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Home arrow Front-end arrow CoE : Bildt "against Volcanoes" !

CoE : Bildt "against Volcanoes" !

Written by ACM
Saturday, 10 May 2008



CoE Ministers' Swedish Chairmanship starts dealing with "delicate" PanEuropean issues : From Abkhazia, to ECHR judgements' implementation (and Turkey), up to Genetic Testing : - To "handle with care !"...


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Council of Europe's New Chairman, Sweden's Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, was better inspired than he thought, when he stressed with emphasis in Strasbourg that "we (CoE) are against Volcanoes !"

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Bildt was refering to a reply given by CoE's Secretary General, Terry Davis, to a topical question on the row between Georgia and Russia on how to deal with the Abkhazian region :

- "We (CoE) used to call such kind of conflicts : "Frozen Conflicts". But, sometimes, a better description could be : .."Sleeping Volcanoes !" , Davis warned.

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He was speaking the same week that the whole World was astonished by the unprecedented spectacle of a Chilean Volcano, which had been quietly "sleeping" for Thousands Years, but suddenly started to erupt, with Dangerous Giant Ash Clouds triggering a series of damages and threats...

Before Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence, Vladimir Putin, former President and new Prime Minister of Russia, had warned that hasty moves might trigger a series of various other territorial issues concerning many differend ethnic conflicts in Europe's surroundings :

- "I wouldn't be surprised if now he said : - "I warned you !", a Slovenian diplomat told us.

In these conditions, naturally, Bildt's declared intent to prevent any "Volcanoes" from erupting in CoE's 47 Member Countries, as a matter of Pinciple, starting from the urgency of Abkhazia in Georgia, could only be welcomed...

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But this week's news proved that the most dangerous "sleeping volcanoes" might emerge by surprise, at unexpected areas, even there where no eruption ever took place for thousands of years...

And facts indicate, that other kinds of "sleeping volcanoes", might not be located so far away as .. Chile's Patagonia or Georgia's Abhhazia, but might emerge even at Europe's core, threatening to affect all its area, if nobody cares to take adequate measures on time :


Is it merely another "coincidence", that Bildt's declaration "against volcanoes" came just before he was questioned on another issue, less "spectacular", but bigger ?

- "EuroCourt's President, Jean-Paul Costa, warned this year that the problem of overload in pending cases is no more limited to the Court, (which notoriously faces for years a rising number of applications), but started to affect also CoE's Ministers, because many judgements are not implemented", EuroFora's question to Bildt began.

That's why, CoE's 2008 Ministerial Summit "stressed .. the need to actively .. enhance the effectiveness of the (European) Convention (on Human Rights)' control system". It found "important.. to ensure that the Convention is effectively implemented", "thereby contributing to a reduction in the workload of the European Court". CoE's No 1 priority for 2009 is "action to ensure the effectiveness of the implementation of the ECHR at National and European levels", with "measures to enhance implementation", a communique said.

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- But, "recent Statistics reveal that 1.400 condemnations by ECHR at the last Decade (1998-2007), mostly for Grave Human Rights Violations, concern one State : Turkey. And that's also a New Problem, because even at the end of 2007, more than 23% of non-executed ECHR's judgements concern also the same State. Is there any hope to use EU - Turkey Negotiations, or any other idea, in order to convince it to respect ECHR's judgements ?", Bildt was asked.

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- "There is only one possible answer : Yes. Of course, we (CoE) are hoping that", started CoE's new Chairman, Swedish Foreign Minister's answer. Thus, "EU - Turkey accession negotiation" "will take its Time" and "there will be Challenges, that we are all aware of", Bildt warned Ankara in reply.

He went on to stress the "great importance" that has also the "resolution of Cyprus' issue" with a "reunification of the island" able to "ensure respect for Human Rights and Democracy in all parts of Cyprus", welcoming the "hopes" recently created by a "New Phase" in preparatory talks.

Bildt wasn't wrong when he decided to include Cyprus in his reply : ECHR has notoriously condemned Turkey for massive and "continuing" human rights' violations against Displaced persons' homes and properties, "Missing" People and their Families, etc.

