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Haupt 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 !"

Geschrieben von 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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People in Europe and the World expect from CoE to make a succes of its "Monitoring" for Human Rights and Democracy, despite difficulties, said Finland's President Tarja Halonen to "EuroFora" at a crucial moment for the mecanism built 15 years ago by the paneuropean organization which celebrates its 60th Anniversary in 2009.

Halonen, known as "Mother" of CoE's "Monitoring" mecanism, a long-time MEP and former Foreign Minister before becoming Finland's President, holds a long experience in the mattter, after also serving twice as CoE and EU Chairwoman in the past. That's why she is well placed to judge how CoE's "monitoring" should deal today with some crucial issues of importance both to CoE and to the EU.

The move came just a Month before a crucial, last visit to Turkey, scheduled for June, by the President of CoE''s "Monitoring" Committee, Ukranian MEP Serge Holovaty, to finalize his Report on Ankara, the CoE Member State with the longest Monitoring procedure. From its results depends its overall credibility.

This is a Test-case, because, in fact, it's in order to avoid Sanctions threatened against Turkey by a CoE's Assembly's April 1995 Resolution for grave Human Rights violations, Democracy gaps, the continuing Military Occupation in Cyprus, the unresolved Kurdish problem, Aegean differend with Greece, etc., that MEPs decided to create, for the 1st time on April 1996, a "Monitoring" proces, allegedly destinated to check, without excluding Countries who did not fulfill all CoE's standards.

In the Past, the obliged withdrawal of Greece's Military regime and of its "Civil" cover-up out of the CoE had helped bring back Democracy in 1974. But, on the contrary, since April 1996, the idea was to "monitor" Human Rights' respect while keeping most concerned Countries inside the CoE. After Turkey's oldest example, this was extended also to several former "Eastern" European Countries, even if CoE's Assembly has imposed to some of them (fex. Ukraine, Russia, etc., after Belarus, Serbia, etc) various "Sanctions", that Ankara always avoided. Curiously more succesful even than .. USA itself, (a CoE "Observer" since 1995), which has been at least threatened with sanctions some years ago..

EU-effects of CoE's Monitoring process became obvious between 2001-2008, since the "closure" of this procedure, when CoE felt that a Country had met most of its Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law obligations, (i.e. the "Copenhagen Criteria" for the EU), helped trigger Negotiations with the EU for "Accession" or other closer relations : This occured already before the 2004 and 2007 EU Enlargements to former "Eastern" European Countries, as well as for the commencement of "accession" negotiations with Croatia, and of "open-ended" negotiations with Turkey in 2005.

    But a stricking new development are Holovaty's recent findings that on core Human Rights issues as Torture and Freedom of Expression, Turkey, even "5 Years after" CoE closed its "Monitoring", back in 2004, inciting EU to start accession Negotiations in 2005, still presents grave problems.

    His findings are of crucial importance after a 2008 CoE Resolution called, "if need be", to "seriously consider the possibility of Re-Opening the Monitoring procedure for Turkey" : A move which might affect Ankara's controversial EU bid, since EU Accession Negotiations are based on the Hypothesis that the Candidate fullfils the "Copenhagen Criteria" (See above)..
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    Holovaty expressed his will to check  "Matters still Outstanding" and  those that he "didn't have an opportunity to discuss" at an earlier visit this year, "in order to discuss the more complex issues in greater depth", at his forthcoming New Visit to Ankara, before the December 2009 EU Summit.  This is all based on the 2004 CoE Resolution which stresses that, CoE "will continue.. post-monitoring Dialogue with the Turkish authorities,...in addition to a 12-points list,..and on any Other Matter that might arise in connection with Turkey’s Obligations as a CoE member state".

    CoE's Resolution also asks  from Turkey "to secure the proper Implementation of Judgements, particularly in the Cyprus v. Turkey InterState case", of 2001, which concerns also the plight of many Hundreds of MISSING People. It adds Turkey's obligations to "execute" ECHR's Judgements in the Loizidou case,..and in particular adopt General Measures to avoid repetition or continuation of Violations found by the Court" to the detriment of Refugees.

    Nevertheless, Holovaty said to "EuroFora" that "MISSING" persons,"might be included" and cannot be excluded, but he has yet to examine the situation "to find out  which issues will be raised" to the Turkish Government.

    Therefore, "EuroFora" asked Halonen, as the Historic "Mother" of CoE's Monitoring mecanism, if she thought that, "whenever there are grave Human Rights Violations, as fex. "MISSING" persons, attested even by ECHR's judgements, they should be always checked by a Monitoring process. Or could they be forgotten ?"
    
     - "We (CoE) must be, at the same time, Fair, Realistic, but not in the mind that "now we have Forgotten", etc., replied to "EuroFora"'s question Halonen, speaking as a matter of general principle.

    - "When we think of those People that are suffering from the lack of Democracy, of Human Rights, and of the Rule of Law", "we should find a base on how to deal with the (Monitoring) system more rapidly"', she stressed.

    - "Sometimes it's very difficult to combine Transparency and Effectivenes together, particularly in this specific case", she went on to say. But, "I have not found a (CoE Member) Country who could be insensitive in this sens", Halonen answered concerning grave Human Rights violations attested by the ECHR.

