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Home arrow newsitems arrow CLRAE Rapporteur on Lone Refugee Children, Elmrini to EF on Integration: School+Language=Essential+?

CLRAE Rapporteur on Lone Refugee Children, Elmrini to EF on Integration: School+Language=Essential+?

Written by ACM
Wednesday, 28 March 2018
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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- CoE's 2018 Rapporteur on the Topical, Ethically and Socio-Economically important, but also Controversial Issue of "UnAccompanied Refugee Children", seen from the particular but practically crucial viewpoint of Local/Regional Authorities, Nawel Rafik-Elmrini, Strasbourg City's Head of European/International Relations, herself a landmark example of Succesfull Integration at the core of European Society, was awaited with special Interest for the way that she would deal with the most delicate aspects of that still "Hot" Issue of Nowadays.


This matter is, obviously, a very Serious and Delicate one, having Manifold and Complex Aspects, spreading, in fact, much Wider than People usually think at First Sight, from Socio-Cultural Human Rights, up to the Human Rights to an elementary Protection and Safety for All People involved, and it even includes, inevitably, certain key Geo-Political parameters, at least as far as it concerns the Exceptional and UnPrecedented "Tsunami" of more than 1,5 Million of People Suddenly send massively to Europe from Turkey just in a Few Months between August 2015 and February 2016, which has undeniably presented a big Challenge for all involved, including by being, in certain cases, Exploited by this or that Socio-Political Group of Interests for their own purposes, without always keeping a due regard to the real Human and Social Dimension, neither to the General Interest of Europe.


- "Most (European) States were Not Prepared for the Scale of the Influx, or the Scope of the Issues", Massively Exported mainly through Turkey "since 2015", Elmrini's Draft Recommendation, indeed, reminds.


So that, inevitably, it would be Unthinkable and/or Irresponsible to Claim to really Exhaust it in the too Short and Hasty Framework of a Press Article, among others, during an Exceptionaly Overloaded Day of this Spring 2018 Session of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (CLRAE)...

 

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Neither could, seriously, Resumed just in a Few Words, Nawel Rafik-Elmrini's almost 30 Pages Long Report, including a Resolution for Local/Regional Authorities, and a Recommendation to the PanEuropean CoE's 47 Member-Countries, particularly with the Deep and Dense, but always Concrete Way of her Writting style, invested in a so delicate and important, "CrossRoads" Issue, Followed by a CLRAE Plenary Debate, with the Participation also of CoE Secretary General, Thornbjorn Jagland's Representative on Migration and Refugees, Tomas Bosek, (See Infra).


 - But her "Live" Replies, that she kindly accepted to give to certain Key "Eurofora"s Questions, just After the Experience of this CLRAE's Debate, earlier Today at the CoE in Strasbourg, Added to some relevant points of the above-mentioned Texts and/or Public Debates, can Help to at least Highlight some very Important, and probably Decisive Aspects of that overall Issue :

 

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- CoE's Rapporteur, naturally Agreed, in Substance, with "Eurofora", that, probably, a Most Important Part of her 2018 Report is How to Help Succeed, Nowadays, a Good "Integration" of all those "Unaccompanied Refugee Children" inside the European Society.


- Elmrini's Draft Resolution clearly "Recognizes", from the outset, that "each State has a Sovereign Right, subject to its International Obligations, to Determine Whom to Admit in its Territory",  but adds that, "although Response-Planning for Refugees usually falls under the remit of Central Government Authorities, in Line with National Asylum Law and Policies", nevertheless, "provision of Care, Accomodation and Education services to Refugees, usually falls, in Practice, to Local and Regional Authorities".


- Even if the questions of a basic Social Aid and Health Care are part of the Latter, it's, obviously, mainly through the Education aspect that Integration could be Achieved, in the Best possible way, for the foreseable Future.


