AS (2012) CR 09



(First part)


Ninth Sitting

Friday 27 January 2012 at 10 a.m.

In this report:

1.       Speeches in English are reported in full.

2.       Speeches in other languages are summarised.

3.       Speeches in German and Italian are reproduced in full in a separate document.

The contents page for this sitting is given at the end of the report.

Mr Kox, Vice-President of the Assembly, took the Chair at 10 a.m.

THE PRESIDENT – The sitting is open.

1. Changes in the membership of committees

THE PRESIDENT – Our first item of business is to consider the changes proposed in the membership of committees.

These are set out in document Commissions (2012) 01 Addenda 6, 7 and 8.

Are the proposed changes in the membership of the Assembly’s committees agreed to?

They are agreed.

2. Enforced population transfer as a human rights violation

THE PRESIDENT – The first item of business this morning is the debate on the report entitled “Enforced population transfer as a human rights violation”, Document 12819, to be presented by Mr Egidijus Vareikis on behalf of the Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee, with an opinion presented by Mr Tuğrul Türkeş on behalf of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons, Document 12853.

I remind members that speaking times in this morning’s debate are limited to four minutes.

In order to finish by 12 noon, in time for the next debate, we must interrupt the list of speakers at about 11.40 a.m. to allow time for the reply and the vote.

Is this agreed to?

It is agreed.

I call Mr Vareikis, rapporteur. You have 13 minutes in total, which you may divide between presentation of the report and reply to the debate.

Mr VAREIKIS (Lithuania) – Ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you to the Friday morning general debate. We are presenting a report on involuntary population transfer, which is a complex phenomenon and the practice of which has been largely absent from the human rights debate. It takes place under a variety of circumstances, ranging from war and post-war situations to internal conflict and even peacetime, and it includes the removal or resettlement of persons within or across State boundaries.

In the past, population transfer was accepted as a means by which to settle political, ethnic and religious conflict. It is its involuntary or enforced character that distinguishes it from our migratory processes. Let us be crystal clear: “transfer” is a euphemism to hide the trauma of enforced separation from one’s homeland and the consequent dislocation of one’s identity and traditions, entailing the destruction of historical and emotional links to the native earth, ancestral landscapes and cultural heritage. Mass expulsions are sometimes disguised in the name of contributing to lasting peace, but that has never been the real motivation behind population transfer. Peace is secured only by respecting the human rights of the populations concerned, not by transferring them.

Nowadays, therefore, involuntary population transfers are rightly considered serious violations of international law. That is where our report comes in. In the resolution and the report, I have mentioned a few historical examples – I stress that these are but examples, not a complete list, and that the report is first and foremost a document that looks at the legal issues of enforced population transfers. For reasons of space and clarity, I have not been able to provide a comprehensive, Wikipedia-like list of all the acts that I consider to be enforced population transfers.

I received many questions and complaints about the former Soviet Union, Cyprus and the Balkans. Everything is included in the general discussion, although we will not be able to mention every community. The report is only the beginning of a great debate about this issue.

My report demonstrates and the resolution stresses that no single legal principle can be applied to all enforced population transfers. Depending on the individual circumstances of each population transfer and the various groups that it affects, different legal standards and principles will apply. The legal system of each country also has to be taken into account. The absence of a single international instrument on population transfer leads to overlap, inaccessibility and disparity in the level of protection available to victims of different forms of enforced population transfer.

Enforced population transfer is not compatible with international law. In particular, it runs counter to the right to self-determination. In times of peace, such transfers violate civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. In times of war, they also violate principles of international humanitarian law. In that context, international law forbids the annexation of occupied territory, demographic manipulation and the recruitment of forced labour. Furthermore, enforced population transfer can trigger State responsibility, including an obligation to make reparations, and as a violation of criminal law, it triggers the rules of individual criminal responsibility.

The draft resolution reflects these findings and strongly condemns population transfer, and invites member States of the Council of Europe to condemn any such practice, including in their international relations with States outside Europe. It also invites them properly to investigate their own past and, most importantly, to promote, in international forums, the adoption of an international and legally binding instrument that consolidates existing standards set out in different international legal instruments and that defines and outlaws all forms of involuntary population transfers. I share the deep concerns of the signatories to the motion for the resolution. This document clearly condemns enforced population transfer.

Lastly, while it is clear that population transfers often entail gross violation of international law, international humanitarian law and international human rights – and in some cases can amount to the international crime of genocide – the prevention of such tragedies and the enforcement of appropriate remedies depend on the political will of the major players in the world. Let us contribute to strengthening this political resolve by adopting this resolution.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you. You have seven and a half minutes left. I call Mr Tuğrul Türkeş to present the opinion of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons. You have four minutes.

Mr T. TÜRKEŞ (Turkey) – I thank Mr Vareikis for having brought to the Assembly’s attention the issue of enforced population transfer as a human rights violation. I completely agree with Mr Vareikis that any form of population transfer, in Europe and elsewhere in the world, should be condemned.

The 20th century was marked by an unprecedented scale of involuntary population transfers during the formation of nations, especially in central, south-eastern and eastern Europe. This problem became a key human rights and humanitarian challenge as it concerned the fates of millions of people.

The main waves of forced population transfers in Europe started after the First World War when multi-ethnic empires fell apart and continued until the outbreak of the cold war. Totalitarian regimes used forced migration of the population as a way to solve ethnic conflicts and to punish potential political opponents. During the Third Reich and the Second World War there were large-scale population transfers. From 1933 to 1945, Nazis persecuted Jews and the Sinti and Roma population across German-occupied Europe, deporting them to camps in Germany or eastern Europe.

After the Second World War, many people were forced to leave their homes due to the changes in State borders. Germany and Poland were the nations most affected by the mass population transfer linked to the war, but the countries of central and eastern Europe, the Baltic States and the Balkans, as well as Italy and Finland were also affected by this problem.

The draft resolution highlights the problems of deportations after the Second World War, particularly in relation to the former communist countries. I find it difficult to mention the Second World War without mentioning the deportations both during and before. Therefore, we would like to introduce an amendment to cover the problem.

As it rightly stated in the explanatory memorandum by Mr Vareikis, the Committee of Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons raised this problem in its report prepared by Mr Einarsson on the establishment of a European remembrance centre for victims of forced population movements and ethnic cleansing. Resolution 1522 (2006) called for the establishment of a centre to commemorate victims of deportation, mass expulsions and population transfers under the auspices of the Council of Europe. Regrettably, this idea has never been implemented.

The committee would also like to recall its work done on the right to restitution of property and in particular the Assembly’s Resolution 1798 (2010) and Recommendation 1901 (2010) on solving property issues of refugees and internally displaced persons adopted by the Assembly in January 2010. These focused on the restoration of rights to and physical possession of property through restitution or compensation as essential forms of redress.

There is also a dissenting opinion. As far as I know, this is not a common practice here but it is totally legal and within our rules. I am sorry to say that although this has been talked about in the committee, it does not reflect the reality.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you. In the debate I call first Mr Díaz Tejera who speaks on behalf of the Socialist Group.

Mr DÍAZ TEJERA (Spain) said that it was a pleasure to address the Assembly on behalf of the Socialist Group, which supported the report enthusiastically.

The memory of past atrocities had to be kept alive in order to prevent such horrors occurring in the future. The Council of Europe had an important role in this respect. The international community needed to work together to ensure that reparations were paid for historical wrongs.

This debate involved both legal and political issues in the sense that political conflict had arisen out of the collapse of social systems and those conflicts were eventually dealt with in the courts. Future conflicts could be avoided only by adhering to the fundamental principles of the Council of Europe: human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

Crimes against humanity should not be left to history and should be addressed in the courts. However, this approach was not unproblematic and there were jurisdictional questions to be addressed. Reparations could not cure the serious wrongs of the past but they were symbolic of a desire of a society to heal itself. Nations could fulfil their obligations to the past by ensuring that justice was done. Although government administrations changed, States remained responsible for the past actions of their people.

Spain had been working hard to address these issues and had recently secured some great victories. A court with a universal human rights jurisdiction was necessary to ensure that past crimes did not go unpunished.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you. I call Ms Bakir to speak on behalf of the European Democrat Group.

Ms BAKIR (Turkey) – I thank the President for giving us the opportunity to exchange our views on the report entitled “Enforced population transfer as a human rights violation”.

