Leo Platvoet

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Refugees and displaced persons in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia

Doc nr 10835

Leo Platvoet (UEL – Netherlands)

Plenary session, 13-4-2006

The rapporteur did a tremendous job with this report. A bit away from the difficult political situation, forwards to the humanitarian aspects of the tradegy in which so many people in the the Southern Caucasus are living as refugees or displaced persons. You can discuss about the figures, which the rapporteur wants to avoid. And he is enterily right. Behind these figures are people, who are in dispair, who want back to their homeland, who want a normal life for themselves and their children. The report contains many proposals for improving their situation from now on. Although the rapporteur emphasizes on the humanitarian aspects he also underlines that it is necesssary to improve the conditions under which political agreement can be reached. This report is also a strong appeal to the countries involved, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia, to make further and new steps. To continue their efforts to achieve a peaceful and permenent settlement of their disputes. And if you are looking at what is happpening the last months, specially in the case of the Nagorno Karabach-conflict, it’s clear that there is at least some willingness by both countries involved to talk with each other.

Also the delegations of Azerbaijan and Armenia in this Assembly can contribute to a peaceful and sustainable solution by taking the position that improving the relations between their countries on all levels is the first condition to solve the immens problems of the hundred of thousands of  refugees and displaced persones who are now in great despair.

But there lies also a duty for the international community. Although they are situated in a south-east corner of our continent Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan are European countries.  There’s no doubt about it that when these huge problems would exist in Western Europe –let’s say Belgium, Netherlands and Luxemburg – all the international efforts should be directed to solve them. Now they exist in a corner of Europe, where of course geopolitical players on the global field watch the situation from their own interests, the international approach is too lazy if you look at the humanitarian impact.

I think the Council of Europe, in cooperation with other European institutions, should play a more active role to contribute to the solution of the conflicts in and between their own memberstates. 

I hope that this report will also contribute to that aim.