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 Bokeria, a parliamentarian representing Georgia:
I would like to thank the rapporteur for the draft resolution, which I strongly support. Not even the fact that Mr Zhirinovsky supports it can change my mind. Mr Ziuganov, who spoke before Mr Zhirinovsky, is the leader of the largest opposition party in the Russian Federation. Not a single word was said by the leader of the Russian Communist Party to condemn the crimes that were perpetrated, as its members would say, in the name of communism. That is no accident. How can a colleague say that it is irrelevant to condemn totalitarian communist regimes, when the President of Russia, Mr Putin, recently said that the fall of the Soviet Union was the biggest tragedy of the 20th century?
The inheritance of communist occupation is vivid in my country, as it is in any country where the communists ruled. Mr Lukashenko may not be a clear-cut communist, but he is the result of a communist regime. It has already been said that communists still rule in several countries where they continue to prosecute individuals and kill people because of their beliefs. Recently, members of the Ukrainian delegation cried when it was announced that an international document would be prepared to recognise the genocide of the 1930s. It is important that moral responsibility is taken for such crimes.
Some of the things that we have heard today make it even more important to vote for the draft resolution. Some of my colleagues in the united left and Socialist Party made a peculiar argument. Where in the document is there a condemnation of ideology or anyone who simply believes in communism? There is no such thing – it is simply a condemnation of totalitarian communist regimes. People may want to connect the ideology of communism to crimes by communists but, peculiarly, people who believe they are communists are not willing to support the document. I do not wish to imply that anyone who says that he is a communist is a criminal or is inclined to violence. The fact is, however, that wherever the communists gained power their rule finished in bloodshed and terror. That cannot be a coincidence. The example of Moldova given by Mr Kosachev is irrelevant. What happened was the result not of the communists gaining power, but of the fall of the Soviet Union. Wherever the communists gained a majority the situation ended in repression. That is not a coincidence.
I oppose any bans on symbols or ideas. I am hurt when I see young people wearing tee-shirts with Soviet symbols, as they are the symbols under which my country was occupied. My country still suffers today. We must defeat those ideas with our words and ideas. Our goal should be to marginalise any political group that is not willing explicitly to distance itself from those crimes. One of my colleagues, Mátyás Eörsi, said that he did not have any problems with communists until they were a minority. That is exactly the position. The communists are a minority in Europe now. Let us vote for the draft resolution and do our best in the name of liberty to keep it that way.
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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