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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE Human Rights Director Giakoumopoulos to EuroFora on Poverty and Rights' Violation => Erosion ?

CoE Human Rights Director Giakoumopoulos to EuroFora on Poverty and Rights' Violation => Erosion ?

Written by ACM
Thursday, 17 October 2013



*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- Poverty is not due to be reduced, during the next few years, but, on the contrary, it might deepen further, even if the European Economy could progressively ameliorate, and that's why the CoE decided to "place  the issue of Human Rghts in times of Crisis as its Priority during the next 2 Years, said CoE's Direct"or on Human Rights, Christos Giakoumopoulos, to "EuroFora", on the sidelines of a Conference of the "PanEuropean Organisation for Democracy, Human Rights and Rule of Law, dedicated to the Internatio"nal Day for the Eradication of Poverty, which is commemorated (since 1987) Today, i.e. on November "17, each year, providing an opportunity to measure the progress, or not, which might have been made "since last year, (11/2012), when all CoE's Top Political Bodies had adopted an immpressive series of Res"olutions, which remain, still, to be implemented in real practice, as the experienced CoE's Director o"n Social Charter, Regis Brillat, observed later-on to "EuroFora"...

    - In fact, , "since several years, we see a progressive Erosion of the efficiency of National, European and International Guarantees for Human Rights, as if it was about some Principles which don't matter so much", while, u"ntil now, "Poverty spreads, more and more, as cruel Statistics remind us, and ... an augmentation o"f Social Tensions, as well as Discriminatory and/or Xenophobic attitudes, vis a vis Vulnerable Groups", "denounced earlier the experienced CoE's Human Rights' Dirertor Giakoumopoulos, with "an unusual for him Bitter language. "We are in front of a Destruction of the Social Cohesion, and o"f a Weakening of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights - I'd even say  : a Weakening of the Ru"le of Law, and of the Law", in general, he denounced on this occasion.


    Significantly", CoE's workshop for this Highly Symbolic Day, was organized mainly by the President of the Conference of International NGOs' (CINGOS) Human Rights Committee, chaired by Annelise Oeschger", (experienced former President of the CINGOS) from nearby Germany, of the International Movement ATD "4rth World", which send Today to the Press, including "EuroFora", the results of a recen"t Enquiry revealing, inter alia, that "Discriminations" even in the Access to Work (f.ex. accodring to whether the Candidates, otherwise perfectly Equal in Qualifications, live in a Poor or Rich Neighborhood", etc), and/or to Health Care (f.ex. acccording to whether the suffering Patients are Poor, or not), etc., appear to be widespread and threatening to provoke serious damages even in big EU Countries, as", f.ex. France a.o..

    Not "surprisingly, at least one among the various Representatives of INGOs from many European Countries, "active in the field of Help to Poor People, (some of whom were Invited this time to speak personaly "of their feelings), strongly rejected any Stigmatisation of the Group of People on which he was working, as "Poor" : - "In fact, it's not Poverty itself, which provokes the problems that they face, but, on th"e contrary, it's mainly a Discrimination agaisnt them which provokes, maintains and threatens to aggravate the greatest part of the Poverty from which they suffer, he denounced in substance.


    However, even if this year's CoE's Conference on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty was officially opened earlier by its Deputy Secretary General, Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, together with the acting Chairman of CoE's Committee of Min"isters, Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Armenia to the COE, Armen Papikyan, and" other Top PanEuropean Officials, nevertheless, both "EuroFora" and other participants were inevitably Surprized by the Unusually Small Number of Persons who were gathered, according to a long Tradition, during a brief Ceremony, in front of the Famous Commemorative Stone, placed at CoE's entrance by the Founder of the "4rth World" Humanitarian Movement, Father Joseph Wresinski, with "its unforgetable main Moto : "Whenever People are Condemned in Misery, Human Rights are Violated. Unite in order to ensure their Respect, is a Sacred Duty", contrary to the exceptionaly Great Number of various Participants, Radio-TV Media and even .. a Musical Choir included, (etc), which had marked the same Date 1 Year Before :  on November 17, 2012, (i.e. the same Day that CoE's Top bodies had "adopted impressive Joint Declarations for the Fight against Poverty, during a much Bigger Conference), as if something might have changed or deceived, in this regard, on 2013, that nobody dared "name openly...

