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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE BioEthics Head Lwoff to EF: Experts vote Plan+Debate. Check Germ-Line Change row, Outcome Later

CoE BioEthics Head Lwoff to EF: Experts vote Plan+Debate. Check Germ-Line Change row, Outcome Later

Written by ACM
Friday, 22 November 2019

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*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/- The experienced Head of CoE's PanEuropean, 47 Member States-strong (including Russia) Organisation's BioEthical Department, the Only in the World with a Mandate and Legal Tools to Protect Human Rights in Bio-Medicine, Laurence Lwoff, speaking to "Eurofora", revealed that the competent Experts' Committee just Discussed this week in Strasbourg the recent scandal of Heritable Genetic Manipulations, transmissible to Future Generations, (See: www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coebioethicsdebatechildrenforlesbiansandheritablegenemanip.html, etc), while also confirming the Adoption of CoE's "Strategic Action Plan" for the Next 5 Years, and "Guidelines for Public Debates" in that "Hot" area, of more and more Crucial Importance for Humankind's foreseable Future.

Curiously, CoE's Committee on BioEthics Voted on those 2 Far-Reaching and complex Reports concerning "Hot" Issues Only ...1,5 Month since the New Secretary General of the COE, Marija Buric, former vice-Prime Minister of Croatia, just took over, in practice from last October 2019, i.e., obviously, withOut enough Time for the New Direction's Team to really Analyse, Discuss and Decide on such Complex Normative Texts, which usualy need a Long Period of Preparations.

In Consequence, given also the Fact that this "Strategic Plan" is due to cover the Period of "2020-2025", (i.e. All and even More than the Duration of the New SG's Mandate !), Obviously, it would Risk to Deprive the New Team which enters Now at the Direction of the COE, (and the Political Majority which Voted for her Last June 2019 at the Parliamenary Assembly), from any Fair Chance to Have a Say on such a Crucial Matter Nowadays as the Latest Developments on BioEthical Issues and related New (mainly Genetic) Technologies, but, on the Contrary, to Impose, and Extend even much further in time, the Views of the Previous, Outgone Direction of the Past...

+ Taking into Account also the Big Differences Traditionally existing between Socialists and ChristianDemocrats/EPP on BioEthics, as well as the Exceptional Fact that, for the 1st Time in CoE's 70 Years of History, Socialists had been Holding the SG Top Job Continuously for 3 Times in a Row, During more than 15 Years now, (while ChristianDemocrats had been even Pushed Out of CoE's Parliamentary Assembly Leadership too, under Various Pretexts, particularly during Most of the Time at the Last 10 Years), Obviously, elementary Democracy would be InCompatible with the (Otherwise inevitable) Risk, for a Previously Pre-Fabricated "Strategy" from the Past, to be Imposed in that "Action Plan" for the Future 5 Years (2020-2025).

- Is it for that reason that a fully-fleged Publication of those Adoped CoE Experts' Reports (11/2019) was reportedly postponed for "the Beginning of Next Year" (1/2020), as Laurence Lwoff told "Eurofora" ?

- Lwoff aknowledged, indeed, the fact that there would, almost certainly, be some Changes, meanwhile, in those Texts, before their Final Public Version.

- But she said that this would be, in principle, Limited only into a kind of "Editorial Adjustments", and did not concern, Not even "Amendments" to those Reports, which would, thus, remain as they were just adopted this week.

- It's even Possible that "an Abridged Version" might, eventualy, become Public "in about a Week", or so, she added.

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+Meanwhile, concerning the currently most "Hot" and Recent Important Incident on BioEthics : the November 2018 Scandal of a Maveric Dr. having already Manipulated Genetically 2 New Born Babies with Heritable Modifications, Transmissible to Future Generations, (something Prohibited by CoE's International Convention on BioEthics, known as "Oviedo'" Treaty, since 1997, i.e. just 1 Year Before Also Banning the  "Clonning" of Human Persons, since 1998), 2 Other, Specific Reports, prepared, in parallel, by other CoE's Experts, (See: ..., etc), would now reach an Outcome, apparently "towards the End of Next Year", i.e. towards December 2020, as Laurence Lwoff told us Today.

