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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE Debate: ESTC v.President, Vatican Life Expert, Professor Thiel to Eurofora: Fraternity+BioEthics

CoE Debate: ESTC v.President, Vatican Life Expert, Professor Thiel to Eurofora: Fraternity+BioEthics

Written by ACM
Wednesday, 30 August 2017
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*Strasbourg/Council of Europe/Angelo Marcopolo/- Speaking to "Eurofora" just after having Chaired an International Conference opened by CoE's deputy Secretary General, (the experienced Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni), Vatican's Pontifical Academy for LIfe new member, University Professor on BioEthics and European Society of Catholic Theologians' vice-President, Marie-Jo Thiel, explained Why "Fraternity" became a so Topical Issue that it was at the Focus of Unexpectedly "Hot" Debates in a 4 Days-Long Conference which started in the CoE with Speeches from ECHR and CoE Social Charter Senior Officers (See Infra), while also Highighting Current Problems on BioEthics and Genetics :

 

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 - There are several Important, Hard and Topical Issues in Nowadays Society, that Theologians too have to address and discuss with scientists, politicians and others. 


 - But, according to the Bible's First Chapter on "Genesis", the 1st Question that God Asked to Cain, was : - "What have you done of your Brother ?", Professor Thiel stressed, in substance.


  She was Replying to an "Eurofora"s Question on the reasons for which "Fraternity", alias "Brotherhood", (or "Adelfosini" in Greek) had been chosen as the Heading of this exceptional 2017 International Conference of Theologians and other University Experts on Human and Moral Sciences, debating at the CoE with an ECHR Judge and CoE's Social Charter's deputy Director, (See Infra).


 - Thiel had Evoked, Earlier Today at the CoE a Pope Francis' explicit Reference to the Value of "Fraternity", made particularly on they 30rd of May 2017, and "Eurofora" remembers that, already, in a landmark Speech to EU Parliament durng his Visist to European Institutions in Strasbourg back on 2014, He had already stressed that "Truth" is "Vital" for "a Society .. truly Free, Human, and Fraternal".


 - And even if, perhaps,"Fraternity" might not have been exactly, in History, a "Founder" Principle on Human Rights' Values, (as, f.ex., "Human Dignity", and/or "Solidarity", etc), nevertheless, it is, at least, a "Founding" Principle, (i.e. able to help complete the foundations also of new, positive developments on Values nowadays), reminded to "Eurofora" Voluntaristically Professor Thiel, pointing to a Dialogue that she had Earlier Today at the University of Strasbourg with Young Candidates to Doctoral PhD Thesis on that matter.


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+ Moreover, even if "Human Dignity" is widely considered as the Basic Moral Foundation of All Human Rights, (a Credo among Christian theorists, but also in EU's Fundamental Rights' book), which can be Distinguished in 3 Main Categories : (A) those stemming from the idea of "Liberty", (B) those related to "Equality", (f.ex. Socio-Economic Rights, etc), and (C) those concerning mostly "Solidarity" or "Fraternity", etc, (alias : "3rd Generation" Rights), however, the Latter is a Different Concept, able to Advance well Beyond, observed, in Conclusion of all Debates, ECHR's Euro-Judge from Portugal, Paulo Pinto Albuquerque.

 

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Resuming Different Opinions which were expressed during relevant Debates at the CoE by Participants from various European and Other Countries, and several Scientific Horizons, ECHR's EuroJudge, who has also a Long Experience as University Professor in Law at Lisbon, Shanghai (China), and Illinois (USA), as well as former Expert of CoE's Anti-Corruption Watchdog "GRECO", (etc), Agreed that "Solidarity" may refer to a kind of "Help" given by "Privileged" Groups/Entities to "Vulnerable" People, (i.e. with a Sense of "Verticality" : i.e. a State vis a vis Poor/Disadvantaged Citizens, etc), while, on the Contrary, "Fraternity" or "Brotherhood" referred more to something ("Horizontal", i.e. as a Common Interest, etc), that many Persons have all Together, between them, as one Group of People or Community, as Members of the same Society, (f.ex. Right to a Healthy Environment, Cultural identity Rights, including of Religious Communities, etc), based on the idea of a Collective Dimension of Rights, which ask for a "Positive" Action from State actors, (f.ex. concerning all "Humanity" or "Humankind", as "Eurofora" points Infra, on the occasion of BioEthics and Genetics).


At any case, the "Essence of Human Rights", even "Civic - Political Rights", "canNot be Guaranteed, withOut Any Guarantee of (key) Social and Cultural Rights  : F.ex. it has No Sense to speak about he Right to Democratic and Fair "Elections", "If" there is Not Any Guarantee, if it's Ruled Out, any Social Right to, at least, an Elementary "Dignified Living", the EuroJudge pointed out. In this regard, the ECHR's case-law inspires itself from UNO's Historic 1949 "Universal Declaration on Human Rights", according also to the "Theological Foundations" of the "Christian Traditions of Europe", he concluded, widely Applauded.


