Doc. 8513

10 September 1999

European democracies facing up to terrorism

Opinion

Political Affairs Committee

Rapporteur: Ms Rodica-Mihaela Stanoiu, Romania, Socialist Group

I.       INTRODUCTION

1.       The Political Affairs Committee very largely approves of the draft recommendation submitted by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights.

2.       Terrorism is a matter of grave concern to the Assembly, because it represents a serious threat to democratic societies and is aimed at undermining the fundamental values upheld by the Council of Europe, namely democracy and the rule of law.

3.       The Political Affairs Committee has always adopted a firm stance against ethnic, separatist and religious terrorism, and also, in the case of the recent conflict in Kosovo, ethnic cleansing, as the most extreme form of ethnic terrorism.

4.       It has repeatedly condemned the terrorist activities, which threaten many European states, including Spain, France, the United Kingdom, Russia and Turkey.

II.       PROPOSALS

5.       The Political Affairs Committee therefore agrees with the view expressed in the draft recommendation that “no support, even of a moral kind, should be given to an organisation advocating violence as a method of settling political, economic and social conflicts”.

6.       However, it also considers it vital to adopt sanctions or effective dissuasive measures of a diplomatic, political or economic nature against all states, which support terrorist groups or activities.

7.       Moreover, action against terrorism can succeed only if it is conducted on the basis of law and respects human rights.

8.       Finally, it is important to place the fight against terrorism in the context of globalisation, which by facilitating communication and transport, now constitutes the main challenge in combating terrorism. This means that international co-operation has to be stepped up.

9.       The Committee accordingly proposes the following amendments:

Amendment A:

Add the following sentence at the end of paragraph 10 of the draft recommendation:

Amendment B:

Add a new sub-paragraph to paragraph 14, after sub-paragraph vi, as follows:

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Reporting committee: Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights (Doc. 8507)

Committee for opinion: Political Affairs Committee

Reference to committee: Résolution 1132 (1997)

Opinion unanimously approved by the committee on 6 September 1999

Secretaries to the committee: Mr Kleijssen, Mr Sich and Ms Ruotanen