Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism
Archived Articles 11 Jun 2008  EWR
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Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism

PRAGUE – On Friday June 6, Senator Martin Mejstřík and Jana Hybášková, Member of the European Parliament, presented the English and Czech versions of the Prague Declaration adopted by the international conference „European Conscience and Communism" held on June 2-3, 2008 in the Senate, Parliament of the Czech Republic. The conference was hosted by the Committee on Education, Science, Culture, Human Rights and Petitions of the Senate, under the auspices of Mr Alexandr Vondra, Deputy Prime Minister of the Czech Republic for European Affairs.

The Conference received letters of support from President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, from Lady Margaret Thatcher, from Jason Kenney, Canadian Secretary of State and from Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security advisor to former US President Jimmy Carter.

In its preamble, the Prague declaration states the urgent need to come to terms with the communist ideology and with past and present communist regimes on a European and international scale. It stipulates inter alia that the Communist ideology is directly responsible for crimes against humanity, that there are substantial similarities between Nazism and Communism, that many perpetrators of Communist crimes have not been brought to justice yet, that many Communist parties have not apologized for Communist crimes and that millions of victims of Communism are entitled to the same recognition enjoyed by the victims of Nazism. It also stresses that one fifth of mankind still suffers under hard living conditions imposed by different Communist dictatorships.

The Prague Declaration, which is addressed to all nations of Europe, all European political institutions including national governments, parliaments, the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Council of Europe and other relevant international bodies, formulates nineteen demands.

Ranking among the most important are:

- a call for the acceptance of pan-European responsibility for crimes committed by Communism,
- a call for a legislative recognition of Communist crimes as crimes against humanity, on national level and on a European level
- a call for the establishment of 23rd August, the day of signing of the Hitler-Stalin Pact, known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, as a day of remembrance of the victims of both Nazi and Communist totalitarian regimes, in the same way Europe remembers the victims of the Holocaust on January 27th,
- a call for an effective public debate about the commercial and political misuse of Communist symbols,
- a call for continuation of the European Commission hearings regarding victims of totalitarian regimes,
- a call for organising of an international conference on the crimes committed by totalitarian Communist regimes with the participation of representatives of governments and other key stakeholders
- a call for the establishment of an Institute of European Memory and Conscience a pan-European museum/memorial of victims of all totalitarian regimes,
- a call for an overhaul of European history textbooks so that children can learn about Communism and its crimes in the same way as about the Nazi crimes
- a call for a joint commemoration of next year's 20th anniversaries of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the massacre in Tiananmen Square,

The PRAGUE DECLARATION was signed by:

Václav Havel, Joachim Gauck, Lee Edwards, Vytautas Landsbergis, Göran Lindblad, Tunne Kelam, Christopher Beazley, Emanuelis Zingeris, Ivonka Survilla, Tseten Samdup Chhoekyapa, Jana Hybášková, Jiří Liška, Martin Mejstřík, Jaromír Štětina, Pavel Žáček, Eduard Stehlík and others.
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