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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

Pisac ACM
20. 03. 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.

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

 

 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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 sarko_merkel_mieux

The official presentation of a "Program" respecting People's choices voted in the June 7, 2009 EU Elections, to be debated in EU Council and EU Parliament during its 1st Session on July in Strasbourg, is the No 1 Priority, according to Democratic principles, for the Franco-German axis, said the main winners at the ballot box, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angie Merkel.

They stressed  that the New EU Commission's President must have a "Program" in favor of an EU which "protects" its Citizens, regulates financial markets and aims at a "Political" Europe" : a wording they have used as incompatible with Turkey's controversial EU bid.

They also declared ready for a "political" endorsment of "Mr. Barroso's candidacy" in June's EU Council, considering that an official decision would have to be made after EU Parliament's debates and votes, possibly from next month (July), with the legally necessary final acceptance shortly after Lisbon Treaty's entry into force, hoped for September or October.


- "A Program, and Mr. Barroso" : This resumes, in substance, the anouncements made by Sarkozy and Merkel, on the question of current EU Commission's President, Barroso's declared wish to succeed to himself for a second mandate, to be extended during the following 5 years.

 In their 1st meeting after EU Elections, they observed that "the Franco-German axis counted in European Elections' campaign... But, we both keep a realistic view : We saw the number of those who abstained, and we must absolutely give them an answer. We also see the disilusionment of an important number of Europeans vis a vis Europe, and we are aware of the responsibilities we have".

sarko

 - The "Duty" of the new EU Commission's President, after June 7, 2009 EU Elections' result, "is to act for a Europe which protects the Europeans, to commit himself into working for a better Regulation of Financial transactions, ... and to have a Political will for Europe", underlined Sarkozy.

Therefore, "we have asked M. Barroso... to clarify, to officialy present the intentions he has", he anounced.

- "We want to speak also about the Programme", explained Merkel.

- "It's important that for the next EU Parliament's mandate (2009-2014) we take the right Decisions for Europe.  Obviously on Persons, but mainly Decisions on Issues", she stressed.

- "It's not simply a question of a Person, it's also a question of a Programme". We are "really asking Mr. Barroso to commit himself on a Program, and on Principles, on Values", Sarkozy added.

EU President-in-office, Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer, accepted the Franco-German stance :

- "Barroso must present his Programme. The Czech Presidency agrees with that", Fischer reportedly said later, after meeting Sarkozy.

But Press reports from Brussels claimed that Barroso had preferred to be officially appointed by EU Council since June, (i.e. next week), "because this was implied by the current Treaty of Nice, according to him", and considered any delay until the possible ratification of the new, Lisbon Treaty on September/October, as "undemocratic".

- "At any case, independently of what Germany and France ask, it's also EU Parliament's wish". "We shall propose Mr Barroso's candidacy... But even in the framework of Nice Treaty, EU Parliament has to be associated in this Decision", the French President observed.

If this is correctly done, then "we support Mr. Barroso's candidature", and "if the (EU) Parliament agrees, we might ratify this decision since July", (i.e. next month), they both said.

smerkem_400

- "France and Germany support Baroso's candidacy, But we want to speak also on the Program. We believe that this Program should be established in close cooperation with EU Parliament, and that's why we have followed an appropriate way", said Merkel.  - If EU Parliament wants, this election can take place on July,  but this must be done in full agreement.

- "We shall support Mr. Barroso's candidacy, without doubt", said Sarkozy. "But we have asked from Mr. Barroso, as I told him yesterday, to put into detail.. his intentions, at the eve of his 2nd mandate, if the situation avails itself.


    France and Germany "don't want to take an Official Legal Decision by writting" during "the next (EU) Council" (on June 18-19), declared Sarkozy.  Because they prefer, at this stage, only "a Political decision" on June, "so that we (EU Council) can work together with EU Parliament", which starts to meet only Next Month, since July in Srasbourg, "leaving a Legal decision by writting for later".

    - "If the Conditions are fuillfiled in EU Parliament, we (EU Council) are ready to give the agreement and make it offficial", said Merkel

    - "But, now we are working in the base of Nice Treaty. If tommorow we want to work in the spirit of Lisbon Treaty, we have to find a proper way", she added.

