The Socialist International,
RESOLUTION ON BURMA
Recalling the resolutions on Burma of the Council of the Socialist International adopted in Tokyo on 11 May 1994 and in Cape Town on 11 July 1995, and the resolution of the XX Congress of the Socialist International adopted at the United Nations in New York in September 1996, the Council of the Socialist International:
Commends the European Union for warning the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) in Burma that it would hold the regime fully responsible for the personal safety of Nobel Peace Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi;
Commends the government of Denmark for its strong support for the Burmese democracy movement led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the exiled National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma led by Dr Sein Win;
Commends the United States government and the European Union for imposing visa restrictions on members of SLORC and their families;
Commends the foreign companies that have withdrawn from Burma because of the atrocities committed by the military;
Commends the ethnic leaders of Burma for their initiative in January to work to rebuild a new Burma based on democracy and equal rights for all its citizens, and their willingness to work with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi;
Notes with concern the continuing deterioration of the situation in Burma as witnessed by the continuing harassment of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and members of the National League for Democracy, the growing economic crisis, the recent student demonstrations, fresh allegations of the military regime's involvement in the trafficking of narcotics, and its refusal to cooperate with the United Nations and other international efforts to mediate a peaceful political solution in Burma;
Strongly condemns the ruling junta for instigating a mob to attack Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's motorcade on 9 November, and for restricting her freedom of movement and that of her colleagues;
Condemns the closing down of universities and high schools by the junta as a means of crowd control instead of seriously addressing the issues of police brutality and justice demanded by the students;
Condemns the junta's continued use of intimidation and force rather than dialogue and political negotiation to resolve political problems;
Condemns the beating and manhandling of journalists and deportation of tourists caught up in the recent student demonstrations;
Calls on the United Nations Secretary-General to urgently address the question of Burma and to make a concerted effort to implement General Assembly resolutions which have been ignored by the Burmese regime;
Calls on the President of the United States of America to impose sanctions against new investments, given the deteriorating political situation in Burma;
Calls on the European Union to suspend Burma's trade privileges under the General System of Preferences and further restrict European investments in Burma until the generals respond positively to the international community;
Calls on the Association of South East Asian Nations to reconsider its decision to admit Burma as a full member in 1997;
Calls on the government of Japan to withhold aid and restrict investments while actively seeking to promote change in Burma;
Calls on TOTAL S.A. of France, UNOCAL and TEXACO of the United States, NIPPON OIL of Japan, and PREMIER of Great Britain, to withdraw or suspend their operations in Burma until human rights atrocities being committed by the military in Burma, especially in ethnic areas, are ended;
Urges SLORC to release all political prisoners including Win Htein, Aye Win, and student leaders who were arrested recently;
Urges SLORC to lift all laws restricting fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of speech, assembly, association, the press, and the right to draft a constitution, and
Urges SLORC to begin a political dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi, all political parties and ethnic peoples.
Eastern Zaire and the Great Lakes region are threatened with mayhem because of the threat of confrontation between Rwanda and Zaire with the presence, amongst others in this eastern part of Zaire, of the Banyamulengues, originally Tutsis from Rwanda, who settled several generations ago in the south of Kivu and on the Zaire-Rwandan border.
But the main reason for this armed conflict is the threat to Rwanda of almost two million Rwandan refugees, under the orders of the former armed forces of Rwanda on Zairean territory.
The situation in eastern Zaire presents at least two main features:
- the threat of war between Zaire and Rwanda;
- a civil war between the Zairean central government and the Banyamulengues, the People's Revolutionary Party, the National Resistance Council for Democracy and the Revolutionary Movement for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire. The insurgents intend to exploit the weakness of a country which has been virtually without a government or any effective authority in power for over three years.
The crisis in eastern Zaire has rightly aroused public opinion because Zaire is an immense country bordering on 11 other states. But this crisis can only be properly appreciated if set in the global context of the crisis which has been assailing the Great Lakes states since the beginning of the 1990s.
Burundi's adoption of a new Constitution in March 1992, introducing multiparty democracy into the country, was greeted as heralding in a new age.
The election victory of the Front for Democracy in Burundi (FRODEBU) over the Union for National Progress (UPRONA) seemed to signal the end of the period of intercommunal hatred between the Hutu majority and the Tutsi minority.
