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Home arrow newsitems arrow UN Head Ban Ki Moon at CoE World Democracy Forum : - "Listen to the People !"

UN Head Ban Ki Moon at CoE World Democracy Forum : - "Listen to the People !"

Written by ACM
Monday, 08 October 2012
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*Strasbourg/CoE/ACM/- "Foster Democracy around the World", both by "strengthening the ability of citizens to Participate in the decisions affecting their lives", (as UNO's Secretary General said with a vocabulary surprisingly close to "EuroFora"s initial project of +1997-2007+), and by "advancing Development", is a "Focus.. in the coming Years" for the United Nations, which also "ask" from the PanEuropean Organization of Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law, the CoE, to "Help all those who face Difficulties" in Democratic Transitions "all over the World", as the International Organization's Head, Ban Ki Moon, stressed in his keynote Speech at the official opening of the 1st World Forum for Democracy organized in Strasbourg, launching a multitude of parallel debates on various topical aspects of Democratic issues, among Government Officials, Politicians, Experts, Civil Society representatives, and simple Citizens, throughout 6 Days all over the City.


By an Historic coincidence, CoE's latest Heads of State/Government Summit in Warsaw on May 2005 decided to focus all the organizations' activities towards Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law, (comp. "EuroFora" co-Founder's NewsReports from the spot, publisehd at "TCWeekly"+), while, just a few Months later, on September 2005 at New York, UNO's 60th Anniversary Reform Summit of Heads of State/Government decided to create an International "Human Rights' Council", with its own mechanisms, at nearby Geneva, (comp. "EuroFora"s co-Founder's NewsReports from both these 2 exceptional events in Warsaw and New York, at UNO's HQ).


Indeed, as Ban Ki Moon reminded today in Strasbourg, "in the Millennium Development Declaration adopted on our (UNO's) 60th anniversary (since  9/2005), World leaders resolved to “spare no effort to promote Democracy and the rule of Law", while "United Nations Member States have clearly defined democracy as a universal value".


+ In addition,  "just last month (9/2012) at the UN General Assembly, we carried this idea forward at the 1st-ever High-level meeting on the Rule of Law", putting "this issue at the Top of the Global Agenda", he added.
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+ Meanwhile, "since almost 2 Years, Democracy is demanded in Northern Africa, to the Middle East and well beyond", Ban Ki Moon observed.


Moreover, "the Thirst for (Human) Dignity is Universal and pressing".

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But, as "we have to listen to New and Emerging Democracies – ...we also have to pay attention to Established democracies, where Citizens may feel Disenfranchised", Ban Ki Moon warned, (particularly after the Spanish, Greek, even German and American Popular Movements of exceptionally massive, critical and sometimes controversial or, on the contrary, inventive Demonstrations).
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 - In this regard, "Europe is an inspiring example of what is possible", also because of CoE's ...47 vastly different (Member) countries ...committed to resolving their differences through Dialogue", as he said, (despite the Turkey - Cyprus and Turkey- Greece, Russia - Georgia, Armenia - Azerbaidjan, Kosovo, Transnistria, and other borderline "frozen" conflicts)...


At any case, the essence of the matter obviously is that, "when this body (CoE) was established in 1949, one could barely imagine that Europe – torn apart by War – would be a beacon of Stability, Peace and Prosperity in the World", more than 60 Years ago, he reminded. But, "your (CoE's) founders embraced this bold Ideal. They developed a Vision from the Horrors of War. They shared an unshakeable belief in Human Reason and Dignity. ...They were convinced that People can Change the world for the Better".
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    - Today, "the Critical Challenge facing us" is to "Bridge the Gap between Old models and New realities", as he said. But, precisely, "one of the great strengths of Democracy is that it has the ability to Adapt to new realities", Ban Ki Moon found.
- In particular, "Now the challenge is to Listen to People", UNO's Head stressed.
I.e., "where Governments Fail to live up to their Obligations under International Law, we (UNO) have to remind them to do so", he pointed out.


- Thus, "I have consistently Urged leaders to stop flouting human rights, and start meeting the legitimate demands of their people : This is my Message to leaders around the world, ....who must Listen to their Citizens, before it is too late", he warned.