I thank the rapporteur for this report which, with the best of intentions, gives a sound overview of a number of population transfers that have occurred until now. In the 20th century, Poles, Romanians, Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians, Volga Germans, Ingrian Finns, Finnish people in Karelia, Crimean Turks, Crimean Greeks, Kalmyks, Balkars, Karachays, Ahiska Turks, Karapapak-Terkeme Turks, far-east Koreans, Chechens and Ingushs were partially removed or forced to migrate by Stalin. In the aftermath of the Second World War, 16 million Germans were expelled, 2 million of whom died during the process.

The two world wars were big disasters for human history. According to Professor Justin McCarthy, 600 000 Anatolian Armenians died in the wars of 1912 to 1922. The Armenians certainly suffered a terrible mortality. According to Professor McCarthy, 2.5 million Anatolian Muslims lost their lives in the same period, the majority of whom were Turks. These Muslims, no less than Armenians, suffered a terrible mortality. The causes of death were civil war, forced migration of both Muslims and Armenians, intercommunal warfare, disease and, mainly, a phenomenon unknown in Anatolia until the First World War: starvation.

History tells us that the years 1912 to 1922 were a horrible time for humanity. Conventional wisdom focuses on the Anatolian Armenians who lost their lives during the First World War, but in the same period in Anatolia, Muslims died as well. I believe it is time to see the events of 1912 to 1922 for what they were: a human disaster.

The report rightly says that enforced population transfers are not just an historical phenomenon but a contemporary one, and the consequences of recent such acts are still acutely felt. There have been many reported population transfers in history whose effects we discuss even today. However, let me remind you of the importance of an objective and bipartisan approach to history. We should see both sides of the coin. Where there is a conflict between two countries regarding a possible past population transfer and its consequences, they should open their archives and form a committee consisting of academics and professors of history, and if necessary they should be given full access to the archives of third-party countries. Such issues should be investigated scientifically and an objective consensus reached by historians, rather than politicians.

Finally, I appreciate the rapporteur’s efforts in this report. The European Democrat Group hopes and expects the rule of law to be the main principle applied in dealing with enforced population transfers. We should not forget that lasting peace will be possible only by respecting the human rights of all populations.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you. I call Ms Andersen on behalf of the Group of the Unified European Left.

Ms ANDERSEN (Norway) – The group of the Unified European Left supports the construction of an international, legally binding instrument that consolidates the existing standards set out in various international law instruments and defines and outlaws all forms of enforced population transfer. Today, no single instrument deals with this issue, which is covered in part by other conventions. However, we need a specific convention to deal with these terrible political atrocities.

I want to focus on what we can do to prevent such population transfers and to recover the situation. A failure to deal with past abuse can create the potential for a recurrence of violence and human rights abuses, particularly when conflicts have assumed an identity dimension – and we have several of those. These divisions will not automatically disappear under a new democratic order, particularly if it delivers power to a majority group, leaving a minority group feeling vulnerable and marginalised. Nor will these divisions necessarily heal with the passage of time, as we hear in this Assembly every time we gather. Peace processes should result in settlements that offer appropriate protections to vulnerable groups and proper representation in political bodies and decision-making processes. A legitimate reconciliation process must pursue accountability and acknowledge the suffering of victims, not subordinate accountability and redress to an artificial notion of national unity. As we have heard in debates here, such an approach does not work.

A significant risk factor in predicting the outbreak of a conflict is the extent to which a homogeneous group is willing and able to monopolise political and economic power. This may even be fuelled by certain electoral and constitutional systems that hand power to majorities without appropriate checks and balances. This body must supervise the approach to such problems. A successful pre-conflict and post-conflict peace-building agenda will have to include political, legal and social measures that guard against the exploitation of the minority by the majority.

Finally, it is important to underline the right of everyone to citizenship, because that can grant people the right to belong to a country. Peace is secured only by respecting the human rights of the populations concerned.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you. Mr Zingeris is not here, so the next speaker is Mr Rouquet.

Mr ROUQUET (France) congratulated the rapporteur on producing a high quality report on a very difficult subject.

The debate had shown how difficult it was to achieve consensus on the issues covered in the report. This was both for political and historical reasons. The report highlighted the many population transfers that had taken place in Europe’s recent history. The consequences of these population transfers were still felt in Europe today and contributed to many of the unreconciled conflicts on the continent. This was because human rights issues arising from the population transfers had not been properly acknowledged.

The draft resolution deserved the support of the Assembly. It was necessary to draw up a legal definition for population transfers, in order to address the human rights issues they raised. Paragraph 3 of the resolution discussed the matter of memory of population transfers. Population transfers caused trauma that was felt by subsequent generations, leading to political instability. This could be remedied only through reconciliation and recognition. States needed to acknowledge the truth of population transfers even when the actions had not been carried out by the State in its modern form. Without acknowledgement by the State, painful memories would fester and problems would escalate. When it came to acknowledging the facts of history, no subjects should be taboo.

THE PRESIDENT – Mr Vyatkin is not here, so I call Ms Marin.

Ms MARIN (France) congratulated the rapporteur on producing a good report on a sensitive and topical issue, and said that many population transfers had taken place in Europe’s history, especially in the course of the two world wars. Population transfers were caused by expansionism and attempts to resolve ethnic conflict that were entirely at odds with international law. It was vital to establish an effective international legally binding instrument to prevent forced population transfers and allow those who had been displaced to seek redress. As things stood, there was something of a legal vacuum around the subject of population transfer.

A clear definition was needed of the responsibilities of States in this area. As had been made clear by the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, there was an obligation on States to protect their populations.

The report and Amendment 7 deserved the support of the Assembly.

THE PRESIDENT – Mr Huseynov is not here, so I call Mr Kalmár.

Mr KALMÁR (Hungary) – I congratulate Mr Vareikis on the wonderful work that he and his team have done. I also congratulate the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights on its choice of topic.

Hungary has had a sad experience of population transfers over the last 100 years. Following the Treaty of Trianon in 1920, a third of the Hungarian nation – 3.5 million people – remained outside the borders of Hungary. Since then, they have depended on the goodwill of the majority. I myself was born and spent the first 30 years of my life in Transylvania, a territory that was given to Romania by the treaty.

In 1920, more than 350 000 refugees came to the remaining part of Hungary, which imposed a big moral obligation as well as financial and housing problems. For years, many refugees lived in train wagons at the railway stations. The Second World War brought another massive population transfer and ethnic cleansing of Hungarians in Vojvodina in the former Yugoslavia. Immediately after the war, an agreement was signed by Hungary and Czechoslovakia regarding a change of population. In Hungary, its implementation was optional for the Slovak minority, but in Slovakia the authorities named the people who were to be transferred, most of whom were leading intellectuals, wealthy farmers and businessmen. They were given 24 hours to collect 60kg of personal possessions per person, and were transferred over the Danube.

In 1993, the Council of Europe adopted Opinion No. 175 on Slovakia’s application for membership, and paragraphs 10 and 11 relate to that subject. However, the Beneš decrees were not eliminated, but were reinforced by Slovakia in 2007, and there followed an administrative reorganisation that did not take account of the affected national communities. I fully support paragraph 8 of the draft resolution, which recalls the Assembly’s Resolution 1522 (2006) “on the establishment of a European remembrance centre for victims of forced population movements and ethnic cleansing.”

Sadly, there have been many events like this in European history. I know that all European nations have complaints to make about each other, but I believe that we should discuss all those historical complaints, as we are doing today, and then draw a line under them. We should agree that we must look to the future as partners, prepared to co-operate for the sake of our children and our nations.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you. I call Ms Athina Kyriakidou.

Ms A. KYRIAKIDOU (Cyprus) – The draft resolution touches on a sensitive and tragic issue. Enforced population transfer violates human rights and affects the lives of a great many people at both an individual and a collective level, in Europe and worldwide. I join Mr Vareikis, the rapporteur, in condemning any form of enforced population transfer, and I echo his call for Council of Europe member States to condemn any such practice and to revisit their own past behaviour. I also echo his suggestion that member States should promote the adoption of an international and legally binding instrument to consolidate the existing standards specified in existing international legal instruments and define and outlaw all forms of enforced population transfer.

Sadly, phenomena such as this still affect the lives of thousands of people, even in this day and age and even in the heart of Europe. Thousands of my compatriots, for example, are still experiencing the consequences of their enforced transfer owing to the Turkish invasion and the occupation of part of Cyprus,

which has continued since 1974. The enforced uprooting of thousands of Cypriots, along with other violations of their human rights, has traumatised whole generations. It has affected the lives of those people irreversibly, destroying social cohesion and leaving people with feelings of helplessness and despair.

