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Home arrow newsitems arrow PACE Bureau endorsed Motion on Refugees/IDPs Human Rights as key for Peace, backed by ECHR President

PACE Bureau endorsed Motion on Refugees/IDPs Human Rights as key for Peace, backed by ECHR President

Parašė ACM
Sunday, February 01, 2009
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    - "The recent Georgia - Russia conflict showed that protracted situations where Displaced persons' Human Rights are not respected, ..may become dangerous for Peace", anywhere among CoE member Countries", said to "EuroFora" the President of PACE Refugees, Migration and Population Committee, Dutch MEP Mrs Corian JONKER, who drafted the Motion.    On the contrary, "if we (CoE) succceed to highlight enough Displaced persons' Rights, then, this may help to find agreed Solutions''', she added

     Her Draft was signed by many MEPs including all Chairmen of PACE's Political Groups, (EuroLeft's COX, Socialists' GROSS, Liberals' EORSI, ChristianDemocrats/EPP's Van den BRANDE and Democrats' WILSHIRE), in a rare unanimity on Principles from the Right to the Left of all the political spectrum...

    Assembly's Bureau endorsed the Motion on "Protecting the human rights of long-term displaced persons in Europe", Friday in Strasbourg, in view of a crucial session of the PanEuropean Parliamentary Assembly on the State of Human Rights in Europe scheduled for June.

    The move was backed by ECHR's President, Jean-Paul COSTA speaking to "EuroFora" : - "Yes, of course", he agreed with our question if "respect for Refugees/IDP's Human' Rights could facilitate Peace Solutions", as this Motion believes.

    The contrary, i.e. "neglecting the interests of IDPs carries a real Political Risk that Frozen Conflicts associated with them can re-ignite at any time", warns MEPs' Motion. "Continued international indifference to long-term displacement situations can lead to renewed conflict, significant loss of life and the displacement of many more people from their homelands".

    - "Scattered in 11 of the 47 member states of the Council of Europe" (almost 1 in 4 : 20%), "the unresolved situation of internally displaced persons (IDPs)", led to "regular expressions of concern" by CoE's Assembly, which " has consistently called on governments to seek durable solutions for the return of the displaced and to guarantee the protection of their rights", stresses the Motion from the outset. This "includes: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Georgia, “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, Moldova, Russia, Serbia and Turkey".

    Some 3 million People "remain displaced" in CoE's area, "99% of whom fled their Homes" 15 to 35 years ago "as a result of Conflicts", "and most of them have settled elsewhere than their places of origin". "The Majority of the displaced ...struggle to enjoy their rights and are marginalised by disregard or for failure to protect their human rights, in particular economic, social and cultural rights"..

    From Russian President MEDVEDEV, to Croatian Prime Minister SANADER, several Chiefs of State or Government have officially accepted the Principle of IDP's return, despite problems on the spot. But others still abstain or refuse to do so..

    While things evolve slowly in the Balkans, Cyprus' reunification Peace Talks started to deal with Refugees/IDP's issues, where classic differencies have to be overcome, and ECHR's judgements to be clarified and applied also on Cyprus' territories occupied by Ankara's troops.

    - But "Refugees and IDPs must also be associated and actively involved, in one way or another, to Negotiations on their Future : It would be an error to totally ignore their views", warned "EuroFora" also Draftswoman JONKER, as President of CoE Assembly's competentCommittee.    


    CoE''s Member "States" must "inform and involve IDPs on all relevant steps, and to the extent possible, provide them the opportunity to participate in Decisions affecting them", Motion says.

    "As regards Political Solutions", CoE's Ministers should "step up efforts aimed at the peaceful settlement of the conflicts ... with a view to guarantee Return of all refugees and displaced persons to their places of origin if they so wish". Therefore, CoE should "work with respective governments and international actors towards creating durable Solutions for the Displaced, with a particular focus on planning for Returns, and for Property Restitution or Compensation"

    The Motion "calls upon member States" to "ensure the Safety and security of IDPs, particularly at locations of Return". To "fully respect the voluntary .. Return", and "to Restitute Property".  "CoE must contribute more effectively towards creating sustainable conditions for safe Return of IDPs", and  "raise awareness on the existing protection mechanisms under the European Convention on Human Rights", which developed a pioneer case-law in Strasbourg, cited as an example throughout the World, since 1996-2009.