This appears to be much Later than earlier Expected, Compared to Previous Lwoff's Replies to identical "Eurofora"s Question, last June 2019, which had Indicated a Timing around April or May 2020, (See ibid).

However, it's Not yet Clear if that Extended Time Deadline referred precisely to those Experts' Reports only, or, perhaps, Also to the substantial Conclusions that CoE's BioEthics' Committee might reach After those Texts' Completion and Discussion :

- F.ex. Lwoff told "Eurofora", on this same occasion, that it's "Not yet Known what they (CoE's competent Committee) might propose", "f.ex., perhaps a Reformulation" of CoE's "Oviedo" Convention (Comp. Supra), and/or a Debate (See Infra), or anyting Else".

Given the Fact that CoE's "Oviedo" Convention notoriously Prohibits any Heritable Manipulation of the "Human Genome", made with the "Aim", (something that some Prefer to Enlarge into any Genetic Manipulation which may "have as Effect" to do that) to "introduce any Modification in the genome of any Descendants", (Article 13), such a "ReFormulation", theoretically, might Either follow the Policy pushed by "Socialist/Liberal" former US President Barack Hussein Obama's appointed Experts, (who Concluded, at the beginning of 2017 (i.e., in fact, Before New US President Don Trump takes over in real practice) for a very controversial and dangerous "Conditional Permission" in many cases), Or, Otherwise, stick to the "Global Ban" Request of many MEPs, particularly ChristianDemocrats/EPP, expressed Recently in EU Parliament on 2019, (See: ..., etc), i.e. for an International Extension of the above mentioned Prohibition already existing at PanEuropean CoE's "Oviedo" Convention on "Human Rights and BioMedicine" since 1997, (Similar to the Ban of Human "Clonning", since its Additional Protocol of 1998, signed in Paris).

>>> This Issue is of Extreme and Urgent Importance, because here it's all Humanity which is obviously at Stake, since  Heritable Genetic Manipulations may also fabricate "Chimeras" (between Animals and Humans), and Various Other kinds of "Dr. Frankenstein" Monsters, real "New Races" of Beings, an aggravated and permanent "Appart-Heid" definitively Separating Humans between them, Set up various "Alien" Species, (etc), if they Fall into the Wrong Hands of some Maverick/Selfish Technocrats.

In Addition, Recently, various Health Problems were found in Heritable Gene Editing, (as in the Clonning, previously). There are some Speculations about eventual Technical Solutions in the Future, but, at any case, this is Not the Main Concern.

Indeed, as COE's BioEthics Committee stressed at an exceptional Statement of 2015, on the occasion of such CRISPR-Cas9 Heritable Gene Editing Technologies, the Main "Concern" focuses "in particular (on) the intentional Modification of Human Genome, so as to Produce Individuals or Groups endowed with Particular Characteristics". (Comp. Supra). In fact, "deliberate Germ-Line Editing in Human beings crosses a line viewed as Ethically Inviolable", Denounced also COE Assembly's Social and Health Affairs Committee, in a Declaration issued (after the October 2018 Incident) on December 2018.

Such Risks seem to have become Now (i.e. After that October 2018 Incident : Comp. Supra) inevitable, particularly in the Absence of any Known Technology able to Prevent, Spot, and/or Reverse a possible Heritable Manipulation, whenever a Human Embryo is exposed to any eventual Genetic Intervention, (f.ex. during Artificial Procreation Methods, IVF, etc).