    - "Of course it's Legally complicated, because we are going to make a Political proposal to the forthcoming Council, for an EU Commission's President, on the basis of Nice Treaty : So, we (EU Council) will not appoint the Commissioners. Only the President.  If EU Parliament agrees, it could endorse this position on July", explained Sarkozy.

    But, on Autumn, "if Ireland ratifies Lisbon Treaty, there will be, at any case, a 2nd Decision, to appoint the Commission's President, this time on the basis of Lisbon treaty, and then, we, the EU Member States, would have to appoint (also) the EU Commissioners", he added.

    As for the precise Timing :  - "Everything is suspended until the Irish vote... Now, we must all make everything possible to help Ireland to say "Yes"" to Lisbon Treaty... The Irish Referendum, ..will take place either on September or on October. It's a Question which depends on the Irish. And,  then, we shall have the Choice of the Candidates for the permanent Institutions of Europe".

    However, "if Ireland says No, we, French and Germans, have to assume our responsibilities, and we'll do so", he concluded.

    But British and Swedish governments were reportedly eager to have a final EU Council decision on Barroso since this month, on June's European Council. While the other EU Member Countries are divided, several of them preferring to wait until EU Parliament pronounces itself, on July, and/or until Lisbon Treaty might be ratified by Ireland at the beginning of the Autumn. Barroso's current mandate ends on November.

    There are also various, contradictory and/or unpredictable reactions inside EU Parliament vis a vis Barroso's wish to continue a 2nd mandate, because many MEPs are openly or secretly opposed, reluctant, or hesitating.

    In the biggest EU Countries, as France and Germany, EU Citizens voted on June 2009 EU Elections for a renovated, non-technocratic but Political Europe which cares for its Citizens, with an Identity, Values and Borders, declared incompatible with Turkey's controversial EU bid, by mainstream, pro-European Governing Parties. Similar choices were also supported in several other small or medium EU Countries.

    On the contrary, whenever, in other Countries, Governing and other mainstream Parties didn't make these choices or eluded them, EU Citizens massively voted for euro-Sceptics whenever they were the only ones to to promise anti-bureacratic change and oppose Turkey's demand to enter into the EU, (f.ex. in the UK, Netherlands, etc).

    It's seems to be an Open Question whether Sarkozy and Merkel's conditions will be really accepted by Barroso, who was appointed on 2004 in a different political context, (with Socialist Prime Ministers in Germany, France, etc), had rejected in the Past the idea of EU becoming "equal to the USA" as "ridiculous", and pushed for Turkey's contoversial EU bid, trying to "soften" or contain the changes desired by the People who voted for Merkel and Sarkozy with another policy vis a vis Turkey on 2005 in Germany and on 2007 in France, as they did all over Europe on 2009.

    In addition to many EPP Governments, it's 3 remaining Socialist Prime Ministers : Gordon Brown in the UK, Zapatero in Spain, and Socrates in Prortugal, who support Barroso, as well as Liberal Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt. But their Parties lost the June 2009 EU Elections.

    Questioned whether there was still "Time" for "other" possible "Candidates", Sarkozy and Merkel did not deny, nor made any comment on that, but simply said that "it's not for us to make publicity for any candidates. We anounced our choice ("A Program, and Mr. Barroso"). But we respect any other candidate".

    Among various other names cited are former Belgian Prime Minister Verhofstadt, former UNO's Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson of Ireland, Italian former EU Commission's vice-President Monti, etc. Meanwhile, Luxembourg's PM Juncker, (who had been unanimously accepted by EU Council for EU Commission's Presidency on 2004, but refused), announced his intention to resign from "EuroGroup"'s Chair. Thus, he might be available for another Top EU job.

    As "EuroFora"'s "opinion" said (See publication dated 9/6/09) : - "If the current candidates (i.e. Barroso, etc) to the Top EU jobs promise and guarantee to respect People's democratic choices, then, it's OK".

"Otherwise, Europe must find new candidates, really motivated and able to implement these democratic choices of the People."

    Because, "in Democracy, the forthcoming choices for EU's Top Jobs,...should be made according to EU Citizens' Votes in June 7, 2009 European Elections, and main EU Governments' strategic policies".
        

***

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