But, Cyprus' related ECHR judgements, despite their importance, are only a ..tiny proportion out of nearly two Thousand condamnations of Turkey for human rights' violations, which concern also other issues (Torture, Arbitrary deprivation of Liberty, Unfair Trials, Enforced "Disappearances", oppression of Freedom of Speech, Kurds, impunity of abuses committed by Turkish security forces, etc).

Real stakes are huge : If some don't want for CoE to name the "Smoking Gun", responsible for a deadly threat against Europe's Human Rights protection system, then, it might end up as a ... "Smoking Volcano", threatening to cover with its dangerous ashes all CoE and its 800 Million Citizens !..

Some already started to speculate that EU might take over CoE's Ministerial Committee's task to "supervise execution" of ECHR judgements (according to CoE's Statute), provoking a gradual withering-away of the CoE, if it fails in its duties, an experienced CoE Expert told us..

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ECHR's President Jean-Paul Costa, and Head Register Erik Fribergh, with CoE's Human Rights Commissioner, Thomas Hammarberg, at CoE's 2008 Ministerial Summit : plotting a new way to implement ECHR's judgements ?

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He obviously warned because he sincerely wished for his beloved organisation : the CoE, to wake-up on time, before it becomes too late in order to save its "life" from the dangers of such a huge "Sleeping Volcano" as the growing number of ECHR's non-executed judgements on grave human rights' violations...

A bad example, particularly for "new" CoE member-States, like Poland, Ukraine or Russia...

A new Report, currently prepared by CoE's Assembly, on implementation of ECHR's judgements, due to be debated in public and voted during 2008, may observe such risks.

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EU Chairman, Slovenian Foreign Minister dr. Dimitri Rupel, at CoE's piano : ready to help CoE play the Human Rights music ?

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But this might not be the end of CoE's "Sleeping Volcanoes" :

You'll never find it in any fancy Radio-TV or sensational, mass-circulation Newspaper, but this doesn't mean that there is nothing inside CoE to inspire famous Cinema director, Steven Spielberg :

Nobody noticed, at the edge of an endless Catalogue of numerous Decisions taken by CoE's 2008 Ministerial Summit, (not immediately given to the Press), a bureaucratic reference to the "adoption of the Additional Protocol to the Convention on Human Rights and BioMedicine concerning Genetic Testing for health purposes".

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What's that ?

Simply something which might soon become much more important than the Georgia - Russia row over Abkhazia, the solution of Cyprus' issue, or even the execution of ECHR's judgements :

- The legalisation of "'Tests" on Human persons, at the age of Genetics, a Decade after deciphering all Human Genome, almost a Century after Aldus Huxley's world-famous "Brave New World" warning !

Naturally, CoE, which is alone in Europe and the whole World to forge Legally-binding Rules on Bio-Medicine and Human Rights, had to try to accomplish its duty to set Legal Standards able to facilitate the development of efficient and promising New Technologies, while also ensuring the respect of Human Persons' fundamental Rights, Freedom and Dignity.

But the right balance to find between these two important factors is notoriously a very delicate exercice.. And the eventual Dangers, in case of errors of loopholes, are obviously huge for all Humankind.

Did CoE's Experts succeed to overcome any serious risk, and strike the right balance ?

Are there some "gaps" to fil, (as it was also the case with CoE's basic International Convention on "Bio-Medicine and Human Rights", opened to signature at 1998 Oviedo Conference) ? Is it urgent to rectify or complete something ? How, and when might this be done ?

All these (and many other) Questions have to start being examined in enlightened Public Debate and full Transparency, now that CoE adopted the Protocol on "Genetic Testing".

Careful, Sweden's predominantly Christian-Democrat Government, even if the country has a "liberal" reputation on Genetics, didn't seem too eager to hastily hurry-up developments on this issue, perhaps in order to avoid an eventual World-wide "sleeping volcano"...

Wisely, Sweden decided to keep this file "freezed" during all its 6 Months CoE Chairmanship (May to November 2008). It promised to let the following, Spanish Socialist Government's chairmanship of the CoE, open to signature the "Genetic Testing" Protocol only on November 2008, when Madrid will take over.

By another "coincidence", the chosen Date comes immediately after USA Presidential Election, scheduled for the beginning of November.

CoE's International Convention on "Bio-Medicine and Human Rights", for obvious reasons, was open from the start to participation from all Countries in the World, and USA's Experts contributed in its preparation. Everybody knows that Bio-Ethics (and mainly restrictions against Genetic Tests destroying Human Embryos) was an issue for USA' President George W. Bush's "Veto" to some controversial bills of the American Congres, as he had promised to his voters in 2000 and 2004.