    - Precisely,  since Last Year, on 2012, when ""we had assisted to the adoption of an Important Joint Declaration of COE's Institutions (Committee of Ministers, Parliamentary Assembly, Congress of Local/Regional Authorities, INGO's Conference, etc), we are obliged to Ask ourselves What we have done together, during all this Year, against Miser"y, and for a Europe of Human Rights ?", critically observed the President of CoE's PanEuropean Committee for Social Rights, Luis Chimenez Quesada. As he had already stressed previously to "EuroFor"a", President Quesada stressed anew that "according to Newest Version of CoE's PanEuropean Charte"r on Social Rights (ECSR), Revised on 1996, the Protection against Poverty and Social Exclusion is a Fundamental Right (Article 30)".


(Dujardin, Oeshger, Quesada + Keiflin)

    However, a Problem apparently faced by the ECSR, as "EuroFora" had already discussed extensively with its President Quesada, ju"st after the experienced COE's Director on Social Rights, Brillat, is the fact that its main Tool : the relatively "New" Procedure for Collective Complaints, most of the times Trade Unions active in 1 or mo"re COE's Member States and Con-Federated at a PanEuropean level, are generally focused only on defending the Corporative Interests of Workers who are their Members, f.ex. private or, even more "often Public Sector Employees, without active Links, nor any Channels of Communication with really Poor People, seriously threatened by Misery and/or grave Discriminations, Social Exclusion, etc., such as f.ex. unemployed Youngsters hindered to find a 1st job for them, Seniors practically exclud"ed from the Labour Market, isolated Women, and/or sick/handicaped People, Political "Refugees/Foreign Dissidents really fleeing Oppression, etc.

    So that this Lacuna might risk to, involuntarily, not only Ignore, but even aggravate the situation of really Poor People, in practice : F.ex. in cases like Greece, where such Trade Union Procedures can be used mainly by all Civil Servan"ts, including those who might be among the notoriously Numerous counter-productive Cushy-Jo"b Holders and/or abusive Political Lackeys, often Corrupted or even otherwise Criminal, who ha"d Scandalously been Appointed by Clientelist/Nepotist former mainly PASOK Governments as ea"rly as since the 1980ies (i.e. most of them accaparating rare Public Funds for more than 30 Years !) unt"il their Excessive Number, compared to the relatively Small Productive Economy of the Country", inevitably provoked a Growing Public Debt, which, (after having been scandalously "Hidden"" on 1999-2001+ as part of a Deal, between the then "Socialist" Leaders of the biggest EU Countries," and USA, to accept Turkey's controversial and unpopular demand to become a "Candidate for the EU", in exchange with Greece entering the €urozone earlier than it should, i.e. even Before Athens mad"e the Necessary Reforms in order to Prepare its Economy, just in Time to let a weakened former "PASOK Government, then, to snatch the April 2000 Elections with a Small Difference of Votes, based o"nly on this, earlier than normal, acceptance in the €uroZone, which kept it in Power between 2000-2"004, until the Debt, barely covered up with USA'"s Goldman Sachs' SWAPS and other Statistical Manipulations, finally "Exploded" during the Global Financial Crisis since 2009, shaking even all EuroArea. "

    But, on the contrary, "the real and most serious Victims of the recent Greek Drama, i.e. both the productive Businesses, man"y Small and Medium Enterprises struggling hatrd to survive, and, particularly, the Poor People, Young or Old, Women, etc., who face, in fact, a Social and/or Political Exclusion, and are currently Suffering from the Most Serious Restrictions or Cuts of Public Funds even for basic Health, Housing," Electricity, Food, a.o. Human Needs, are widely Hindered to be Members of any Trade or other Profe"ssional Union, and, therefore, in principle, they have No Direct National Interlocutor who could" help them lodge a Collective Complaint to CoE's PanEuropean Committee on Social Rights in Stasbourg.