The fact that there was a huge enforced population transfer of some 180 000 Greek Cypriots, who became refugees in their own country, cannot be questioned by anyone. It has been recorded in a number of resolutions and recommendations passed by this Assembly, in numerous important decisions by the European Court of Human Rights, and by a host of other international and regional organisations, not least the United Nations. It should also be mentioned that it was not just the Greek Cypriots who were subjected to enforced transfer from their homelands as a result of the Turkish invasion, but the Turkish Cypriots. After hostilities ceased in 1974, Turkey issued a threat that if the Turkish Cypriots who up to then had lived in the free areas of the republic were not transferred to the northern, now occupied, part of Cyprus, Turkish troops would advance and occupy the country’s free areas. Indeed, the Turkish-Cypriot population was transferred to the occupied area against the free will of the Government of the Republic and that of the Turkish Cypriots themselves.

As the rapporteur also states, the Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court clearly defines the implantation of settlers as a war crime. Furthermore, it suffices to mention relevant European Court of Human Rights decisions on the matter, which are recorded in the present report. Once again, my country has been a victim of such a war crime due to the thousands of Turkish settlers illegally implanted by Turkey in the occupied part of Cyprus, which is aimed simply at changing the demographic character of the country. Two recommendations – 1197 (1992) and 1608 (2003) – adopted by this Assembly elaborate on the matter.

Last but not least, I would like to congratulate Mr Vareikis on this excellent and thorough report. Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you. The next speaker is Ms Pashayeva.

Ms PASHAYEVA (Azerbaijan) – The report deals with a humanitarian issue of the utmost gravity. Not even a single individual, let alone an entire population, should be subjected to population transfer. I fully agree with the rapporteur that enforced population transfers should be condemned and that everything should be done to avoid them.

The report is excellent so far as the principles and ideals on which it is based are concerned, and I would like to thank the rapporteur for undertaking such a demanding task and for fulfilling it on sound conceptual grounds. On the other hand, I am disappointed with the report’s incomplete list of the peoples who have suffered population transfer. In his explanatory memorandum, our distinguished rapporteur totally ignores some of the gravest population transfers that have taken place within our living memory, such as the hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis who were expelled from their houses, properties and lands by Armenian armed forces and the more than 200 000 other Azerbaijanis forcefully expelled from Armenia in 1988. What is more, there is not a single word in the report about the property rights of Turkish Cypriots or about the thousands of Turkish Cypriots who were expelled from their homes.

Dear colleagues, we cannot pick and choose those who are entitled to enjoy European values. We should try to respect the rights of everyone without any discrimination. We therefore hope that you, distinguished rapporteur, and you, dear colleagues, will be in favour of the amendments. In our view, they will ensure a more balanced and objective report.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you. The next speaker is Mr Eti, who speaks in accordance with Resolution 1376 (2004), as a representative of the Turkish Cypriot community.

Mr ETI (Cyprus) – I am from Cyprus – a country that has suffered much more than it should have done in the past. Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots have endured misery and bitter experiences. Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots both lost property, land and houses. Our island has had enough, and I truly believe that it is high time for us to move on. It is high time that a solution to the problem of Cyprus became a reality.

For that to happen, one thing we need to do is to come to terms with our past. We need to face our past with all its goods and ills. When both peoples of Cyprus acknowledge that, we will be able to move on. We will learn from our past mistakes and draw the necessary conclusions. This process must be an entirely Cypriot process. Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots have to mobilise their internal dynamics and self-criticism, but the international community can help as well. That is why reports such as this one are so important.

The Parliamentary Assembly, as the conscience of Europe, has a responsibility to help both sides in Cyprus. It is precisely for that reason that this report disappointed me. It is a disappointment not only for the whole of Cyprus but for the Parliamentary Assembly, too. If our reports ignore one side and talk exclusively about the sufferings of Greek Cypriots, we cannot expect reconciliation in Cyprus. The Greek Cypriots will think that they can go on without addressing the injustices they have inflicted and the Turkish Cypriots will think that the Assembly is handicapped when it comes to voicing their rights and miseries.

The explanatory memorandum talks about displaced Greek Cypriots. Fair enough, but what about the displaced Turkish Cypriots? What about their properties? What about the fair and balanced approach that we should expect from this Assembly’s report? The report talks about the question of restitution in the Loizidou case. I cannot believe that the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, with all its lawyers and experts, could have written this by mistake. We have reached a point where the Assembly is distorting the case law of the European Court of Human Rights. This cannot have been done by mistake.

The report never mentions that the Greek Cypriot Government continues to deny the property rights of Turkish Cypriots, or how Turkish Cypriots were subjected to mass killings and massacres or how entire villages were wiped off the map. There is not a word on those matters, yet we keep reading about how much Greek Cypriots have suffered. This is unacceptable. I cannot believe that the rapporteur wrote all these things. The only explanation I can come up with is that he has been fed wrong, distorted, and biased information.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you. Mr Rzayev is not here so I call Ms Naghdalyan.

Ms NAGHDALYAN (Armenia) thanked the President and expressed her gratitude that this issue had been put on the agenda. It was a very important topic because enforced transfer created human rights violations. She thanked the rapporteur for his work and courage. She also thanked Mr Türkeş for his contribution at the beginning of the debate.

It was important for the Assembly to continue its fight against enforced population transfer. The report made it clear that mass deportation, expulsion and other forms of ethnic cleansing were all violations of international law and humanitarian law.

The report considered the consequences of enforced population transfer. It would be important to implement the proposal made in the speech of the rapporteur, Mr Vareikis, regarding an examination of the legal and political institutions that monitored enforced population transfer and genocide. The Assembly should condemn enforced population transfer and needed to continue its work to increase awareness of enforced population transfers.

The report was just the first step. It was important to undertake a legal evaluation not just in the Council of Europe but at the wider international level so that those responsible for enforced population transfers could be held to account and so that past mistakes would not be repeated. A fair approach was needed in order to avoid double standards.

It was necessary to question why the Turkish courts had reached their decisions in respect of the consideration of past enforced population transfers. The crimes of the former Ottoman Empire needed to be discussed without political influence. She concluded by saying that oil was never more important than blood.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you, Ms Naghdalyan. The next speaker is Mr Ahmet Kutalmiş Türkeş.

Mr A. K. TÜRKEŞ (Turkey) – I would like to bring to your attention an issue that has been ignored for a long time. The report refers to Cyprus in several paragraphs but mentions only the rights and fate of Greek Cypriots. This is not fair. The rapporteur has been to Cyprus. He must have seen that there are two peoples in Cyprus. I therefore cannot understand how he can fail to mention Turkish Cypriots while making exaggerated claims for the other side in his report.

In this context, I would like to focus on two issues: the property rights of Turkish Cypriots and their cultural heritage. Tens of thousands of Turkish Cypriots were forced out of their villages, towns and ancestral lands by Greek Cypriot forces. They lost their properties and left behind centuries-old cultural monuments, mosques and a rich heritage.

Since the 1960s, Turkish Cypriots have had no access to their properties under Greek Cypriot control. The Greek Cypriot Government continues to deny their rights and to confiscate their properties without any consent and compensation. Several Turkish Cypriots have now applied to the European Court of Human Rights for their denied property rights. The Court will soon rule on this. It is regrettable that the rapporteur failed to mention any of these matters in his report.

Another key issue is the Turkish Cypriot cultural heritage that is under Greek Cypriot control in southern Cyprus. Many Islamic shrines and monuments are in terrible condition, intentionally abandoned to their fate. The most recent example is the Greek Cypriot authorities’ refusal to allow Muslims to pray at Hala Sultan Tekke in southern Cyprus. This is unacceptable. The report also failed to mention any of these matters.

I should remind colleagues that all Greek Cypriots – yes, all of them – can apply to the Turkish Cypriot authorities for compensation in respect of their property rights. However, although the Turkish Cypriot authorities fully respect the property rights of Greek Cypriots, the property rights of Turkish Cypriots are being denied.

The Cyprus question has been going on for a long time. People may favour one side or the other, and I can understand that, but denying the facts and talking about the rights of one side while totally ignoring those of the other side is unfair and unacceptable.

I hope that Mr Vareikis will make the necessary changes to his explanatory memorandum. Otherwise, the report will serve only nationalist, xenophobic and intolerant policies that believe that denying the existence of the other side can work. I appeal to the rapporteur’s conscience by asking him this simple question: do you think you have been fair and balanced on Cyprus in your report?

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr Türkeş.

The next speaker is Mr Sabella from the Palestinian National Authority, a partner for democracy.

