Dubcek: Czechoslovakia Enshrining Human Rights in New Laws With AM-Romania, Bjt
STRASBOURG, France (AP) _ Alexander Dubcek said Wednesday the government of Czechoslovakia is drawing up new laws to protect the human rights that were suppressed by the nation’s former hard-line Communist rulers.
Dubcek, whose election as president of Parliament capped Czechoslovakia’s recent democratic revolution, commented in a speech after receiving the European Parliament’s 1989 Sakharov Prize.
The prize, named for the late human rights leader Andrei D. Sakharov of the Soviet Union, carries a cash award of $18,000.
Enrique Baron, president of the European Parliament, praised Dubcek for his long support for ″a peaceful transition to a new democratic order″ in his country.
Dubcek was president of Czechoslovakia in 1968 when a Soviet-led invasion crushed his reform movement. His recent return to politics was a triumph for him and for his nation’s peaceful pro-democracy movement.
Dubcek said Czechoslovakia ″has opened its arms to Europe and the world″ and that it will ensure that all ″international pacts and agreements on civil rights ... are incorporated″ into his nation’s laws. He said this included human rights commitments his country has made under the United Nations charter and the 35-nation Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe.
After his speech, Dubcek said the Soviet Union and President Mikhail S. Gorbachev need economic help. ″Perestroika in the Soviet Union and Gorbachev are experiencing major difficulties,″ he said, adding that its problems with the economy, ethnic unrest and pro-independence movements are part of the ″Stalinist legacy.″
Earlier Wednesday, Dubcek asked the Council of Europe to grant Czechoslovakia observer status in the 23-nation group that is separate from the European Community. He made his request at a meeting with Pieter Stoffelen, the vice president of the Council’s parliamentary assembly.
Dubcek later said he sees his country joining the EC some day.
″Everything is pointing to this. It is only a question of time. Czechoslovaklia will take all necessary steps in this direction.″
He said the Soviet-led Comecon trade bloc, to which Czechoslovakia belongs, ″needs new economic principles.″ Even so, Dubcek added, his country ″will continue its economic cooperation″ with the nine other Comecon members.
He said following the pro-democratic revolutions in Eastern Europe, ″the military blocs are no longer justified for the future.″
He said his country’s demand that Moscow withdraw its 75,000 troops from Czechoslovakia this year, ″should be set in the context of what’s happening at the moment″ in Czechoslovakia and the rest of Eastern Europe.
Dubcek is the second recipient of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize. In 1988, the prize was awared jointly in 1988 to Nelson Mandela, the imprisoned leader of the African National Congress, and posthumously to Soviet dissident Anatola Chernenko.