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Home arrow newsitems arrow Information Society CoE Director Kleisjen to EuroFora : CoE+ to act for Human Rights at the Internet

Information Society CoE Director Kleisjen to EuroFora : CoE+ to act for Human Rights at the Internet

Written by ACM
mercredi, 25 septembre 2013


*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- Shortly after a Top representative of the Armenian CoE's Ministers Presidency just warned a PanEuropean/International Multi-Stakeholders Meeting on Internet Freedom about Risks for Mass Crimes, as that of the 1st Genocide in Modern History at the eve of Turkish State's edification, less than 1 Century ago (1915-1922), facilitated then by the Telegraph, mutatis-mutandis could be committed and/or aggravated tody through the Internet, f.ex. via "Mass Surveillance", if Human Rights are not adequately protected, as recent Denunciations started to reveal provoking widespread notorious Concerns,

CoE's experienced Director for Information Society and Action against Crime, Jan Kleijsen from Austria (the forthcmin CoE Ministers' President : November 2013 - May 2014), ensured "EuroFora" that, as things evolve today, it seems certain, that, "Definitively", Strasbourg's Organisation is due to do "something" notable on the currently "Hot" issue of protecting both National Security whenever it might be really necessary, but also Internet Users' Privacy, Freedoms and elementary Human Rights.

This could be done also by adequate and efficient "Transparency", in order to "Protect Internet Freedom", via a "Dialogue" between "Multi-StakeHolders","on enhanced Cooperation", for "an Informed Decision-Making", according to the main items at the Agenda discussed by a PanEuropean/International Conference organized for 2 Days at CoE'ss Headquarters in Strasbourg (See Infra), mainly in order to suggest practical Remedies to the well known Global "Surveillance" problems, which surfaced recently, during CoE's 2012-2015 "Internet Governance Strategy", given also certain Concrete Steps, imminent at its Ministers' level, and at CoE's Parliamentary Assembly, starting Next Week, (See Infra).


While CoE's Assembly is due to debate and vote on a Resolution asking all 47 CoE's Member States to "take into account the "Global Principles on National Security and the Right to Information," adopted on 12 June 2013 by an assembly of experts from international organisations, civil society, academia and national security practitioners", the present, September 2013 CoE's PanEuropean/International Conference attracted Wider Participation also from the USA, Brazil, Mexico, New Zeland, etc., as well as from EU Commission, California-based ICANN and various other Global Internet-related NGOs, (such as "Electronic Frontier Foundation", "Privacy International", "Internet and Jurisdiction", "Internet Society", "Reporters without Borders", etc), Google, Facebook and ATT (USA), Orange (France), Yandex (Russia), and other Big Players among Communication Corporations, International NGOs, etc.


Already in the Past, the beginning of the use of a (then) "New" Technology for Communication, as was then the "Telegraph", (a technical progress in itself), was abused by the declining former Ottoman-Turc Empire, in order to commit a "Massive Crime" which resulted at the 1st Genocide of Modern History : "Even if there had already been Deadly Aggressions against Armenian People previously, then, they were more or less "Sporadic", (f.ex. around 1895, 1908, etc). But, "fom April 1915", suddenly, by using the Modern Technology that was then the Telegraph, in order to send immediately, exactly the same message to everyone involved, which was Received at the Same Moment, in various Geographic Destinations, by Many Agents of the Turkish regime, the brutal Mass Deportations and Killings which targetted Armenians and later also Greeks a.o. up to 1922 included.


The above-mentioned Stern Warning was issued by the Chair of the Concluding, key Debate on "How to Improve" the situation, a Senior Engineer from IT Foundation : - Garegin Chugaszyan, , speaking later-on to "EuroFora", flanked by a Chief Expert from the Office of Armenia's President, also warned that, moreover, for any People on Earth which has a widespread "Diaspora" accross the World, (such as Armenians : "2/3 of our People ", Jews, Greeks, Irish, Italians, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese, Arabs, Philipinos, Chinese, etc., even Americans themselves), it's also "a matter of National Security" to Protect the Privacy and Freedom of their Internet communications, without undue Surveilance/Spying and/or other illegal Interferences on them.


EU Commission's representative, Andrea Glorioso, who works with the competent for the 2020 "Digital Agenda" EU Commissioner Noelie Kroess (Comp. her Replies to "EuroFora"s Questions, December 2012 in Brussels, etc), stressed that all EU Membe States and EU Officials have now (since 2010's entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty with EU's Charter on Fundamental Freedoms), an Obligation, "a Duty" to protect Freedom on Internet, and this was naturally reminded also for all the 47 CoE's Member States (including Russia, etc), by several other participants, according to ECHR's case-law, which has recently started to be developed also in CoE's unfolding "Internet Strategy 2012-2015", accompagnied by various related CoE's Ministers' Decisions, : F.ex. on Internet's "Integrity and Openness" (2011), or on "Risks .. stemming from Digital Tracking and other Surveillance technologies" (2013), etc.