Mr SABELLA (Palestinian National Authority) – I want to bring to the attention of the rapporteur the fact that the largest population group of refugees is the Palestinians, but they are not mentioned at all in the report. The report highlights conventions and rights, including the right to self-determination, but we all know that Palestinian refugees are still being denied that right, which is stipulated in Article 11 of UN Resolution 194. Three quarters of the Palestinian people are currently displaced, and one in three of refugees worldwide is Palestinian. We as a people have not, to date, been able to exercise our right to self-determination.

Of special concern to us is the representation of our current conflict with Israel as a “demographic war”. As a result, we are witnessing the mushrooming of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and almost half a million Israeli settlers are now living in the occupied West Bank with the full support and encouragement of successive Israeli Governments.

In East Jerusalem, the Jerusalem municipality is employing gerrymandering tactics; aided by the separation wall, it is manipulating geographical boundaries in order to establish a political advantage for the Israelis across the whole city, thus marginalising the 36% of the city’s population who are Palestinian. The mayor of Jerusalem recently suggested separating most of the areas of East Jerusalem from the rest of the city, thus denying Palestinians basic education, health, civil and cultural rights.

I want to emphasise that what we yearn for is a just and lasting peace. This cannot be achieved while the basic rights of Palestinian refugees are ignored and while the Palestinians are denied our right to self-determination. Those who see our conflict as a “demographic war” lack a comprehensive vision of how to achieve a peaceful future, in which Palestine will be an independent State and in which relations will be based on respect for the principles of justice and for the relevant international conventions.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr Sabella.

The last speaker on the list is Mr Gaudi Nagy. As there will still be some time left after he has finished speaking, I will allow further speeches from colleagues who want to contribute to the debate.

Mr GAUDI NAGY (Hungary) – This is a historic report. Its importance cannot be underestimated. I congratulate Mr Vareikis on his wonderful work and his detailed report, and I agree wholeheartedly with its first sentence: “Enforced population transfers are a complex phenomenon, the policy and practice of which has been largely absent from the human rights debate.”

It is important that we are here listening to members from different nations recounting sad stories from their past about enforced population transfer. People criticise this problem because we would all like to live in a world where affairs were conducted in line with the highest basic principles of human rights and the rule of law. That is why, for example, if there are problems with the Turkish Cypriot community or the Palestinian community, they could have been mentioned in the report as well.

Anyway, I am happy about the report. My grandfather was a refugee from Transylvania – that is why I talk too much, perhaps, about Transylvania and the Hungarian population. After the Trianon treaty, he and his four brothers were expelled from the country, and he had to live for several years – in the way mentioned by my colleague Mr Kalmár – as a refugee in smaller Hungary. This is not just about history – the consequences of this phenomenon are still felt today and remain unresolved – which is why we should work together to find a solution to end enforced population transfer and to prevent or deter States from resorting to it in the future.

Mr Kalmár mentioned how Hungarians suffered after the Trianon treaty of 1920, when many Hungarians were ousted from Slovakia. I am unhappy that 100 000 people were expelled from Slovakia to Hungary. They still have not been compensated. That is why it is important to support my amendment to the report calling on the Assembly to find a way to compensate fairly all the victims and their relatives who suffered from enforced population transfer. Paragraph 55 of Mr Vareikis’s report deals with remedies and international law. I ask the Assembly to support my amendment. All types of such activity should be stopped, even in Vojvodina, where actions are being taken against Hungarians. There are many refugees from Kosovo as well. Thank you for your attention.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr Gaudi Nagy. I now call Ms Palihovici.

Ms PALIHOVICI (Republic of Moldova) – I appreciate the work done by Mr Vareikis in preparing the report, the content of which clearly shows that he understands the subject well and has not just based it on previous research by other experts. He knows about the effects of the deportation suffered by people from his country.

I would like to emphasise one of the rapporteur’s conclusions – one showing that deportation has been a deliberate decision based on military or political objectives of countries that have resorted to it. As a result of such deliberate political decisions by the former Soviet authorities more than 60 years ago, Moldovan citizens have lived through a nightmare. In July 1949, following the implementation of a decision by the communist leadership in Moscow, tens of thousands of citizens were forcibly deported to different regions of Siberia. Tens of thousands of children and adults suffered hunger and cold, humiliation and the violation of general human values. They were taken from Moldova, and most did not survive to return.

The reason for those deportations was the desire to make demographic changes and to consolidate Soviet communist control of the occupied territories. In a country where citizens believed in the benefits of private property – it was not a communist State and there was no communist ideology – a proletarian approach was implanted through terror and mass deportation of all those who opposed collectivisation. Documents show that mass terror in Moldova became the main component of Soviet state policy.

Moldovans learned the essence of the Soviet regime and of deportation on the night of 12 June 1941, when about 5 000 families were displaced and taken forcibly to Siberia. After that came the night of 7 July 1949, when more than 11 000 families – about 35 000 adults and children – were deported to Siberia. The deportees were primarily politicians, teachers, doctors, soldiers, lawyers, priests, farmers – people who had the courage to fight for their human rights and to express a point of view different from that of the authorities. There was violence, beating on doors at midnight and horror. This put fear into peaceful people, and the effects of the deportations are felt today too. The fear deliberately implanted by representatives of the Stalinist regime blot the civil courage of the people.

During the deportations, the regime did not choose between Moldovan families and non-Moldovans. It deported Moldovans, Ukrainians, Bulgarians and Gagauzian families. The main criterion leading to the detection and deportation of dangerous elements – so-called enemies of the people – was their attitude towards the regime. Thousands of people – then children but now old – are still waiting to be rehabilitated and to have returned to them at least some of their confiscated property. Their suffering has not even been acknowledged.

Dear colleagues, I ask you to support the report and to put on our agenda more detailed debate of this subject, always to condemn this crime and not to allow such crimes and human rights violations to be repeated. We must always condemn all kinds of enforced population transfer and deportations and we must ask countries that have admitted such actions to pay for the total rehabilitation of their victims.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you, Ms Palihovici. I now call Lord Tomlinson.

Lord TOMLINSON (United Kingdom) – I had no intention of speaking in this debate. I came to listen. I listened as someone who comes from a country that has not known – whether as perpetrators or victims – the problem of enforced population transfer. I am grateful that I have never been a victim, and I feel the pain of many of the people who have spoken today.

What strikes a sympathetic outside observer, however, is the large number of people who have presented themselves as victims but who have never recognised both sides of the argument. There has been no mood of reconciliation in most of the speeches; there has only been a mood of reinforcing their victim status. A more detailed resolution of some of the underlying problems will not be achieved by this type of political debate. It requires a much greater willingness of everybody to open up their historical archives and leave the analysis of the past to a multinational panel of historians to try to establish the truth. The truth as we have heard it today is that seen by victims of the problem, and it is inevitably biased.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you, Lord Tomlinson. That concludes the list of speakers. I now call Mr Vareikis, the rapporteur, to reply. You have five and a half minutes.

Mr VAREIKIS (Lithuania) – I have prepared some remarks, but Lord Tomlinson has helped me. The aim of the report was not listing the victims or saying who is more victimised. I agree with Ms Bakir, who listed a lot of nations which I did not put in my report, including my own. I am also a victim of deportation – I am from a deportee family. I cannot make a list of the top 10 or top 20 victims of enforced deportation. In the Soviet Union, Russians were also victims of deportation. I am sorry for Turkish Cypriots, who also have problems, and I am also sorry for Azeris and Albanians. This is a deep and complicated problem and it is in our hearts.

I agree with Lord Tomlinson that it is not our job to make pariahs of people or to punish them. Punishment is not the most important thing. As I wrote in the report, we need to be sincere. Sometimes, instead of sincerity and responsibility, we seem hypocritical if we do not understand something. The truth is somewhere in between – it is not either on one side or the other.

I have visited many so-called unrecognised countries – Transnistria, the northern part of Cyprus and parts of Georgia. I know that there are problems. Mr Kalmar said that we must draw the line somewhere. After all, Saxons came to England in the sixth or seventh centuries and this was a kind of enforced population transfer. We cannot be stupid and go back to Roman or medieval times. Of course, people who come to a country from somewhere else can be friendly and co-operative.

One more thing – we should look not for revenge but for reconciliation. I am a war theoretician; I have diplomas and I am an arms control expert, but I like peace. As was said nearly 200 years ago, victory is not the real end of the war. Victory generally creates the will for revenge. Peace and reconciliation are the real end of the war. If we organise a legally binding instrument, it must be an instrument not of punishment but of reconciliation. We must also be transparent. I have a lot of examples – not all of them are in the explanatory memorandum – which are not transparent but one sided.