- Because,  good "Governance can only evolve through inclusive Dialogue and broad Engagement", and, in this regard, "more fundamentally, our work to promote Human rights and empower People, serves the broader Goal of strengthening the ability of Citizens to Participate in the Decisions affecting their Lives", he said, coming very close to" EuroFora"s original idea, (already published as early as from 1997-2007+).
That's why, as "a local leader of a UN Democracy Fund project said: ....our support is much more than a source of Funding – it is “a source of Pride, of Legitimacy, of convening Power, of Inspiration".


 - "As Tawakkol Karman", (the 2011 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, awarded by the Oslo Committee chaired by CoE's Secretary General, Thornbjorn Yagland, both present in Strasbourg at the 2012 WFD official opening), "I am convinced that all Human Beings must have the Same Fundamental Rights, and the same Liberty to choose their Destiny", Ban Ki Moon stressed.


 - "When I was Student, in Korea, I went out to the Street, together with other People, in order to protest against Dictatorship", he revealed, and, now, "as (UNO's) Secretary General, I stand by all those who, anywhere in the World, revendicate Peacefully their Right to Democracy", he promised.

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- "The UN is taking Practical Actions to promote Democracy around the World", f.ex. by using "our (UNO's) Democracy Fund, the UN Development Programme, UN Women, the UN Peacebuilding Fund, and the UN Secretariat are working with other Partners within and beyond the UN", as he said after meeting with "Community of Democracies"'s SG, Maria Leissner, a 2000-born International gathering of Countries other than COE's France, Germany, England,  Russia,  etc., nor China or Japan, etc., but including f.ex. USA, India, Mexico, Philipines, South Africa, etc., and currently chaired by Mongolia, which prepares a "Best Practices" Global Handbook with Guidelines on Democratic Institutions, as experienced former OSCE's Director for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, Steven Wagenseil (USA) said to "EuroFora".

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- But,  "it takes Time to build Democracy", so that "we must join forces to nurture progress until democracy takes a firm root in all countries around the World", Ban Ki Moon ambitiously urged.


- For that purpose, "I have Focused the UN's work in the coming Years on Helping countries make the Transition smoothly from insecurity to Stability, … and from Authoritarianism to Democracy. ....This is a Key plank in my 5-Year action Agenda", officially anounced UNO's Secretary General at the CoE, just a year after initially Highlighting his overall Strategy for the 2011-2016 period shortly after his recent re-election, at the occasion of a July 2011 meeting with Journalists (including "EuroFora") at nearby Geneva, (Comp. "EuroFora"s NewsReports from the spot).
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    In this framework, "CoE is synthesis of a (European) Continent's Transformation", while "the Ambition (for Peace and Stability, Democracy and Human Rights) which had inspired its Founding Fatherrs, has become Today a Motor for Progress everywhere in the World', Ban Ki Moon observed.
    
    - Referring to EU's co-founder Robert Schuman's observation that "CoE was the Laboratory for Tests of European Cooperation", UNO's Head, Ban Ki Moon, went today much "further", by stressing that "CoE is the Laboratory in which can be Tested efforrts for World-wide Cooperations, based on our Common Values and Principles", (as Democracy, Rule of Law and Human Rights).


    -That's why, the Head of the International Organization launched today a vibrant Call to the PanEuropean Organization of Strasbourg to "make known your ambition and Help those who find Difficulties, so that Democracy becomes a Reality in all Countries of the World" :


- "I ask you (CoE) to Help those who can't yet manage tp fullfil the ambition" of Europe's fathers for Peace/Stability based also on Democracy/HumanRights/Rule of Law. "That's the best way to pay tribute to your (European) Founding Fathers, as well as in order to Build a Better World for all". Therefore, "I count on you, CoE, to become the champion of Democracy" worldwide, and "I call on you to help us move forward as a Global Family – and reach our Shared Goals, UNO's SG stressed in Conclusion.


