SI meets for the first time in Mongolia to review latest developments in Asia and the Pacific
13-14 May 2005
On 13 and 14 May 2005, the SI Asia Pacific Committee met for the first time in Mongolia, in Ulaanbaatar, hosted by its member party, the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party, MPRP, and its leader and presidential candidate Nambar Enkhbayar.
The meeting provided an opportunity for members of the Socialist International in the region and beyond to discuss key issues with regard to the strengthening of democracy and democratic institutions, the advancement of the common agenda for peace and security, and the response of the international community to the Tsunami disaster, which affected countries in the Asia and the Pacific some months ago.
At the opening of the sessions, Nambar Enkhbayar greeted the presence of the International in Mongolia, referring to the involvement and closeness of his party and country to the organisation's activities andto the worldwide community of the social democratic family, underlining the importance of the Mongolians' contribution to what the SI does and represents. The SI Secretary General, addressing the meeting at the opening, referred to the process of renewal and change of the MPRP, which he said had transformed Mongolia and provided a vision and a leadership for the country's future.
The discussions on the state of democracy in the region emphasised the need to continue working for the strengthening of social democracy, since important gains have been made but defining challenges remain to be overcome. Particular cases of concerns were highlighted during the debate, including those of Burma, Nepal, Pakistan, Fiji and others, where democracy is absent. Special attention was given to the dramatic unfolding developments in Uzbekistan, which in the view of the participants demonstrated the urgent need for democratic institutions, respect of human rights and relief of poverty.
The intertwined goals of peace and democracy were defined as crucial, as serious threats remain, with persistent internal conflicts ranging from places like Sri Lanka to Aceh in Indonesia, from Nepal to Islands of the South Pacific, and the threat of the development of some countries' nuclear capabilities in the region, which required the close attention and the active commitment of the international community, to preserve peace and security, as in the case of North Korea.
With regard to the Tsunami disaster, the Committee endorsed the statement on Tsunami and natural disaster preparedness by heads of States at the recent gathering of the New Asia-African Strategic Partnership (NAASP), which called for an Indian Ocean multi-nodal early warning system to protect against a repeat of the catastrophe of last December. On this issue, the Committee noted that aid programmes were more effective and fair when carried out with transparency through the work of democratic institutions and in a safe, secure and lawful environment.
Other matters highlighted included the concern of the Committee by the continuing targeting of progressive activists in the Philippines, the pattern of violent attacks against leaders of the Awami League in Bangladesh, the need for authorities in Afghanistan and the international community to improve security for citizens, particularly women in that country. The Committee called for guarantees and free and fair elections in the upcoming presidential elections in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakstan and expressed its support to the Social Democratic Party of Japan to uphold article 9 of the Japanese constitution, calling it a 'commitment for peace and a good example for the region and globally', and thanked the MPRP of Mongolia for hosting of the meeting and their role in the strengthening democratic institutions in the country and wished them success in the forthcoming presidential elections and the advancement of social democracy in Mongolia.
A Declaration of Ulaanbaatar, reflecting the issues discussed, was unanimously approved by the meeting.