1. The Parliamentary Assembly was deeply shocked by the disaster which
struck Southeast Asia and the countries surrounding the Indian Ocean, and
which claimed 280 000 lives and displaced 5 million individuals.
2. It would like first of all to express its immense sorrow at these tragic
deaths and its deep sympathy with the families and close relatives of the
victims in both the countries affected by the earthquake and the rest of
the world, and in particular in European countries.
3. The Assembly welcomes the generosity with which the international community
has reacted. States and international institutions have pledged large sums
of money and agreed to wipe out or to place moratoria on debts. Thousands
of enterprises and millions of individuals worldwide have made donations. In
this connection, the Assembly stresses the need for the utmost transparency
during the dispatch of these funds.
4. In view of the importance that pledges be fully met through actual
disbursement and aware that such has not always been the case
after similar disasters in the past the Assembly resolves closely
to ensure that the pledges are scrupulously honoured, without jeopardising
aid allocated to other areas.
5. The same holds for the timing and co-ordination of the assistance from
immediate relief to medium and long-term support to the remote regions.
The Assembly in this context welcomes the offer of the European Union,
the United States and Japan to assist the region in installing a state-of-the-art
tsunami early warning system.
6. The Assembly welcomes the decision taken during the donors conference
to designate the United Nations as co-ordinator of humanitarian aid. It
is important that the United Nations take up this challenge by co-ordinating
activities on the ground, assessing priorities and delegating responsibilities
to the best-placed specialised agencies, as well as to the NGOs, and in
close co-operation with the local authorities.
7. Most of the infrastructures, transport links and energy sources have
been destroyed. This has left the majority of victims without any means
of subsistence, housing or livelihood.
8. Furthermore, the damage caused by the tsunami, which has also had an
impact on marine fauna and flora, including the mangroves and coral reefs,
is having an enormous effect on local populations whose resources stem
mainly from fishing and tourism.
9. The ensuing flooding has given rise to risks of such diseases as cholera,
yellow fever and malaria. The poor health conditions and the lack
of drinking water have contributed to the risk of epidemics. It is therefore
urgent to install an epidemiological monitoring system, particularly in
the more remote areas.
10. Under these circumstances, it is essential that the United Nations
make a co-ordinated vaccination and health campaign geared to preventing
cholera and the other waterborne diseases.
11. In addition, the protection of the children who have been orphaned
by the disaster must be a major priority for the humanitarian agencies.
12. According to Unicef estimates, the number of children affected by
the disaster amounts to around 1.5 million. The international community
must act to prevent these children from becoming targets for trafficking,
physical violence, sexual exploitation or recruitment by sects. In
this context, the Assembly backs Unicefs proposal to identify all
the children as quickly as possible and to implement measures to prevent
trafficking in children.
13. The Assembly considers that child sponsorship must be promoted and
established in order to protect the children from other traumas. In
accordance with Recommendation 1443 (2000) on international adoption: respecting
childrens rights, the Assembly reiterates that international adoption
must be used only as the very last resort.
14. The Assembly supports the appeal launched by the United Nations donors conference
for the donation pledges to be honoured and it stresses at the same time
that this should not lead us to forget the victims of other crises which
have affected or still affect different regions of the world.
15. It must be recalled that 1.2 billion people worldwide live in poverty
and that almost 1 billion, including over 150 million children under the
age of five, suffer from malnutrition. In this context, the Assembly
recalls the need for Council of Europe member states and all the donor
countries of the international community to endeavour to achieve the objective
set in Monterrey to earmark 0.7% of their GDP for public development aid.
16. Consequently, the Parliamentary Assembly asks the member states of
the Council of Europe, as regards:
i. Pledges and assistance
a. to honour the commitments entered into in connection with
pledged funds and assistance to the states struck by the tsunami, without
prejudicing aid allocated to other areas;
b. to support the activities of the United Nations Office for
the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs in its co-ordinating role;
c. to facilitate the granting of the funds needed for reconstruction
and rehabilitation, including the use of micro-loans;
d. to implement the decisions taken during the Kobe Conference;
e. to establish an early warning and prevention system to detect
earthquakes and tidal waves in co-operation with the Council of Europes
Co-operation Group for the Prevention of, Protection Against and Organisation
of Relief in Major Natural and Technological Disasters (EUR-OPA Major
Hazards Agreement) and concurrently provide education and training for
the populations concerned;
f. to support the proposed creation of a European civil intervention
ii. Protection of children and vulnerable groups
a. to provide psychological support for children and orphans;
b. as far as possible to place children in homes in their own
community or extended family and to undertake the necessary measures
to establish a regular check on their placements and lifestyle
as quickly as possible;
c. to ensure that displaced children are registered as quickly
as possible and prohibit minors from leaving the country with an unauthorised
d. to implement the necessary measures for sponsoring orphans;
e. to take the necessary measures for the protection of the elderly
and the disabled;
a. to guarantee provision of medicines and medical care;
b. to introduce an epidemiological warning system;
iv. Environment and local affairs
a. to take the necessary measures to rebuild and rehabilitate
housing and natural ecosystems;
b. to encourage twinning arrangements with the stricken regions
and towns in close co-operation with the Congress of Local and Regional
Authorities of the Council of Europe.
17. The Parliamentary Assembly invites the governments of the countries
affected by the disaster:
i. to facilitate the humanitarian organisations aid distribution
ii. to take the requisite steps to guarantee access by the needy to aid,
irrespective of the victims political conviction or ethnic or religious
iii. to take the requisite steps to facilitate the operations and activities
of the humanitarian agencies.
18. The Parliamentary Assembly proposes to take stock, within one year,
of the real aid situation given by Europe, the United Nations and its specialised
agencies, as well as of the needs, and to examine, in this context, the
response provided and the responsibility taken on by Europe in the face
of humanitarian disasters within and outside the borders of Europe.
1. Assembly debate
on 27 January 2005 (7th Sitting) (see Doc.10428,
report of the Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee, rapporteur: Ms
opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and
Regional Affairs, rapporteur: Mr
Doc. 10437, opinion of the Committee
on Migration, Refugees and Population, rapporteur: M. Hagberg;
opinion of the Committee on Economic Affairs and Development, rapporteur: Mr
Jonas; and Doc. 10442,
opinion of the Committee on Culture, Science and Education, rapporteur: Ms
Text adopted by the Assembly on 27 January 2005 (7th Sitting).