Some of those who participated in the discussion criticised the explanatory memorandum but did not criticise the resolution, which is the essence of our work. I thank everyone for this interesting and useful debate; my will is not to finish the report but to implement its proposals.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you. Does the Chairperson of the Legal Affairs Committee and Human Rights want to speak?

Mr CHOPE (United Kingdom) – This debate is notable for many things; I think it is the first time that two half brothers, Mr Türkeş and Mr Türkeş, have both participated in the same debate in this Assembly.

I congratulate the rapporteur on dealing with an issue that is so emotive, a fact that has become apparent during this debate. I am also grateful for the contribution of the Committee of Migration of Refugees and Displaced Persons in its report for opinion. We will not be able to resolve these issues but it is important that the draft resolution makes the case for having a consolidation of the legal instruments. Paragraph 7.3 invites member States “properly to investigate their own past with regard to enforced population transfers and to promote knowledge thereof among their populations”. Within the collective memory of international institutions there is the Treaty of Lausanne, which is referred to in the report. That is an international treaty which obliged population transfer, so not all population transfers have been the result of bad actions – some have been the result of international treaties.

I thank the rapporteurs for this excellent report.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr Chope. That closes the debate.

The Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee has presented a draft resolution to which seven amendments have been tabled.

I understand that the chairperson of the committee wishes to propose to the Assembly that Amendment 5, which was unanimously approved by the committee, should be declared as agreed by the Assembly under Rule 33.11.

Is that so, Mr Chope?

Mr CHOPE (United Kingdom) – Yes.

THE PRESIDENT – Does anyone object? That is not the case.

The following amendment has been adopted:

Amendment 5, tabled by Mr Tugrul Türkeş, on behalf of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons, which is, in the draft resolution, replace paragraph 5 with the following paragraph:

“Deportation on political and ethnic grounds of groups of populations occurred before, during and after the Second World War and their consequences still remain.”

We will proceed to consider the remaining amendments. They will be taken in the order in which they appear in the compendium and the organisation of debate. I remind you that speeches on amendments are limited to 30 seconds.

We come to Amendment 6, tabled by Mr Koç, Mr Ahmet Kutalmis Türkeş, Ms Bakir, Ms Memecan and Mr Kayatürk, which is, in the draft resolution, paragraph 2, delete the words “such as those in the Western Balkans, Cyprus and the Caucasus region”.

I call Mr Koç to support Amendment 6.

Mr KOÇ (Turkey) – Europe has experienced innumerable population transfers and movements. Attempts to list the victims are bound to be incomplete, which invites the criticism that some are included but others are left out. By deleting the proposed part of the sentence, we will avoid accusations of exclusion and bias while at the same time allowing the resolution to focus on the matters in the absence of an incomplete list. The rapporteur, Mr Vareikis, agreed with this amendment in the committee meeting but it was rejected by two votes only.

THE PRESIDENT – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Ms Athina Kyriakidou.

Ms A. KYRIAKIDOU (Cyprus) – I strongly believe that in order to maintain the strong impact of this draft resolution, the three specific examples given by the rapporteur in paragraph 2 should remain. Surely there are more areas that unfortunately are still affected by the phenomenon of enforced population transfer. Equally, I believe that it is of paramount importance that this should not act as a deterrent in mentioning some of these areas such as the three very important examples of on-going unacceptable situations that the rapporteur correctly refers to in the specific paragraph.

THE PRESIDENT – What is the opinion of the committee?

Mr CHOPE (United Kingdom) – The committee was against.

THE PRESIDENT – The vote is open.

Amendment 6 is rejected.

We come to Amendment 1, tabled by Ms Bakir, Mr Ahmet Kutalmis Türkes, Ms Pashayeva, Mr Huseynov, Mr Disli, Ms Gafarova, Mr Kayatürk and Mr Mustafa, which is, in the draft resolution, paragraph 2, after the word “Cyprus”, insert the following word: “, Karabakh”.

I call Ms Bakir to support Amendment 1.

Ms BAKIR (Turkey) – If we are going to mention the western Balkans, Cyprus and the Caucasus region in the draft resolution, I strongly believe we should also mention the Karabakh issue. Such an approach was accepted in a United Nations resolution – by a big majority – in 2008. In the case of Karabakh, there were some 100 000 refugees, and of Azerbaijan some 1 million, so to exclude Karabakh is in my opinion unfair.

THE PRESIDENT – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Mr Rustamyan.

Mr RUSTAMYAN (Armenia) said that Ms Bakir was attempting to add Nagorno-Karabakh to the list and he was against this amendment.

THE PRESIDENT – What is the opinion of the committee?

Mr CHOPE (United Kingdom) – The committee is against.

THE PRESIDENT – The vote is open.

Amendment 1 is rejected.

We come to Amendment 7, tabled by Mr Gaudi Nagy, Mr Hübner, Ms Reps, Mr Ékes and Mr Gruber, which is, in the draft resolution, after paragraph 7.4, insert the following sub-paragraph:

“calls on the member States of the Council of Europe to adopt legally binding instruments in order to compensate fairly such victims of forced population movements who were forced from their territories.”

I call Mr Gaudi Nagy to support Amendment 7.

Mr GAUDI NAGY (Hungary) – As I said in my speech, if we want to find a good solution, as Mr Vareikis said, instead of revenge we should look to reconciliation. We should put in the resolution a reference to the fair compensation of the victims. As the summary of Mr Vareikis’s report says, an obligation to make reparations is a good thing, but I think there should be a legally binding resolution.

THE PRESIDENT – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? That is not the case. What is the opinion of the committee?

Mr CHOPE (United Kingdom) – The committee is against.

THE PRESIDENT – The vote is open

Amendment 7 is rejected.

We come to Amendment 2, tabled by Ms Bakir, Mr Ahmet Kutalmis Türkes, Ms Pashayeva, Mr Huseynov, Mr Disli, Ms Gafarova, Mr Kayatürk and Mr Mustafa, which is, in the draft resolution, after paragraph 8, add the following paragraph:

“The enforced population transfer during a war due to both of the reasons listed below are exempt from the consequences of this resolution and the associated report:

a. national security threats arising from treason, or a unification with the enemy armies; and

b. the associated riots and violence committed by the population concerned towards innocent native civilians, women and children.”

I call Ms Bakir to support Amendment 2.

Ms BAKIR (Turkey) – The amendment is self-explanatory.

THE PRESIDENT – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Mr Rustamyan.

Mr RUSTAMYAN (Armenia) said that the amendment was a clear attempt to justify forced population transfers.

THE PRESIDENT – What is the opinion of the committee?

Mr CHOPE (United Kingdom) – The committee is against.

THE PRESIDENT – The vote is open.

Amendment 2 is rejected.

We come to Amendment 3, tabled by Ms Bakir, Mr Ahmet Kutalmis Türkes, Ms Pashayeva, Mr Huseynov, Mr Disli, Ms Gafarova, Mr Kayatürk and Mr Mustafa, which is, in the draft resolution, after paragraph 8, add the following paragraph:

“In case of a conflict between two countries regarding the existence of enforced population transfer or its consequences, both countries will open their archives and will form a Committee that consists of academics or history professors from both countries. If needed, they will be provided full access to the archives of third party countries. This matter will be investigated scientifically and a consensus will be reached in a more objective way by historians rather than politicians. The political exploitation of history is by no means acceptable.”

I call Ms Bakir to support Amendment 3.

Ms BAKIR (Turkey) – Again, this amendment is self-explanatory. As a former professor of structural mechanics, I believe in scientific research and unbiased investigation. I believe that historical events should be investigated by a committee of historians and academicians, rather than politicians.

THE PRESIDENT – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Ms Zohrabyan to speak against the amendment.

Ms ZOHRABYAN (Armenia) said that the amendment would lead to a situation where historical events would be re-evaluated from a political point of view.

THE PRESIDENT – What is the opinion of the committee?

Mr CHOPE (United Kingdom) – The committee is in favour.

THE PRESIDENT – The vote is open.

We come to Amendment 4, tabled by Ms Bakir, Mr Ahmet Kutalmis Türkes, Ms Pashayeva, Mr Huseynov, Mr Disli, Ms Gafarova, Mr Kayatürk and Mr Mustafa, which is, in the draft resolution, after paragraph 8, add the following paragraph:

“The consequences of this report and of this resolution will only be applicable if ethnic cleansing is proven by historians.”

I call Ms Bakir to support Amendment 4.

Ms BAKIR (Turkey) – Again, this relates to my wanting all such historical events to be investigated by academicians – professors of history and so on. If such events are indeed proven to have taken place by historians looking through the archives, then they are acceptable. I want unbiased research into historical issues by historians, not politicians.

