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Inicio arrow newsitems arrow CoE BioEthics Committee Head Ioan to EF: Plan on New Challenges Mid 2018+Conference asks pub. Debate

CoE BioEthics Committee Head Ioan to EF: Plan on New Challenges Mid 2018+Conference asks pub. Debate

Escrito por ACM
25.10.17
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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- While PanEuropean, 47 Member States-strong (including Russia) CoE's BioEthics' (CDBI) Committee President, Dr. Beatrice Ioan from Romania, had just spoken to "Eurofora" about her ambitious aim to present, before Summer 2018, an agreed full Plan for Actions to deal with the various big Challenges that Human Rights may face nowadays by Fast-Developing New Bio-Medical Technologies (See Infra), just 1 Day before Strasbourg's Organisation for Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law's competent body was going to have, for the 1st Time in History, a Joint Meeting here, Tomorrow, with Brusssels' Headquartered EU Commission's Group on Ethics in Science and Technology (EGEST), already, relevant Spectacular News suddenly emerged in a way reminding that, in fact, there is No more Time to lose with undue Delays :

 

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- From one side, it was just Anounced that anOther New Technique to Manipulate (alias: "Edit") the Human Genome, in a More Precise and Accurate way than the recently Famous "CRISPR-Cas9" method, had been Discovered, as NewsWires published Today. And, from anOther side, a well-informed Expert told "Eurofora" that the UK Authorities had just Authorized, for the 1st Time, the Medically Assisted Births of "5 Babies" with a Controversial Method called "of 3 Parents", (which had Recently been Abused, elsewhere, for an Artificial Birth due to Modify even the Germline of Next Generations, and withOut any Cure Treatment necessity, i.e. something which is Doubly Prohibited in Most European Countries)...


    By another Coincidence, all this Happened at the Conclusion of an Exceptionally Important CoE's PanEuropean/International Conference, during these last 2 Days, here in Strasbourg (24-25 October 2017), with the Participation of CoE, EU, OECD, WHO, UNESCO, and Russian, USA, Japaneese, a.o. Experts, for the 20th Anniversary of the Only Legaly Binding Treaty in the World on Bio-Ethics : CoE's "Oviedo" Convention, on Human Rights and Bio-Medicine (1997-2017), examined from the point of view of Manifold New Challenges raised by the Latest Bio-Technological Developments, meanwhile, and particularly during the Recent Years in that Crucial Field, nowadays Facing very Speed Developments, apparently bringing Both New Hopes for Health, but also Big Dangers for Humanity's foreseeable Future :


    From Genetics/Genome, up to Brain Technologies, as well as Information/Communication and Big Data, etc, this landmark CoE's Internatinal Conference, (very Well Attended by Numerous Medical, Biological, ICT, Robotics, Legal, Ethical, Political, Religious, Philosophical, Economic, Social and Other Actors), Systematically Discussed each Group of relevant New High-Tech, developed during these Last 20 Years, Both for the "Human Righs Challenges raised" by them, and concerning "the Principles at stake", as well as possible and Necessary "Actions to be undertaken", at a European/International level, in order "to Address" these New, and Fast-Moving Issues.


    From the Perspective of an overall Timeline, Few are really Aware of the Fact, that, even CoE's World-Famous, basic and general "Human Rights Convention", which had Entered into Force already, as early as since 1953, (i.e. 64 Years ago), Coincided, indeed, with the Year when the Scientific/Technological Discovery of Human "Genes" and "DNA" was Revealed to the Public, (thanks to a Timely and Symbolic move by the State of Luxembourg, which had Decided to Ratify that CoE's Convention then, as its King, the Grand Duke Henri, recently Reminded at an Official Speech in the ECHR in Strasbourg : Comp. "Eurofora"s NewsReport from that 2014 event, at: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/luxembourgkingatthecoe.html). Indeed, several among ECHR's Articles can Help Protect elementary Human Rights even vis a vis eventual Risks in the Bio-Medical field : CoE's Legal Experts have already Analysed Most of them, as such, (f.ex. : Art. 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, etc), particularly during Recent Events, but, in fact, with adequate Case-Law Developments, EuroJudges could use, for that purpose, even More ECHR's Articles, as "Eurofora"'s Legal Analysis has found (f.ex. also Art. 1, 4, 9, 12, 14, 17, etc)... It's a Question of Awareness and Political Will, as well as of  appropriate Cases.


