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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


*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.


+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.


+ 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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Hu Jia's prize brings SAKHAROV's wife to "EuroFora" on murders of Journalists Politkofskaya, Gongadze and Adali :

- Elena Bonner : "All Journalists' murders must be fully investigated", without Double Standards.                                                                                    

During a special Mega-Event to celebrate 20 Years of SAKHAROV Prize for "Freedom of Thought", attributed in 2008 by EU Parliament to jailed Chinese Cyber-Dissident Hu JIA, the move was reinforced by strongly criticizing the persisting impunity in three cases of Journalists' Murders, such as POLITKOVSKAYA in Russia, GONGADZE in Ukraine, and ADALI in Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus.

Any bureaucratic doubt about whether Cyber-dissidents like Hu JIA might have, or not, a right to be protected as all Journalists must be, particularly when they take risks to search, find and publish original and critical News on issues of general interest to the society, could not resist to the emotion provoked by the message of his Wife, Zeng JINYAN spectacularly transmitted at a big screen in EU Parliament's hemicycle :

- "The most important and most interesting thing he did was to ... say the Truth :.. to write about the phenomena he observed... He never stopped Publishing.. on websites, so that the Public could learn about the reality .. and understand it.  In my view, this has been his greatest contribution", stressed the young wife of the jailed man, eager to cite also the cases of other critical journalists who faced various kinds of "harassment".

 - "Welcoming all those who have suffered for defending Human Rights", EU Parliament's President, German MEP Hans Gert POETTERING, who had invited to Strasbourg all former Sakharov prize-winners from various Countries throughout the World, said that "China needs Europe, and Europe needs China : A great nation" with which "we want to have a good relationship", "association and ..friendship". "But we are never going to stop our fight for Human Rights, and No Government can expect this from us".

    - "It's impossible  to achieve goals of Peace, if Human Rights are left out. In fact, Peace and Human Rights are intrinsequaly linked", added POETTERING.

    It's in this spirit that MEPs adopted, on Thursday, a Resolution denouncing that "the criminal
investigation and trial following the murder of (a) Journalist ...raises serious concerns with regard to transparency and respect for the rule of law", when a "brutal killing has not yet been fully investigated and solved in a satisfactory way".

    The text refered to dissident Journalist "Anna POLITOVSKAYA", a critic of Tchechen conflict, killed some years ago in Moscow, where Russian Authorities have found, arrested and are currently judging two executants, while also searching to arrest also a 3rd one, allegedly escaped in Belgium. But they have not yet found the instigators.

     Similar texts were adopted recently also on dissident Ukranian Journalist Georgiy GONGADZE's murder, for which Ukranian Authorities have at least found, arrested and condemned 2 executants to 12 and 13 Years of jail, but not yet the instigators. For that purpose, they recently accepted an International Experts team to participate to the investigations.     

But, it's only for the Murder of dissident Turkish Cypriot Journalist ADALI, in the occupied territories of Cyprus, that Turkey has NOT yet found ANYONE responsible, and even claimed recently inside CoE that it would be "impossible" to do so !    

These astonishing differences exist despite the fact that ECHR condemned alike Ukraine and Turkey with 2 Judgements on the same year : 2005, for the murders of  Journalists GONGADZE and ADALI, strong critics of Corruption in Ukraine, and of Ankara's policies on mass-influx of Turkish Settlers in the Occupied Territories of Cyprus, respectively.    

Regarless of that, CoE's Committee of Ministers, who is entrusted with the duty to supervise execution of ECHR's judgements, has just asked Ukraine's Government to reply to further questions on Gongadze's murder before March 2009, while Turkey, curiously, got a longer postponement for answering questions on Adali's murder, until June...   

A comparison of these cases, raises serious questions about Double Standards :


    On Gongadze's murder, CoE's body speaks even about the participation of
"an INTERNATIONAL group of Experts" in the Investigation, (f.ex. of "Tape Recordings"), accepted by Ukraine.
    On the contrary, on Adali's murder, CoE is obliged to repeatedly ask (for a 2nd
time) Turkey whether, at least, it informed the victims' Family, or not...
On Gongadze's murder, CoE formally "recalls that the Committee (of Ministers) ..URGED the Ukranian authorities.. to TAKE ALL NECESSARY INVESTIGATIVE STEPS TO ACHIEVE CONCRETE and VISIBLE RESULTS in the INVESTIGATION, aimed at the Identification of the INSTIGATORS and Organisers of the Murder", and "STRONGLY INVITED the Ukranian Authorities to provide information on the PROGRESS IN THE INVESTIGATION", before MARCH 2009.

But, on Adali's murder, on the contrary, CoE's body merely .. "took note" of the "arguments presented by" Cyprus, which denounce the absence of any proof of new "investigation" by Turkey. Following Turkey's own suggestion (!), it simply "noted" that there is "no limitation period" for "any new element" to "lead potentialy (sic !) to a Re-Opening of the Investigation". Without saying who might find any such "new" fact, since Turkey stoped searching... It also POSTPONED the issue until .. JUNE  !
 -  On Gongadze's murder case, Ukranian Authorities already arrested and condemned, at least 2 suspects, to 12 and 13 Years of jail. And on Politkovskaya's murder at least 2 suspects are judged, and a 3rd one "wanted".

On the contrary, on Adali's murder case, the Turkish authorities simply claim that "it had not been possible to obtain new .. information .. on the basis of which criminal charges could be brought against ANY person" !...