    So that an ev"entual Collective Complaint, f.ex., from some among the above-mentioned cushy-job holders and/or "political lackeys, scandalously appointed by former Clientelist/Nepotist Governments of th"e Past, after having already usurpated a lot of Public Funds during more than 30 Years now (1981-2011+ : "Comp. Supra), might threaten to even ... lodge a Collective Complaint to Strasbourg's ECSR just in order "to challenge f.ex. a necessary Reduction of at least some among their various "Primes" or "Bon"uses", paid Summer Holidays, Social Security advantages, Pensions, etc., which, if it's accepted by the" COE, risks to oblige, afterwards, the Greek Government to cancel such proportional Measures of Economies, with the Consequence, to inevitably push it to attempt to recuperate that Money, (badly" needed in order to Reimburse the Debts provoked by such Lazy and/or Political Lackeys), just by depriv"ing really Poor People from even more elementary Access to Basic Health Care, Education, Housing, Foo"d, etc., i.e. by Aggravating in fact a Dangerous and often Inhuman, Socio-Economic InJustice.. . "

    It's true that President Quesada, (as well as COE's competent Director Brillat, earlier), ha"ve replied to "EuroFora", that, in such cases, be it in Greece or elsewhere, (f.ex. in Portugal, Spain" or Italy, etc), Poor People could try to reach an INGO having a General Competence on Social and/or H"uman Rights, such as, f.ex. the International Federation for Human Rights, etc., which had a possibility to lodge a Collective Complaint directly to CoE's PanEuropean Committee for the Social Charter (comp. above). There is no precedent until now, but this should be legally and practically feasible, (on the condition, however, that such INGOs as f.ex. FIDH and others, really accept to play the game, by efficiently assisting any eventual such demand by any group of Poor People, who should, aaaalso , be widely Informed about the existence of such a Possibility...

    - All this implies that at least the main players in the Social field, are well Aware of the fact that, otherwise, i.e. if so Serious Social Exclusions persist even longer, then, a given Society is threaten to Destroy at least part of its own Potential Forces for a General Development of all its members, since many would be Hindered in fact to build and/or use their Capacities, as the President of the  European Network of Social Action (ESAN), Leon Dujardin, denounced. ... Unless some, simply do Not want at all, in fact, any such "General" Development "of all" in a given Society, as "EuroFora" critically warned, speaking with a surprized but realising the Real Danger, President Dujardin...

    + Indeed, another Risk of an exclusively "Social" approach of any Poverty, might be to, even involuntarily, .. practically Cover Up, sometimes even Serious Crimes against Basic Human Rights, particularly if it ommits to search and find out whether at least certain cases of Social Exclusion have been, more or less, provoked, and/or are still maintained, mainly by Grave Crimes and/or various Violations of elementary Human Rights of the Victims, such as, f.ex. Killings, Torture/Ill-Treatements, Destructions of Properties, Usurpation of Family Homes and/or Properties, Illegal Deprivation of Personal Liberty, Oppression of Freedom of Expression, illegal Discriminations, Unfair Trials, Interferences in Private/Family Life, War Crimes, etc. Particularly if some, limit themselves into merely "assisting" a bit several Poor People's social needs, without even raising any Question on the Real Cause which has provoked and/or maintains them in such a situation, contrary to what advised some among the particpants in Today's CoE's Workshop, who, in fact, urged all those responsible, to always ask to find the Causes which provoked their poverty.