    But, when the First Medically Assisted Procreations started, during the 1970ies, and particularly with  "In Vitro Fertilisation" (IVF), as Back from 1978, etc., closely Followed by the International "Human Frontier" project from the 1980ies (HQ in Strasbourg), and, particularly, the "Human Genome Project" from the 1990ies (HQ in the USA+), then, CoE felt the Need to create a New and Specific set of Rules on BioEthics, with the "Human Rights and BioMedicine" Convention, Drafted on 1997 in Strasbourg, and starting to be Signed and Ratified from 1998, in Oviedo (Spain). To which it had to Add, almost Immediately, a First Protocol against Human "Cloning", as Technological Developments, with the notorious "Dolly the Sheep" case in UK's Scotland, had already Threatened to Bypass CoE's Legal Rules, which had to Try to Catch up, at a fast pace...


    Already then, a Big Clash, between those infuenced by UK's "Socialist" Tony Blair's adventurous policies, and those who followed rather Germany's ChristianDemocrat Helmut Kohl's more careful stance, had provoked a First Tremor inside the CoE, as early as since 1997, when Oviedo Treaty's Draft had been Hastily Finalized : This was personally witnessed by "Eurofora"s co-Founder and other European Journalists in Strasbourg, then, with the Exceptional Spectacle of mainly 2 German and 1 Cypriot Experts, Strongly Denouncing, with Loud and unusually Exasperated Declarations to the Medias which were present, their Fear that such a Draft was Not Protecting Sufficiently, but Exposing to Serious potential Dangers, particularly the "Human Embryo", the "Genome", the Fragile People's (such as Children or Elders, Sick or Handicaped, Prisoners, etc) previous, free and informed "Consent", etc !


    This Explains why an Heterogeneous and Sharply Divided Part of CoE's Member Countries have Refused, until now, to sign or to ratify CoE's Oviedo Treaty, Divided between 2 Groups : One, traditionally led by a mainly ChristianDemocrat/EPP (Together, Initially, with the Historic "Greens") then Germany, which did Not Find it Sufficiently Protective for Human Rights, and anOther, led then by Blair's "Socialist" UK, which, on the Contrary, did Not Find it Sufficiently Open to some Controversial Bio-Technologies on Human Beings... To the point that, as Experienced Professor Serrao from Portugal, a Long-Time President of CoE's Group of Experts on Human Embryo, had told to "Eurofora"'s co-Founder, Later-on, it Still Remained "Impossible" to "Find a Common Ground" on such "Hot" Issues between those 2 Groups, even Many Years Afterwards.


    Significantly, Professor Serrao had also Denounced, speaking to "Eurofora"'s co-Founder, the Fact that, Meanwhile, that Interesting CoE's "Working Group" on the Key issue of "Human Embryo'"s protection, was, Later-on, somewhere between 2004 - 2009, surprisingly, even ..."Dissolved" (sic !), as he had told us, during the term in office of former CoE Secretary General, Terry Davis, (another UK "Socialist", of the same political party as Blair, which had remained in Government until 2010)... All this could Explain why, until Now, on 2017, CoE's BioEthical Experts have Only produced some "Additional Protocols" on various Other Specific Issues, such as : "TransPlantation" of Human Organs, "BioMedical Research", "Genetic Tests" (mainly for Insurance Companies, etc), withOut doing alike on the "Hot", Key Issue of Human Embryo, (at least, not yet). F.ex., even concerning "BioMedical Research" (which, notoriously, has as "Hottest" point, its applications on Human Embryos), the Article 2 of the relevant CoE's Additional Protocol, (finalized on 2005), surprisingly states that its Rules do "Not Apply to Research on Embryos in vitro" !...


