General Assembly of the United Nations invited all states in 1950 to
observe the 10th of December as the International Human Rights Day,
honoring the Anniversary of the Assembly's adoption of the International
Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. Among
the Rights that were recognized and protected was the Right to Property.
then all European organizations and bodies have also recognized this
right, and the European Union now is not an exception, because the Reform
Treaty of Lisbon, signed by the European leaders in 2007, endorses all
the European Human Rights Treaties and the jurisdiction of the European
Court of Human Rights of Strasbourg to protect property rights and condemn
of Stratos Paradias, President of UIPI ( Union Internationale De La
"The Right to Property is widely recognized in international and
national level as a true human right. But, what is important for the
property owners, is that the Right to one's Private Property is not
only recorded in the international treaties and the national legislations,
but also respected, honored and practiced, as the basis for political
freedom, the initiative for productive work and savings, for social
and individual progress of the people everywhere. And it is a Human
Right that concerns every human being on earth because it is affecting
everyday, everybody on this planet!!
there are still many who forget that the right to property provides
an assurance and safeguards many other human rights such as political
freedom, free speech, right to education etc. Individuals or people
who can exercise their property rights, are far less vulnerable to oppression
of any type and are in a much better position to enjoy the other human
rights. No doubt that property rights were the first victim of any totalitarian
system, like fascism or communism, and any international conflict. And
in any war, the property of the "other side" is among the
first victims. But, we have all lived to witness what has happened during
the last century, to states and societies who had deprived their citizens
of their Property Rights, and they thought that this could last forever!
in the middle of the 20th century, communism ruled in Eastern Europe,
property rights were heavily attacked and even abolished, because marxist
philosophy was based on the abolition of private property rights, especially
the means of production. They either destroyed the property of unwanted
people on ethnical or political ground or launched confiscation. Property
means economic strength, that is the basis of economic freedom. And
there is no political freedom without a reasonable degree of economic
freedom. Democracy can be practiced by people that are free to decide
what is good for them and the society. People whom the system denies
the right to property are not free and not in position to care themselves
and for their future. We strongly believe that the lack of respect for
private property was one of the main reasons why the communist regimes
collapsed financially and, of course, politically at the end of last
the non-communist world, during the same century of wars, but also of
rapid development and progress in most countries, it was widely accepted
that the free enjoyment of one's property is a right absolutely vital
for the citizens of all countries, a driving force of private initiative,
of productive work and savings, of the increase of the wealth and prosperity
all over the world. Concerning private real estate property, today this
sector houses millions of European citizens and business activities
and contributes tremendously to the economic and social life of Europe,
and also to the budgets of all European States. Therefore, private property
rights are extremely important, and should be guaranteed for the common
was why on the 10th of December of 1948, the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights which was signed in New York, included in its article No
17 the recognition and protection of Property Rights as a genuine Human
European Declaration of Human Rights was signed in Rome two years later,
and the protocol No 1, concerning the protection of private property
even later on, while on December 2001, the European Charter of Fundamental
Rights, signed in Nice, provided the same in its article No 17.
today there are still countries, or situations, where property rights
are not fully respected. Even today, in many democratic countries, property
rights are violated in many ways by states or local authorities, by
either expropriation without full compensation, or indirectly through
heavy taxation, unfair rent regulations, environmental restrictions,
building prohibitions and so many other methods.
in most ex-communist countries of eastern Europe, some of them already
members of the European Union, the process of restitution of real estate
properties to the former owners is far from being completed, or is facing
serious procedural problems, while in some other countries, especially
in the Balkans, it has not even started yet!
of former owners have appealed to the European Court of Human Rights
for this reason. This is a problem that seeks an urgent political solution.
These countries in most cases respect private property acquired recently
in dubious circumstances, but not the property rights of those who owned
the same property some decades ago and lost it by acts of the totalitarian
regime. How can these countries, EU members or not, be trusted when
they invite new foreign investors to buy land, property and do business
there, when they do not respect the property rights of their own citizens?
the other hand, in European level, as we all know, real estate property
matters are kept in the competence of the Member States. In spite of
this, today there is a sector where the Right to Property is being undermined
by the threat to recognize a controversial direct Right to housing for
all inhabitants of Europe!
Nobody is against the idea that all people should be adequately and
decently sheltered, but when decent housing is a problem, it is the
duty of the community to provide it. This is certainly not the duty
of house owners, as one could understand from statements of some activists,
just as it is not the duty of farmers and food producing industries
to provide a free lunch for everybody. UIPI is proposing the recognition
of the Right to Aid for Housing and is demanding measures to assist
the private rented sector in providing more housing units, with fewer
restrictions and lower taxation of private landlords.
coming back to where we are now, in this celebration of the World Property
Day, we strongly believe that Albania must show to Europe that human
rights and especially property rights are respected in this country.
Albania must follow the road to the full restitution of all confiscated
properties. The sooner, the better!
that the battle for the right to property is the battle for one of the
fundamental human rights, we promise to the Albanian owners that in
their struggle for their rights, they will always have by their side
the UIPI which, on the ground of the Thessaloniki Declaration of 2004
and the Declaration of Oslo of 2005, shall not spare the efforts with
the international entities for the realization of the process of restitution
of the properties to the rightful owners in Albania".
May this speech be an inspiration to the authorities in Czech Republic
and Poland, as well as many other countries that are failing to observe
Fundamental Human Rights.
Eduardo Lichnowsky - firstname.lastname@example.org