>>> There, CoE's Rapporteur immediately Stressed to "Eurofora" that the Main thing are "Schools" for Refugee Children, which should be inside the "Mainstream", i.e. "Normal" Education System, (obviously in order Not to Provoke ant kind of "AppartHeid"-like situations in the National Education of CoE's Member Countries).

 

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+ Added, also, to what CoE SG's Representative for Migrants/Refugees, Tomas Bocek, stressed during the relevant CoE's Debate, earlier Today, about the Need to Avoid, at any price, "Ghettos", (and, notoriously, the "Cultural Ghettos", who are generally considered as the most pernicious), this should, Logically, mean that Local/Regional Authorities should, normally, take Care in order to Prevent any Risk of Over-Concentration, (particularly of the Recent, "UnAccompanied Refugee Children", who are Mostly from Far Away Countries, withOut the Historic Knowledge of at least an elementary European Culture and Language, as the South-Western Mediterranean, mainly "Mahgreb" Countries, who Already have Long and Close Relations with the French and/or Italian, Spanish, etc, Contrary to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey or Iraq, etc).


Obviously, f.ex., if some let accumulate ..."21 out of 24 Pupils needing to be Integrated", just in One Classroom (sic !), as it's reportedly the case in some Schools at Vienna City's suburbs, (according to a Reportage by German mainstream Newspaper "Die Welt"), then, such a "Cultural Ghetto", UnBalanced situation, does Not Help any Children at all, (Not those of the Recent, 2015-2016 Mass Migrants, Neither those of the Pre-Existing Populations, many of whom are also Poor and "Fragile", since Both notoriously, need a Well-Balanced Immersion in the European Culture, and certainly Not a Separation from it).

 
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=> And, it's at this, Crucial, point, that Elmrini also, Spontaneously, turned to Add, specifically, the Important matter of the Host Country's "Language" learning, on the occasion of her Reply to another "Eurofora" Question on the various, necessary "appropriate ... Learning Support Services, including Teaching Assistance", that CoE's Rapporteur Draft Resolution calls to provide, (Article 7, § e).


- During CoE's Debate, Elmrini naturally Accepted a Suggestion, made by a Member of the Turkish Delegation to the CLRAE, (which notoriously has several Migrants of its own inside Europe, even if Arabs naturally are, by far, the Most Numerous and Ancient Migrant People here), to "Consult Refugee Children themselves" about what they might wish, in these regards. Indeed, a Good Idea, as far as it can Help Avoid, f.ex., the "fragile" Refugee Children's eventual Infeodation and/or Manipulation by some so-called "NGO" "Intermediaries", who, in fact, are executing Policies Imposed by some Foreign Governments' Networks, (as, inter-alia, that related to Controversial "IDLIB"s Networks, in Fact Paid and Controlled by Ankara's Government, which Recently fuelled a Scandal about "Spying" Turkish and/or Other People living in Europe, that the German Medias denounced very strongly, triggering several Official and/or Popular Reactions).


- But, on the Contrary, CoE's Rapporteur did Not Say Anything, about anOther, Different, Request by a Turkish Representative, to Impose also a systematic and generalized Learning of the "Language of Origin" of the Children, as she had claimed. Obviously, because, for the fluently Speaking a Perfect French, Nawel Rafik-Elmrini, (who is not only a French Citizen, but also a fully Socio-Culturally Integrated Lawyer, specialized in Intellectual Property Rights), for the Sake of any Migrant Children's Future, a Good and Efficient Learning of the Language of the Host European Country is, Naturally, the Best, and Necessary Tool for a Succesfull Integration.


- Indeed, significantly, "Language .. Support", and/or "Language Training", is one among the Few Key-Words to be, significantly, ...Repeated More than 3 Times inside Rafik-Elmrini's Draft Resolution and Recommendation...


