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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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They voted to "freeze" UK Government's draft to put People in jail for 42 Days on "anti-terrorist" suspicion without charge, or they abstained. Don't they look suspect ?

CoE's debate on UK controversy stirs PanEuropean check of anti-terror suspects' imprisonment

Former Leftists of the Sixties would boil in hot water if they heard PACE's debate on the controversial 42 days detention without charge, currently drafted by the British Government :

A "Socialist" Government, a Socialist PACE Rapporteur and a Socialist Chair of PACE's Legal Committee, opposed a .. "Conservative" amendment (supported by .. Liberals, Democrats, etc), to freeze the measure, in order to protect Citizens' Freedom, by "waiting" until CoE's Venice Committee checks its conformity with Human Rights' principles.

"Left"'s support to Conservative-Lib.Dem's criticism, wasn't enough to obtain a majority, nor to make things as they were back in the good old days, when "Left" and "Right" had a clear meaning, as "liberty" and "restrictions"...

Conservatives and most Democrats were joined by the Left in voting for the "freeze", as well as Liberal Paul Rowen, while Socialist MEP Ivan Popescu, an experienced MEP from Ukraine (PACE Member since 1996-2008) abstained. But most Socialists, added to a few Liberals and EPP's Right, voted against.

Fortunately, someone inside PACE had the wise idea to shorten the Debate for less than 1 Hour, and put it on the Agenda only at the end of an exceptionally busy day, towards the end of the Evening, when most MEPs had already gone to taste wins and foods at various Receptions all around Strasbourg's "European" area : As a result, not even 42 MEPs weren't present..

Socialist Lord Tomlinson accused the leaders of the PanEuropean Assembly, in its highest body : the "Bureau", to "lack wisdom" by deciding to hold a Debate on an issue that neither the Socialist Chair of the Legal Committee, nor its Socialist "reluctant Rapporteur", did "not want to do", ...


Finally, everybody (critics and supporters alike) was happy to agree, in substance, that the controversial measure "may" gravely violate Human Rights, and therefore, PACE asked Legal Experts of Venice Commission to check UK Government''s plans.

But this might take more than .. 42 Days to do, since PACE's Rapporteur asked the Experts to enlarge their study in a PanEuropean comparison of all that is happening on "anti-terrorism" legislation in 47 CoE Member Countries, including Russia, Turkey and Azerbaidjan..

Bad lack : "The existing 28 days’ detention without charge in the UK is, in comparison with other CoE member countries, one of the most extreme : In Turkey, the period is 7,5 days, in France 6 days, in Russia 5 days, and in .. the U.S. and Canada just 2 and 1 days respectively", denounced Democrat MEP Ms WOLDSETH from Norway..


"Numerous respected human rights organisations, including Liberty and Human Rights Watch, have expressed serious concern" "The proposed legislation ...could easily lead to extensive abuses. ...Detention for 42 days means six weeks in which one is taken away from one’s family, friends, home and livelihood only to be let off without being charged. That will destroy lives and isolate communities", she added.

- "3 years ago, the UK Government sought to increase the period of pre-charge detention from 14 days to 90 days. Not long before that, it had been only 7 days. There was a vigorous debate ...and a ...compromise was reached of 28 days. We have to ask whether there are proper safeguards in place to extend the period to 42 days. I suggest that there are fatal flaws", reminded British Conservative Clappison.

- "What sort of society holds someone in detention for 42 days and does not have to tell the person who is in prison why they are there, or explain the suspicions that arose and led to their detention? What sort of society believes that that is the way to treat its citizens? That is an appalling injustice, ...A 42-day detention period will not make the UK safer. Instead, it will be the first step to giving in to terrorists; it is saying that we are prepared to sacrifice our democratic rights and the principles for which we have stood for centuries", criticized British Liberal Michael Hanckock


"Comments made ...by Norwegian delegates are unfortunate", replied British Socialist MEP Ms.Curtis-Thomas, accusing them to "besmirch the reputation of our police force, which is one of the Best in the World", as she said, believing that "there are significant safeguards ...to ensure that individuals are not subjected to unlawful detention"


PACE "has serious doubts whether ...the draft legislation are in conformity with the ...case-law of the European Court of Human Rights. A lack of ..safeguards may lead to arbitrariness, resulting in breaches of ... liberty and ...right to a fair trial". PACE "is particularly concerned that: ..the judge ..may not be in a position to examine whether there exist reasonable grounds for suspecting that the arrested person has committed an offence;"; that "... representation by a lawyer may be inappropriately restricted or delayed;" that "information on the grounds for suspicion of a person ...may be unduly withheld.. ;" that this "may give rise to arrests without the intention to charge;", and; in general, that "prolonged detention without proper information on the grounds for arrest may constitute inhuman treatment", says Klaus De Vries' Report, adopted with 29 votes against zero.


Records don't say if it took him 42 Days to draft his Report, but, at least, he knew why...


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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