    - "I have no ready-made answer. I have the expectations that you, in the CoE, will, step by step, find the different types of the monitoring systems."

    Also "because this is a part of the UN's Post-Conflict system, (fex. when it comes to Cyprus' MISSING persons), and it's a more Global system". So that, "If we make a succes in Europe, the others will follow", throughout the World.  "But they expect that we (Europe) are this opportunity, this Opportunity to make a Succes", Halonen concluded.

    In addition, she advised to extend CoE's Monitoring to all its 47 Member States, "because, as long as we hear that, all these monitoring systems are "OK for the neighbor, but not for me", "it's very difficult" to understand. Something which could make easier to Compare...

    Finnish MEP Jaako Laakso, former CoE Rapporteur on the Occupied Territories of Cyprus and one of the 5 Signatories of the Historic CoE's call to create the "MONITORING" mecanism since 1996, was more specific :  - "We (CoE Assembly) have to find a way for the issue of Cyprus' MISSING People to be better followed", he stressed, anouncing his intention to "speak to Mr. Holovaty" about that. "There might be also other ways", added Laakso.

    - The 2008 "Year had been a very Bad one for Turkey with regard to Human Rights in general, and Freedom of Expression in particular", denounced, meanwhile, Holovaty's preliminary Post-Monitoringh Draft Report by Holovaty, published by the CoE on April 2009.

    "Amnesty International believes that freedom of expression is not guaranteed given the various articles of the Criminal Code that restrict it. .. "For example, 1,300 Websites are said to have been closed down by the (Turkish) authorities in 2008" ! While "the new Turkish Criminal Code was used to bring a total of 1,072 proceedings between June 2005 and April 2008, and led to the conviction of 192 people", for expressing views. "Representatives of the Özgür Gündem newspaper, which specialises in Kurdish affairs, ..complained about Numerous Attacks on their Freedom of Expression ...as was everyone who advocated a settlement to the question by means other than the intervention of the army" "According to their figures, 19 Newspapers had been suspended 43 times between 4 August 2006 and 4 November 2008" !...

    Moreover, on 2008,  CoE's "Ministers adopted its 4rth Resolution on the execution of the judgments of the ECHR, ...and outstanding issues regarding 175 Judgements and decisions relating to Turkey delivered between 1996 and 2008...  concerning Deaths resulting from the excessive use of force by members of the Security forces, the failure to protect the right to life, the DIisappearance and/or death of individuals, Ill-Treatment and the Destruction of property". CoE's " Ministers urged the Turkish authorities ...to ensure that members of Security forces of all ranks can be prosecuted without administrative
authorisation" for "serious crimes". Holovaty reminded.

"Nonetheless", Holovaty heard anew of "Several cases of Violence committed last year (2008) by the (Turkish) security forces". Amnesty International speaks of Many Cases of ill-treatment and Torture in the prisons and by the police". "Including, fex."'the death of Engin Ceber, a young man of 29 who died on October 2008 as a result of the TORTURE allegedly inflicted on him by police officers, prison staff and members of the gendarmerie. He was part of a group of people arrested on September 2008 during a demonstration and Press Conference in Istanbul'. Proceedings against suspects are "on-going" in this case.

- " I therefore noted an Obvious Contradiction between the Government’s stated “zero tolerance” policy.... of Torture and other forms of ill-treatment, and the different testimonies given", denounced CoE's Rapporteur.  Turkish "authorities must make considerable efforts to guarantee that proper investigations are carried out into allegations of abuses by members of the security forces and that perpetrators are effectively punished" "In this respect, I have requested detailed Statistics on the number of Investigations, acquittals and convictions in cases involving allegations of abuse in order to show the positive impact of the measures taken to date", Holovaty said, repeating a permanently unsatisfied CoE's demand to Turkey since a Decade...

    - "The Political Crisis that shook the country in the spring of 2008 highlighted the Weaknesses of the (Turkish) Constitution", which comes from the Military regime of 1982, "and the Urgent Need of Reforms", stressed from the outset CoE's Rapporteur in 2009. In particular, "the ...Democratic functioning of state institutions, including the independence of the judicial system, are crucial", he observes.

    But, "the Electoral  system and the ways in which it is circumvented do not appear to give those elected complete Legitimacy, and tend to pervert the course of direct universal suffrage", denounces Holovaty, observing that, even 5 Years later, Turkey did not yet change the 10% nationwide Threshold for a party to take any seat, which is "far higher" than the "3%" maximum in Europe and already condemned as contrary to European Standards by the CoE.

    + Moreover, EU Parliament's 2009 Report on Turkey, drafted by Dutch MEP Ria Oomen-Ruijten and adopted in Strasbourg on March, expresses "Concern over the Failure of the (Turkish) Judiciary to prosecute cases of Torture and Ill-treatment, the Number of which is Growing". EU also "is concerned about continuing Hostility and Violence against Minorities" in Turkey. It also "calls on the Turkish Government to launch, as a matter of Priority, a Political Initiatve favouring a lasting Settlement of the Kurdish issue, (while "condemning violence.. and terrorist groups"). EU "regrets that No progress has been made on establishing full, systematic Civilian suprevisory functions over the (Turkish) Military".

    The final results of Holovaty's 2nd and last visit to Turkley will be known later this year, and, at any case, before EU's December 2009 Summit.

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