But on 21 October 1993, the world was forced to face reality: the Burundian army hit the headlines with an outbreak of violence which led to the death of the first civilian President of Burundi, Melchior N'Dadaye and a large number of officials and politicians. This coup severely jeopardised the democratic process, and it also revived intercommunal hatred, opening up a period of turmoil with mass murders on both sides, and massive migration.
In this state of extreme tension, Cyprien Ntaryamira, the former Minister of Agriculture replaced Melchior N'Dadaye as Head of State with the support of the UN and the OAU on 5 January 1994. His appointment was the result of a difficult compromise between the ruling party, the opposition and civil society. But on 6 April 1994, President Cyprien Ntaryamira lost his life in an air crash together with his Rwandan counterpart Juvenal Habyarimana. The death of the new Head of State reopened the crisis. In an attempt to halt it, a government Convention was agreed by all the political groups bringing Sylvestre Ntubatugagna to power. But the violence continued to devastate the whole country until, on 25 July 1996, Major Pierre Buyoya seized power in a coup, adding yet another difficulty to an already highly complicated situation.
Until 1990, Rwanda appeared to be a comparatively stable country in the Great Lakes region. Three events were rapidly to change that state of affairs:
- the opposition to democratisation which was forced on President Habiyarimana in 1990;
- the economic crisis aggravated by famine in the south of the country;
- the needs of the Tutsi refugees in Uganda, demanding Rwandan nationality and to be returned home.
On 1 October 1990, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) launched a massive armed offensive against Kigali. The regime of President Habyarimana was seriously shaken. The UN, the OAU, France, Belgium and the US managed to force the Rwandan government and the RPF to the negotiating table. Negotiations were held at N'Sélé, at Gbadolité and a peace agreement between the Rwandan government and the RPF was signed in Arusha on 4 August 1993. This agreement provided, inter alia, for the establishment of a "broadly-based transitional government".
Due to different constructions placed on the agreement by government and opposition, rivalries between the Tutsi and the Hutu, regional tension between the North and the South, and the reluctance of President Habyarimana to implement an agreement stripping him of most of his prerogatives, the country was paralysed and the crisis deepened. It was in this tense climate that the presidential aircraft crashed on 6 April 1994, killing Juvenal Habyarimana and his Burundian opposite number, Cyprien Ntaryamira.
With the deaths of N'Dadaye, Ntaryamira and Habyarimana, three Hutu presidents lost their lives in the two countries (Burundi and Rwanda) in less than a year. Violence had reached its peak. For Rwanda alone, the genocide has resulted in hundreds of thousands of victims.
The situation in Rwanda and Burundi triggered off a widespread exodus of Tutsi and Hutu depending upon whether the Tutsi or the Hutu held power in Kigali or Bujumbura. Hundreds of thousands of Burundians and Rwandans, in fear of their lives, fled to Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya, and in even greater numbers to Zaire, in the province of Kivu.
What are the solutions?
What solutions can the Socialist International propose?
1. Because of the insecurity caused by the war in these countries, an unprecedented human disaster is unfolding before us, putting the lives of several million people in jeopardy. Even under normal circumstances Burundi and Rwanda are overpopulated countries, faced with an acute shortage of arable land. A few months ago the return to Rwanda of at least one million refugees from camps in Zaire led the international community to cancel the deployment of the multinational force to protect the people and humanitarian convoys.
We believe, however, that we must urge the international community to step up its humanitarian work.
2. Helping to establish a democratic government in Zaire is the only way to secure lasting stability and to prevent Zaire from exploding with wholly unpredictable repercussions on the whole of Central Africa.
3. The civil wars that are undermining the countries in the region must be brought to an end, as must the war between the states there.
4. National reconciliation policies must be established and implemented in Zaire, Rwanda and Burundi in order to foster the immediate resumption of the democratisation process on bases that are defined jointly by the national political authorities. The security of some cannot be guaranteed through the insecurity of others.
5. Once this climate has been created, the peaceful and volontary return of the refugees must be supervised.
6. Lastly, we must step up our efforts to ensure that the international community provides assistance of all kinds for the reconstruction of Burundi, Rwanda and Zaire.
7. The mission of the SI: to implement the decision taken in February 1996 in Ouagadougou to send a fact-finding and evaluation mission to the Great Lakes region within three months.