THE PRESIDENT – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Mr Rustamyan.

Mr RUSTAMYAN (Armenia) said that the amendment would undermine the entire meaning of the report.

THE PRESIDENT – What is the opinion of the committee?

Mr CHOPE (United Kingdom) – The committee is against.

THE PRESIDENT – The vote is open

Amendment 4 is rejected.

We will now proceed to vote on the whole of the draft resolution contained in Document 12819, as amended.

The vote is open.

3. Written declarations

THE PRESIDENT – The following written declarations have been tabled: No. 510, entitled “Dangers of restricting freedom of expression”, which has been signed by 58 members, Document 12856; and No. 511, entitled “Condemning Egyptian raids against NGOs”, which has been signed by 20 members, Document 12857.

Any member, substitute, observer or partner for democracy may add his or her signature to these written declarations in the Table Office, Room 1083 at any time before the close of the part-session today.

I remind members that written declarations tabled during this part-session may be signed during the next part-session, after which time they will be published.

4. Demographic trends in Europe: turning challenges into opportunities

THE PRESIDENT – The next item of business this morning is the debate on the report entitled “Demographic trends in Europe: turning challenges into opportunities”, Document 12817, to be presented by Ms Nursuna Memecan on behalf of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons.

In order to finish by 1.00 p.m., we must interrupt the list of speakers at about 12.50 p.m. to allow time for the reply and the vote.

Is this agreed to?

It is agreed to.

I call Ms Memecan, the rapporteur. You have 13 minutes in total, which you may divide between presentation of the report and reply to the debate.

Ms MEMECAN (Turkey) – I thank the secretariat of the committee for helping me to put the report together, and the experts who have been very helpful at our meetings and in the drafting of the report.

Demographic indicators are important in enabling us to be realistic about our needs, resources, risks and opportunities. They give us the tools to design policies that will allow us to improve our people’s quality of life. We politicians need to have a good understanding of demography and, hence, of our societies. Given the changing nature of demography, studies of population trends and demographic predictions should be on-going, and relevant policies should be updated regularly.

The European population is declining. The fertility rate is decreasing and life expectancy is increasing for both men and women. Meanwhile, the global population is on the rise. In a world in which the people are considered to represent power, a rather gloomy picture of Europe can be painted. We may talk about the possibility of a smaller share of Europeans in the world, an economical continent, and European values that are losing relevance in the world.

We need to be realistic about the risks that demography indicates for Europe and European values, but we should not let pessimism overwhelm us. Instead, we should focus on the facts, and identify the opportunities with which they present us. That positive outlook is the overriding theme of the report.

The world population has reached a new milestone of 7 billion people. The population of the member States of the Council of Europe currently constitutes 12% of the world population, and that is expected to fall to 9% by 2050. China will see a decrease in its population, although it will remain very big in terms of size, while India and Africa will see huge increases. Developed countries will have an ageing population, of which the highest proportion will be in Europe. By 2050, more than a third of the European population will be over 60. Those numbers are important for a variety of reasons, the most important being the allocation of resources, economic growth and global influence.

The report asserts that Europe still has the opportunity to compete and remain relevant within those new dynamics. It is not only the number of people that counts; the skills, abilities and health status of those people matter tremendously. In comparison with other regions of the world, Europe still provides a good quality of life, good education and social services for its people. If the continent is to remain influential and relevant, there can be no compromise in that regard. Our greatest wealth lies in our people. Europe needs to maintain that high quality, and to invest further in human capital. Governments need to provide opportunities for people to improve their skills, and to ensure that they are well educated, well equipped and well integrated to take on the challenges presented by an ever more globalised, and populated, world.

With the best human capital, coupled with experience, Europe should be in a good position to lead revolutions in innovation and technology. In today’s knowledge economy, that is where its comparative advantage lies. It will contribute to increased productivity and economic growth inside Europe, and will also enable the continent to remain influential in the rest of the world. In the explanatory memorandum, we discuss ways of creating an environment that will promote and encourage innovation and technology in Europe, and I think that it would be useful if the Assembly prepared more in-depth reports on the subject.

While we invest in our human capital, we also need to implement appropriate family-friendly policies to provide people with an environment where they can afford and enjoy their families and children. That is especially important during a financial crisis, as studies indicate a tendency for people to postpone having children at such times. Many studies show that decisions in that regard are susceptible to socio-economic and other conditions.

Migration can be a real asset when we are dealing with a declining and ageing population. If we can achieve social cohesion through policies that promote diversity and encourage tolerance and living together, we can make better use of the human capital of migrants. Migrants are usually high risk takers and entrepreneurs in search of a better life. Currently, some 12% of migrants in OECD countries are entrepreneurs. They contribute to job creation, trade and innovation, as well as providing remittances that benefit their countries of origin. Through proper management of international migration flows, we can aim to attract and maintain the best talents in the world as well as unskilled labour for the service sectors. We also call on European governments to take measures to increase labour force participation rates among traditionally less used or excluded groups such as older people and women.

As Europeans are having fewer children, they are living longer than ever before, and an increasing part of those longer lives is spent in good health. That gives us a window of opportunity for “active ageing”. The experiences of older people are a good asset for human capital. In the report, we call for investment in lifelong learning opportunities that can enable older people to remain productive in the labour market for longer. That should be coupled with measures to combat age discrimination against both women and men.

While we are focusing on traditionally excluded groups, we should bear in mind that Europe has a high rate of employment among its young people. On average, the youth unemployment rate in OECD countries is more than twice that of the adult rate, at 17.4%. Increasingly, young people feel that they have lost any prospect of employment. We benefit from policy measures introduced by the OECD, but we recommend the introduction of job search assistance, hiring subsidies, remedial assistance for disadvantaged young people, and the provision of opportunities for study and work.

As I said at the beginning, this is a vast concept with many dimensions. Confronting the demographic challenge will no doubt be a long-term task, but we should be optimistic and carefully design the right policies. Let me end with a question that Mr Cameron asked our Assembly this week. Are we prepared to allow Europe to stagnate economically, or are we prepared to take the steps that will enable us

to experience another great century? As Mr Cameron said, we have the best universities in the world, we are inventive and creative, we have some of the most extraordinary companies, and we have the biggest single market; we just need the political will to make the most of it. We must all take responsible actions in this regard.

THE PRESIDENT – I call Mr Voruz to speak on behalf of the Socialist Group

Mr VORUZ (Switzerland) said that the report not only provided useful information but gave specific ideas for political action, especially on the subject of migration policy.

It was incorrect to blame population changes entirely on migration from outside Europe caused by political corruption. Migration flows were also being caused by political austerity measures in Europe itself. It was worth remembering that a balanced social policy could introduce dynamism into economic policy. It was also important to recognise that women had a crucial role to play in economic growth.

A sensible migration policy could help to address the problems of an ageing population by bringing about demographic renewal and social and economic advances. It was also worth considering regularising illegal immigrants.

Migration policy could be an extremely important tool for Europe. For this reason, the Socialist Group supported the draft motion without amendment.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you. I now call Mr Díaz Tejera.

Mr DĺAZ TEJERA (Spain) said that the report being debated was the most important report of the week. He respected the members of the Committee that had produced the report and he respected Mr Santini for his chairmanship.

The report’s contents and proposals were significant and it was important to rise to their challenges. The report set the scene and also called on the Council of Europe to ensure further development of policies.

The demographic trends showed that Europe would be an ageing continent and, unless there were a dramatic change in the birth rate, there would be a need for immigrants to come to Europe. Such a development would deprive other countries of their workers, and in many cases this involved their most skilled workers. In particular, he expected Africa would be adversely affected by emigration to Europe. This would compound the problems on the African continent which had been caused by European ancestors.

In terms of the role of politicians, the report reminded the Assembly what lay at the heart of the Council of Europe.

Notwithstanding the Pittsburgh, Washington and London summits of the G20 to stabilise the financial system and improve the economic outlook, politicians would need to tackle the demographic situation in order to avoid their economies being at the behest of financial markets.

He was in favour of the report and thanked the team that had produced it.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you. The next speaker is Mr Kalmár.

Mr KALMÁR (Hungary) – First, I congratulate the rapporteur and her team on their courage in carrying out a report on this issue. We all know that this is a very important, but also a very difficult, topic. Books have been and will continue to be written about it, yet the rapporteur managed to integrate all the issues in just 14 pages.

The title of the report sounds optimistic. However, when it comes to the demographic situation in Europe, a considerable number of specialists are pessimistic, with many of them speaking about the demographic catastrophe of Europe.

