 37th General Assembly of AIPA from Sept 30 to Oct 3 in the capital Naypyidaw, succeeding Malaysia as a host and now the Speaker of Myanmar’s Union Parliament, U Mahn Win Khaing Than, is chairing the assembly.. Myanmar joined AIPA in 2011 after establishing a Parliament.

References: The Global New Light of Myanmar, Irrawaddy News.

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