    >>> It's probably, also Because, Meanwhile, relevant New Bio-Technological Developments have Boomed, between the 1990ies and 2010ies, (while, on the Contrary, the experienced and critical Professor Serrao has Recently "Died", as another Portuguese Expert announced Today, during this October 2017 CoE's Conference !) :


     - Indeed, that Important, above-mentioned "Human Genome Project" (Comp. Supra), was unexpectedly Completed much Faster than scheduled, so that the "Socialists" Anglo-American Leaders Tony Blair and Bill Clinton (as even "Wikipedia" reminds) could Announce, in Public, already as Early as since June 2000, that it had, practically, Reached its main Target, almost 5 Years Earlier than what had been initially foreseen...


    + In Addition, during anOher "Socialist" former US President : Barack Hussein Obama (2009-2017), his First big Decision is to Start by Lifting the Ban of Federal Funds to Genetic Manipulations on Human Embryos, (on the Contrary, established and maintained by most Previous US Presidents, and particulary GWBush : 2001-2009), already as Early as since March 2009 !  


            ++ Moreover, it's, notoriously, also during the "Socialist" Former POTUS Obama's Past term in office, (particularly at his 2nd Mandate : 2012-2016) that Controversial "Same Sex Marriage", (including, even, Submission of Children to the Power of Homosexuals, under Pretext of "'Adoption"), is Systematically imposed, not only inside the USA, but also Pushed and Spread (by US Foreign Policy !) accross Many other Countries Abroad, (f.ex., from France to Ireland, including Attempts even in African Countries, etc), Creating, thus, a Group of Sterile Couples, ready to become Clients of Medically Assisted Procreations by Artificial Means...


    +++ Finally, it's also under Barack Hussein Obama that a New Technology for easy Genetic Manipulations of Human Genome, (alias : "Genome Editing"), the so-called "CRISPR-Cas9", is invented and Completed, mainly between 2012-2015. All that Opens a way for Massive Modifications of Human Genome,  even of the Germline (i.e. automatically Reproductible through Future Generations, etc), with obvious Risks for all Humakind's Future. A Shaky, Insufficient and Flue alleged Agreement, between some UK, USA and China BioTech. Research Groups, brokered out of any Regulatory Framework and Democratic Oveshight, neither real Transparency, at Obama's Last Moments as Former POTUS (End of 2015-Beginning of 2016), naturally canNot offer Real Guarantees.


-------------------------------------------------------


    => It's in this, UnPrecedented in Human History, almost Dramatic Context, that CoE's deputy Secretary General, Gabrieall Battaini-Dragoni, speaking, Yesterday in Strasbourg, at the Opening of the above-mentioned PanEuropean/International BioEthical Conference on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of "Oviedo" Treaty, (which is always open to Signature and Ratification also by any Non-European Country accross the World), Urged the Participants, and particularly fhe PanEuropean Organisation's competent Legal Experts of its Steering Committee on BioEthics (CDBI), currently Chaired by Dr. Ioan (Comp. Supra), to prepare and present asap its overall concrete Recommendations to CoE's Committee of Ministers on what should be practically done in order to adequately Regulate that Fast-Moving area, which has recently Reached a potentially Dangerous, Culminating Point (Comp. Supra), in a way which mixes alleged Hopes for Medical Breakthroughs on Human Health, with various Serious Risks currently Pending over Humankind's foreseeable Future.


    - Significantly, even American Scientist, Prof. Sheila Jasanoff, from Harvard University's "Kennedy School" on BioEthics, one of CoE Conference's "Keynote Speakers", reminded the Central Importance of the "Human Dignity" Principle, from which all Human Rights are derived, and Criticized some USA's Supreme Court's controversial Judgements, Warning that they may, too Often, be Influenced, f.ex., by some Big Pharma a.o. Lobbies, (to the point that, in some cases, USA Supreme Court's judgements Scandalously almost ...Copied, even Litterally, Word by Word, also concrete Expressions and Verbal Formulations which had been Earlier pushed by such Selfish private Big Companies !). Therefore, that American BioEthical Expert concluded by going as far as to Urge CoE's Experts to Find their own ways to Boost a kind of positive, Original "European Model" for BioEthical Values' Protection accross the World, as she stressed in substance.