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+ AnOther Topical Issue, concerning "Hot" Stakes in BioEthics :  that of controversial "Genetic Manipulations on Human Embryos", was Raised, afterwards, by a 2nd "Eurofora"s Question to Professor Thiel, pointing, more particularly, to her New Task as Member of Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Life, where she has Recently been appointed by Pope Francis, on June 2017, for a Period of 5 Years, (2017-2022).


- Thiel, (who holds an Initial Experience in pure Medical Science with a 1st PhD Thesis on real, technical Medical Issues, Before studying Theology and presenting there a 2nd PhD Thesis, by an Interesting Coincidence, related also to a Question about "a Status for Human Embryo"), reacted, at First, by Warning that this has become, particularly Nowadays, a "Difficult" Issue :


- In this regard, she pointed at the "current Hopes" of several Medical Researchers to "Advance in Discoveries of efficient ways to "Heal" People from certain Serious Illnesses.


- But Thiel Acknowledged also the Fact that, as "Eurofora" observed, Despite Many Years of Similar Claims by a lot of Controversial Technocrats, and Nonobstant the Long and substantial Spending of Millions and Millions $, nevethertheless, No Cure had been discovered at all, for any illness, by Genetic Manipulations, during the Last Decades... (On the Contrary, Cancer was Spreading as Never before in the History of Humankind, and Other "Strange" illnesses had Emerge : such as "AID" - SIDA-, or "Black Sheep" for Mamal Animals, once found as a result of emanations from a Virus Research Labo in Scotland ; "SARS" reportedly spread from another Labo around Hong Kong ; New, "Mutant" Flu Virus Epidemics attacking Animals from 2004-2005 and Humans on 2009-2010, reportedly Started around a California Research Facility near the Mexican Border, etc)...


- Nevertheless, she estimated that, apparently, Discoveries of New Drugs against some Traditional illnesses might be Now "within Reach", eventualy Ready to be Discovered, particularly through a Recently popularized Technic of controversial Manipulations on Human Genome, called "CRISPR/Cas9", (which, notoriously, is a "Genome Editing Technology ...that allows Permanent Modification of Genes within organisms", including on Humans, according f.ex. to "Wikipedia", a.o.).

 

However, Fears for Dangerous permanent Genetic Alterations on Human beings, able to provoke f.ex. a Genetic "Appart-Heid", Artificially Fabricate Different "Races" or "Categories" of Humans, with "Eugenistic" "Selection", etc.,(Against which, World-Famous Writers as Aldus Huxley, Yevgeny Zamyatin and HG.Wells, etc., already Warned as Early as since the 1920-1930ies !), and/or be Abused as vectors of "Bio-Weapons" in "Bio-Warfare" or "Bio-Terrorism", (i.e. by Provoking various types of "New" or "Classic" illness, Deformations, etc), have already Started to Stimulate various kinds of Reactions, even among specialized Scientists, some of whom asked, at least, for a Global "Moratorium", others for a "Ban", some pushing to Distinguish between Genetic Modifications on "an Individual Person" or also to Next Generations' "Germ-Line" - absolutely Prohibited by CoE's PanEuropean "Oviedo" Convention on BioEthics (1998), etc.

 

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>>> Pope Francis, in a landmark Speech to EU Parliament in Strasbourg on 2014 (See "Eurofora"s NewsReport from the spot, then : ...), had Denounced the "Dismay" with which "we see Technical ...Questions Dominating Political Debate, to the Detriment of genuine Concern for Human Beings", where "Men and Women Risk being Reduced to mere Cogs in a Machine". And he Warned MEPs aainst "the Great Mistake made <<when Technology is Allowed to Take Over>>", as he stressed, making a Timely Reference to his Predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict's unforgettable Text "Caritas in Veritate", published as an Encyclic on 29/6/2009 :


 - "A particularly Crucial Battleground in Today's cultural struggle between the Supremacy of Technology, and Human Moral Responsibility is the field of BioEthics", had clearly Denounced Benedict then. "In this most delicate and Critical area", "Scientific Discoveries ...and the possibilities of Technological intervention seem so Advanced as to Force a choice",  "Faced with ...Dramatic Questions" : "Today" it "has become a Radically Anthropological Question, in the sense that it concerns not just how Life is conceived, but also how it is Manipulated, as Bio-Technology places it increasingly under man's control. In Vitro Fertilization, Embryo Research, the possibility of manufacturing Clones and human Hybrids: all this is now Emerging" . "Here we see the clearest expression of Technology's Supremacy". "We must Not Underestimate the Disturbing Scenarios that Threaten our Future, or the Powerful New Instruments that the “culture of Death” has at its disposal". "...We may well have to add in the Future — indeed it is Already Surrepticiously present — the systematic Eugenic Programming of Births", Benedict had Warned. "These Scenarios ... Deny Human Dignity" and show  "Indifference ...towards what is, and is not, Human", with "the Risk ...of a Conscience that can No longer Distinguish what is Human", he had Denounced.

