On January 25th 2006, The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), which brings together parliamentarians from 46 European countries, passed a resolution entitled “Need for international condemnation of crimes of totalitarian communist regimes” at its plenary session. The resolution was passed by 99 votes to 42, which caught the attention of countries all over the world. Europe is the place where the spectre of Communism was born. This resolution passed by PACE heralded a new beginning of an international condemnation of totalitarian communist regimes.
Before voting on the resolution, the plenary session held over two hours of intensive debates. Parliamentarians from different countries made speeches at the meeting, outlining their personal experiences and opinions of communist regimes. Clearharmony will publish these speeches to bring attention to the crimes of the world’s largest communist regime — the Chinese Communist Party — which has brutally oppressed Falun Gong practitioners for almost seven years resulting in almost three thousand deaths and at least 44,000 documented abuses of torture.
The following is a speech by Mr Vareikis, a parliamentarian representing Lithuania:
Some members of the Assembly say that the draft resolution is short and inconsistent. It is indeed short. I regard it not as a final document but as an introduction or preamble to a condemnation of specific crimes committed by communist regimes in Europe and elsewhere.
I come from a small country, and often small countries suffer the most. When we talk about crime we usually think about loss of life or of property – most crimes are killings or robberies. Communist regimes killed many people, as we know. In my country, it was the late 1960s before the population returned to the level of the early 1930s. Of course, many people lost their property. Everyone knows that the standard of life in pre-war Baltic states was the same as it was in Scandinavian states. I urge colleagues to compare those standards today.
Robbery and killing are not the only crimes that were committed. My country knows what the Soviet regime took from us geographically. We disappeared as a geographical entity for almost 50 years. Communist crimes took our history. We became a non-country in the Soviet Union, and we did not have any true history books, as they consisted of only 10 pages. Communist regimes and crimes by communist criminals took away our conscience in the form of our religion. Many things were forbidden, as I know from personal experience. The communists took away our minds. Many branches of art and of science were forbidden, so they took away our humanity. As a result, sometimes we cannot assess or condemn the things that happened.
Finally, I am myself the result of communist crime. It is a funny crime. My father was forbidden to become a Catholic priest. He was sentenced and sent to Siberia. The poor man could not work as a priest, so he married, and I am here because of that. Sometimes crimes, including recent crimes, are funny.
More information on the resolution “Need for international condemnation of crimes of totalitarian communist regimes” can be found at http://www.clearharmony.net/articles/200601/31217.html
Note: Founded on May 5th 1949, the Council of Europe (COE) has 46 member countries and has its headquarters in Strasbourg, France. The COE aims to defend human rights, parliamentary democracy and the rule of law, to develop continent-wide agreements to standardise member countries’ social and legal practices, and to promote awareness of a European identity based on shared values and cutting across different cultures. The highest decision-making body is the Committee of Ministers, composed of the 46 Foreign ministers or their Strasbourg-based deputies (ambassadors/permanent representatives). The European Human Rights Court is a body under the Council of Europe.
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