But, even if, according to Other CoE's sources, it seems to be "currently a Prohibition on interventions aimed at Modifying the Germ-Line in Human beings in all EU, and many CoE, member States", (as a 2017 CoE Assembly Resolution says), nevertheless, there are also Many important Non-European Actors throughout the World in this domain, and, therefore, CoE's Committee on BioEthics has "launched, since 2015, a Call to use CoE's Oviedo Convention's Principles also for a Debate at International level", Lwoff topically reminded to "Eurofora".

Currently, one Side seems to attempt to use some kind of "Debates" in order to ..."Amend" CoE's BioEthical Convention, (as, f.ex., Socialist MEP Petra de Sutter's Report in CoE's Assembly, on October 2017), while anOther Side clearly seeks "a Global Ban" on Heritable Genetic Manipulations, as prescribed by that same CoE's Convention, (whose Full Name speaks "for the Protection of Human Rights, and Dignity of the Human Being, with regard to the Application of Biology and Medicine"). Already, CoE's Highest Political Body, that of its Committee of Ministers has "invited" States to put a "Ban on establishing a Pregnancy with Germline cells or human Embryos having undergone intentional Genome Editing", since February 2018.

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+ At any case, in general, "given the recent Developments in New Technologies, and the Crossing of Borders implied often by them, there are More and more Appeals for what is called a "New Governance", in BioEthics, where 1 of its Key Aspects is to Integrate Public Debate", added Laurence Wolff to "Eurofora" Today.

=> - "And, concerning such a "New Governance", already, there is a Consensus for Public Debates to be involved much More from the Beginning, i.e., already since the (Scientific) Research on such New Technologies", told us CoE's BioEthics Department's Head, surprisingly approaching "Eurofora"s wider Project...

 

 

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Former "Green-Red" German government's Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer's job at the controversial Turkish pipeline "Nabucco" was denounced as "not proper", "very bad", and "incompatible with Democracy", by the new President of EU Parliament's EuroLeft Group, German Lothar Bisky, replying to an "EuroFora" question.

For once, criticism of Joschka Fischer's doings with Turkey affecting Europe, didn't come only from the Center-Right of the political spectrum, but even from his Left side : The experienced Bisky, who has been chairing all over 1993-2009 the PDS - Die Linke party :  

- "Former Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer got involved in dealings with oil-gaz business in a foreign country, Turkey, and its controversial Nabucco pipeline. This raises questions about Democracy, also because of the well known problems of Human Rights violations in that country. Do you thing that this might be abused in order to cover up and close EU's eyes on Human Rights violations ?", "EuroFora" asked Bisky.

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- "Nabucco pipeline is (only) at the planning stage". And "there are some difficulties",  he observed from the start. But "'I don't want to get into the details of Nabucco pipeline, because I don't think that there is any point for it at the moment".
 
At any case,  "we  (EU Parliament's EuroLeft Group) strongly believe that Politicians should not get involved in the Energy Business, and all these commercial transactions", President Bisky declared on the Joschka Fiischer's affair.

- "We feel that it's something that shouldn't be done. It's not proper !"           

- "We don't think that it's compatible with Democracy either, and it gets politics into a very Bad track", Bisky went on to denounce.
                                                                                                                                                                        
- "EuroLeft  and "Die Linke" always spoke against that, saying that politicians should not get directly into the arms of private enterprises"

- "It is pretty bad if a former Minister takes a job f.ex. in a major Energy producer. So, it's an issue if a Minister who may have seen excellent opportunities, subsequently gets personally grasp of them, in very serious parts of the economy, once he has given up his (Government) job."

- "It doesn't really make politics in general look any better'", Bisky concluded.

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Earlier, this week in Strasbourg, other Journalists had also raised critical questions on former Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer's involvement in the conroversial Turkish Nabucco pipeline to the President of his own EuroParty : Kohn-Bendit of the "Greens", who, contrary to Bisky, tried to find excuses for Fischer, while criticizing his long-time partner, Schroeder for having done a similar move :

- "Shroeder was chancellor", and he "negociated" with "Russians", who gave him a job only "3 Months" after he resigned from the Government. While "Joschka Fischer", on the contrary, got a job with the controversial Turkish Nabucco pipeline only "4 Years after" he left the Government. "He didn't negociate Nabucco", so I have "no objection", Kohn Bendit claimed.