8. Legal and judicial security must be promoted to protect the right of exiles to return home, and the right of defence guaranteed to those accused of genocide.
9. A global solution must be sought in the Great Lakes region, particularly in the framework of a conference on peace, security, stability and development involving all the states in the region, convened under the aegis of the United Nations and the OAU.
DECLARATION ON THE MIDDLE EAST
Since its early days in Madrid, the peace process in the Middle East has made considerable progress. The Declaration of Principles and the Interim Agreements signed by Israel and the PLO in Washington constitute a major breakthrough on the road to a lasting peace. The Socialist International welcomes the recent developments, particularly the agreement on Hebron, and congratulates the government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority for this very important achievement which will lead to the full implementation of the Oslo Agreements in accordance with the principles of the Madrid Conference.
The Socialist International congratulates its members, the Israel Labour Party, MAPAM and FATAH, who have been the champions of the peace agreement and the last agreement on Hebron.
The Socialist International also congratulates the government of the United States, President Mubarak and King Hussein, who mediated between the parties and who were instrumental in achieving this agreement, and it welcomes the increased political role of the European Union.
In order to achieve peace in the Middle East, it is necessary to count on continuing world support, including the European community which has shown how historic enmities can give way to economic and political cooperation.
The Socialist International has always supported the peace process and will continue to support in the future the efforts to achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace, and the historic reconciliation between Israel, the Palestinians and the Arab states.
In this significant moment it is of crucial importance to renew the talks between Israel on one hand and Syria and Lebanon on the other. Those talks should be based on the principle of land for peace and on the Security Council resolutions 242, 338 and 425 which must lead to a peace agreement.
Particular attention must be paid to the issue of terrorism which is supported by some political forces and states in the area. The Socialist International pays tribute to the efforts made by the Palestinian Authority in this field.
The Socialist International reaffirms the paramount importance of the affirmation and respect of human rights and democracy throughout the region, which implies as a priority the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination.
We note the report of the Socialist International delegation which observed the electoral process in Nicaragua and which, despite the many and very serious irregularities, makes very clear the democratic will of the Nicaraguan people who turned out to vote in massive numbers and in an orderly fashion. We are also pleased to note that the FSLN came out as the strongest party in Nicaragua and we support the efforts of former president Daniel Ortega to bring about a national agreement which would guarantee democratic governability and the rule of law. We also support the agreements reached between President Arnoldo Alemán and Daniel Ortega on the urgent need to resolve as soon as possible the issue of property, which affects more than two hundred thousand peasant families without resources and more than one hundred thousand city-dwellers.
Considering that the regime of General Baré has resulted from a coup d'état which put an end to an authentic democratic experience;
Considering the serious dictatorial character that this regime has assumed as from Saturday 11 January 1997;
Considering the legitimacy and the legality of the demands of the member parties of the Front for the Restoration and Defence of Democracy;
The Council of the Socialist International meeting in Rome on 21-22 January 1997:
Strongly condemns the imprisonment of the leaders of the opposition parties as well as the many arrests carried out without any legal foundation;
Rejects all recourse to special tribunals to judge citizens whose only fault has been to organise a legal peaceful demonstration;
Demands the immediate release of all political prisoners, especially of Mahamadou Issoufou, President of the Party for Democracy and Socialism of Niger, PNDS;
Demands that all democratic governments use their influence to convince the government to return Niger to democratic rule and to respect human rights.
RESOLUTION ON THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE AWARDS
Considering that 7 December marked the 21st anniversary of the occupation of East Timor by the Indonesian army, which has caused the slaughter of one third of the Timorese population;
Considering that in spite of the international community's appeals to the Indonesian authorities to allow access to the territory of East Timor for impartial observers, United Nations humanitarian and assistance organisations, and independent journalists, an arbitrary climate of repression still exists in that non-autonomous territory;
Considering the Socialist International resolution of October 1993 in Lisbon, the Tokyo resolution of May 1994, the Manila Declaration of February 1995, and the General Congress Resolution of September 1996 in New York, concerning the human rights situation in the territory;
Noting that it is still necessary for the international community to maintain a vigilant attitude and to alert public opinion to the dramatic repression and intolerance suffered by the Timorese people, the Socialist International:
Expresses its satisfaction at the Nobel Committee's decision to award the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize to Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo and to José Ramos-Horta, who honour the cause of peace, justice, human rights, and the right to self-determination of the people of East Timor;
Congratulates the Nobel Peace Prize laureates for their continued efforts in support of the East Timorese cause, urging them to pursue their struggle to defend the legitimate rights of the people of East Timor, and to publicly denounce the atrocities perpetrated by the Indonesian authorities in the territory;
Appeals for a change of policy on the part of the Indonesian authorities towards a more constructive attitude of respect for the cultural, linguistic and religious rights of the people of East Timor, as well as towards a rapid improvement of the human rights situation in the territory.