In 2010, our Secretary General, Mr Jagland, said in a speech delivered here in the Chamber that, without immigrants, the European economy and European institutions could not operate. That is true from an economic point of view, but what about the political, cultural or social implications of the demographic trend?

The key question that arises in the mind of a Europe-born citizen is how the growing number of immigrants will influence the traditional European cultures. We know that these cultures are based on Christianity, but what will be the trend when the Christians are in a minority? How can we hope for traditional European culture to persist if we were unable to place into the European constitution a sentence referring to the Christian roots of Europe? We often speak about European values, but we forget that these are based on Christianity. Europe gave up Christian values, but still thinks it can survive without them. I am convinced that that will not happen.

Whether or not we are optimistic or pessimistic about this issue is a relative question. For a Europe-born citizen who wants to save the traditional Europe and its culture, the answer is more pessimistic. For an immigrant who does not care too much about European traditions, the answer is more optimistic. In reading this report, I thought it would be interesting to know what the main languages spoken in Europe will be in the next century.

The report suggests that our member States should implement family-friendly policies to encourage active ageing. I do not believe that anybody is against this, but we need to be aware that the world financial crisis will hit our social sectors first. Active ageing will predominate, but perhaps mainly because of problems with financing our pension funds.

Overall, I think that the report is good, but not exhaustive. The rapporteur probably did not intend it to be exhaustive. Before trying to find a solution to these European problems, we should turn back to our basic Christian moral values. On that basis, we might find our European modern identity and might stop the disintegration of our society, providing a solid base for rebuilding a modern and sustainable Europe.

(Mr Mignon, President of the Assembly, took the Chair in place of Mr Kox.)

THE PRESIDENT (Translation) – Thank you, Mr Kalmar.

The last speaker on the list is Ms Athina Kyriakidou. We still have a bit more time, so if any colleagues wish to speak, they may do so after we have heard the next speaker.

Ms A. KYRIAKIDOU (Cyprus) congratulated the President on his election and thanked the rapporteur for the report, which was balanced and also clear on the challenges of an ageing population.

Social policies needed to adapt to demographic changes and it was important to ensure that there was social inclusion of immigrants. Immigrants were necessary to re-boot the European demography. It was important to handle the many challenges of immigration: by improving education, social services, health, equality of opportunity between men and women, and by considering human capital, in particular through tackling unemployment.

Member States had different demographics and some of the reasons for this included the different approaches that States took to openness and ability to integrate flows of migrants. When a country experienced immigration it had an impact, both on the country’s demography and its relations with the country from which the immigrants had arrived.

With regard to Cyprus, following the invasion by Turkey, there had been a large settlement of people from Anatolia. Cypriot Turks were now the minority in northern Cyprus. Drug trafficking and human trafficking were flourishing in northern Cyprus which was exacerbating the political problems.

THE PRESIDENT (Translation) – Thank you, Ms Kyriakidou. I wish you a safe journey back to Cyprus today.

Two members have asked to speak: Mr Gaudi Nagy and Ms Christoffersen. I call Mr Gaudi Nagy.

Mr GAUDI NAGY (Hungary) – Thank you, Mr President, for giving me the opportunity to speak. I shall use my time to highlight the historical backgrounds of certain demographic trends in Europe.

First, however, I must congratulate Ms Memecan on her report. It has some particularly important things to say about women. All discrimination against women must end, and we must ensure that women can participate fully in political and economic life. Women bring more sensitivity and flexibility to all aspects of human life. Women are the masters of demographic trends because, of course, men are not able to give birth. Women have such a positive role to play, and I am pleased that the draft resolution highlights that.

The other aspect that I want to talk about is that some nations suffered much more than others in the 20th century. Hungary is one such country. Mr Kalmar has mentioned that, under the Trianon Treaty, 3,5 million Hungarians suddenly found that they had been ousted from their country; they were instantly in another country, and now, 92 years later, almost 3,5 million Hungarians are still displaced as a result of that treaty. Hungary deserves the right to exist as a normal national community. No other country in Europe suffered so much in the past century.

That story highlights why Europe should be encouraged to return to its Christian roots. We must find solutions that reflect the traditions of Europe, while also, of course, respecting all immigrants and newcomers to Europe. The fundamental principles should, perhaps, be the rule of law, democracy and the Christian traditions of Europe.

THE PRESIDENT (Translation) – Thank you, Mr Gaudi Nagy. The last speaker is Ms Christoffersen.

Ms CHRISTOFFERSEN (Norway) – I want to highlight an important topic. A recent Norwegian report found that even well-skilled immigrants often do not even get to the interview stage when applying for jobs. It is therefore important that we ensure that employers are aware of the many skills and attributes that are to be found among our immigrant populations.

In my hometown in Norway, the labour authorities conducted an interesting experiment. They gathered a number of well-educated immigrants and invited potential employers to meet them. People who had applied for numerous jobs but had never even received a response were now hired on the spot.

Colleagues should also take a look at a November 2011 issue of The Economist, which contained several interesting articles under the headline, “The magic of diasporas”, showing how immigrant cross-country networks, especially in up-and-coming countries and economies, can make a valuable contribution to a new wave of growth and welfare in Europe. We must harness the skills of entrepreneurs in our immigrant populations.

It is worth mentioning that girls with immigrant parents are at the top of university education in Norway, but we have to give them a chance in their working life too, for their sake and ours. A good start would be to demand in law that employers invite at least one qualified immigrant to an interview – public employers, at least, should be obliged to do so. There is discussion about this in Norway. Perhaps it is an idea for other countries too.

THE PRESIDENT (Translation) – Thank you, Ms Christoffersen. That concludes the list of speakers. The rapporteur has five and a half minutes in which to respond.

Ms MEMECAN (Turkey) – I would like to thank all the speakers and everyone else present in the Chamber for what is the least popular sitting of the Assembly. I thank them for being part in the debate. I have benefited from the points of view of all the speakers.

When I took responsibility for the report, we knew that this was a vast issue and that it would be difficult to fit everything into one report, which is why the report makes suggestions for other reports and research that could come out of it.

Europe must be relevant and important. It is one of the major global players, and it should be so tomorrow too. In future, population numbers will be different, but by investing in human capital, Europe can have an edge and make a difference. European values can prevail tomorrow if we invest in human capital. By “human capital”, to which the report refers, I mean women, old people, young people, immigrants and so on. These are all big issues in themselves. We must be aware of what is awaiting us tomorrow, and we should design our policies accordingly. That is the main conclusion in the report. Thank you again for being here.

THE PRESIDENT (Translation) – Thank you, Ms Memecan. Does the chairperson of the migration committee wish to speak? I call Mr Santini.

Mr SANTINI (Italy) was delighted to appear before the Assembly as the newly elected chairperson. He thanked the rapporteur for the substantial amount of work she had put into the report. He also wished to note that Mr Díaz Tejera had indicated that he was standing down from the committee. Mr Díaz Tejera would be much missed.

Ms Memecan had provided a report which gave a woman’s perspective on the issue of democratic trends in Europe. These trends represented a significant problem. Ms Memecan could have produced some rather obscure proposals but she had given very clear recommendations.

When the rapporteur for this report was being chosen, he had put himself forward as a candidate but had lost the vote to Ms Memecan and it was fortunate for the Assembly, although less fortunate for himself, that this had happened. He had signed Mr Volonté’s motion which had raised this subject and suggested a report, which Ms Memecan had now used to great effect to highlight the problem of demographic decline, which was actually a decline in human capital.

He supported all of the report’s recommendations: it proposed an inter-generational policy which would ensure that the elderly would know that they could rely on the young in society to support them. He had no doubt that the Assembly would adopt the report, as had already been indicated by the fact that no amendments had been tabled to it. It was a happy coincidence that the European Commission had designated 2012 as the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations.

THE PRESIDENT (Translation) – Thank you. I, too, would like to thank Ms Memecan for her very good report.

The debate is closed.

The Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons Committee has presented a draft resolution to which no amendments have been tabled.

We will now proceed to vote on the whole of the draft resolution contained in Document 12817. A simple majority is required.

The vote is open.

5. Constitution of the Standing Committee

THE PRESIDENT (Translation) – The next business today is to constitute the Standing Committee under Rule 16.2.

The membership of the Standing Committee, which is fixed by Rule 16.3, is as follows: the President of the Assembly, the Vice-Presidents of the Assembly, the leaders of the political groups, the chairpersons of national delegations and the chairpersons of the general committees. A full list of members is set out in document Commissions (2012) 2.

The Standing Committee is accordingly constituted.

