'Ban' on mercenaries to help fight extremism in region
April 09 2019 11:35 PM
Ukrainian MP Alona Shkrum speaking to reporters on Tuesday. PICTURE: Joey Aguilar.
Ukrainian MP Alona Shkrum speaking to reporters on Tuesday. PICTURE: Joey Aguilar.

*IPU Committee on Peace and International Security passes resolution rejecting the use of mercenaries at a special session in Doha

The passage of a resolution rejecting the use of mercenaries as a way to undermine peace and violate human rights will have a positive impact on Middle East’s efforts in fighting extremism, a Member of Parliament from Ukraine has said.

The Inter-Parliamentary Union’s (IPU) Committee on Peace and International Security has approved the accord during its special session in Doha on Tuesday.

“Mercenaries and foreign terrorist fighters provoke violence and human rights abuse, so obviously in the region and all over the world it is a very important topic,” Alona Shkrum, a delegate to the 140th IPU Assembly, told reporters on the sidelines of the event.

“It (resolution) will be something to look forward to, how will it be implemented, and how will it go (positively) in the region specifically,” she said.

The Committee, which had lengthy discussions about the issue at the conference, wants to further strengthen the fight against the recruitment of citizens and children from other countries to become terrorist fighters.

Rapporteurs of the Committee, Khalid Bakkar of Jordan and B Tarasyuk of Ukraine, earlier identified terrorism and conflicts as two biggest threats to peace and security in various countries around the world today.

“The best thing that comes out of this Assembly is dialogue between different regions and between different parliamentary members. There are a lot of things that separate us but there are also a lot of things that unite us,” said Shkrum, who lauded the Qatar government and its leadership for excellently organising the conference – held for the first time in the Arab World.

“It is very interesting to see how different countries deal with different issues and how we deal with the same issues, and in this way we are closer than what we imagine,” she noted. “So the outcome of this dialogue and personal contacts cannot be underestimated, that is very important.”

Besides a panel discussion on counter-terrorism and violent extremism, the conference also held presentations and discussions on various topics such as sustainable development, empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality, and meetings of women parliamentarians.

About women entering politics, Shkrum, who is a member of women caucus in Ukraine parliament, lamented that they have the lowest number of women in parliament in the world.

“We have about 11% of women in the parliament and we deal with this problem all of the time, basically, the role model is something that counts,” she said. “I entered parliament only because when I was a little girl I was looking up on the leader of my party who was the woman in Ukrainian politics, now it’s 11%”.

She underlined the important role of men in supporting women, either their children or siblings, to become political leaders.

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