But nobody knows yet which "'volcano" might wake up after November 2008 ..volcano_cloud_m_400 volcano_cloud_sea_400

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Meanwhile, EuroFora can't but wish "bon courage" to Carl Bildt's declared wish to act "against Volcanoes" during his 6 Months chairmanship of CoE's Ministerial committee.

All well-wishers are welcome to join, f.ex. by making good use of Carl Bildt's excellent Web-blog, where he astonishingly succeeds to note almost every move or project, at : http://carlbildt.wordpress.com

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Bildt speaking to Journalists, under the careful eye of Swedish Ambassador Per Sjorgen, and the careful ear of CoE's Communication's Director, Seda Pumpyanskaya. 

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Naturally, given all the delicate "hot" issues with which he has to deal, recently it become a ..Linguistic "Volcanoe" :

- Initially published in English (until 2007's end), recently, Bildt's interesting blog, wisely switched over to the ...Swedish language !

Got that handy Swedish dicco with you ?...

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Brixen-Bressanone/ACM/3.8.08

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An appeal to make the "World more Human", by defending basic Human Values, helping those in need, and paying hommage to Nature, figured high in Pope Benedict's long-awaited speech at his "First Angelus" in the symbolic, beautiful historic small town of Brixen/Bressalone at the Alpes.

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- "No Dictature, nor any destructive force can rob us of the most important goods wich are God's gift", stressed Pope Benedict, referring to elementary Human Values, in a last-minute improvisation of his draft speech, before launching also a call to "help those in need", in order to "make the World more human".

- "Jesus is the focus .. In him is Justice and Freedom", said earlier Brixen's Bishop Wilhelm Egger, after prayers including calls to "Truth, Justice and Freedom", read at a Mass of thousands in the town of Archangel Michael, known as defender of christians against the devil.

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In what looks as a reference to BioEthics' dillemas of crucial impportance, raised at Strasbourg's unique in the World legally binding International Treaty on BioMedicine and Human Rights (1998, with the "hottest" issues added later through additional protocols, some of whom are imminent), he spoke also of the splendid "Nature" at this Alpen's ressort : This fits well Vatican's earlier anouncement that Pope Benedict's "prayer intentions for August" are mainly to "respect God's design for the world", and "become ever more aware of the great gift of God which Creation represents for us".

- "The most important things in our lives cannot be bought, but are only given as holy gifts : The Sun and its Light, the Air that we breath, the Water, the beauty of Earth, Love, Friendship, Life itself", Pope Benedict added, extending also to Natural Environment, another topical issue after recent Climatic upheavals at several parts of the World.

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The "preparation of Pope Benedict's visit to France", which currently heads the EU, at mid-September, among exceptionaly important Council of Europe meetings on Human Rights in Paris and Strasbourg, is part of his work, together with his "book on Jesus", during brief Summer Holidays in Brixen, said his Spokesman, Federico Lombardi.

- The Pope's message is mainly religious, theological. But we are living in a concrete world, and ideas may be taken by readers as references to the actuality. However, it's better to wait to se what the Pope will say in Paris and at Lourdes, added to EuroFora Lombardi, who is also Director of Vatican's Press Office.

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Brizen/Bressanone is similar to Strasbourg by succeeding to make a fertile synthesis of Germanic and Latin sources of Europe, like the two local rivers who meet at the historical center of the town, among spectacular ressorts at mountains' hights.

Headquarters for an Historic Religious Seminar, it attracted recently also a Free University's Educational studies. Well-known as a long-time preferred rest place for former cardinal Radzinger and his brother Georg, it includes areas named "St Benedeto" and "St George"...

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But Pope Benedict's first speech gave also another symbolic rendez-vous :

- "Next Wednesday, August 6, we shall commemorate the 30st anniversary from the death of late Pope Paul VI", who "concluded Vatican II", and "the Transfiguration of Jesus, mystery of the divine light, which exerced a unique fascination to his soul", he said to some 12.000 applauding People, among the happy few who succeeded to have a rare place for an open-air Mass inside the Domplatz a particularly sunny day at the Alpes.

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