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Home arrow newsitems arrow Chirac to EuroFora : EU must get back to work !

Chirac to EuroFora : EU must get back to work !

Written by ACM
Saturday, 23 January 2010
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*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/- EU should get back to work also on Humanitarian issues, stressed at the start of EU's "Year against Poverty and Social Exclusion", Bernadette Chirac, President of "Hospitals of France" Foundation , and wife of the long-time former President of the country Jacques Chirac, speaking to "EuroFora" in Strasbourg, where she visited a modern Exhibition on concrete Projects helping People in need to get adequate Medical care , together with the City's Mayor, Senator Roland Ries, and MP Andre Schneider, Head of French Assembly's Commission on International/European issues, and CoE's Assembly's Member for Science, Culture and Education.                                                                                                                                                     

- "It's mainly because some important Professors in Medicine asked me to do so", that Bernadette Chirac (a 3 times "1st Lady of France" for 12 Years, who had experienced a tragedy in her own Family life) chose to give her time, energy and reputation to help People in Hospitals, as she told "EuroFora".

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy honoured last year (2009) Bernadette Chirac's Humanitarian work in a special ceremony at the "House of the Sun", an aide and rehabilitation refuge for Teenagers in trouble, during which she was awarded one of the most important honorific  titles, that of "Chevallier d'honeur".  Since then, added also to other developments, the popularity of Jacques Chirac, long-standing former President of France (3 times)  has rosen to a record high, according to Media reports.

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 The Humaniarian, issues at stake in terms of Human values and Health Science's progress are so important that they made a rare Unanimity between various Political personalities in the Majority and the Opposition, since Bernadette Chirac (notoriously a ChristianDemocrat of center-right) was first welcomed, near Brussels, by the Mayor of Lille and new Secretary General of the French ..Socialist Party, Martine Aubry (daughter of long-time EU Commission's former President Jacques Delors), immediaely followed by Strasbourg's new Mayor, Senator Ries (Socialist), long before she will meet fex. with the Mayor of Marseille Jean-Paul Gaudin,  vice-President of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP, Center-Right)..

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She agreed with "EuroFora" that the fact that her venue to Strasbourg as head of a Humanitarian movement the 1st Month of  2010, came at the start of EU's "Year against Poverty and Social Exclusion", was "a good coincidence", and such kind of Humanitarian initiatives should "inspire" People throughout all Europe.

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ECB and other Economic analysts' forecasts have warned the EU that even during the progressive return of Growth, in the current stage of the way out of the Global Crisis, high unemployment rates may persists for a while, in Europe as also in the USA and elsewhere in the World, and EU Commission''s President Jose Barroso has recently agreed with MEPs in EU Parliament in Strasbourg that, at least for the time being, a special care is needed throughout all the EU to prevent hard phenomena of Social Exclusion by provoked poverty.

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Struggle against pain (physical and moral), ameliorate living Conditions, develop Activities (fex. Culture or Internet in Hospitals), take charge of suffering Teenagers, help Families to stay united, etc. are some the main aims of the Foundation "Hospitals of France".

Among various concrete Projects big, medium or "small", already funded, (pictured in High-Tech, huge Video-Screens, or partly reproduced inside the 2010 Exhibition's Train), are fex. areas specially conceived for small Children, meeting places for Teenages, or even well adapted living spaces created for Families in order to avoid dramatic separation, etc. all related to a better, more Human life of patients in need in Hospitals, (allowing fex. to keep in touch through Telecoms with relations and/or urgent work, at least in part, while being hospitalized, if needed and medically allowed, etc), which might also contribute to ameliorate the efficiency of Medical services.   

 Initially focusing on Young People and later also on Seniors, Bernadette Chirac's Foundation was sollicitated by Strasbourg's Mayor, Senator Ries, to think about the possibilities to help also "Adults in need", in addition to a new "House" for Teenagers agreed to be built in Strasbourg.

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Learn how to become Popular "Benefactor" ?

  An original but important way to support such Humanitarian activities is the current "Yellow Coins' operation", which gives a chance to all Citizens, rich or poor, adult or even children, to became a "benefactor" by taking a part in contributing to fund the Foundation's projects, even if it's by simply giving just a few Euros, or only 10, 20 or 50 Cents (which have a "Yellow" color in EuroZone), or even only a few cents (1 or 5), which have a "red" color, as shows a special Box set up for the Public  by the "Bank of France" (which collects the coins and gives the final checque to the Foundation) : "The oldest pîece in the whole operation's History", as observed Bernadette Chirac, smiling.  

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 After 21 such popular operations in more than 20 Years of existence (1989-2010), the Foundation was able to fund more than 9.600 concrete Projects, totalling more than 133 Millions €. In Strasbourg's central Hospital (one of the biggest and more historic in Europe, whose new super-Modern premisses were inaugurated last year by French President Sarkozy - 2009), the operation "Yellow coins" has  got some 1 million € in grants to Pediatric Health care for Children.


    Symbolically, starting from Paris, the "Yellow Coins 2010" Exhibition Train (with a Radio Studio inside !) started after Jan. 22 by approching the European Headquarters, first close to Brussels (at nearby Lille), advancing afterwards to Strasbourg, before it travels around all the rest of France : From Lyon to Marseille, Toulouse, Perigeux, Poitiers, Quimper, Tours, staying one Day in each City before it returns back to Paris, between the 24 and 31 January.

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***
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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 ?

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- "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).
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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.
--------------------
    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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