 

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Curiously, Benedict had his Right Hand Broken, by an UnPrecedented "Fall" on July 2009, shortly After Speaking about that Text with former US President Barack Hussein Obama, who had just taken a Controversial Decision to Authorize Federal Funding of Genetic Manipulations on Human Embryo on March 2009, (Cancelling a "Ban" decided, previously, by his precedessor, former US President GWBush on Mid-August 2001, i.e. at the Eve of 9/11 UnPrecedented Massive Deadly Terrorist Attacks on New York and Washington DC, which Killed about 3.000 innocent People and Provoked a Radical Change in Worldwide Politics). And only 1 Month Later, at the End of that Summer 2009, Benedict also Faced then, even ... a 2nd Brutal Attack against his Broken Right Hand, when an allegedly "Mentaly Deranged" Person from Switzerland astonishingly crossed all Security Barriers totally Unhindered and Fell on Him, Throwing the Pope Down to the Floor ! Miraculously, he was Saved, but anOther Old Religious Dignitary, who stood at his Side, had his Leg Broken by that Violent Attack, and underwent a Chirurgical Operation, being closed in a Hospital for more than a Month... Just a Few Months Later, from 2010, a Systematic Massive Media-Campaign Accusing and Slandering the Catholic Church for alleged crimes reportedly committed by some individual Priests a Long Time Ago in the Past : Even 20 or 40 Years in the Past (sic !), suddenly broke out and Persisted as Never Before. On 2012 started Alarming Rumours about various alleged Attempts or "Plots" to Brutaly Eliminate Benedict himself, and at the Beginning of 2013 he notoriously Surprized all the World by Resigning, (a move Never made Before by a Pope, except only once, in very Exceptional circumstances, More than 6 Centuries ago !).


Almost Similarly, mutatis-mutandis, new Pope Francis, Immediately after making a Highly Symbolic and Mediatic Visit to the "Cemetery of UnBorn Childs" (i.e. Human Embryos), on August 2014, learned, on his Flight back to Rome, that his closest Nephew's Family had just been Brutaly Decimated, at his Home-Country of Argentina, when a Heavy Lorry suddenly Fell on his Car, Crashing and Killing his Wife and Children and Wounding him Seriously. By another Coincidence, that Deadly Lorry transported Seeds from a Region where USA's Controversial "MONSANTO" Multinational Company exerted Pressure to Impose an UnPopular "Geneticaly Modified" Crop Against which, the Local Population was Fighting a Hard Struggle, Denouncing serious Dangers on Human Health, including even on Pregnant Womens' Embryos, etc.


All these Facts might, eventually, be a Series of mere Coincidences. It's also True that Pope Francis had already made in Rome a Crystal-clear reference to the Moral need to Protect Human Life from the Inception, up to Natural Death, (i.e. including Human Embryos), in Harmony with his Personal choice to refer to Saint Francis of Assisi, well known also for his Love of Nature and Protection even of Animals, nowadays Notoriously affected by gross Genetic Manipulations, (f.ex. in Latin America, Saudi Arabia, as Horses, etc). But he did Not face Any known Problem, then. However, the above-mentioned Facts, are also Undeniable and Strange, deserving to be Noted, Instead of being Hidden.

 

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=> As far as Human Rights are concerned, ECHR's EuroJudge Paulo Pinto de Albuquerque's previously mentioned reference to a New, "3rd Generation" Category of Rights, and particularly those who Protect Collective Interests and Values, which are Shared by Many and Belong to Groups of People, entire Communities, Nations, Countries or whole Societies, (Comp. Supra), could, Obviously, find here a Fertile Ground for possible Development in the foreseable Future, since they concern, now, the whole Humanity, given that eventual Genetic Manipulations as those evoked above, can Affect all Humankind.  


Thus, "Fraternity" could become also a BioEthical idea !...

 

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(../..)

 

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***

 

("DraftNews", as already send to "Eurofora" Subscribers/Donors, earlier. A more accurate, full Final Version might be published asap). 

 

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  Ten Years of ECHR : 1998 - 2008 show need of Revival in 2009-2010 coinciding with 2009 EU Election
   

A threefold, coordinated move by new Top French Political actors in the 2009 EU Parliament Elections, expressed in Strasbourg a will to boost Europe's Political dimension close to Citizens' concerns, going from protection of Economy to defence of Human Rights.    

The move met an exceptional ECHR's call for a "revival" of Human Rights' protection mechanism', in a Mega-Conference, early 2010.   

