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Αρχική arrow newsitems arrow CoE to Boost Athletes' Human Rights after Anti-Doping Zig-Zag Row between Russia - SKorea Olympics

CoE to Boost Athletes' Human Rights after Anti-Doping Zig-Zag Row between Russia - SKorea Olympics

Έχει γραφτεί από ACM
Τρίτη, 20 Μάρτιος 2018
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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- Acting Fast, After the Recent Olympic Games' Row, which initially Excluded, Before Later Restoring to their Rights, many Russian Athletes, regarding Doping Allegations, according to Controversial Procedures, for the First Time, a consistent Draft "Charter of Athlete Rights" was Discussed in Strasbourg, in view of a possible adoption in a Few Months' Time,  at CoE's 47 Member States-strong PanEuropean Organisation for Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law, in Cooperation with the Global Anti-Doping Agency (ADA), during an Exceptional International Conference co-Organized Together with CoE's Anti-Doping Convention's Experts, (a European Legal Text, Open for Signature to All Countries in the World).


While, on December 2017, IOC had Banned Dozens of Top, Prize-Winning Russian Athletes, and Stripped them from the Medals and Titles that they had Won, allegedly thanks to Doping, exceptionally Excluding even the Country as such, from the Latest, 2018 Olympic Games at PyeongChang, in South Korea, because of Doping Allegations Dating since the Previous Olympic Winter Games of 2014 at Sochi (Russia), suddenly, on February 2018, the Court of Arbitration on Sport (CAS), cancelled many of those rulings,  reversed or, at least, reduced and limited several others, after Finding that they Lacked of Sufficient Evidence, had been obtained after Controversial Procedures, and/or were DisProportionate, etc. But that Rectification came too Late, for the concerned Athletes, who were Excluded from the 2O18 Olympic Games, added also to various Other Negative Repercussions to the Detriment of their Honor, Reputation, Social and/or Professional Lives.


+ By a Timely Coincidence, the Experienced Russian Health Minister, Veronika Skvortsova, (who has Recently been Elected also President of  the World Health Organisation (WHO)'s Assembly at nearby Geneva), was Today in Strasbourg, where she met with CoE's Secretary General, Thornbjorn Jagland this Same Morning.

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 coe_antidoping__athletes_human_rights_top_panel_eurofora_400
 


=> - "Athletes' Human Rights must be Protected, and their Voices Heard" : This "Issue ..will be addressed at (CoE's) Next Conferene of Ministers responsible for Sport, which will take place in Georgia, on October" 2018, Announced, from the outset, CoE's Deputy Secretary General, Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, (who has also a personal Experience on that area, since she has served also as former Sports' Minister).


-  Indeed, "the Credibility of the Anti-Doping" Institutions, as well as "the Human Rights of Athletes" require to Act, particularly for their Right to a "Fair Hearing" by an "Independent and Impartial" body, similar to that of EConv.HR's "Article 6", etc. For that, we need to hold sincere and open "Discussions" with all the stakeholders, pointed out ADA's vice-President, the MInister for Children and Equality from Norway, Linda Hofstad-Helleland.


- We want that forthcming "Charter" on Athletes' Rights "to be Robust", and, for that purpose, we must "add Input to the Process" if its Preparation, while also meeting the relevant "Time Deadlines", incited the President of CoE's Anti-Doping Convention's Monitoring Group, Anders Solheim, who introduced to the Debates which followed, (partly Open to the Press, partly "In Camera").


- Several among the Participants to that Debate, (taken among Athletes, NGOs, Experts, etc), Criticized what they found to be the "too Complex", sometimes even "Confusing", character of the current Legal Texts and/or Mechanisms used in the Anti-Doping activities, asking to "Clarify" them for the Athletes+.


=> - "Whenever we speak about Sochi (Comp. Supra), I'd better Put my Glasses on !", characteristically Joked, in this regard, the former Football Player, and currently Chie Technical Development Officer at the FIFA, Marco Van Basten, during a Dialogue between Experienced Athletes, Together with another former Footballer, Jan Age Fjortfoft, from Norway.


+ Other Participants tno that Debate prefered to Focus on the Need for "Transparency" of the relevant Procedures, and for the "Independence" of those due to take Decisions.