    - The Human "Right of IDPs to choose between Return to their Homes, local integration at the site of displacement, or Resettlement to another part of the Country must be respected. That choice must be voluntary and informed", CoE's Motion stresses.

    - "IDPs should not be used as political pawns" : ."In the absence of political settlements, (temporary) ...local integration is not necessarily incompatible with return" : "Enabling the displaced to lead a normal life, and protecting their right to return, are not mutually exclusive". While "governments should not deny the scale of displacement ...and direct international attention elsewhere".

    CoE's Motion also asks to " fight against the Impunity for Violations suffered by many IDPs", and urges CoE's member States "to investigate and bring to Justice the Perpetrators of Human Rights Violations and Crimes committed during the various armed Conflicts that have led to displacements".
    
    This is part of PACE's intention to focus, at its June 2009 session, on the struggle against Impunity.
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    (PHOTO, above : The "Jonker Equation" : 5 Political Group Leaders and ECHR's President backing Refugees' Human Rights and Peace, will succeed to find solutions ?)

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It's important to create a synergy between "mutually stimulating" EU Countries' moves in order to overcome an "Unjust" Crisis "imported from USA", stressed new French Minister for Economic Revival, Patrick Devedjian, in Strasbourg, warning also that, while hoping for a vigorous Obama US Plan, nevertheless, "Time" is of essence for Europe...

In fact, it's EU's own interest to act Fast, before June 2009 EU Election, since, with Lisbon Treaty not ratified yet, it cannot face again the risk of a Majority Abstention, as back in 1999 and 2004, nor another "anti-EU" mood among Citizens, as in the 2005 French and Dutch "No", followed by the 2008 Irish "No", without endangering rare Historic opportunities, currently open for the EU, whose future is at stake.

From Social issues up to High-Tech Scientific Research, concrete action for Economic revival started from Strasbourg and its European dimension, for the new super-Minister Patrick Devedjian, who visited a Popular Social Housing and Infrastructure project at nearby Hagenau village, before meeting new leaders of Strasbourg's unified mega-University in a Scientific Labo at the Campus, close to EU Parliament and CoE headquarters.

Devedjian, who met also with all the spectrum of Local Political  deciders of Alsace region, close to FrancoGerman borders, wants for deeds to meet the words, in real practice, whenever politicians speak about Strasbourg and Europe's development.

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Devedjan to "EuroFora" : "European coordination can act as a multiplicator by mutual stimulations"
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Devedjian was questioned by "Euro-Fora" on his expectations for reciprocal effects of coordinated European plans :

- "We are living in a (European and Global) system where borders are transparent : When we take measures in France, they produce effects also in Germany, in Belgium, Italy, Spain, or other EU countries, and vice-versa. "So, we can have mutually stimulating effects between national revival Plans, if they are somehow coordinated", ..."They can augment each other's effects, acting as multiplicators and levers". "As a State stimulates Local authorities and Private business, similarly, each EU country's economic revival plan may multiply the effects of other EU countries' actions", he told us.

- "F.ex., when I visited Strasbourg University's Scientific labos, they told me that part of the renovation, funded by France, is realized by German companies located only a few Kms away from the border. Thus, the French revival plan benefits also the German economy. And vice-versa : when Germany takes certain measures, they can have beneficial effects also for French companies"

In an era of Globalisation, "nobody can close and isolate himself inside a Fish-Bowl !", he concluded.
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Economy's revival starts from Strasbourg and Europe, for new French Minister Devedjian
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This could be one of the reasons for which the new French Minister for Economic Stimulus chose to make his 1st visit to Strasbourg, the headquarters of European and Paneuropean Institutions, in the Franco-German river borders at the heart of Europe.

- "It was President Sarkozy's idea", he revealed, adding also fresh "support to Strasbourg's European vocation, not only with words, but also with deeds" :F.ex., the completion of a High-Speed Train network, due to stimulate fast links with Germany, Austria, Italy, Hungary and other central EU Countries.