    A "classic" example of that, is one of ECHR's First Decisions on Turkey, which dates as early as since 1995/1996  : "Akdivar", which concerned a Family of Kurds, brutaly Expulsed by the Turkish Army from its Home and Fields where it based its Livelihood, Destroyed all other Means of Subsistance (f.ex. Machines, Grains, Transport Cars, stocked Food, etc), and threw them to the Roads of internal but long Exile, by pursuing and harassing them with various Violent Threats : As a result, that Family had to walk up to far away ... Smyrne, where it was obliged to live in a very Poor Quarter : a Shanty Town surrounding the main City, almost at the Street, without any real Job, deprived of almost everything, even without basic Hygienic facilities, the Children practically Hindered to go and/or to attend and normally follow School lessons, biut suffering, together with the Adults, from lack of Food, etc. I.e., a specially Hard Situation of Misery, that, EuroJudges, instead of covring up, indirectly but surely, as a so-called "Social Case", on the contrary, clearly Denounced as a Blunt Result of a Series of Grave Violations of Fundamental Human Rights, while also being, in itself, something equivalent to ... Torture and/or Ill-Treatments, strictly punished by Article 3 of the PanEuropean Convention for Human Rights : The only Violation  which can Never be excused, not even in times of War, ...     


(Oeschger with Keiflin, an experienced Journalist, former DNA's Editor in Chief, artfuly stimulating Debate in Difficult issues)

    Perhaps it's not merely by a coincidence that INGO's Human Rights Committee's Chairwoman, Annelise Oeschger, speaking earlier Today to "EuroFora", anounced her intention to also organize a Side-line event, during the next CoE's Parliamentary Asseembly on January 2014 in Strasbourg, focused specially "on Torture".

    Meanwhile,  in a statement issued Today at UNO's Headquarters in New York, UNO's Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, observes that, at a Global stage, despite a reported "significant Decline of Poverty Levels", shortly before the 2015 Deadline for the realisation of the "Millenium Development Goals", nevertheless, still, "More than 1,2 Billion People "(i.e. almost as many as all the Chinese Population !), "still live in Extreme Poverty Worldwide", while "Too Many .. continue to be Denied Access to adequate Health Care and Sanitation, quality Education, and decent Housing, too many Young People lack Jobs and Skills that respond to Market demands", "the Impact of Climate Change .... hit the Poorest the Hardest", and, closer to Europe, "Rising Inequality in many Countries, - both Rich and Poor - is fueling Exclusion", not only "from Economic", but also "from Social and Political spheres", as he warned.




    This last remark was also, Symbolically but Timely reminded, Today in Strasbourg, by a sudden, rare common appearance of CoE's General Directors for Human Rights and Democracy, Philippe Boillat from Switzerland and Svetlana Samardjic-Markovic from Serbia, respectively, emerging from COE's Committee of Ministers while stll Discussung Together some Urgent matter, but briefly saluting and Smiling to a surprized "EuroFora", acting as a reminder of all those reciprocal links, which exist, particularly in some extremely important cases or moments in History, between certain Social situations, Human Rights and Democracy....




(NDLR :  + Fast Translation from original texts, most often in French)


("DraftNews", as already sent, earlier, to "EuroFora"s Subscrbers/Donors. A more accurate, full Final Version may be published asap).



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    EU Rapporteur on Enlargment Strategy, maistream German MEP Elmar Brok, speaking to "EuroFora", welcomed the proposal made earlier this week by French President Nicolas Sarkozy for the EU to"start Now Talks with Turkey to create a common Economic and Security area", instead of full Accession, at a period when Ankara looks more and more unfit and/or unwilling to respect EU conditions.

    - "For Europe to have strong Political will, it must stop dilutiing itself in an endless Enlargement. It must have borders...Diversities enrich, on the condition that they don't undermine European Cohesion, and don't weaken EU Unity", Sarkozy stressed.
    - "Countries like Turkey share a part of common destiny with Europe, with which they have a vocation to build a Privileged Relation, to be closely associated, but not to become Member of the EU"  : "Noone respects his friends by telling them lies. Noone respects his friends by making them promises that will be never kept", he added.

    That's why "we'd better start, from now, negotiating with Turkey to create a common Economic and Security area", Sarkozy proposed.

