Pro Karelia ry
EXILES AND PROPERTY RIGHTS
General Secretary Veikko Saksi's Power Point presentasion in the Remembrance Day of Dorpat Peace Treaty in Tallinn 01.02.2008.
EXILES AND PROPERTY RIGHTS
The property rights of the exiled and expelled people is an actual topic. The matter is in the follows regarded from the Finnish viewpoint beginning from the Declaration of Independence in 1917.
The Declaration of Independence and the war of independence did not change the property rights. This was confirmed with a legal case which went through all the court instances in Finland.
The Treaty of Peace between Finland and the Russian Soviet Republic signed at Dorpat in 1920 confirmed the property rights for the citizen of both undersigning parties:
Russian citizens domiciled in the territory of Petschenga shall, without any further formality, become Finnish citizens. Nevertheless, those who have attained the age of 18 years may, during the year following the entry into force of the present Treaty, opt for Russian nationality. A husband shall opt on behalf of his wife, unless otherwise decided by agreement between them, and parents shall opt on behalf of those of their children who have not attained 18 years of age.
All persons who opt in favour of Russia shall be free, within a time limit of one year reckoned from the date of option, to leave the territory, taking with them their movable property, free of customs and export duties. Such persons shall retain full rights over immovable property left by them in the territory of Petschenga.
3. The inhabitants of these Communes shall be assured of the enjoyment of all their movable property situated in the territory of the Communes, also of the right to dispose and make unrestricted use of the fields which belong to or are, cultivated by them and of all other immovable property in their possession, within the limits of the legislation in force in the Au-tonomous Territory of Eastern Carelia.
The Moscow Peace Treaty in 12.03.1940 did not mention the property rights. According to the Finnish law some war damages and losses were compensated in Finland as a social and business support. After Finland had in the Continuation War occupied the ceded territories back, the original owners returned to their homes.
The Paris Peace Treaty 10.02.1947 confirmed the property rights of the refugees:
Finnish Nationals and commercial, industrial, financial and other private associations established in Finland, as also Finnish Public Associations and Corporations shall, in so far as concerns their property in Russia, their debts, claims for damages, indemnities and other claims upon the Russian State or its Governmental Institutions, be accorded the same rights and advantages as those which are accorded or shall in future be accorded by Russia to the Nationals of the Most Favoured Nation.
1. From the coming into force of the present Treaty, property in Germany of Finland and of Finnish nationals shall no longer be treated as enemy property and all restrictions based on such treatment shall be removed.
2. Identifiable property of Finland and of Finnish nationals removed by force or duress from Finnish territory to Germany by German forces or authorities after 19 September 1944 shall be eligible for restitution.
3. The restoration and restitution of Finnish property in Germany shall be effected in accordance with measures which will be determined by the Powers in occupation of Germany.
The Article 17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights summaries the property question:
(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
This same is confirmed by the European Convention on Human Rights.
The property ownership has thus during the period of the independent Finland been permanent and the border contracts have not changed the property ownership. The Soviet Union and Russia have prevented the Finnish people to dominate their property. So these countries have broken the international laws and agreements.
Professor Richard Pipes from Harvard University has stated: "Where there are no guarantees of property there are no limits to state authority and no regulatory bodies of law, and hence no guarantee of individual liberty, or civil rights".
President Martti Ahtisaari has stated 02.11.2007: ”All the refugees have the right to return and the right to claim back for their property”.
In Finland its question of 45,000 km2 and related deep human feelings, roots, culture and economical loses. Finland and Russia shall look for the property and territorial issues a sustainable solution based on the international agreements. The win-win based solution is always the best one.
Additional information: Veikko Saksi
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