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Unity and respect for the rights of the Italian minority in Slovenia and Croatia

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION  presented by Mr FOSCHI and others

18 March 1993

Doc. 6795

The Assembly,

Considering the desire expressed by the Republic of Slovenia and the Republic of Croatia to be members of the Council of Europe;

Recalling the indigenous nature of the ethnic Italian group - largely expelled against its will, at the end of the Second World War, from territories in which it had traditionally settled - and the current situation whereby this group has been split between two states, following the upheaval in the pre-existing social structure;

Pointing out that it is important that this ethnic group, settled in the territories of Istria, Carnaro and Dalmatia, should enjoy uniform treatment and preserve its ethnic unity;

Welcoming the "Tripartite Agreement Memorandum" on the state of the Italian minority in Slovenia and Croatia, signed on 15 January 1992 by Croatia and Italy - Slovenia was not a signatory but, in a letter from its Minister of Foreign Affairs, said it was prepared to respect the content - and drawing attention to its provisions which commit, in particular, the governments of the three countries to concluding three bilateral treaties whose purpose is the protection of the Italian minority;

Emphasising the vital importance of the right to use one's language and the right to culture, education, information and political participation at local level;

Recalling the principles relating to the protection of the rights of national minorities and the protection of minorities generally, set out in the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe and other international texts such as the document produced by the CSCE Copenhagen Conference on the Human Dimension (29/6/1990), the final report of the meeting of experts on national minorities (Geneva, 19/7/1991) and the 1992 Helsinki Document;

Underlining the importance attached to the protection of minority rights in the report on an additional protocol on the rights of minorities, to the European Convention on Human Rights, submitted to the Assembly on 19 January 1993 (Doc. 6742);

Considering that the present border between Slovenia and Croatia artificially separates the Italian ethnic group, hindering communication between the part of the Istrian peninsula belonging to Slovenia and the part belonging to Croatia; considering also that such a situation is in contradiction with the level of protection of the Italian minority provided for by the Special Statute signed in London on 5 October 1954, appended to the Agreement Memorandum;

Welcoming the statutory provisions concerning the Italian minority that have been incorporated in the legal system of the new state of Slovenia,

Urges the Government of Slovenia and the Government of Croatia - in view of their wish to be members of the Council of Europe - to guarantee the full enjoyment of the rights of the Italian ethnic group and to do their utmost to ensure unhindered communication and free movement of citizens of the ethnic group in question in the two zones of Istria;

Considers that any favourable opinion submitted to the Committee of Ministers on the accession of a country to the Council of Europe should be conditional on the fulfilment of conditions guaranteeing the rights of minorities.

Signed:    Foschi, De Paoli, Mannino, Leccisi, Trabacchini, De Carolis, P. Caccia, Caldoro, Tatarella, Covi, Agnelli