    + In Parallel, German Jurist Hans-Jorg Behrens, vice-President of CoE's Inter-Governemental Committee on Human Rights (CDDH), presented an overview of an Interesting Seminar, Earlier Organized by Cyprus' former Presidency of the CoE, back on December 2016 at the ECHR, (i.e. almost at the Same Moment that those above-mentioned "CRISPR-Cas9" Experts were Discussing on the Present and the Future of Genetic Manipulations on Human Persons at their Parallel Meetings in USA : Comp. Supra) : A Strasbourg EuroJudges' certainly, InSufficient yet Case-Law, but also Interesting, and, probably, having some More Important Potential than it might look at First Sight...


    --------------------------------------


    - Meanwhile, anOther Warning, also made Yesterday Afternoon, came from a Specific Debate dedicated to the Issue of "Equity of Access to Health Care", with Keynote Speaker a Member of PanEuropean CoE's "Social Rights Committee", Rapporteur for Health Issues, which included a "Round Table" with Scientists, Diplomats (even from Mexico), Politicians (f.ex. from CoE's Parliamentary Assembly : PACE), NGOs, etc. There, Experienced Observers, (as, f.ex. PACE's Rules Committee President, MEP Liliane Maury-Pasquier, from Switzerland, etc), Denounced, inter alia, also a recent "Augmentation of InEqualities in Health Care's Access", and Warned about Risks for some People to be even Submitted, f.ex., to "Useless Mutilations", Treatments "withOut Quality", and/or to various "Aggressive Innovations", etc.


-------------------------------------


     + But New, even More Serious Warnings started to emerge singe the Beginning of the 2nd Day of this Exceptionally Important CoE's BioEthical Conference, when Experts started to Systematically present the Challenges for Human Rights, and Discuss Necessary Measures concerning several among the Most Important New Bio-Technologies, (Comp. Supra) :


    - F.ex., concerning "Sequencing and Analysis" in "Genetics" and the Human "Genome", French Research Director, Professor Anne Camon Thomsen, Member of EU Commission's European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technolohies (EGEST), among others, also pointed at the Fact that, Recently, "we are Moving from 1 Gene, towards the Entire Human Genome", so that Scientific Research now "Needs a Big Mass of Data", (in Addition to Massive "Tests", etc).


    - So that New Information Technologies' "Big Data" tools, may start to Include even many Thousands or Millions of Patients' Medical Data in the Future, she warned.


    + In this regard too, Moreover, "the Borders between Research and Health Care risk to become blurred", she added, (speaking, already, a quite Long Time after, inter alia, also, f.ex., the Emergence of "Hospital-University" Modern Conglomerates, even Physically Bringing more and more Closer Patients, Health Care Stuff, and Scientific/Technologic Researchers)...     


    (And his, Shortly After the Dangerous and potentiallu Scandalous Phenomenon of Poor People, including, particularly Children, etc, who can't afford to Pay for a normal Health Care, by Freely Chosen and Independent Doctors, but are practically Obliged to Accept to be Sumbitted even to various Kinds of "Experiments", eventually, more or less InEfficient or Dangerous, in order to get some Cheap or Free Medical Care, have been, in fact, Popping up accross the US, and/or other Countries in the World)...


    - AnOther Possibility might be to Spread at least "a Basic Insurance Coverage for Many People" and Boost "International Cooperation", as well as, eventually "Link Computer Systems", etc., it was evoked during Debates.


------------------------------


    + AnOther EU Commission's Expert, British Professor Jonathan Montgomery, speaking in a debate Fearlessly intitulated : "Modification of Human Genome", (sic !), at least stressed, inter alia, also that, the Seriousness of Nowadays' Issues, shows the "Need to move to Public Discussions" about them, in a "Balanced" way, and, particularly, "Bring the People inside, now"... (See also Infra).