++ Last, but not least, several Participants asked for "Efficiency", and "to Make Sure that the Rules are Applied to everybody", etc.


The 2nd Debate, about the Concrete Measures, with which CoE intends to Boost Athletes' Rights, was held Behind Closed Doors (for the Press).


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 coe__ada_conference_on_athletes_human_rights_and_doping_eurofora_400

 

=> "Eurofra" found, meanwhile, CoE's Draft "Declaration" about the forthcoming "Charter of Athlete Rights", which is a Document of 5 Pages, in the form of a Legal Convention with 17 Articles :


 - "Sport is Controlled by International ... Federations, National ... Organisations, Professional .. Leagues, Employers, Businesses and Governments", while "Athletes are the Public Face of Sport, and Athletic Performance is fundamental to the Prestige, Popularity and Viability of Sport". In consequence, "the Politisation and Commericalisation of Sport Today, sees a Failure to uphold the Humanity of Sport and the Dignity of the Player, and a Violation, by Sports' Organizations, of Internnationaly Recognized Human Rights", COE's Draft notes from the outset.

 - "Education, Health and Safety", "Equality of Opportunity", "Fair and Just Sporting Conditions", "Privacy" and "Protection of Name, Image and Performance" and "Rights of the Child", as well as "Freedom of Expression", "Representation", "Access to Court", "Procedural Justice" and "Right to an Effective Remedy", concerne the Substantial Rights of the Athletes, and the Means to Defend them.

+ "Freedom from Doping and Corruption", as well as the "Duty to Respect the Rights of Others and (to) Advance Sport", go more in the Direction of their Obligations, (even if CoE's text also speaks of "Freedom from Doping", and about "Athlete"'s "Right to a Sporting Environment ...Free of" Doping) :


- "Doping"'s Definition is considerably Simplified, (compared to the Complex and Confusing original Definition in the Anti-Doping Connfession) : It's just "Using Banned Substances".  

      
- Relevant "Genetic Manipulations" should, normally, be Included into that, since almost All of them use some kind of "Substances", noted a CoE's Expert, speaking to "Eurofora". Moreover, CoE's Draft calls also to "Presetve teh Integrity of Spot, ...Fee from ...Manipulation" (etc), she pointed out, in his regard.


+ At the same time, "Every Athlete has the Duty to Advance and Promote the Interests of his .. Sport and Community", and to Help "Ensure that Everyone can Enjoy Sport, and that the Health of Sport and the Social and Cultural role in Society is preserved", CoE's text concludes.  ,


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


 >>> Curiously, this CoE's "Charter" does Not contain any Definition of what is an "Athlete"... Therefore, "Eurofora", speaking to CoE's Experts, suggested that, in fact, this New Draft might implicitly Refer to the Crystal-Clear Definition already Given by CoE's Anti-Doping Convention, according to which : - ""Sportsmen" .. means those Persons who Participate Regularly in organized Sports Activities". (Article 2).


An eventual Professionalisation is Not a matter of Definition of what is an "Athlete". But, on the Contrary, a "Right", that "every Athlete has", "to Share Fairly in the Economic Activity and Wealth of his .. Sport, which Athletes helped generate", (i.e. If and When he might Wish to do so), as it results from CoE's Draft "Charter of Athlete's Rights" (Article 6, on "Economic Activity").

 

20180320_113758_400 


In other words, it Reminds (mutatis-mutandis) the Definition of "Journalism" already given by 2 landmark Decisions of the Inter-American Court, as Early as since 1985, as a Person engaged in a Regular Activity of Searching, Formulating and Publishing News of General Interest for the Society, that a Recent CoE's Book on "Press Freedom" published on March 2017, by a Team of Experts (including the new Secretary General of the European Federation of Journalists from Brussels, etc). Something which is, obviously, much more Closer to ECHR's Case-Law, than a merely "Fiscal" Description of some Bureaucrats who, curiously, insist to Reduce the Noble Vocation of "Journalism", only to a mere ..."Card" attesting what kind of Business might Pay the Majority of an Individual's Revenues (sic !)...