6. Reference to committees

THE PRESIDENT (Translation) – The Bureau has proposed a number of references to committees for ratification by the Assembly. They are set out in Document As/Inf (2012) 03.

Is there any objection to the proposed references to committees? That is not the case.

The references are approved.

7. Awards

THE PRESIDENT (Translation) – It is time to reward the hardest working members. Five members are tying for the award. In alphabetical order, they are: Ms Andersen, Mr Gross, Ms Ohlsson, Mr Rouquet and Mr von Sydow. You have taken part in every vote, so congratulations to all five of you. We have presents for you.

8. End of the part session

THE PRESIDENT (Translation) – Dear colleagues, we have now come to the end of our business.

I would like to thank all members of the Assembly, particularly rapporteurs of committees, for their hard work during this part-session. I would also like to thank the staff, both permanent and temporary, and the interpreters who have worked hard to make the part-session a success.

(The President continued in summary.)

He also wished to thank the press, with whom he had met this morning, and said that it was positive that the press and members of the Assembly should work closely together.

(The President continued in translation.)

The second part of the 2012 Session will be held from Monday 23 April to Friday 27 April 2012.

I declare the first part of the 2012 Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, closed.

The sitting is closed.

(The sitting was closed at 12.15 p.m.)


Friday 27 January 2012

1.       Changes in membership of committees

2.       Enforce population transfer as a human rights violation

Presentation by Mr Vareikis of report of the Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee, Doc. 12819

Presentation by Mr Tuğrul Türkeş of opinion of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons, Doc. 12853


Mr Diaz Tejera (Spain)

Ms Bakir (Turkey)

Ms Andersen (Norway)

Mr Rouquet (France)

Ms Marin (France)

Mr Kalmár (Hungary)

Ms A. Kyriakidou (Cyprus)

Ms Pashayeva (Azerbaijan)

Mr Eti (Cyprus)

Ms Naghdalyan (Armenia)

Mr A. K. Türkeş (Turkey)

Mr Sabella (Palestinian National Authority)

Mr Gaudi Nagy (Hungary)

Ms Palihovici (Republic of Moldova)

Lord Tomlinson (United Kingdom)


Mr Vareikis (Lithuania)

Mr Chope (United Kingdom)

Amendment 5 and 3 adopted

Draft resolution, as amended, adopted

3.       Written declarations

4.       Demographic trends in Europe

Presentation by Ms Memecan of report of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons, Doc. 12817


Mr Voruz (Switzerland)

Mr Diaz Tejera (Spain)

Mr Kalmár (Hungary)

Ms A Kyriakidou (Cyprus)

Mr Gaudi Nagy (Hungary)

Ms Christoffersen (Norway)


Ms Memecan (Turkey)

Mr Santini (Italy)

Draft resolution adopted

5.       Constitution of the Standing Committee

6.       References to committees

7.       Awards

8.       End of the part-session


Representatives or Substitutes who signed the Attendance Register in accordance with Rule 11.2 of the Rules of Procedure. The names of Substitutes who replaced absent Representatives are printed in small letters. The names of those who were absent or apologised for absence are followed by an asterisk

Francis AGIUS*






Florin Serghei ANGHEL*

Khadija ARIB*


Francisco ASSIS*

Alexander BABAKOV*

Ţuriđur BACKMAN*


Viorel Riceard BADEA*

Gagik BAGHDASARYAN/Hermine Naghdalyan

Pelin Gündeş BAKIR



Meritxell BATET*


Marieluise BECK*

Alexander van der BELLEN*




Grzegorz BIERECKI*





Roland BLUM*

Jean-Marie BOCKEL

Eric BOCQUET/ Bernadette Bourzaď


Mladen BOSIĆ*

António BRAGA*


Márton BRAUN*

Federico BRICOLO*



Patrizia BUGNANO*


Sylvia CANEL*




Vannino CHITI*

Christopher CHOPE


Desislav CHUKOLOV*

Lolita ČIGĀNE*



Deirdre CLUNE*


Agustín CONDE*





Cristian DAVID*


Giovanna DEBONO*







Gianpaolo DOZZO*

Daphné DUMERY*

Alexander DUNDEE*

Josette DURRIEU*


József ÉKES


Lydie ERR*

Nikolay FEDOROV/ Vladimir Zhidkikh



Doris FIALA*

Daniela FILIPIOVÁ/Tomáš Jirsa




Gvozden Srećko FLEGO

Stanislav FOŘT*



Jean-Claude FRÉCON*

Erich Georg FRITZ

Martin FRONC*

György FRUNDA*



Roger GALE*

Jean-Charles GARDETTO*





Michael GLOS*




Martin GRAF*

Sylvi GRAHAM/Ingjerd Schou

Andreas GROSS





Carina HÄGG/Jonas Gunnarsson


Andrzej HALICKI*


Margus HANSON*



Norbert HAUPERT*

Oliver HEALD*

Alfred HEER*


Andres HERKEL*




Joachim HÖRSTER*


Andrej HUNKO*




Stanisław HUSKOWSKI*

Shpëtim IDRIZI/Kastriot Islami

Željko IVANJI*


Tadeusz IWIŃSKI*

Denis JACQUAT/ André Schneider

Michael Aastrup JENSEN*


Birkir Jón JÓNSSON*

Armand JUNG






Bogdan KLICH*

Haluk KOÇ

Konstantin KOSACHEV*

Tiny KOX


Borjana KRIŠTO*

Václav KUBATA/Dana Váhalová


Jean-Pierre KUCHEIDA*

Dalia KUODYTĖ/Egidijus Vareikis

Ertuğrul KÜRKÇÜ*


Henrik Sass LARSEN*

Jean-Paul LECOQ*






François LONCLE*

Jean-Louis LORRAIN


Younal LOUTFI*


Philippe MAHOUX*





Muriel MARLAND-MILITELLO/Jean-Pierre Michel

Meritxell MATEU PI



Liliane MAURY PASQUIER/Eric Voruz

Michael McNAMARA*




Ivan MELNIKOV/Oleg Panteleev



Dragoljub MIĆUNOVIĆ*

Jean-Claude MIGNON/Christine Marin



Krasimir MINCHEV/Petar Petrov


Andrey MOLCHANOV/Alexey Ivanovich Aleksandrov


Patrick MORIAU*



Arkadiusz MULARCZYK*


Philippe NACHBAR*


Gebhard NEGELE

Pasquale NESSA*



Tomislav NIKOLIĆ

Aleksandar NIKOLOSKI*


Joseph O'REILLY*




Vassiliki PAPANDREOU/ Elsa Papadimitriou




Johannes PFLUG*


Lisbeth Bech POULSEN*


Cezar Florin PREDA*



Gabino PUCHE

Milorad PUPOVAC*





Mailis REPS*

Andrea RIGONI*

Gonzalo ROBLES/ Luz Elena Sanín


Maria de Belém ROSEIRA*





Branko RUŽIĆ*

Volodymyr RYBAK/Oleksiy Plotnikov

Rovshan RZAYEV*




Giuseppe SARO*

Kimmo SASI*








Ladislav SKOPAL/Pavel Lebeda






Fiorenzo STOLFI*

Christoph STRÄSSER*



Björn von SYDOW


Vilmos SZABÓ*




Vyacheslav TIMCHENKO*



Latchezar TOSHEV



Ahmet Kutalmiş TÜRKEŞ


Konstantinos TZAVARAS/Dimitrios Papadimoulis









Vladimir VORONIN*

Konstantinos VRETTOS*

Klaas de VRIES*



Piotr WACH*


Robert WALTER*

Katrin WERNER*

Renate WOHLWEND/Doris Frommelt


Gisela WURM*

Jordi XUCLŔ*


Kostiantyn ZHEVAHO*

Emanuelis ZINGERIS

Guennady ZIUGANOV*


Vacant Seat, Bosnia and Herzegovina*

Vacant Seat, Cyprus*

Vacant Seat, Croatia*

Vacant Seat, Croatia*

Vacant Seat, Russian Federation*

Vacant Seat, Russian Federation*

Vacant Seat, Russian Federation*

Vacant Seat, Russian Federation*

Vacant Seat, Slovenia*

Vacant Seat, Slovenia*


Representatives and Substitutes not authorised to vote:






Mr Corneliu CHISU

Mr Consiglio DI NINO

Hervé Pierre GUILLOT

Partners for democracy:




Representatives of the Turkish Cypriot Community

(In accordance to Resolution 1376 (2004) of the Parliamentary Assembly)

Mehmet ÇAĞLAR,

Ahmet ETI