Interim reply to Recommendation 1335 (1997) on the refugees and displaced persons in Transcaucasia

Communication from the Committee of Ministers

Doc. 7911

17 September 1997

(adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 10 September 1997 at the 600th meeting of the Ministers' Deputies)


The concern of the Parliamentary Assembly for the refugees and displaced persons in Transcaucasia, expressed in Recommendation 1335 (1997), is shared by the Committee of Ministers. This concern recently found expression in the reply given by the Ministers' Deputies, at their 595th meeting (June 1997) to Recommendation 1305 (1996) on the humanitarian situation of the displaced persons in Georgia, following the similarly reply and supplementary reply given to the Assembly's earlier Recommendation 1263 (1995) on the humanitarian situation of refugees and displaced persons in Armenia and Azerbaijan, adopted respectively at their 535th (April 1995) and 575th (October 1996) meetings.

The question of refugees and displaced persons is also a question certain to receive attention at the Second Summit of Heads of State and Government (Strasbourg, 10-11 October 1997), at which the Heads of State and Government also of the three applicant States, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, are invited to take the floor.

The Ministers' Deputies, for their part, decided at their 598th meeting (July 1997) to bring this Recommendation to the attention of member governments.

They also decided to transmit it for information to the Ad Hoc Committee of Experts on Legal Aspects of Territorial Asylum, Refugees and Stateless Persons (CAHAR).

The Committee of Ministers would wish to reiterate, for the time being, what it stated in the above-mentioned reply, adopted in June 1997, concerning the most recent of a series of informal high-level Tripartite (between the Council of Europe, the United Nations and the OSCE) meetings which took place in Geneva, with the participation of UNHCR and ICRC, on 24 January 1997, on which occasion - as was specified in the press release issued - "the different operational activities of the participating organisations in Georgia (as well as elsewhere in the Caucasian region) were also discussed extensively. In this context, the need to include the humanitarian dimension of peace-building activities was evoked."

In the interests of maximising synergy between international organisations, the Committee of Ministers considers that independent initiatives at the present time by the Council of Europe in the Transcaucasian States, which are members of the OSCE as well as of the United Nations, would be inappropriate, especially since both those organisations maintain missions on the spot.

It looks forward, however, to resumed discussion and possible conclusions in the framework of mutual support among the participating organisations during the next Tripartite meeting due to take place in Vienna, at the invitation of the OSCE.

The Committee of Ministers will give a substantial reply to the Assembly, supplementing the present interim reply, in the light of the results of the Second Summit and of the next Tripartite meeting.