Enforced population transfer as a human rights violation
- Parliamentary Assembly
- Assembly debate on
27 January 2012 (9th Sitting) (see Doc. 12819, report of the Committee
on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, rapporteur: Mr Vareikis; Doc. 12853, opinion
of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons, rapporteur:
Mr Türkeş). Text adopted by the Assembly on 27 January 2012 (9th
1. Population transfer is a practice
or policy having the purpose or effect of moving persons into or
out of an area, either within or across an international border,
or within, into or out of an occupied territory, without the free
and informed consent of the transferred population and any receiving
population. It involves collective expulsions or deportations and
often ethnic cleansing.
2. Enforced population transfers have not only occurred in history,
this practice and its consequences still affect present conflicts
such as those in the Western Balkans, Cyprus and the Caucasus region.
3. Enforced population transfer traumatises the populations concerned,
causes much individual suffering and leads to political instability.
4. Acts of enforced population transfer have been declared illegal
several times since the Inter-Allied Resolution on German War Crimes
(1942). The strongest and most recent condemnation is found in the
Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (2002), which clearly
defines deportation, forcible transfer of population and implantation
of settlers as war crimes.
5. Deportation on political and ethnic grounds of groups of populations
occurred before, during and after the Second World War, and their
consequences still remain today.
6. There is currently no single legal principle applicable to
population transfers, which take many forms. However, enforced population
transfers violate international human rights law (in particular
the European Convention on Human Rights (ETS No. 5) and its protocols),
international criminal law and international humanitarian law, as
well as public international law principles such as the principle
The Parliamentary Assembly:
condemns any form of enforced population transfer, in Europe and
elsewhere in the world;
7.2 invites the member States of the Council of Europe to
condemn any such practice, including in their international relations
with States outside Europe;
7.3 invites the member States of the Council of Europe to
properly investigate their own past with regard to enforced population
transfers and to promote knowledge thereof among their populations;
7.4 calls on the member States of the Council of Europe to
promote, in international fora, the adoption of an international,
legally binding instrument which consolidates the existing standards
set out in different international law instruments and defines and
outlaws all forms of enforced population transfers.
8. The Assembly recalls its Resolution 1522 (2006) on the establishment
of a European remembrance centre for victims of forced population
movements and ethnic cleansing.
9. In the case of a conflict between two countries regarding
the existence of enforced population transfer or its consequences,
both countries should open their archives and form a committee that
consists of academics or history professors from both countries.
If needed, they should be provided full access to the archives of
third-party countries. This matter should be investigated scientifically
and a consensus should be reached in a more objective way by historians
rather than politicians. The political exploitation of history is
by no means acceptable.