    - Polish Professor on Genetics and Member of UNESCO's International BioEthics Committee, Prof. Ewa Bartnik, felt that at least some "Risks" are "Not" yet "Clear", and "Need to be Discussed".  Among others, f.ex., "We doN't know if a New Regulatory Framework, might really be, or Not", the Best Solution Today, she warned, particularly as long as all main "Risks are Not yet Clear" and "a lot of things" are still , so that "it's Important", first, "to Debate" such issues, (See also Infra).


--------------------------------------------


    ++ However, an... "Explosion" of further Unexpected Question Marks, suddenly Popped up, at anOther Area : that of "Brain Technologies", presented by Swiss Director of BioMedical Ethics and History from Zurich, Professor Nikola Biller-Adorno :


    - F.ex., by "Capturing Electric Signals, transmitted by the Brain", "some Might Spy and/or Manipulate Human Emotions", harshly Warned the Chairman of that Discussion, French MEP Jean-Yves Deaut, former Rapporteur of France's National Committee on BioEthics, and of CoE's Parliamentary Assembly, (Comp. earlier Deaut's statements to "Eurofora", at anOther occasion, at: ...).


    - But, Prof. Biller-Adorno, went even much Further : F.ex., by "DeCoding" Human "Brain's activity", one could, may be, soon ..."Upload your Brain", "Stock" it in a Computer, even "Edit (i.e. Manipulate) your Brain", and "Re-Load it, afterwards", or "Stimulate Brain Activity", "Emulate" it, etc., she HighLighted, inter alia...


    - All this "could be Used even <<Dual>>, Military Defence and/or Health" purposes, "of a Great Variety", she Warned. And, obviously, such "Brain Data's Transport risks to be Hacked, or face an UnAuthorized Access", particularly as "Computer Interface becomes a Key Component of New, Brain Activity Technologies...


--------------------------------------


    => The possibilities for such Radical BioTech Innovations, apparently would push to Seek some Brand New Legal Rules, also, (as many suggested).


    >>> But, nevertheless, the Experienced President of CoE's PanEuropean Inter-Governemental Committee on Human Rights, Brigitte Konz, advised to be more Carefull :


    - Attention to our Classical, Basic Legal Texts, which already Exist Before those New-BioTech developments : Because, "If some Touch them, then, Afterwards, we Risk, perhaps, to have Less Protection" for Human Righs, she rightfully Warned...


----------------------------------


    - In Fact, right from the Start, -"I Feel a lot of Hypocrisy..." about all that, Critically Observed, also, the Experienced Professor of Bratislava's Institute of Medical Ethics and BioEthics, Jozef Glasa, Long-Time Member of COE's BioEthical Committee (CDBI), speaking to "Eurofora".


    + Among others, f.ex., -"How could anyone seriously speak about <<Medical Treatment>> purposes for an Individual Patient, (as also COE's Oviedo Treaty asks for Any Intervention to Human Genome), IF this would Affect the GermLine (i.e. be transmitted also to Future Generations) ?", Critically Wondered, on a "Hot" concrete Key point, speaking with "Eurofora", the Swiss Professor in Law, Roberto Andorno, from Zurich University...


    ++ Last, but not least, all those manifold Appeals, during this 2 Days-long, CoE's exceptionally Important Conference, about the Need for "Public Debates", with the participation of all interested Stakeholders, before eventual New Mesaures might be taken by the CoE and/or other actors, According also to what the Oviedo Treaty on Human Rights in BioMedicine notoriously Requires itself, Before any New Rules' Change, are, naturally very Welcome.


    >>> But, How to Explain, then, that UnPrecedented and Surprizing Spectacle, noticed by "Eurofora" and other Observers during the Latest CoE Parliamentary Assembly's Plenary Debate and Vote, Earlier this Month in Strasbourg, on the "Hottest" BioEthical Issue Nowadays, of Crucial Importance for Humanity's Future : that of "Genetic Technologies on Human beings" (Comp. Supra), when Controversial Rapporteur, Socialist Belgian MEP Petra de Sutter's Draft (Comp.: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coegeneticsreportrisky.html), curiously, wasn't Discussed but Only Briefly, by ... Two (2) European independent MEPs, (one from Belgium, as Herself), and ... Three (3) Non-European "Observers" from overseas...Canada ???!!!...