- "This Crisis is Unjust for Europe, because it wasn't its fault". The greatest part of the "Crisis was imported from the USA, where problems are deeper than here'', in the EU. The Crisis "wasn't due to a bad managment by Europe", who was affected by problems which emerged elsewhere. That's why Europe must be united and active enough to face this challenge. said Devedjian, who has just won +5% in popularity...

- "I hope that there will be an "Obama-effect" also on Economy, and that the Plan of the New American President will be substantial enough to face this crisis, which is worse in the USA than in our area", Europe, he added.

"Economic Revival overcomes political divisions : F.ex. Strasbourg's Socialist Mayor "Ries agreed that State actions funded by Public Debt are justified during such exceptional circumstances", noted the Center-Right republican Minister.

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"Zeitnot" for 2009 EU Elections ?

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"My problem is Time", stressed Devedjian from the outset, at Strasbourg's University. "I have to engage 75% of funds in 2009, out of a total of 29 Billion euros", he explained later. "Monitoring will be of essence", because we must "avoid bureaucracy or delays. No project should get lost or neglected in complex meanders of adminstrative offices' moving sands", he warned.

- "I must create activities in the middle of the Crisis", he added. Questioned by EuroFora whether he aims to start creating some "hopes before the June 2009 EU Elections", Devedjian, a former leader of the Governing Political Party in France: UMP, did not immediately reply, but revealed, later, that he "hoped to start at least some Projects on May 2009, even if the bulk of Revival Plan's effects are "expected from Autumn 2009".

However, with only 30% of EU Citizens currently aiming to cast a vote at the forthcoming EU Elections on June, (See other NewStory), the  coordinated moves' results are expected to be crucial for Citizens' participation and votes at the forthcoming June 2009 EU Elections throughout all 27 EU Member Countries...Thus, it's vital for all Europe's own Future that coordinated national Economic revival plans start to have concrete results and create hopes for new dynamics before the June 2009 EU Election...

A real challenge, since careful choices are needed : Our aim is to fund projects which "create activities", even "in the middle of the crisis", and have a "lever effect, attracting other investments", Devedjian said. Because the "Stimulus' Plan has 2 aims : A Tactical one : to create New Activities. And a Strategic one : Choose what can become efficient and useful also in the Long-term". 

- "Are you ready ?", he asked Strasbourg University's new President, professor Alain Beretz, with some 700 million euros in his pockets for Education-Research in France. - "We are !", he replied.

- "The Minister's initiative can accelerate funds, and Time is important for us. This concerns the entire renovation of all our buildings", said to "EuroFora" President, Beretz. "I showed some Scientific Research Labos to Mr. Devedjian. But, If we had more time, I could show him also some Education Amphis, whose condition needs to meet Strasbourg's new Mega-University's ambition" to reach the 10 best in the World, as Prime Minister Fillon earlier anounced here.

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(Devedjian kicks off his Economic Revival tour from Strasbourg University, meeting with its new chairman Beretz, at Scientific Institute Le Bel) 

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Regional Prefectures should gather and select projects to be presented for decision before the end of January 2009.

A well-known close friend of President Sarkozy, who succeeded as EU Chairman to launch, in agreement with German chancelor Merkel and even British prime minister Brown, vigorous EU actions against the Financial/Economic Crisis, (starting from the 1st Historic Summit of EuroZone's Heads of State/Government, October 12 at Elysee Palace, followed by Washington G20 Global Summit), Devedjan will have a key role in the realisation of National and EU plans recently agreed in Brussels.

President Sarkozy is expected to arrive himself in Strasbourg, on the occasion of the official inauguration of its brand New Mega-Hospital, on the 9th of January 2009, at the eve of EU Parliament's session here, Elysee confirmed shortly after Devedjian's visit.

EU is due to review its economic revival plans at March 2009 EU Council in Prague, before the April 2 London Global Summit.

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Multi-facet concrete activities at focus : Stimulus Minister Devedjian at the Political, Social and High-Tech fronts in Strasbourg...

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