AG urges IPU Assembly to condemn Gaza, Venezuela’s transgressions

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall SC, has urged the 148th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly to use their platform to condemn injustice and transgressions against democracy and the rule of law.  

Speaking at the conference held in Geneva, Switzerland, Minister Nandlall underscored the ability of the IPU to serve as an agent of change, and a key instrument in the promotion of lasting peace and understanding.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall SC

However, the Guyanese Attorney General bemoaned that the conference had failed to streamline its energies to condemn the horror unfolding in Gaza, and Venezuela’s lack of democracy.

“These horrendous events, although occurring on opposite sides of the globe, together manifest the deadly havoc that armed conflicts wreaks and the social disorder and human sufferings that the absence of democracy produces,” the minister said.

Guyana has been consistent in its calls for a ceasefire in Gaza, and for global condemnation of the acts of violence meted out against the people of Palestine.

AG Nandlall pointed out, “More than 30,000 are dead in Gaza. Nearly eight million refugees have fled Venezuela.”

The minister’s appeal was further fuelled by Venezuela’s unilateral declaration of Essequibo as its state, in direct violation of the Argyle Declaration, which declared, among other things, that the two countries will desist from any actions that exacerbate the territorial controversy.  

The controversy surrounding the territory was settled through an Arbitral Award in 1899, which both countries agreed to and accepted.

The Guyana Delegation at the 148th Inter Parliamentary Union Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland

However, when Guyana was on the verge of gaining its independence from Great Britain in the early 1960s, Venezuela’s claims to two-thirds of its territory resurged.

“It continues to make this outrageous claim to date without producing a scintilla of evidence to substantiate,” the AG told the IPU. 

The matter was eventually taken to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), where it currently awaits a ruling.

In yet another expansionist move, Venezuela has threatened physical invasion and in December 2023 moved a referendum to annex two-thirds of Guyana’s sovereign territory.

The ICJ has issued interim measures restraining Venezuela from taking further steps in this regard. 

“I appeal to each of you to use the theme of this Conference and the platform of your respective Parliaments to condemn the actions of Venezuela; to demand compliance with International Law; and to call for diplomacy to be used as a bridge for peace and understanding,” Minister Nandlall encouraged.

He continued, “This is not a favour to Guyana, but it is discharging a duty we owe to ourselves and indeed the world if we are to be true to the founding principles of this organisation.”

International organisations including the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), the Commonwealth, the Organization of American States (OAS), and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have condemned Venezuela’s actions, and called on the country to comply with international law,

Many governments, including the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Brazil, and those of the Caribbean Region have issued similar statements.

The Assembly is held under the theme “Parliamentary Diplomacy: Building Bridges for Peace and Understanding”.

The Guyana delegation also includes Speaker of the National Assembly, Manzoor Nadir, Minister of Local Government, Sonia Parag MP, Dawn Hasting of the Parliamentary Opposition, APNU-AFC and Sherlock Isaacs, Clerk of the National Assembly.

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