 

(Even among Political Groups' Spokesmen, the Biggest, and traditionally Most Critical in such BioEthical Issues Group : that of ChristianDemocrats/EPP, Astonishingly was Not even Represented at that "Debate", since Noone was Registered, Neither Spoke on its Behalf, apparently for the 1st Time in History, in such kind of matters !

While, also,  PACE's Agenda was Modified, at the Last Minute, and Displaced all that BioEthical Debate and Vote, from the Center of the Day, initially, towards the Obscure Margins of a Late Evening)...


    => Will the CoE find the Strength, Consciousness and Capacity to adequately Rectify such Key Concerns, in a Positive and Timely way before Next Summer 2018's expected Decisions (Comp. Supra) on so Important Issues Nowadays for all Humankind ?

 

(../..)

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Brixen-Bressanone/ACM/3.8.08

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An appeal to make the "World more Human", by defending basic Human Values, helping those in need, and paying hommage to Nature, figured high in Pope Benedict's long-awaited speech at his "First Angelus" in the symbolic, beautiful historic small town of Brixen/Bressalone at the Alpes.

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- "No Dictature, nor any destructive force can rob us of the most important goods wich are God's gift", stressed Pope Benedict, referring to elementary Human Values, in a last-minute improvisation of his draft speech, before launching also a call to "help those in need", in order to "make the World more human".

- "Jesus is the focus .. In him is Justice and Freedom", said earlier Brixen's Bishop Wilhelm Egger, after prayers including calls to "Truth, Justice and Freedom", read at a Mass of thousands in the town of Archangel Michael, known as defender of christians against the devil.

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In what looks as a reference to BioEthics' dillemas of crucial impportance, raised at Strasbourg's unique in the World legally binding International Treaty on BioMedicine and Human Rights (1998, with the "hottest" issues added later through additional protocols, some of whom are imminent), he spoke also of the splendid "Nature" at this Alpen's ressort : This fits well Vatican's earlier anouncement that Pope Benedict's "prayer intentions for August" are mainly to "respect God's design for the world", and "become ever more aware of the great gift of God which Creation represents for us".

- "The most important things in our lives cannot be bought, but are only given as holy gifts : The Sun and its Light, the Air that we breath, the Water, the beauty of Earth, Love, Friendship, Life itself", Pope Benedict added, extending also to Natural Environment, another topical issue after recent Climatic upheavals at several parts of the World.

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The "preparation of Pope Benedict's visit to France", which currently heads the EU, at mid-September, among exceptionaly important Council of Europe meetings on Human Rights in Paris and Strasbourg, is part of his work, together with his "book on Jesus", during brief Summer Holidays in Brixen, said his Spokesman, Federico Lombardi.

- The Pope's message is mainly religious, theological. But we are living in a concrete world, and ideas may be taken by readers as references to the actuality. However, it's better to wait to se what the Pope will say in Paris and at Lourdes, added to EuroFora Lombardi, who is also Director of Vatican's Press Office.

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Brizen/Bressanone is similar to Strasbourg by succeeding to make a fertile synthesis of Germanic and Latin sources of Europe, like the two local rivers who meet at the historical center of the town, among spectacular ressorts at mountains' hights.

Headquarters for an Historic Religious Seminar, it attracted recently also a Free University's Educational studies. Well-known as a long-time preferred rest place for former cardinal Radzinger and his brother Georg, it includes areas named "St Benedeto" and "St George"...

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But Pope Benedict's first speech gave also another symbolic rendez-vous :

- "Next Wednesday, August 6, we shall commemorate the 30st anniversary from the death of late Pope Paul VI", who "concluded Vatican II", and "the Transfiguration of Jesus, mystery of the divine light, which exerced a unique fascination to his soul", he said to some 12.000 applauding People, among the happy few who succeeded to have a rare place for an open-air Mass inside the Domplatz a particularly sunny day at the Alpes.

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