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+ NOBEL 2011 Peace Prise Winner  Karman :

Need for Effective Global Mechanism on Human Rights

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    UNO Head's main message to CoE's 1st World Forum for Democracy in Strasbourg was consideradbly developed further by the young NOBEL 2011 Peace Prize Winner, Ms Tawakkol Karman from Yemen, who was invited by CoE's Secretary General, Thornbjorn Jagland (also Chairman of the Oslo Nobel Peace Prize committee), to speak at the International gathering's Plenary, opening session :


    - Genuine Human Rights and True Democracy are not synonymous to Non--interference by the International Community, stressed from the outset Karman, regretting the fact that still, these core-values, "lack of Effective Implementation Mechanisms",


as she rightfully denounced at the CoE (where f.ex. Hundreds of Condemnations for particularly serious Human Rights' Violations, such as Torture, Enforced Disappearances, Murders, Arbitrary Oppression of Freedoms of Expression and/or Association, Demonstration, Religion, etc. by Turkish Authorities for more than 15 Years : 1996-2012, has not yet managed to solve such grave problems and stop such serious violations until today, giving a Bad Example particulmarlmy to Newer COE members)...


    => In consequence, the Nobel 2011 Peace Prize Winner launched a call for "UNO to become able to Act, as the main Key in frong of this Challenge Today", (as she said, speaking through a Translator from the Arab language), so that "Governments who Oppress their People must face UNO Institution's measures, in order to ensure Human Rights' respect.


    - That's why,  International Human Rights' Legal Texts "should become really Binding" in the foreseeable Future, so that we could turn Globalisation also into a "Positive" development, as Karman urged at CoE's World Democracy Forum, (before giving, later-on at the CoE, her card to "EuroFora", with a smile to excuse herself for prefering to speak to the Press in Arab language, even if she appeared to understand well enough English too)...

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+ However, "Democracy is not just a matter of giving People a Voice … it (also) advances Development", UNO's Head added, later-on in his keynote address to CoE's 1st WFD.


- F.ex., "the democratic ideal demands that Mothers in South Sudan have the same chances of survival as Mothers in Sweden, where virtually all maternal Deaths are prevented". But, in fact, "the sad reality is 1 South Sudanese woman in 7 will never live to see her baby", he denounced in Strasbourg, (where CoE's Social Charter's monitoring has already revealed, since a long time, that the ratio of Mother/Infant Mortality at Birth was 6 or 7 times Higher in predominantly Kurdish areas than in the rest of Turkey, as "EuroFora" found on the basis of official Statistics)..

 - Indeed, often,it's surprisingly more easy to find Money for Elections than for Food, criticized afterwards, the experienced former Prime Minister of Haiti, Gerard Latortue. But the latter is at least equally important for real Democracy's success, he observed.


- Thus, "Escape from Poverty", as UNO helped, at anothert case, f.ex. "Koreans" in the Past, as Ban Ki Moon reminded, "is also an element of Democracy", because it aims to give  "a Same Chance for all to build a Better Future".


- "That is why it is so Critical to achieve the Millennium Development Goals", on eradicating at least extreme Poverty's tragical, unacceptable and dangerous phenomena, on which "there has been progress since the Goals were adopted a dozen Years ago", "but", nevertheless, in morst cases, as f.ex. "for the Mothers of South Sudan and countless others around the World, we have to Press for Urgent Action", Ban Ki Moon warned.

    - Currently, "we (UNO) are Racing to Achieve the MDGs by 2015", ..."and we are laying the Groundwork for the Period after that", UNO's Head observed, pointing at "a top-level panel" that he established in order "to lead our effort, ..co-chaired by British Prime Minister Cameron, Liberian President Johnson-Sirleaf and Indonesian President Yudhoyono, which includes also Nobel 2011 Peace Prize Tawakkol Karman, etc., and due to act according to a "Participatory approach", by "seeking the views of development Experts and ordinary Citizens around the World".

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(../..)

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(NDLR : "Draftnews", as already sent, earlier, to "EuroFora"s Subscribers/Donors. A more accurate, full Final Version may be published asap).

***




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They voted to "freeze" UK Government's draft to put People in jail for 42 Days on "anti-terrorist" suspicion without charge, or they abstained. Don't they look suspect ?
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CoE's debate on UK controversy stirs PanEuropean check of anti-terror suspects' imprisonment

Former Leftists of the Sixties would boil in hot water if they heard PACE's debate on the controversial 42 days detention without charge, currently drafted by the British Government :

A "Socialist" Government, a Socialist PACE Rapporteur and a Socialist Chair of PACE's Legal Committee, opposed a .. "Conservative" amendment (supported by .. Liberals, Democrats, etc), to freeze the measure, in order to protect Citizens' Freedom, by "waiting" until CoE's Venice Committee checks its conformity with Human Rights' principles.