Moreover,  a LETTER sent by Turkey ...2 Years after CoE's 2006 call to re-investigate anew Adali's murder case, is totally EMPTY of Facts ! As Cypus' Delegation denounced earlier, Turkey's Letter ONLY CLAIMS that a "New Investigation" was made without any result, but does NOT even cite ANY FACT to prove it :

F.ex.,on the crucial issue of the "MOTIVATIONS" behind Adali's murder, noted by ECHR, Turkey MERELY CLAIMS that "all allegations  were investigated; without result", but OMITS ANY FACT TO PROVE IT !..(It doesn't even remind which were these "allegations").. .

+ On ECHR's astonishment that the Turkish Occupation regime didn't produce any "BALLISTIC REPORT" on the Shots which murdered Adali, Turkey again repeats, 12 years later, that, still, even until now, "it  was not possible to obtain the BalisticReport"...

- As for the astonishing absence of key-WITNESSES' Testimonies, denounced by ECHR, Turkey agains repeats various pretexts avoiding to reveal anything, (Fex. that a person "left" the Occupied Territories  "on 2002", or that another witness was heard, but without revealing nothing of what he said, etc).

Turkey obviously "FAILS TO MEET THE CRITICISM made BY THE COURT" for lack of any efficient Investigation in Adali's case, concluded Cyprus' Government.
Replying to our Question which COMPARED these 3 outstanding cases of "JOURNALISTS MURDERS", Adali, Gongadze and Politkovskaya, in order to avoid "Double Standards" by asking from Ukraine and Russia more than what is asked EU candidate Turkey, many European personalities were critical /

They criticised Ankara's recent claim at the CoE to stop investigating, because it would be "impossible to find anyone" responsible for the 5 bullet shots which killed Kutlu ADALI in front of his Family Home, contrary to the other two Journalists' murders, where Ukraine and Russia at least arrested the executants, searching now for the instigators :


    - "Where was that ? In Turkish Occupied Cyprus ? WITHOUT ANY DOUBT : Any murder of Journalist should be investigated in full ! All these Murders must be investigated !", replied the famous SAKHAROV's wife, Elena BONNER to our question on Adali's case, compared to Gongadze and Politofskaya.

    Elena Bonner spoke us EXCLUSIVELY shortly after being honored by the President
of EU Parliament on the occasion of 20 Years of her husband's SAKHAROV Prize.

    A strong personality, Sakharov's wife even had to struggle against an anonymous EU staffer who, astonishingly, tried to stop her speaking when h heard our question on "Turkey" (!) : - "Please, let me translate, she continues
speaking, don't stop us !", had to cry Sakharov's daughter, (a Journalist
herself), who was translating her mothers' reply, (obliged to speak louder to
make her voice heard despite the harassment).. (= + Audio Proof !)

    Earlier, Elena Bonner also fustigated "Double Standards" at another case, on
Western countries' attitude vis a vis Kosovo and the Kurds : -F.ex. "You have
recognized a few 400.000 Kosovars as an "independent" country, but you still
deny that to 30 millions of Kurds in Turkey !", she denounced.
    - "This (ADALI's murder) is an issue which should be pursued by the Committee
for Human Rights. That's why we have one, and it's its duty to examine cases of
Journalists' murders as the one you referred to. You should bring the case in
front of that Committee", suggested in reply to our question on Adali, EU
Parliament's President, German MEP Hans Gert POETTERING.

    - "It's impossible  to achieve goals of PEACE, if HUMAN RIGHTS are left out :
in fact, Peace and Human Rights are intrinsequaly linked", added POETTERING.
    + "For us (European/International Federation of Journalists) it's clear :
Whenever a Journalist is Murdered, the Investigation should continue until
those Responsible are found !", replied earlier to another question on ADALI
EFJ/IFJ's Secretary General, Aidan WHITE.

    Speaking as a matter of General Principle, White asked us for "concrete data"
on the execution of ECHR's judgement on Adali case, in order to "look at it in
depth" and "make a formal statement", in comparison with the other Murdered
Journalist case, also pending at CoE's  Ministers for completing its execution,
on Ukranian Gongadze.
     From EU Rapporteur on Human Rights, vice-President of EU Parliament Liberties' Committee, MEP Giusto CATANIA, we were told that, since there is an ECHR judgement in both Adali and Gongadge's cases, "Turkey must naturally execute the judgement and make a full and efficient investigation, until those responsible for the Journalist's murder are found and punished".

    Even if "we (Catania's "EuroLeft" Group) support Turkey's EU perspectives, this does not mean that Ankara should not behave properly. On the contrary, it means that they have to meet tough conditions, particularly on Human Rights", was added on the occasion of Adali's murder case.

    Moreover, "since you raise the issue of Mr. Adali's muder as a part of a Series of Journalist's murders, including fex. Gongadze, Politkovskaya, ao., tthen we (EU) could also act together with CoE's Commissioner on Human Rights, Thomas HAMMARBERG, it was suggested.

    - "We (EU) must step up efforts against the problem of IMPUNITY : Real Peace cannot exist without Justice",  stressed also this week at EU Parliament in Strasbourg, French Minister on Human Rights, Mrs Rama YADE.


2009 EU Elections were won by Parties against Technocracy and Turkey's controversial EU bid, while the 1999-2004 Majority Abstention trend decelerated. What should be done in 2009-2014 ?


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