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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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    EU Rapporteur on Enlargment Strategy, maistream German MEP Elmar Brok, speaking to "EuroFora", welcomed the proposal made earlier this week by French President Nicolas Sarkozy for the EU to"start Now Talks with Turkey to create a common Economic and Security area", instead of full Accession, at a period when Ankara looks more and more unfit and/or unwilling to respect EU conditions.

    - "For Europe to have strong Political will, it must stop dilutiing itself in an endless Enlargement. It must have borders...Diversities enrich, on the condition that they don't undermine European Cohesion, and don't weaken EU Unity", Sarkozy stressed.
    
    - "Countries like Turkey share a part of common destiny with Europe, with which they have a vocation to build a Privileged Relation, to be closely associated, but not to become Member of the EU"  : "Noone respects his friends by telling them lies. Noone respects his friends by making them promises that will be never kept", he added.

    That's why "we'd better start, from now, negotiating with Turkey to create a common Economic and Security area", Sarkozy proposed.

Significantly, the French President was repeatedly and largely applauded by EU citizens, 3 times, when he made the Turkey point, (strategically placed between Europe's "Political Will" and its cultural heritage, historically open to mutually enriching dialogue with all the World, but never diluted).

    - "We could propose such a great ambition also to Russia, which must not be percieved as an Adversary of Europe, but as a Partner. Thus, we'd create a wide area, of more than 800 Million inhabitants, sharing the same Security, the same Prosperity", he concluded.

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    Sarkozy's move was anounced at the eve of a Franco-German Top meeting with Chancellor Angie Merkel in Berlin on Sunday, to jointly launch the EU Elections campain, after an EU Summit at nearby Prague, to launch a new kind of relations, called "Eastern Partnership", with neighboring countries such as Urkaine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaidjan, etc, (to which Russia, reportedly, is not - and does not want to be - included).

    As for Ukraine, which has already expressed her wish to join the EU in future, "Kiev will have a special place, and a very important role to play", replied earlier this week in Strasbourg, to an "EuroFora" question EU Chairman in office , Czech vice-Prime Minister Alexander Vodra.

    - "This direction is more Realistic for Turkey than Accession negotiations", reacted immediately EU Parliament's Rapporteur for Enlargment Strategy, mainstream German MEP Elmar Brok, commenting Sarkozy's idea for "EuroFora"

     Particularly "as far as it concerns the respect of EU Rules by both sides", he added, hinting at Turkey's now obvious inability and/or unwillingness to abide with EU Acquis, EU Commitments (fex. on Cyprus, etc), and European Democracy/Human Rights rules. (Comp. infra).

    Brok added that, in his view, a similar proposal might be made also to Ukraine and other neighbouring Countries, regardless if they have, or not, a "European vocation". This would not necessarily mean that there couldn't be any accession prospects at all." for all the countries that might be included in this area, according to Brok.  But it's preferable, particularly for Turkey, "because it's a more Realistic approach than full Membership".

    On this point, Sarkozy's proposal, (which he'll share with German Chancellor Merkel), seems more crystal-clear.

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    - "Turkey does not fullfil EU Criteria, and will never fullfil EU Criteria" on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law. "Some have been lying to Ankara, but we must tell the Truth, and have honest and close relations with her", said meanwhile to "EuroFora" on the same issue also the President of EU Parliament's largest Group of MEPs (ChristianDemocrats/EPP), Joseph Daul.
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"Hot" Debate at EU Parliament reveals CHANGE of mood towards "Suspension" of EU - Tukey talks.
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    Earlier this week, many MEPs, and even some of those who were previously in favor of Turkey's controversial EU bid, strongly criticized the persistance and even aggravation of serious Human Rights violations in the country, that ECHR continues to "unanimously" condemn ":

      - "After winning a big victory in the latest Local Elections, the pro-Kurdish party DTP almost doubled its Elected Mayors from 52 to 98", but afterwards "more than 400 politicians were thrown to Prison and prosecuted" by the Turkish Authorities, denounced on behalf of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group, Belgian MEP Frieda Brepoels.

     At the same time, "more than 1.500 Children are closed in Turkish Prisons", she added. "What will the EU Commission do" against these facts ?

- "Turkey appears to be at greater Distance away from Copenhagen Criteria after 4 Years of accession Negotiations, than when they started !", denounced on behalf of the Liberal Group, German MEP Alexander Lambsdorf.    

"On the central issue of Press Freedom, Critical Journalists face obstacles for their accreditation, others are prosecuted, condemned, fined and/or jailed, Media blocked or closed", he denounced.   

 - "EU Made 2 grave Mistakes with Turkey : To start accession negotiations, and to continue them", despite everything, criticized Dutch MEP Bastian Belder, on behalf of the Ind/Dem group.

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