RESOLUTION ON PUERTO RICO
The Socialist International reaffirms its previous resolutions on Puerto Rico, and taking into account that the US Congress is about to consider plebiscite legislation regarding Puerto Rico, calls upon the US Congress to fully respect in this matter the applicable principles of international law, and to guarantee that under any status formula presented to Puerto Rico, the right of the Puerto Rican nation to its self-determination and the full enjoyment of its cultural rights be respected.
The Council of the Socialist International, meeting in Rome on 21-22 January 1997,
In accordance with the action undertaken in the past few years by the Socialist International, and in full agreement with the positions and action which the SI Committee on Central and Eastern Europe, SICEE, has constantly pursued in order to support peace in Bosnia and democratic stability in South-Eastern Europe and the Balkans:
1. Noting with satisfaction that Bosnia-Herzegovina has not seen war for over a year and that the Dayton and Paris Accords are being gradually implemented:
Reaffirms its support of the implementation of the peace accords, and noting the difficulties they are encountering, confirms the need for the international community to continue to support this process, to finance the reconstruction of the various territories in Bosnia, and to enable Bosnia to exist as a unitary secular state, with respect for pluralist norms.
Welcomes the creation of the unitary Bosnian institutions elected on 14 September, and deems it necessary to set a date for the municipal elections with effective international supervision and guaranteed access to the media for all parties;
Shares the commitment of the international community to support the peace process - particularly with respect to the SFOR mission and the presence of international police contingents - and to speed up the implementation of reconstruction and economic aid programmes;
Believes that the return of refugees to their homes in all of the territories needs to be accelerated and is a vital condition to encourage the re-birth of peaceful coexistence and multi-ethnicity and to guarantee a unitary future for Bosnia;
Reaffirms its support for the International Claims Tribunal in The Hague and confirms that war criminals must be arrested and brought before the Tribunal and also believes that it is of urgent importance to provide mental and physical care facilities for those who have suffered from war crimes, in particular women and children;
Expresses its concern at the obstacles imposed on freedom of movement and requests the authorities to permit it in all the territories in Bosnia;
Hopes that a reciprocally satisfactory solution to the negotiations over the Brcko corridor can be reached;
Further hopes that the Untaes administration in eastern Slavonia is provided with all the means necessary to carry out its mandate, and that an accord among the parties is reached on a consensual basis in order to redefine that region's territorial set-up and to defend the rights of the Serbian minority.
2. Convinced that peace and stability require the full democratic development of all of the states born of the break-up of former Yugoslavia:
Expresses its concern at the serious political and institutional crisis unfolding in Belgrade;
Expresses its solidarity with the opposition forces and the student movement, which, through their action, have given Serbia a new, democratic image;
Urges the Belgrade authorities to accept the OSCE recommendations and fully recognise the results of the local elections of 17 November, and in particular the opposition victory in the cities mentioned in the González report;
Believes that once these results have been fully recognised, a dialogue between government and opposition must begin, with the aim of defining the rules and stages of a democratic transition - in particular new electoral laws - and guarantees for freedom of information, and transparent procedures for elections scheduled for 1997;
Believes furthermore that the recognition of the elections of 17 November and the opening of dialogue could encourage the swift re-introduction of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia into international institutions;
Requests a re-examination of the correctness of the elections also in Montenegro;
Stresses furthermore that democratic developments within the Yugoslav Federation will enable the Kosovo issue to be approached in new and negotiated terms acceptable to the Albanian majority and the Serbian minority in Kosovo;
Hopes that the municipal elections scheduled for next March in Croatia will be an opportunity to consolidate definitively its democratic institutions, independent media activity, and the recognition of the autonomy of local institutions;
Further hopes that the democratic opposition forces and the parties of social democratic inspiration - and in particular the Social Democratic Party, SDP, which obtained a significant result in the municipal elections of 1995 - can provide the voters with a credible alternative to the current system;
Asks that the Croatian government respect the will of the voters and permit the opposition to finally govern in Zagreb;
Asks the Croatian government to encourage the return home of citizens of Serbian origin;
Stresses the key role which the European Union can play - with a regional strategy of cooperation and association agreements - and which can make a crucial contribution to furthering economic growth and democratic stability in the countries of the region;
Further stresses that regional organisations such as the CEI, the SECI and the Black Sea Cooperation Council can contribute to re-enforcing cohesion, cooperation and integration among the countries of the region.