"Left"'s support to Conservative-Lib.Dem's criticism, wasn't enough to obtain a majority, nor to make things as they were back in the good old days, when "Left" and "Right" had a clear meaning, as "liberty" and "restrictions"...

Conservatives and most Democrats were joined by the Left in voting for the "freeze", as well as Liberal Paul Rowen, while Socialist MEP Ivan Popescu, an experienced MEP from Ukraine (PACE Member since 1996-2008) abstained. But most Socialists, added to a few Liberals and EPP's Right, voted against.

Fortunately, someone inside PACE had the wise idea to shorten the Debate for less than 1 Hour, and put it on the Agenda only at the end of an exceptionally busy day, towards the end of the Evening, when most MEPs had already gone to taste wins and foods at various Receptions all around Strasbourg's "European" area : As a result, not even 42 MEPs weren't present..

Socialist Lord Tomlinson accused the leaders of the PanEuropean Assembly, in its highest body : the "Bureau", to "lack wisdom" by deciding to hold a Debate on an issue that neither the Socialist Chair of the Legal Committee, nor its Socialist "reluctant Rapporteur", did "not want to do", ...

tomllinson

Finally, everybody (critics and supporters alike) was happy to agree, in substance, that the controversial measure "may" gravely violate Human Rights, and therefore, PACE asked Legal Experts of Venice Commission to check UK Government''s plans.

But this might take more than .. 42 Days to do, since PACE's Rapporteur asked the Experts to enlarge their study in a PanEuropean comparison of all that is happening on "anti-terrorism" legislation in 47 CoE Member Countries, including Russia, Turkey and Azerbaidjan..

Bad lack : "The existing 28 days’ detention without charge in the UK is, in comparison with other CoE member countries, one of the most extreme : In Turkey, the period is 7,5 days, in France 6 days, in Russia 5 days, and in .. the U.S. and Canada just 2 and 1 days respectively", denounced Democrat MEP Ms WOLDSETH from Norway..

woldsteth

"Numerous respected human rights organisations, including Liberty and Human Rights Watch, have expressed serious concern" "The proposed legislation ...could easily lead to extensive abuses. ...Detention for 42 days means six weeks in which one is taken away from one’s family, friends, home and livelihood only to be let off without being charged. That will destroy lives and isolate communities", she added.

- "3 years ago, the UK Government sought to increase the period of pre-charge detention from 14 days to 90 days. Not long before that, it had been only 7 days. There was a vigorous debate ...and a ...compromise was reached of 28 days. We have to ask whether there are proper safeguards in place to extend the period to 42 days. I suggest that there are fatal flaws", reminded British Conservative Clappison.

- "What sort of society holds someone in detention for 42 days and does not have to tell the person who is in prison why they are there, or explain the suspicions that arose and led to their detention? What sort of society believes that that is the way to treat its citizens? That is an appalling injustice, ...A 42-day detention period will not make the UK safer. Instead, it will be the first step to giving in to terrorists; it is saying that we are prepared to sacrifice our democratic rights and the principles for which we have stood for centuries", criticized British Liberal Michael Hanckock

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"Comments made ...by Norwegian delegates are unfortunate", replied British Socialist MEP Ms.Curtis-Thomas, accusing them to "besmirch the reputation of our police force, which is one of the Best in the World", as she said, believing that "there are significant safeguards ...to ensure that individuals are not subjected to unlawful detention"

curtis

PACE "has serious doubts whether ...the draft legislation are in conformity with the ...case-law of the European Court of Human Rights. A lack of ..safeguards may lead to arbitrariness, resulting in breaches of ... liberty and ...right to a fair trial". PACE "is particularly concerned that: ..the judge ..may not be in a position to examine whether there exist reasonable grounds for suspecting that the arrested person has committed an offence;"; that "... representation by a lawyer may be inappropriately restricted or delayed;" that "information on the grounds for suspicion of a person ...may be unduly withheld.. ;" that this "may give rise to arrests without the intention to charge;", and; in general, that "prolonged detention without proper information on the grounds for arrest may constitute inhuman treatment", says Klaus De Vries' Report, adopted with 29 votes against zero.

vries

Records don't say if it took him 42 Days to draft his Report, but, at least, he knew why...

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