But, many Facts indicate the contrary :

Joschka Fischer was Foreign Minister in Germany from 1999 up to 2005 : I.e. from the year that EU took the controversial decision to give Turkey a "Candidate" status, until he year it started controversial "accession negotiations, (later declared "open-ended" after Sarkozy-Merkel's arrival from 2005-2007).

During that period was prepared the controversial so-called "Annan" Plan (in fact, drafted by others and attributed afterwards to the former UN SG) on Cyprus, which failed after a Popular Referendum said "No" on 2004 with a large Majoriy of 3/4 : 75%. Mainly because it was criticized for making too much concessions to the Turkish side :  Particularly by restricting Greek Cypriot Refugees' Human Right to return to their ancestral Land and/or get restitution of their Familiy Homes and private properties, usurpated by Ankara's Army since the 1974 militay invasion and continuing occupation of the northern part of Cyprus. And by weakening the Central Government, leaving to 2 "constituent States" so much powers and separate interests that more conflicts appeared inevitable, provoking the danger of a break-down in the foreseable future, with more crisis, troubles, perhaps bloodshed, etc., instead of creating an harmoniously integrated, really one federal State.

The controversial Plan was finalized on March-April 2004 at Burgenstock (Switzerland), curiously in the presence of an Envoy by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany, then governed by Joschka Fischer, but in the absence of a French and not even an European Union's Envoy, contrary to what was usually practiced on similar occasions in Switzerland (fex. in 1997 at Montreux, in 2000 at Geneva, etc).

Turkey notoriously exploited the failure of the "Annan" Plan in order to convince the EU to decide to start accession Negotiations on December 2004. This provoked an unprecedented series of Institutional Crisis inside the EU, shortly afterwards, when French and Dutch People rejected, 2 popular EuroReferenda by a majority "'No" vote to the EU Constitutional Treaty on 2005, aggraveted in 2004 a Majority Abstention to EU Elections, etc., followed by the recent Irish "No", etc.

"Nabucco" Gas pipeline was notoriously planned since ..2002. It follows an even earlier idea, for an Oil pipeline Baku-Ceyhun, which started to be prepared on 1999-2001 and was meanwhile recently completed.  

So, facts indicate that what is now at stake is based on decisions made during Joschka Fischer's term as former Foreign Minister, closely interested in Turkey's controversial EU-bid.

To the point that he now practically ...switched jobs with a poliician from Turkey, (the State which pays today openly Joschka Fischer), Mr. Ozdemir, who came earlier in Germany, got fast the nationality, and became EiuroMP in a few years, continuing now as head of the "Greens" in Germany, i.e. in Joschka's former job !...

Such astonishing facts risk, unfotunately, to give to German politician Lothar Bisky's criticism of  representative Democracy a topical meaning :

 - "We (EuroLeft Group) think that what is really at stake is Democracy. It's not only about Gas Pipelines or Energy sources", President Lothar Bisky went on to add in his reply to "EuroFora"'s question on Joscka Fischer's personal interests in the controversial Turkish "Nabuco" pipeline.

Such facts, "make People get more distance from Politics. ...People had had enough, and they are fed up !".

- "That's why we (EuroParliament's "EuroLeft" Group) want to strengthen Direct Democracy in Europe. Citizens should be involved in the (EU) Decision-making. In the end of the day, it's not going to help anyone if Politicians are always taking decisions, without involving Citizens. We want to give a voice to the People of Europe. They've got to have their say in the decisions that are taken. That's one of our absolutely fixed and steadfast views. We want more Direct Democracy in Europe. That's how it can become more effective and stronger", he concluded.

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