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Home 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

Автор ACM
Tuesday, 20 March 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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=> - "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.  ,


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 >>> 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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 slovenian__croatian_presidents_at_coe_400

    The recent paradox of freezing EU Talks with front-runner Croatia, while continuing controversial EU - Turkey talks, despite Zagreb's acceptance of Refugees' Human Rights to return, that Ankara refuses fex. in Cyprus, while both have "Good Neighborhood" problems vis a vis Slovenia, or Greece, Cyprus and Armenia respectively, can it be justified by the non-fullfilment of EU criteria, as Slovenia says, or, is it "Double Standards" ?    

The question became unavoidable after statements by Presidents of Slovenia and Croatia, Tuerk and Mesic, respectively, to "EuroFora", exclusively or among Strasbourg's journalists this week at the CoE, on the sidelines of its 2009 Summer University for Political Schools, which topically brought them together as successive key-note speakers.


    Comming only a few Months before EU checks Turkey's compliance to its commitments on Cyprus, etc., scheduled for December 2009, this obviously has a special importance for the coherence of EU Enlargement's principles.

     Suspension of EU Negotiations is a normal consequence in case of a Candidate Country's failure to fullfil EU Conditions, such as "Good Neighborhood relations", stressed at first Slovenian President Danilo Tuerk, current CoE's chair.

    But, regarding EU's Criteria,  there shouldn't be any "Double Standards",  reacted Croatian President Stjepan Mesic, commenting the fact that Turkey's controversial EU negotiations continue, while they were recently "freezed" in the case of Croatia, an "unquestionably European Country", which oficially accepts to respect Refugees Human Rights, contrary to Ankara's notorious refusals or reluctance.                                       

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           - "EU itself has set as a Criterium (for EU Enlargement) the "Good Neighborhood relations",  and their absence justifies the "Suspension" EU Negotiations, (f.ex. with Croatia), because of a Border dispute affecting the territorial integrity of an EU Member Country, stressed Slovenian President, Danilo Tuerk, CoE's Chairman in office (May - November 2009), speaking to Journalists in Strasbourg including "EuroFora".    

Questioned earlier what "consequences on EU's Enlargement policy" can have the "Ban on EU Membership Negotiations", imposed to Croatia, Tuerk replied that "this question comes down to the fulfillement of (EU) Criteria for membership. One has to look at each Candidate Country ., from the point of view whether it fullfils the Criteria that EU has set. One of them are Good Neighborhood Relations, I'd like to remind. And also, there are other factors, such as Justice, Home affairs, Rule of Law, and others".


    - "Now, ..Candidate Countries are at Different Levels of fulfillement of Criteria", he observed.

    - " Croatia is obviously the closest to that. I'm rather optimistic : I think that in the coming Months we'll have an opportunity to look at all these issues constructively and hopefully we'll be able to make progress". "My main concern, at this point, is the situation in Bosnia : We haven't seen enough progres domesticaly. We haven't seen enough during ..political parties within their country.We need a New Energy, a new energetic move towards the Candidature for EU membership. "Other (Western Balkan) Countries (Serbia, Montenegro, FYROM, Albania) have been making soaring Progress, and I think that they should be ready, in a few Years, for the Candidate status".

    - "As far as the Western Balkans are concerned, .. nobody should be left outside" the EU, Slovenian's President concluded, ommitting to mention Turkey's controversial EU bid.

    - "This process may be seen as Slow, but..  Slovenia has also has also been exposed to various "Booms of Slowness" in our accession period. But now we can say that the process was relatively quick, because changes which occur after becoming EU member, are quite large, and they require proper Preparations before the (EU) membership becomes a new factor, an impacting line for a new (EU) member country".
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EU "Solidarity" ?
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Slovenian statements made some participants from certain 3rd Countries as FYROM, etc. claim that "the Principle of EU Solidarity" would "produce a.. rising European Union Nationalism (sic !), against Non-EU Countries", as they said, asking unhappy foreign countries to form a "bloc" to exert pressure on the EU...    

But Croatian President Stjepan Mesic dismissed that, supporting "EU Integration", "after the Economy also in Political" issues, as "the achievement" of our times. In EU there is "diversity, but it's United", he stressed, "EU has to be United so that it can become a central factor of Peace" also at the surrounding areas, he replied.

croatian_president_mesic_ 

Speaking later exclusively to "EuroFora", the experienced twice President of Croatia, former President of the International "Non-Aligned" movement, denounced "Double Standards" in the way EU treats recently Croatia compared to Turkey :   

 - "I think that there shouldn't be Double Standards", stressed the Croatian President, in reply to a Question comparing the freeze of EU - Croatia talks, with the continuation of EU - Turkey talks, despite the fact that Croatia is an "unquestionably European country", while Turkey's EU bid is notoriously controversial.


    Mesic was reacting to the observation that, even if he confirmed his "respect of Refugees' Human Rights to return, etc. (See infra), nevertheless, EU talks are suspended with Croatia.. While for oher, controversial candidates, who refuse to respect Refugees' Rights to return, etc., as fex. Turkey does in occupied Cyprus and elsewhere, EU negotiations continue".

    - "I believe that Croatia's accession will confirm that all European Countries who fulfill all of the Conditions and achieve European Standards, have to join the EU. There shouldn't be any Double Standards", went on to add in reply President Mesic.

    In this relation, Croatia's President found "of paramount importance", CoE's "mechanisms enforcing ECHR's judgements"
    
    - "On Refugees and Displaced persons, the process will be completed only after the last person demanding to return will be allowed to do so !", President Mesic Croatia stressed earlier, setting a general standard of obvious importance also for otherr candidates, as f.ex. Turkey, often accused to exclude or heavily restrict Greek Cypriot Displaced persons' return to their Family Homes and ancestral land, provoke difficulties to Turkish-Kurd IDPs return to their home regions at the South-East, etc.

    Some "2.000 People are still reported Missing" in former Yugoslavia, for some Years, (as in Cyprus, modern Europe's oldest case, for 3 Decades. Nagorno-Karabach, Tcecnya in Russia, etc, more recently), and Investigations "will only be completed after establishing the fate of the last one of them", he added.
    
    Speaking earlier on "War Crimes", President Mesic stressed that "Leaders are responsible for (the) Wars (of the Past), not the People", and called against Impunity :  "Individuals have to be held Responsible for Crimes. International Penal Tribunals have to persecute those individuals", perpetrators of War Crimes, he underlined.

    Such statements naturally made Mesic rather popular at ECHR, whose President, French EuroJudge, Professor Jean-Paul Costa, looked particularly smiling when he welcomed him later on Wednesday afternoon, after Slovenian President Daniko Tuerk earlier this week.
           

***

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