I.e., CoE naturally Prefers, Both for "Athletes" and for "Journalists", a Definition Focusing on the "Substance" of their Real Activities in the Society, instead of Merely Restricting it to a Sly, Fiscal Description, which has Nothing to do with the Substance of the Issue.

(../..)

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    The incoming Swedish EU Presidency (July-December 2009) may still remain in favour of Turkey's controversial EU bid, despite June 2009 EU Elections' results, but it has "very strong demands on Turkey"'s obligation to respect EU Rules, said the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, to "EuroFora", reacting to critical Press reports.

    - "I know (that) the link is often made also to Sweden's position on Turkey"'s controversial EU bid. Indeed, "we (Swedish EU Presidency) are very much engaged in the future membership of Turkey, but not without fullfiling all the Criteria".

    - "It's very clear that we (Swedish EU Presidecny) have very Strong Demands on Turkey, in a sort of concept for Future membership of the Union, ...which will be a Long Process...", she stressed.

    This means, in particular, "the Copenhagen Criteria (on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law), and also the adaptation to the Acquis of the European Union".

     - "If you listen to what Mr. Bildt (the Swedish Foreign Minister) says on Turkey at different occasions, it's very clear : We want Turkey to become part of the Union, in the Future. But we want it to fullfil all the Criteria : The Acquis of the European Union. That's very clear", she concluded.

    The Senior Official of the Swedish Foreign Ministry was reacting to critical Press Reports, from Brussels' Journalists invited by EU Commission's secretariat to Stockholm, who claimed that Bildt was abusing of a ..."Whip" (sic !) against Cyprus, by "threatening" the presence of UNO's Peace-keeping force at the "Green line" which separates the island's Government-controlled areas from the territories occupied by Ankara's army, if Nicosia didn't accept any political solution, regardless of Turkey's demands, before the end of 2009.

        Governing AKEL Party's new Secretary General, Andros Kyprianou, reacted by declaring that no-one can threat the People of Cyprus : -"We shall decide for our Future, and nobody else",  he reportedly said, asking to "keep calm". "In order to find a Solution soon, certain basic Principles must be respected", he stressed, calling those who feel an urgency to use their influence on Turkey. Other Political Parties were more critical.

    This was a reference to recently reported statements by Turkish Minister Bagis, Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan and Turkey's National Security Council (a Military-Political body), accused to push towards a partitionist "2 States" solution, contrary to UNO SC Resolutions for Cyprus' reunification.

    December 2009 is a crucial moment for EU's appraisal of Turkey's controversial EU bid, because EU Council has decided to review then Ankara's compliance with the European position on the recognition of Cyprus' Government, which was clearly set out by an EU reply of 21 September 2005 to Turkish Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan's claims, refusing to recognize even the existence of EU Member Cyprus, in controversial statements he made to London (former EU chair) on July 29, 2005.

    EU Parliament's latest Resolution on Turkey, adopted on March 2009 in Strasbourg, warned Ankara that "the non-fulfillment of Turkey's commitments... by December 2009, may further seriously affect the process of Negotiations" with the EU.

    In practice, the issue boils down to Ankara's "embargo" against Ships and Airplanes using Cyprus' seaports or airports at the strategic EU island, which traditionaly hosts one of the World's biggest Shipping flags. EU has already "freezed" 6 relevant Chapters in EU - Turkey Negotiations since December 2006, after Ankara refused to fullfil a commitment it had undertaken when EU had decided to open controversial "accession" negotiations with Turkey, back on December 2005.

    - "As far as EU - Turkey relations are concerned, it's clear that Turkey needs to fullfil its obligation of full, non-discriminatory implementation of the additional Protocol (to "EC-Turkey Association Agreement"),  This is an important issue....and should be addresseed as soon as possible as it clearly affects the pace of the accession negotiations.Issues covered by the Declaration of September 2005 will continue to be followed up, and progress is urgently awaited", warned earlier in Strasbourg the out-going Czech EU Presidency (former vice-Prime Minister Alexander Vodra).

    But the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, dismissed "interpretations" by "some" that Foreign Minister Carl Bildt was reportedly "threatening" Cyprus with consequences on the UNFICYP, if it doesn't accept any solution until December 2009, while Turkey is reportedly delaying in an attempt to impose a partitionist "2 States" solution.