----------------

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+ In Addition, her draft Resolution already Dissuaded, from the outset, Against the Risk to "Create Parallel or Alternative Systems", and/or "a Divide between Host and Refugee Communities", which would "Slow down Integration efforts", while even "Cultural Barriers" may "leave Refugee Children at Greater Risk", as she Warns. - Particularly when "Changes in the ... Cultural profiles of those Arriving Since 2015", mainly through Turkey, "have Created" also "Other Challenges  ... in Host Countries", as her Report observes. Therefore, Rafik-Elmrini is, indeed, "Aware ... that ... there Certainly are (also) Other, Significant Issues, which canNot all be Examined in This Report, in Detail", (since it "proposes to Focus on 3 essential Aspects" Only  : "Protection, Care and Education", i.e. Leaving out, f.ex., the above-mentioned "Cultural" and/or Values' aspects, etc).

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- However, for Strasbourg Euro-Metropole's Director of European/International Affairs, who Hopes that Europe "will be ReVitalized by EU Citizens", particularly on the Basis of Human Rights and Democratic Values, etc., as Nawel Rafik-Elmrini has just Stressed, Yesterday Evening, at an Official Reception of the CLRAE in the Historic City Hall, DownTown, exactly there where CoE itself had been created on 1949 by European Political Leaders, at least an elementary Knowledge of, and Adherence to a basic set of Common History, Culture and Values, able to Help all People Live Together in some Social Cohesion, naturally, canNot lbe totally ignored.

 strasbourg_director_of_europeaninternational_relations_at_coe_reception_eurofora_400

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Indeed, as even a convinced, old-time Socialist, from Scandinavian Countries, and CoE's former Senior Official, under f. British CoE Secretary General Terry Davis, has already told "Eurofora", f.ex., even in such a Traditionaly Refugee-Friendly Country as Sweden, some very particular characreristics of many among the Latest, Massive Waves of Asylum Seekers/Irregular Migrants hrough Turkey (Comp. Supra), if due Care is not taken with appropriate measures, risk to provoke UnPrecedented Problems, particularly because of certain "Cultural" Issues, (including, f.ex., a Heavy "Islamist" Agenda, never seen before, as he pointed out).

 ----------------------

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- Thus, "Language and Job are Not Enough" for a Real "Integration" in European Society, soberly titled, indeed, in its Headline-News, mainstream German Newspaper "Die Welt" Nowadays. Instead, Reference was made to a so-called "New Concept of Integration", pointing, in particular, to that which was tested and proned f.ex. by the City of "Hohen NeuenDorf", which declares itself seriously "Committed" to a Succesful Integration of Migrants, including many UARC.

 

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 + Their relevant Pamphlet contains a Series of Concrete Points, which includes, but does Not Stop Just to Housing, Health, Language and Education, as well as Job : It also Adds Developments about what it calls "Social Integration", "InterCultural Openness", etc., and speaks about things like : "Support to a Common System", "Commitment to the Common Good", and Other Points serving "to Bring People Together".


This Focuses mainly around a "Non-Negotiable Basic Consensus", including "Commitment to Human Rights", and to "Democracy", (as the German Constitution, the Article 1 of which points to "Human Dignity", as well as EU's Lisbon Treaty's "Charter of Fundamental Rights"), but also to the "Equal Co-Existence of Religions", "Equal Rights .. for All People, RegardLess of Religion, Ethnicity, Gender, Sexual Orientation", etc., and Other Values, which, sometimes, constitute "a Big Challenge" (for Both Refugees and Local Populations)...


Given the Human, Intellectual and Social Personality of CLRAE's Rapporteur, Nawel Rafik-Elmrini, it obviously looks Certain that she woN't Deny that at all.


But the Main point, Nowadays, is that this German Example stresses the "Immence Importance" of those Values "for a Successful Extremism Prevention", (Including Both "Right-Wing Extremism, and Extreme Left, as well as Islmist Extremism", as they say).


Because all Official UNHCR and Other Statistics, clearly show that, a Particular Characteristic of that Recent, 2015-2016 UnPrecedented "Tsunami" of more than 1,5 Millions of People of Massive Asylum Seekers/Irregular Migrants Suddenly Coming to Europe through Turkey, (Comp. Supra), is that a very Great Number, often a Clear Majority among them, are Not Young Children, but rather Teenagers Claiming to be between 15-17 Years Old, (if not even Much more Older: Comp. Infra)....                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
And, to be Honest, as well as Efficient in Real Practice, the undeniable Truth obviously is that,  the European People have been Traumatized by a Series of Exceptional Incidents against EU Citizens, and mainly Horrible Terrorist Bloody Crimes, cowardly Targetting innocent Civilian People, several of which have been notoriously Committed by more or less ... Fake "UnAccompanied Refugee Children" (sic), who had Exploited Scandalous Loopholes of the System. It would be a Shame to Hide that Truth, and a service only to Terrorism and to Left or Right-wing potential Extremisms.


F.ex., shortly After more than 1.000 reported Brutal Mob Sexual Attacks against isolated young Girls and Women in Cologne at New Years' Eve towards 1.2016, (on which CoE's Parliamentary Assembly held an Extensive Public Debate : See ...),


among other "High-Profile" Mainstream Medias-Covered such recent Crimes, are also the Cases of Nearby Würzburg (Baden-Wurttemberg) Brutal Aggressor from Afghanistan/Pakistan who hit a whole Family and a Neighbouring Woman with a Axe and Knife on 2016, pledging allegiance to ISIS. Later, on 2016 too, a Young Student, who served as Volunteer to Help Refugees (while her Father Worked at EU Commission in Brussels), Maria Landenburger, is Raped and Murdered at Nearby Freiburg (Baden-Wurttemberg) by anOther Afghan "UARC", who had Claimed to be 17 Years old, but, in Fact, was Aged ... 32, (as even his own Father Revealed, Later on, citting an IDC), and had Already been Condemned and Jailed for Brutaly Attacking and Throwing anOther Young Girl over a Cliff 8 Meters High, Earlier in Greece, who escaped seriously Wounded. On 2017, at London, an Iraqi "UARC" placed a Fire-Bomb to Explode inside the Tube Train, Attacking Dozens of packed People : The London Police had, Scandalously, Hidden to the Foster Family who hosted and cared for him, that he had been "Trained by ISIS too Kill", as he had confessed, and mainstream Medias revealed afterwards, (Etc)....


Often, Victims may be also (real) fragile Refugee Children : As, f.ex., that 10 Years Boy of a poor Family of European Refugees from Serbia, who was Raped by a much More Aged "UARC" just arrived through Turkey from Asia, in a Swimming Pool at Vienna (Austria), where the latter had been Led by a Socio-Cultural services' paid Agent, in order to "Amuse" himself. Similar Incidents, f.ex., of reported Attempts of Sexual Assaults against very Young Children of Refugee Families were cited also in Berlin (inside a Collective Faciility), added to 2 Rapes of Children by Older Refugees inside a "Hotspot" at a Greek Island facing Turkey, (etc). So, Protection is Needed for practically Everyone.          

    
In real Practice, the Main Point, Notoriously is that, (as even Recent Official Reports from UNHCR and/or the Brittish Police, etc, attest), a too Great Number of Treacherous Young Men, pretending to be "Children", Abusively Infiltrate Europe's "UARC" System, (particularly Since that 2015-2016 UnPrecedented, Sudden "Tsunami" of 1,5 Million Massive Asylum Seekers/Irregular Migrants flowing to Europe through Turkey), in Attempts to Exploit the various Advantages normaly reserved to Real Refugee Children.                  


F.ex., that Issue was Discussed at a PanEuropean level in a "Side-Event", organized in Strasbourg during a previous CoE's Parliamentary Assembly's Plenary, and clearly Results also (among Many other Cases), Both from the 2017 and 2018 Published Official Reports of the UK Authorities on Migration and, particularly UARC, Statistics : According to them, almost ...a 2/3 Absolute super-Majority of such Suspected Cases proved, indeed, to be a Fraude, (with the concerned Individuals being, in Fact, Adults), representing, approximately, around 11% to 20% of the Total cases.             

                  
- Questioned by "Eurofora", on this point, CoE's 2018 Rapporteur, Nawel Rafik-Elmrini appeared Crystal-clear and Adamant :


- In cases of Doubt about the "Identification" of Unaccompanied Refugee Children (UARC) as such, concerning their Real Age, this should be Examined on he basis of "Scientific Criteria", she mainly stressed, in Reply.      

 

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- Indeed, her 2018 Report notes "the ...Need to Strengthen Age Asessment procedures", "conducted in a Scientific ...manner".


- Otherwise, i.e. if, in Practice, superficial Decisions might be taken only on "Facial" Impressions' grounds, (as it unfortunately might happen in some regions), then, .... it's not only Mediterranean and/or Asian-looking Youngsters, who become Mature-looking Earlier than others, but ... even Scandinavian Big Blonds, usually Taller than Southerners, who Migh Risk to be UnJustifiably Excluded from any Protection normally due to all Children, Elmrini characteristically Joked with "Eurofora", Smililng...


=> For that purpose, "EASO's Original Guidelines" (of 2013) should be "Supplemented and UpDated", inter alia, also, f.ex. by a "consistent application of Good Practices", she advises, pointing also at a 2016-2017 UNCHR Paper on "the Way Forward" in these matters, as well as to a relevant Report of CoE's Committee for the Rights of the Child, "based on a Survey and a Litterature Review", published on 9.2017.


>>> But, from these Texts, (except from some Interesting Methodological and/or Comparative Ideas), did Not emerge yet any Crystal-clear nor Fully-fledged "Common Standards" on "Age assessment" mechanisms yet, (that the UNHCR Paper prefers to be Developed at "EU Level"), which could be translated asap. in Legal Norms Europe-Wide.


*** However, as if EASO, (the "European Asylum Support Office" of the EU),  had ..."Heard" Elmrini's above-mentioned Call, "Eurofora" found that, indeed, it has ... just Published a fully UpDated, 2nd Edition of its 2013 Book, precisely this very Month of March 2018 !


The New EASO 2018 "Guide" on Age assessment is naturally much Bigger Now, with more Extensive Information. Nevertheless, it seems that its Original Edition of 2013 may still present a Specific Interest, particularly in Certain Key Points, (f.ex. the Description of Medical Methods, the International Comparisons, etc).

 

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=> That's why "Eurofora" Publishes here the Links to BOTH Editions of EASO on Age assessment, (BEFORE and AFTER the 2015/2016 Turkey's unprecedented "Tsunami"...), at :


https://www.easo.europa.eu/sites/default/files/public/EASO-Age-assessment-practice-in-Europe1.pdf


https://www.easo.europa.eu/sites/default/files/easo-practical-guide-on-age-assesment-v3-2018.pdf


As UNHCR a.o. observe, however, Children Rights need Age assessment not only in Asylum-related cases (i.e. for "Refugee" status : EASO's competence), but also for Various Other Reasons, (f.ex. Health, Social, Judicial Rights, etc). That's one reason more for which UNHCR has advised for a Wider EU-level tool on Legal Rules concerning All cases of Age assessment (Comp. Supra).


F.ex., inter alia, in the above-mentioned Maria Ladenbrger case at Nearby Freiburg, the Murderer, could have been Judged Either by a Special Court for Juveniles, or by an Ordinary Criminal Court for Adults :


- The Difference is Huge, since in the First Case he may be Released from Prison in only 10 Years, while, in the Second Case, he should Stay in Prison for Life, (as several German Medias noticed) !...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     -----------------------


At any case, in Principle, All Methods of Age assessment should be carried out with due "Respect (for) the Child's Dignity", be "Child-Friendly", "Gender-Sensitive", and better "Avoid Invasive ... Procedures that Risk Violating the Child's Physical Integrity", Elmrini's Report adds.


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+ AnOther Topical Danger around UnAcompanied Refugee Children are the "Risks" that they Might Face particularly IF they are "Placed in Institutional facilities",  as it "has Long been Recognized by Child-Protection Professionals", Elmrini's Report Warns :


>>>  Indeed, "Many States increasingly involve NGOs, and (even) the Private Sector, in Managing Reception Facilities, and this Raises ... Questions about the type of Staff, Training, ... Policies", etc., she Critically observes.

F.ex., Mainstream German Medias have already reported Cases of Refugees reportedly "Harassed" by some Groups who Exploit Complicities even with the "Security" Staff, (due, f.ex. to so-called "Religion links", etc), Risking to result, sometimes, even near to "Inhuman/Degrading Treatments", Discrimination, Humiliation, etc., of those who are a "Minority" inside such Buildings. (F.ex., according to "Die Welt", an Iraqi of Christian religion, was, reportedly Obliged, de Facto, to ...Return Back into Iraq, after having vainly Complained for repeated Harassment against his Family, by a Majority Group exploiting  Complicities with the Private "Guards", etc)...

+ Moreover, "there is" also "some Evidence that Reception Facilities", at least "in some Countries, have been Targetted by Criminal Networks", f.ex. "involved in Human Trafficking", while, in Addition, "a High Rate of UnAccompanied Children are Gone MISSING from Reception Facilities", Elmrini's Report observes, (noting, f.ex., the Fact that "in Italy", about "28.000 Children" Absconed from Reception facilities, only on 2016, and this was repeated on 2017...


+ In this regard, "Eurofora" also observed, recently, that COE's Officials of the "Lanzarote" Convention for the Fight Against Sexual Exploitation and/or Abuse of Children, during a Collective "Press point", had, indeed, Discussed with some interested Collegues the actual Risk for various "Predators" to Infiltrate f.ex. some NGOs used by the Public Authorities in certain Collective Buildings or Camps for Mass Asylum Seekers/Irregular Migrants, incuding Many UnProtected Children.


=> That's why, "it is Vital", for "Child Protection Agencies", to exert an efficient "OverSight" "in relation to all Institutions in this area, including Migration Centers", and/or to "Develop New, Family-Based Facilities, in Local Communities, or Support Fostering, or Other Alternativ Care arrangements, within Refugee Communities", "where Local Authorities can and should take a Lead", Elmrini's Report suggests.


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=> Last, but  Not Least, Nawel Rafik-Elmrini's Draft Resolution for Local/Regional Authorities, was finally Adopted by CLRAE's Plenary with a Very Wide Majority of 78 Votes for, Against Only 4, and 2 Abstentions. Similary for her Draft Recommendation to CoE's 47 Member States, which was Adopted by 75 Votes, Against Only 5, and 1 Abstention.

Astonishingly, for such a Topical, Multifacet, Delicate and Complex, even partly Controversial Issue, which Concerns many Millions of People spread accrsss Most European Countries,  it was a genuine Surprize for "Eurofora" to find out that there was ....Not Any  Amendment at all, which might have Attempted to Change at least one or another part of her Drafts, (Apparently indicating that a Realistic and Good Balance of Interests, as well as, eventually, several Deals and Compromises, had been already Agreed, Beforehand, probably in Committee level and/or otherwise, in Addition to a quite Well-Balanced Formulation of Most Observations and/or Proposals.


In Comparison, it was Both Surprizing and Amusing to Note the Strannge Fact that, on the Contrary, an adjacent Report, about a Routine Inspection on "Local Democracy in.... SAN MARINO" alone (among More than 6 Similar Countries' Reports during this CLRAE Plenary), on the Contrary, Faced at least ... 2 comprehensive Amendments !...

 


(../..)
 


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***
 


("DraftNews", as already Send to "Eurofora" Subscribers/Donors earlier. A more accurate, full Final Version, might be published asap).
 


***
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  imag0573_400

    An "Eugenic" loophole Amendment, which might expose to Dangers reminiscent of "3rd Reich's" notorious Genetic Abuses, hidden at the last minute inside an otherwise Good, larger Health policy Package scheduled to be voted on Thursday, was strongly denounced by a coalition of MEPs from various Political Groups and Countries, in a Press Conference held this afternoon at EU Parliament in Strasbourg.

    Mainly calling to "Select Human Embryos", via "Genetic Counselling" and "pre-implantation" Techniques including "Genetic Tests", in order to "Eradicate Hereditary rare Diseases", it might open ways to Dangerous Practices in Future, they denounced in substance.

    But they also made it clear that a much larger Report inside which this Controversial Amendment "No 15" was added in dubious circumstances, officialy destinated to struggle against "Rare Diseases", and drafted by Professor Antonios Trakatellis, was otherwise "an Excellent Report", aiming at a "completely Uncontroversial target" of Health policy on which "all MEPs and Experts are united, believing that Europe should act" to protect People's Health (See "EuroFora"'s earlier News).

    The controversy came at a particularly delicate moment for the EU in relation to Citizens, at the eve of June 2009 EU Elections, and shortly before Ireland re-votes for "Lisbon Treaty"..    

- Denouncing risks of "an Eugenic demand, very similar to what we had during the 3rd Reich in Germany, but now coming from some Scientisists themselves", German ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Dr. Peter Liese stressed that critical MEPs were against "Eugenic" engineering with "Selection of Human Embryos", and anything which might ultimately lead up to to a "Selection of Human Race". It doesn't help to "eradicate" Human Lives, he added.


    Several Experts and NGOs expressed "Deep Concern", as f;ex. DR M.C. Cornel of the "European Society of Human Genetics", which stressed, on this occasion, that "the importance of Non-Directiveness in Reproductive issues is a Central characteristic of Human Genetics, after the Atrocities committed in the name of Genetics in the first half or the 20th Century".

     - "This is completely Unacceptable", stressed Italian Liberal MEP Vittorio Prodi, on the Controversial Amendment, also because pushes to "eliminate early Human Life", as he noted.

     - "This opens a Dangerous Road, rather a Motorway", denounced Danish MEP Mrs Margrette Auken, from the "Greens", observing that various similar attempts were made in the Past "not only in Germany, but also in several other Countries, "even at the 1970ies", "f.ex. on forced Sterilisation of Roma" People, and other criticisable situations f.ex. in the UK, in Sweden, etc. as she said.

    + Other NGOs, as f.ex. "LebenHilfe" from Berlin, added that, among various other Risks, could also be that, by exploiting the pre-implantation Genetic Diagnostics and the Selection of "healthy" Embryos, some may "propagate" several "Eugenic" aims, starting f.ex. by pushing to eradicate Human Livies which might "Cost too much" to preserve, ultimately exposing to dangers reminiscent of the "3rd Reich"'s atrocious abuses.

    In consequence, ChristianDemocrats/EPP and "Green" MEPs "decided by Majority to vote against" this Controversial Amendment, anounced to Journalists the 5 MEPs who participated in the Press Conference, representing a wide spectrum, from Liberals to "Greens" and ChristianDemocrats, and from Hungary, Italy, Germany and Danemark up to Ireland (Gay Mitchell), etc.
----------------------------------
    Hungarian ChristianDemocrat MEP Laszlo Surjan said "that it was "Suddenly, at the End of the Procedure" in Committee, that "appeared this (Controversial) Amendment, which has nothing to do" with the main purpose of the Report, on which all agreed.

    He denounced an "Unhonest" move, and called to "avoid this kind of unacceptable situations". Nobody should "Select People", Surjan stressed.

    - "We (MEPs) had No Chance to Discuss" this last-minute Amendment earlier added at a Committee's level, said German MEP Peter Liese

    Speaking to "EuroFora", Dr. Liese, the Spokesman of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group in EU Parliament, said that MEPs didn't oppose other references of the Report f.ex. on "Genetic Tests", because they were "no proposals" to impose them, while, on the contrary, there was "a Problem" if anyone attempted to "impose" f.ex. this or that Genetic Technique and "Genetic Counselling", etc. to the People on human reproduction.
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The precise Text :
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    Controversial parts of Amendment No 15 ask mainly "to lead finally to the Eradication" of "Hereditary" "rare diseases", "through Genetic Counselling .., and ..pre-Implantation Selection of healthy Embryos".

    But  EU Rapporteur Professor Trakatellis, said to "EuroFora" that fears should be alleviated by Guarantees that all this should be done only "where appropriate", when it's "not contrary to existing National Law", and "always on a Voluntary basis", according to other Parts of the Amendment.

    He stressed that the main aim was to allow "a free and informed choice of persons involved", without imposing them anything :  - "It's not an obligatory, but advisary" text, he said.

    To make that point clear, he was ready, in agreement with many MEPs, to eventually drop at least that part of the controversial Amendment which initially called for "efforts to ..lead finally to the Eradication of those rare diseases" "which are Hereditary".

    But, until late Wednesday evening, reportedly together with many other MEPs, he stood by all the rest of the controversial Amendment, (fex. on the "Genetic Counselling" and the "pre-implantation Selection of healthy Embryos"), so that critical MEPs, going from ChristianDemocrats as Dr. Liese, to "Greens" or "Ind/Dem", observed to "EuroFora" that "this was not enough" to close the dangerous loophole.

    Particularly since, as Professor Trakatellis noted himself, "this is already allowed to the U.K.", and "other National Legislations would probably follow, sooner or later" in a similar direction. As for a general call to "Eradicate Hereditary rare Diseases", this "should happen, at any case, in practice, de facto", to protect public Health.

    On the contrary, "our goal should be to help patients suffering from rare diseases, not to eradicate the patients. In case of genetic disease risk, the decision should not be guided by scenarios" made by politicians. "Perents who may decide to accept a child, even if handicapped or with genetic disease, must be respected and supported with solidarity", critical MEPs stated.

    - "Any Pressure" to "a patient or couple (who "should be able to make an informed choice consistent with their own values"),"from health Professionals, Public Health Policies or Governemental Institutions, or Society at large, should be avoided", stresses the "European Society for Human Genetics".

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Each MEP's vote will be registered !

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The Socialist Group requested a "Split vote" on the Amendment 15, first without, and afterwards with the words "lead finally to the Eradication" etc.


    But the first "split vote" leaves intact all the other parts of the Controversial Amendment, (i.e. "Genetic Counselling", "Selection of healthy Embryos", etc).

    That's why, 3 Groups of MEPs : ChristianDemocrats/EPP, "Greens/EFA", and "Ind/Dem", have asked for "Roll Call Votes", on everything regarding the Controversial Amendment No 15, and on the final outcome of the resulting Report as amended, which will register all the individual positions to be taken by each MEP.   

Something which will obviously make each MEP think twice before voting for one or another choice, to be sure that he/she will make the right choice in front of EU Citizens, particularly at these pre-Election times...


    Crucial Votes were scheduled between 12 Noon and 1 p.m. local Strasbourg time, in the middle of a long series of various other Reports, and after a long Public Debate on the larger Health policy package, from 9 to 11.50 am.

    The specific Report inside which was hidden the controversial Amendment is due to be debated between 11 and 12 am.

    So that more last-minute Surprises may not be excluded a priori...

    Particularly at the present Historic moment, when even the Institutional Future of the EU depends on the result of a second Referendum on "Lisbon Treaty", later this year, in ...Ireland, a mainly Catholic country, where People are particularly sensitive in such kind of socio-cultural and values issues...
 

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     (Draft due to be updated).
 
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