Obviously focusing on June 2009 Elections to EU Parliament, it involved from the outset the recently nominated "dual" Head of French Governing Party (UMP)  Michel BARNIER and Rachida DATI :

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     - "As President Sarkozy has clearly said, we (France) are in favor of a Strong, Sovereign and Independent, Political Europe, which protects its Citizens, and not for a large Super-Market, nor for a Europe under influence",

    "This goes for everything, including Energy", added to "EuroFora" the experienced former EU Commissioner, Minister of Foreign affairs, currently of Agriculture and Sarkozy's new pick as Leader of the Governing party UMP to EU 2009 Election, Michel BARNIER                                              .                             

  - Human Rights are important because they are at the Heart of the Political Europe that we aspire for : I.e. a Europe able to act and protect its Citizens, stressed also the New French Minister for European affairs, Bruno LE MAIRE, while meeting Strasbourg's Journalists at his first visit to the CoE.   

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This is one of the main interests for CoE, which is also a natural place for cooperation between EU countries and Russia or Turkey, which was recently helpful at the Middle East crisis, he added.

The move gained momentum with French Minister of Justice, Rachida Dati's main observations at ECHR's 5Oth Anniversary :   

- "While we are seeking Europe's Borders and Identity, you (ECHR) remind us also of its Values", Human Rights, Dati noted.   

Citizens seek more and more often ECHR's help, and the tempo accelerates, Europa awaits a symbol, while national legal orders are not freezed   

And she expressed "support" to ECHR President Jean-Paul Costa's call to satisfy the vital need to revigorate the PanEuropean Court by deciding big changes at a High-Level Conference open to a large audience, a kind of "Etats Generaux" of Human Rights, at the beginning of 2010.       

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It's not so much the recently growing number of applications for Russia or Ukraine etc, which seems to be Costa's main concern : In fact, the cases declared "admissible" are much fewer...    

But rather the persistent violations of Human Rights, sometimes very grave (ie. murders, torture, abritrary deprivation of liberty, oppression of freedom of speech, destructions of homes/properties, etc), despite numerous, repeated condemnations by ECHR. So that CoE's Ministers, due to "supervise execution" of ECHR's judgements, are overloaded.   

F.ex. most Media noted that Turkey still remains, even in 2008, the 1st among 47 CoE member States in the number of condemnations by ECHR :  257, compared to 233 for Russia, with a population more than the double..    

The problem is that it's not the 1st time at all : During all the last Decade 1998-2008, Turkey was condemned by ECHR much more than any other State, and for particularly grave violations :   

- 1.652 condemnations, compared to 605 for Russia, 548 for Poland, 494 for France, 476 for Ukraine, etc.   

Italy's second place with 1.394 condemnations is a misleading false appearance : In fact, most of them (999) concern mere "procedural delays" in national courts. Same for France.   

On the contrary, Turkey was condemned 180 times for Killings, 192 times for Torture or Inhuman/Degrading treatments, 340 times for arbitrary deprivation of Liberty, 528 times for "Unfair trial", and 169 times for oppression of Freedom of speech, (etc). And the latest, 2008 numbers, indicate no change in this trend, (See supra).   

The current Spanish CoE Presidency (November 2008 - May 2009) has made of the implementation of ECHR's judgements its 1st Priority.   

ECHR's President, Jean-Paul Costa, stressed in its 2009 Annual Press Conference, CoE Member States' obligation to implement the judgements, according to Article 46 of the European Convention on Human Rights.   

Moreover, if CoE's Committee of Ministers delays to ensure implementation, then, the repetition of violations in similar cases provokes a multiplication of complaints tabled to the Court, which overload the mecanism for the protection of Human Rights, denounced Costa.          

A series of Debates on "the situation of Human Rights in Europe", focusing on the "need to fight against Impunity" of perpetrators of grave crimes, is  currently prepared by CoE's Parliamentary Assembly for the session of June 2009.  

The final Timing comes shortly AFTER the EU Elections, but the main Reports should have been adopted before.

Meanwhile, French President Sarkozy and German Chancelor Merkel's recent call "for a Political Europe" in 2009 EU Elections (See earlier "correspondence from Paris, Elysee Palace), seems more and more endorsed also by other EU Countries' Top MEPs :

Thus, f.ex., EU Parliament's 1st vice-President, Greek MEP Mrs Rodi KRATSA, speaking to "EuroFora", agreed that 2009 EU Election would be a "naturally good" opportunity to debate what really interests EU Citizens : "The Future of a Political Europe, able to face the Economic Crisis, with a Culture and identity which attracts the People"

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(Photo taken earlier during Sarkozy's 1st visit at EU Parliament, in 2007 : Sarkozy and Merkel's Ideas for a Political Europe inspire also other EU politicians accross the continent)..
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