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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 !"

Pisac ACM
08. 10. 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".
----------------
    - 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.

--------------
- "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".

wagenseil_400

- 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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karman_400

    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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ECHR's President to "EuroFora" on Journalists Gongadze and Adali murders : Principles must apply to all States, without discrimination.


+ ECHR's Statistics on Freedom of Expression (See below).


 European Court of Human Rights' President, Jean-Paul Costa, questioned by "EuroFora" on Journalists' murders, as in Gongadze and Adali's cases etc., strongly stressed all CoE Member States' obligation to make efficient Investigations to find and punish those responsible, and underlined that ECHR's case-law's principles must apply to all without any discrimination.

His call was clearly supported by various Top MEPs who denounced a risk of "Double Standards" if some Journalists' murders are investigated, while others don't.

To avoid such risks, CoE's Parliamentary Assembly adopted a Resolution, on the occasion of Ukranian Journalist Gongadze's murder, "stressing", as a matter of general Principle, "the importance it attaches to the safety of Journalists and political activists, especially those linked to opposition groups, in ALL member states of the CoE". All "crimes against journalists and political activists must be investigated ... as a matter of priority, without political interference".

Costa was replying to "EuroFora"s question on the fact that, after CoE's Committee of Ministers, also CoE's Assembly had just adopted a Resolution on Gongadze murder case, based on an ECHR's judgement of 2005, asking a full Investigation from Ukraine, who has found and condemned  in 10 years of jail 2 executants, but not yet the instigators.

While nothing similar was yet done for dissident Turkish Cypriot Kutlu Adali's murder, with 5 bullets shot at his head out of his Family's home in the territories of Cyprus occupied by Ankara's army, despite another ECHR's judgement of the same year 2005, and despite Turkey's claim that nobody was found among those responsible for the murder, and that there was nothing more to do..

In order to be credible and efficient, CoE's mechanisms shouldn't find a way to at least ask for full investigations of all Journalists' murders anywhere they might be committed, without exceptions ?

adali_gongadze


- "On the larger question that you raised, I'd like to say, since we are in a period of stock-taking on ECHR's 50 Years, that the Court's case-law developed certain concepts ....such as the Positive obligations of States, part of which are also the procedural obligations", started to reply ECHR's President.

 - "Whenever Journalists, Lawyers, Defenders of Human Rights, or even simple Citizens are murdered, the States are held responsible, not only if its their own security forces' agents who committed these murders, but also if they didn't make sufficiently substantial and efficient Investigations", he stressed.

- "I want to strongly underline that we (ECHR) have found in many cases numerous violations of Articles 2 and 3 against States, ....(about) murders or torture, ...because they didn't make enough Investigations in order to try to find and punish those responsible".

- "We (ECHR) do that vis-a-vis all 47 (CoE) Member States, without any discrimination".

"Naturally, the circumstances in each particular case may be differend, and we can't ommit to apply the rules of proof, or the rules of criminal procedure".

"But we try, by all means, to apply these principles of our case-law, to all States", he concluded.

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      Costa's call was strongly supported by several Top CoE MEPs, from various Political areas


- "To investigate the murder of one Journalist, and not of another, looks like Double Standards", denounced the President of EuroLeft Group in CoE's Assembly, Dutch MEP Tiny Cox.  

- "What is the reason ? Politics or specificity of a case ? Of course, if Cyprus and Turkey are involved, it's always a Political case"..

- "Murders of Journalists should always be fully investigated, because killing Journalists is not only killing persons, but also killing Free Press".  "We (CoE's Assembly) should do our outmost to help People who are working on Free Press and they are under threat or murdered".

Because for Free Politics, Free Press is a pre-requisitive : Parliamentarians  cannot  function without a Free Press. Not investigating, is not protecting ourselves".

So we should investigate all Journalists' murders : We are talking about Gongadze, about the Cypriot man (Adali), about the Journalist murdered in Moscow one week ago, etc", Cox concluded

- "CoE can' look at these cases differently. CoE can't wear Blinckers  !".
- "If the one is investigated, so has to be also the other. Why there wasn't full investigation ? Why's that ?", wondered British  Socialist MEP, Alan Meale.

- "A good idea" would be to "make a Motion for Resolution", and "join all Journalists' murders. Adali and Gongadze etc", said to "EuroFora" EU Parliament Political affairs Committee's President, Goran Lindbland, ChristianDemocrat MEP from Sweden.


(See also earlier News at "EuroFora" on similar issues).
-------------------------------

ECHR's Statistics on Freedom of Expression :


    Almost Half of condemnations by ECHR for violations of Freedom of Expression in 2008, concern Turkey : 20 out of a total of 48 for all CoE's Member States.

    Russia, Poland, France and Moldova were condemned only 3 times. Romania, Greece, Portugal, 2 times, and the other CoE Member States only 1 time, or none.
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    During the last Decade : 1998 - 2008, Turkey was condemned for violating Freedom of Expression in ..169 cases, while Austria only in 24.

    France and Moldova in 14 and 13, respectively, closely followed by Russia and Poland with 11 and 10, respectively. The rest of CoE Member States had less than ten condemnations.    
    

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