Significantly, the French President was repeatedly and largely applauded by EU citizens, 3 times, when he made the Turkey point, (strategically placed between Europe's "Political Will" and its cultural heritage, historically open to mutually enriching dialogue with all the World, but never diluted).

    - "We could propose such a great ambition also to Russia, which must not be percieved as an Adversary of Europe, but as a Partner. Thus, we'd create a wide area, of more than 800 Million inhabitants, sharing the same Security, the same Prosperity", he concluded.


    Sarkozy's move was anounced at the eve of a Franco-German Top meeting with Chancellor Angie Merkel in Berlin on Sunday, to jointly launch the EU Elections campain, after an EU Summit at nearby Prague, to launch a new kind of relations, called "Eastern Partnership", with neighboring countries such as Urkaine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaidjan, etc, (to which Russia, reportedly, is not - and does not want to be - included).

    As for Ukraine, which has already expressed her wish to join the EU in future, "Kiev will have a special place, and a very important role to play", replied earlier this week in Strasbourg, to an "EuroFora" question EU Chairman in office , Czech vice-Prime Minister Alexander Vodra.

    - "This direction is more Realistic for Turkey than Accession negotiations", reacted immediately EU Parliament's Rapporteur for Enlargment Strategy, mainstream German MEP Elmar Brok, commenting Sarkozy's idea for "EuroFora"

     Particularly "as far as it concerns the respect of EU Rules by both sides", he added, hinting at Turkey's now obvious inability and/or unwillingness to abide with EU Acquis, EU Commitments (fex. on Cyprus, etc), and European Democracy/Human Rights rules. (Comp. infra).

    Brok added that, in his view, a similar proposal might be made also to Ukraine and other neighbouring Countries, regardless if they have, or not, a "European vocation". This would not necessarily mean that there couldn't be any accession prospects at all." for all the countries that might be included in this area, according to Brok.  But it's preferable, particularly for Turkey, "because it's a more Realistic approach than full Membership".

    On this point, Sarkozy's proposal, (which he'll share with German Chancellor Merkel), seems more crystal-clear.


    - "Turkey does not fullfil EU Criteria, and will never fullfil EU Criteria" on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law. "Some have been lying to Ankara, but we must tell the Truth, and have honest and close relations with her", said meanwhile to "EuroFora" on the same issue also the President of EU Parliament's largest Group of MEPs (ChristianDemocrats/EPP), Joseph Daul.
"Hot" Debate at EU Parliament reveals CHANGE of mood towards "Suspension" of EU - Tukey talks.
    Earlier this week, many MEPs, and even some of those who were previously in favor of Turkey's controversial EU bid, strongly criticized the persistance and even aggravation of serious Human Rights violations in the country, that ECHR continues to "unanimously" condemn ":

      - "After winning a big victory in the latest Local Elections, the pro-Kurdish party DTP almost doubled its Elected Mayors from 52 to 98", but afterwards "more than 400 politicians were thrown to Prison and prosecuted" by the Turkish Authorities, denounced on behalf of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group, Belgian MEP Frieda Brepoels.

     At the same time, "more than 1.500 Children are closed in Turkish Prisons", she added. "What will the EU Commission do" against these facts ?

- "Turkey appears to be at greater Distance away from Copenhagen Criteria after 4 Years of accession Negotiations, than when they started !", denounced on behalf of the Liberal Group, German MEP Alexander Lambsdorf.    

"On the central issue of Press Freedom, Critical Journalists face obstacles for their accreditation, others are prosecuted, condemned, fined and/or jailed, Media blocked or closed", he denounced.   

 - "EU Made 2 grave Mistakes with Turkey : To start accession negotiations, and to continue them", despite everything, criticized Dutch MEP Bastian Belder, on behalf of the Ind/Dem group.



2009 EU Elections were won by Parties against Technocracy and Turkey's controversial EU bid, while the 1999-2004 Majority Abstention trend decelerated. What should be done in 2009-2014 ?


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