3. Observing the events unfolding in other Balkan countries:
Welcomes the positive progress in relations between Athens and Skopje, and expresses its hope that the negotiations taking place under the auspices of the UN result speedily in a normalisation of relations between the two countries;
Expresses its satisfaction at the victory of the democratic forces in the recent elections in Romania, and welcomes with particular warmth the success of the Social Democratic Union and of their leaders Petre Roman and Sergiu Cunescu;
Observes with particular concern the events unfolding in Bulgaria and hopes that dialogue between the parties will specify the timing and the manner of new elections, which will enable the Bulgarian citizens to decide who will govern the country in the coming years;
Believes that in Albania - following the serious crisis caused by the widespread electoral fraud which ensued after the general election of May 1996 - the local elections of 20-27 October 1996 constituted a first step which must now be followed by a dialogue between government and opposition, a new Constitution and eventually new elections.
In pursuing its political and organisational initiatives in the past few years, the Socialist International and its member parties have been committed to supporting in each country those political movements and parties of progressive and social democratic inspiration, in the knowledge that today more than ever the values, the policies and the programmes of democratic socialism are essential in order to further equitable economic growth and full democratic stability in South-Eastern Europe and in the Balkans.
SOCIALIST INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEES
SI Finance and Administration Committee, SIFAC (statutory committee)
Chair: Gunnar Stenarv (SAP, Sweden)
SI Asia-Pacific Committee
Chair: Makoto Tanabe (SDP, Japan)
Vice-Chairs: to be decided by the Committee
SI Africa Committee
Chair: Ousmane Tanor Dieng (PS, Senegal)
Vice-Chairs: Aristides Lima (PAICV, Cape Verde), Laurent Gbagbo (FPI, Ivory Coast)
SI Committee for Central and Eastern Europe, SICEE
Co-Chairs: Piero Fassino (PDS, Italy), László Kovács (MSzP, Hungary)
Vice-Chair: Jan Kavan (CSSD, Czech Republic)
SI Committee on Economic Policy, Development and Environment, SICEDE
Chair: António Guterres (PS, Portugal)
Vice-Chair: Peter Jankowitsch (SPÖ, Austria)
SI Committee on Human Rights, SICOHR
Chair: Clare Short (Labour Party, Great Britain)
Vice-Chair: Daphna Sharfman (Labour Party, Israel)
SI Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean, SICLAC
Chair: José Francisco Peña Gómez (PRD, Dominican Republic)
Vice-Chairs: to be decided by the Committee
SI Mediterranean Committee
Chair: Raimon Obiols (PSOE, Spain)
Vice-Chairs: to be decided by the Committee
SI Middle East Committee, SIMEC
Chair: Bjørn Tore Godal (DNA, Norway)
Vice-Chairs: Christoph Zöpel (SPD, Germany), Pierre Guidoni (PS, France), Israel Gat (Labour Party, Israel), Mohamed Abdellah (NDP, Egypt)
SI Peace, Security and Disarmament Committee, SIPSAD
Chair: Günther Verheugen (SPD, Germany)
Vice-Chairs: Pertti Paasio (SDP, Finland), Maria Carrilho (PS, Portugal), Mario Didò (SI, Italy)
SI Committee on Local Authorities
Chair: Philippe Busquin (PS, Belgium)
Vice-Chairs: to be decided by the Committee
MEMBERSHIP OF THE COMMISSION CHAIRED BY SI VICE-PRESIDENT FELIPE GONZALEZ
Felipe González, Chair
Gro Harlem Brundtland
Audrey McLaughlin (SIW)
Nicola Zingaretti (IUSY)
Ibrahim Boubacar Keita