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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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Speaking exclusively to "EuroFora", the New EU Parliament's President, former Polish Prime Minister, ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Jerzy Busek, welcomed proposals by EuroFora about innovative ways for EU Citizens to attend EU debates before important final decisions which affect people's lives.

- "We (EU Parliament) must be transparent", Buzek stressed from the outset.  "We must have clear answers also for delicate questions. If we don't touch a problem, you must know why, and when shall we decide in the nearest future".. "Because "we (EU) must think about Europeans, first of all : They don't understand well what is going on in the EU. So, it's our duty to inform them, to make discussions here more interesting".

"EuroFora" congratulated President Buzek for the anouncement he made, from the 1st day of his election in Strasbourg (on Tuesday, 14 July 2009), on his intention to make  transparent debates, exchanges of views, etc. before the final adoption of decisions in EU Parliament's Plenary, when issues are evolving inside Committees, (See earlier publication).

And we reminded, in this regard, that "EuroFora" has been advocating a project for EU Citizens' active involvement in pluralist EU debates before important EU decisions, since more than a Decade : 1997-2007+

- "Thank you. We (EU Parliament), indeed, have exciting debates", Buzek replied. But, in practice, "without a possibility for our Citizens to see them, not even by the Press, the Radio or TV, etc., because it is in Committees", he regreted.

- "But, they (i.e. Media, Citizens, etc) might interact with you, with MEPs, etc, May be we can imagine something", "EuroFora" proposed.

- "Yes, (but) it needs, a quite new idea", Buzed observed.

- "Why not through some innovations ?", "EuroFora" suggested.

- "Innovation ? That's it. Fantastic  New Information Technologies !", Buzek realized.

- "Precisely, "EuroFora" has such a project, since more than a Decade (1997-2009), to use new technologies for public debates before major EU decisions are taken", we reminded.

- "If you have such proposals, please come to us, come to us. We must" do something, agreed the new EU Parliamen's President.

buzek_chairing_400 

    This fits with Buzek's main stance, expressed at EU Parliament's plenary earlier this week in Strasbourg, that the European Union must succeed to overcome a "Crisis of Trust" vis a vis EU Citizens. (See previous EuroFora publication).

    For that purpose, obviously information and debates are valuable, but purely instrumental, procedural means which can help focus on, and highlight a substantial content, attractive to EU Citizens, which needs to be determined by other, political, and not mediatic factors.  

    Buzek spoke about the urgent need to overcome the Global Economic Crisis,  the struggle for Human and Civic Rights, Democracy, etc., the Eastern Partnership, links with Russia, strategic partnership with USA and emerging countries, etc.

    But he also used (while speaking both to "EuroFora" and other Media) the expression : "The Europeans", for EU Citizens. This points right towards what several important EU leaders (including French President Sarkozy, German Chancellor Merkel, etc) have started to highlight particularly during the recent years : That there is a vital need, and an historic opportunity, for the development of a European Conscience, to stimulate e renaissance of a European Identity able to attract Popular support, for the EU to become a strong player in a Multopolar World : In other words, the revitalisation of a project for a "Political Europe".

    By a coincidence, this was indirectly but surely reminded, earlier in Strasbourg, by another ... Busek (this time with a "s") : 

busekcoe_400

    Speaking to more than 650 participants from CoE's member countries, at the conclusion of the 2009 Summer University of its Political Schools, Erhard Busek, (with an "s"), former vice-Chancellor of Austria and EU Coordinator for South-Eastern Europe, pointed at the current need to revitalize Europe's "Identity", forged by Greek philosophy and Roman Law, Christian values and Enlightment's ideas, etc. through the ages.     

- "We have almost the same name with Jerzy Buzek (EU Parliament's new President, who is a former Polish Prime Minister), because both our Families come ...from  the same village, located at the Heart of Europe, which was often shared between Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic. But my family emmigrated a long time ago to Austria, while Jerzy Buzek's family remained in Poland", explained f. vice-Chancellor Erhard Busek to "EuroFora".   

 An astonishingly concrete and simple example of European Integration from the grassroots : Starting by EU Citizens, i.e. those "Europeans", that EU Parliament's new President, Jerzy Buzek (this time with a "z"), wants to bring alongside MEP's decision-making proces, (according to "EuroFora"'s main idea : Comp. supra)...

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