söndag 7 oktober 2012

Ett tal för S-gruppen i Europarådet


Ms HÄGG (Sweden) – I congratulate the rapporteur on his comprehensive report. Since we spoke about the crisis in Syria in our second part-session earlier this year, the number of refugees who have fled Syria has increased sevenfold. Neighbouring countries have shown their hospitality by receiving and supporting around 1.2 million refugees. Most of those are Syrian but there are also Palestinian and other third-country nationals who have lost their safe place in Syria since the war started. This Assembly has called several times now for more efforts to end that war and for the Syrian Government to stop oppressing its citizens and using such disproportionate violence. We especially urge our Russian colleagues to change their attitude towards the Syrian President, because Russian support allows Assad’s regime to continue its oppression.

The Council of Europe should assist Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon with financial means and by sending experts to support them in creating facilities. However, that is not enough. The situation in these countries, especially Lebanon, is also fragile; it could mean that a large influx of Syrian refugees could further destabilise the situation in Lebanon, and if that were the case the problem would deteriorate even further. I therefore call upon all member states of the Council of Europe to grant a fair number of these refugees asylum. We should urge Turkey to grant access to the camps to Assembly members, members of the Turkish Parliament, NGOs and UNHCR. We guess that there is nothing to hide, so why be so reluctant to let those organisations and politicians speak to the refugees and observe their living conditions?

Another concern is that the Syrian refugees cannot receive recognition as refugees, since Turkey still accepts only a restricted scope of the Refugee Convention. It recognises only refugees fleeing Europe, but we know that all of its refugees come from countries outside Europe. The Assembly has urged Turkey many times to lift its geographical limitation, and now that call has become even more important. The Syrian refugees were received and indeed perceived as guests, but we cannot say that any more after one and a half years. They deserve the protection and the rights that should be granted on the basis of the Refugee Convention and on Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

We in the Socialist Group ask for a cease-fire and a political solution now. All partners, all countries that are involved, have to take due responsibility. We are scared by the reports that have been coming in since last night about the violence and people being killed on both sides of the border between Syria and Turkey. I welcome this debate and this report, which show that everyone can and has to take responsibility now.

THE PRESIDENT - Thank you, Ms Hägg.

(talartiden var hårt beskuren)