    On the contrary, Julin, stressed that "Sweden has strong demands on Turkey'"s respect of "Copenhagen Criteria and EU Acquis".

    Meanwhile, Sweden  is "concerned" about the risk of "Stalemate" in Cyprus' Talks, but is well aware that "the main responsibilities lie with the two leaders and the UNO", Europe playing only a role of "facilitator".

    After carefully verifying, the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, stressed to "EuroFora" that Bildt's reference to UNFICYP "was not linked to a Threat", and dismissed those who "interpreted" it so.

    On the contrary, the Swedish EU Presidency acknowledged the fact that Peace Talks are mainly for the UN and the leaders of the Cypriot communities, EU's role being limited into that of a "facilitator".

    As for Turkey's reported attempts to impose a "2 States' solution", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service sharply replied by stressing that Turkey must respect the "EU Acquis" rules.

    In particular :

    - "Basically he (Bildt) underlined that it's the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus and the UN that have the main responsibilities for solving the problem", started to say the Swedish Senior Official to "EuroFora", referring to the above-mentioned "briefing".

    - "But the EU had a role in sort of pointing out the benefits and facilitating a little bit the outcome for the settlement of the whole Cyprus' issue", she added.

    - "And he did state the Fact, that the rest of the World (i.e. USA, etc) will, of course, look at the differend issues which are at the table, and the future of the UN Peace keeping force is part of what is at the table", she admitted.

    - "I understand that some have interpreted that as a Threat, by the Swedish Minister" "But", in reality, "it's a statement of a Fact, that, when we'll look at the differend issues, one of the issues on which we shall have to take a stand on, is the future of the UN Peace keeping force in Cyprus".

    Indeed, one of the questions usually raised for a Solution of Cyprus' issue is what International and/or European or other Guarantees, by a Peace-keeping force, might be needed afterwards, eventually for a transitory period.

    Questioned anew by "EuroFora" whether (according to critical Press Reports) this could be taken as a veiled warning that, if Cyprus didn't accept any Turkish demand for any solution whatever, it might be left alone to face Ankara's Military Invasion/Occupation, she denied :

    - "He (Bildt) didn't say it in that way"... "It was not linked to a threat, or anything like that", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service stressed.

    On the contrary, "he (Bildt) underlined that the main responsibility lies with the parties concerned on the island". "The EU can try to facilitate and show the benefits of reaching a settlement. But also, when the EU and the rest of the World (i.e. USA) will have to look at it, they will look at all the Facts on the table, and the presence of the UN Peace-keeping force is one".

    And "he (Bildt) didn't speak about that at all", she replied to "EuroFora" question on Turkey's reported attemps to impose, in one way of another, a partitionist "2 States solution".

    Asked whether Bildt's aim was to incite both parties to move forward efficiently, she agreed :

    - In fact, "the EU is really very concerned with the Stalemate in the situation. Yes !", the Head of Sweden's Foreign Ministry's Press Service anounced. That's why Bildt "was hoping for the two parties (i.e. for Turkey's also) to engage and break, a little-bit, the present stalemate, come to a solution of the issue" of Cyprus.

    But, replying  to a "EuroFora"s question on the risk, denounced by several politicians in case of strict Time Deadlines, for Turkey to provoke a stalemate and wait for the time to come to impose a partitionist "2 States' solution", she reacted by pointing at Turkey's obligation to respect "EU Acquis" :

    - "Turkey must fullfil the EU Acquis : That's clear !", the Swedish Senior Official stressed.

    More details are expected when Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt will debate his Programme with new MEPs at EU Parliament's plenary mid-July in Strasbourg, that he has visited already in 2008.

    Foreign Minister Carl Bildt became familiar with Strasbourg's CoE last year, when Sweden chaired the PanEuropean organization of Human Rights. As EU chairman-in-office, he will also chair the 27-member States strong EU Group inside the 47-member States strong CoE.

    Minister for EU affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom is well known at EU Parliament, where she has been an active MEP of the Liberal Group for many years, following also Press Freedom issues.

    Both have already made various statements at "EuroFora", on differend topical matters.

    ***

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