Bulgarian Parliamentarian: “Condemnation of the crimes of totalitarian communist regimes was necessary”

Speech from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Debates

On January 25th 2006, The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), which brings together parliamentarians from 46 European countries, passed a resolution entitled “Need for international condemnation of crimes of totalitarian communist regimes” at its plenary session. The resolution was passed by 99 votes to 42, which caught the attention of countries all over the world. Europe is the place where the spectre of Communism was born. This resolution passed by PACE heralded a new beginning of an international condemnation of totalitarian communist regimes.

Before voting on the resolution, the plenary session held over two hours of intensive debates. Parliamentarians from different countries made speeches at the meeting, outlining their personal experiences and opinions of communist regimes. Clearharmony will publish these speeches to bring attention to the crimes of the world’s largest communist regime — the Chinese Communist Party — which has brutally oppressed Falun Gong practitioners for almost seven years resulting in almost three thousand deaths and at least 44,000 documented abuses of torture.

The following is a speech by Mr Ivanov, a parliamentarian representing Bulgaria:

Condemnation of the crimes of totalitarian communist regimes was necessary for three reasons. Firstly, the quantity and brutality of those crimes were similar to those under Nazism. Secondly, those crimes deprived citizens of their rights and slowed their countries’ growth for 50 years. Thirdly, a moral duty was owed to the victims of those crimes.

The Council of Europe was created to defend human rights. Assembly members were responsible for defending its spirit and principles. This condemnation was a necessary initiative, although it was late in coming – it was 16 years since the fall of the Berlin wall. European countries needed to distance themselves from the repression which had occurred. In Bulgaria, 800,000 citizens had been forced to change their names by the communists and some 300,000 had had to flee Bulgaria, leaving behind their homes, land and animals.

Those crimes were inspired by ideology. A number of left-wing parties had not found the strength or motivation to condemn ex-communist regimes. The report would give a moral boost to researchers and non-governmental organisations investigating communist crimes. It could have the same effect as the introduction of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre had had on those investigating Nazi crimes. It was essential that the archives of the security services in communist countries were opened; otherwise, it would not be possible to understand the full extent of their crimes.

More information on the resolution “Need for international condemnation of crimes of totalitarian communist regimes” can be found at http://www.clearharmony.net/articles/200601/31217.html

Note: Founded on May 5th 1949, the Council of Europe (COE) has 46 member countries and has its headquarters in Strasbourg, France. The COE aims to defend human rights, parliamentary democracy and the rule of law, to develop continent-wide agreements to standardise member countries’ social and legal practices, and to promote awareness of a European identity based on shared values and cutting across different cultures. The highest decision-making body is the Committee of Ministers, composed of the 46 Foreign ministers or their Strasbourg-based deputies (ambassadors/permanent representatives). The European Human Rights Court is a body under the Council of Europe.

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