Prague Declaration

On European conscience and communism.

Bearing in mind the dignified and democratic future of our European home,

believing that millions of victims of communism and their families are entitled to enjoy justice, sympathy, understanding and recognition for their sufferings in the same way as the victims of nazism have been morally and politically recognized, we, participants of the Prague Conference “European conscience and communism”,

call for:

1. reaching an all-European understanding that both the nazi and communist totalitarian regimes each to be judged by their own terrible merits to be destructive in their policies of systematically applying extreme forms of terror, suppressing all civic and human liberties, starting aggressive wars and, as an inseparable part of their ideologies, exterminating and deporting whole nations and groups of population; and that as such they should be considered to be the main disasters, which blighted the 20th century,

2. recognition that many crimes committed in the name of communism should be assessed as crimes against humanity serving as a warning for future generations, in the same way nazi crimes were assessed by the Nuremberg Tribunal,

3. formulation of a common approach regarding crimes of totalitarian regimes, inter alia communist regimes, and raising a Europe-wide awareness of the communist crimes in order to clearly define a common attitude towards the crimes of the communist regimes,

4. introduction of legislation that would enable courts of law to judge and sentence perpetrators of communist crimes and to compensate victims of communism,

5. ensuring the principle of equal treatment and non-discrimination of victims of all the totalitarian regimes,

6. European and international pressure for effective condemnation of the past communist crimes and for efficient fight against ongoing communist crimes,

7. recognition of communism as an integral and horrific part of Europe’s common history,

8. acceptance of pan-European responsibility for crimes committed by communism,

9. 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,

10. responsible attitudes of National Parliaments as regards acknowledgement of communist crimes as crimes against humanity, leading to the appropriate legislation, and to the parliamentary monitoring of such legislation,

11. effective public debate about the commercial and political misuse of communist symbols,

12. continuation of the European Commission hearings regarding victims of totalitarian regimes, with a view to the compilation of a Commission communication,

13. establishment in European states, which had been ruled by totalitarian communist regimes, of committees composed of independent experts with the task of collecting and assessing information on violations of human rights under totalitarian communist regime at national level with a view to collaborating closely with a Council of Europe committee of experts;

14. ensuring a clear international legal framework regarding a free and unrestricted access to the Archives containing the information on the crimes of communism,

15. establishment of an Institute of European Memory and Conscience which would be both – A) a European research institute for totalitarianism studies, developing scientific and educational projects and providing support to networking of national research institutes specialising in the subject of totalitarian experience, B) and a pan-European museum/memorial of victims of all totalitarian regimes, with an aim to memorialise victims of these regimes and raise awareness of the crimes committed by them,

16. organising of an international conference on the crimes committed by totalitarian communist regimes with the participation of representatives of governments, parliamentarians, academics, experts and NGOs, with the results to be largely publicised world-wide,

17. adjustment and overhaul of European history textbooks so that children could learn and be warned about communism and its crimes in the same way as they have been taught to assess the nazi crimes,

18. the all-European extensive and thorough debate of communist history and legacy,

19. joint commemoration of next year’s 20th anniversaries of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the massacre in Tiananmen Square.

We, participants of the Prague Conference “European Conscience and Communism”, address all peoples of Europe, all European political institutions including national governments, parliaments, European Parliament, European Commission, Council of Europe and other relevant international bodies, and call on them to embrace the ideas and appeals stipulated in this Prague Declaration and to implement them in practical steps and policies.

Prague, June 3rd, 2008
Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic