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Pagina principale 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+?

Scritto da 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.

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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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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)..
-------------------------
    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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