While even Big Internet Companies, like Google, etc., said that they are interested into these kind of issues, also because they are currently important in order to "Build Trust" among Users. To the point that they would be ready even to contribute Financially in such EU/CoE's activities, NGOs, etc. However, for a realy "Multi-Stake Holders'" approach , obviously, "it's not enough to take in 70 People that I know, and another 70 People that you know" : On the contrary, "we have to be aware that there will always be much more People who would like to intervene, and that's its an "On-Going Process", which includes also issues of "Legitimacy", warned in Conclusion, Ian Brown, from Oxford's Cyber Security Centre.


As it was observed during CoE's Conference by several participants that, since the recent denuciations about Global Internet Surveillance by Edwards Snowden, concerning some alleged controversial methods of USA's NSA, etc., but also probably others, a Growing series of various Internet Freedom/Safety related events/initiatives are currently undertaken or planned by many Actors, obviously, a main concluding Question was that which was clearly raised Today by the French Foreign Ministry's new "Representative for International Negotiations on Information Society and Digital Development", David Martinon, an experienced former Spokesman at the Presidential Palace Elysée (comp. several Topical Statements given in reply to "EuroFora" co-Founder's Questions then) : - "Who will do this Job ?", as he simply asked at the final debate....


The immediate Replies, (even from the otherwise very active EU Commission's representative, Antonio Glorioso, who claimed that, currently, the competent EU Directorate "doen't have the Funds" for that, as well as from the hard working Legal Director of CoE's AV "Observatory, Suzanne Nicoltchev, who declared her interest to actively contribute by collecting, interpreting and orgenizing relevant Legal Data, but also the inability to do more without adequate resources, etc), appeared, at first, rather .. reserved, given the Immensity of the Important but Huge Task lying ahead, even if most particpants agreed that the CoE, given also its current Official Mission and Experience to work for "Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law", (particularly since the 2004 Warsaw Heads of State/Government Summit : Comp. "EuroFora" co-Founders' NewsReports from Warsaw then, published at "TCWeekly" etc), as well as its long experience for International Cooperation both in the Preparation and the Scope of Application of many among its Legal Instruments, often "Open" also to Non-European Countries accross the whole World, was well placed, at least in order to collect, stimulate and help forge "Common Starndards" on the Internet, due to be negotiated and spread throughout the Globe.

But CoE's experienced and competent Director of Information Society and Action against Crime, Jan Kleisjen, speaking later Today to "EuroFora", appeared much more crystal-clear, Concrete and Optimist for the posssible role of Strasbourg's PanEuropean Organization, at least for the foreseable Future :


- Replying to an "EuroFora"s question on whether there is already now a Political Will at the CoE to start playing a Major Role on these issues, in the context of its 2011-2015 Internet Governance Strategy, adopted mainly by its Committee of Ministers after the landmark "G8" Heads of State/Government Summit at Deauville, (Comp. "EuroFora"s NewsReports from that May 2011 Summit of the 8 Biggest Countries' Heads of State/Government, particualarly related to Internet and Freedom/Democracy, etc), the experienced

Kleijsen pointed at first to the CoE's PanEuropean "Parliamentary Assembly"'s forthcoming "Report", scheduled for its Plenary Session "Next Week" in Strasbourg, which, - "I think that it will really Frame and Digg into this issue very much", as he stressed.

- In particular, he invited "EuroFora" to "remember what happened with the (previous) Marti Report, (drafted by the Swiss Liberal Senator/Attorney Dick Marty" on "Secret Detentions" (and undeclared Air Flights transporting prisoners, etc, to which was later added also another Mart'y's Investigative Report on "Missing" Persons' organs' harvesting and traffic which had reportedly targetted mainly Serbian Prisoners of certain Kosovar Albanian groups linked to a Turkish Medical Network and abroad, as it had initially been reveamed by the famous UN International Tribunal for ex-Yugoslavia's Attorney General, Carle del Ponte, who has recently made similar Findings, as key member of an UN-brokered International Investigation Committee, among some Turkey-backed Extremist Islamic Armed Groups in Syria, reported by International Media),.

- It "was meant to shed some Light on a number of things that were happening : Much of It was Denied at the time, but Admitted at a Later Stage", CoE's Senior Official reminded to "EuroFora" on this regard.

- Now, "the (forthcoming) Motion is Public" : it it's clearly about "Massive Eaves-Dropping", and "I think that we (CoE) can expect very Interesting Proposals from them" (CoE's PanEuropean Assembly's MEPs from 47 Countries), Jan Kleisjen highlighted for the foreseeable Future.

+ In particular, as it already happened also with Marty's above-mentioned Reports, which "were done in close Cooperation with the EU Parliament", and "I expect that it will be case" also now, he added.

++ Moreover, "at any case, this issue" (of "Massive EavesDropping" via the Internet), which "is already on the Agenda of (CoE's) Pariamentary Assembly" next week in Strasbourg, "will also be on the Agenda of (CoE's) Ministerial Conference in Belgrade", hosted by Serbia for CoE's Ministers of Communications "at the 7th and 8th of November" 2013, ...

=> - "So, there will be Definitively something happening there !", the experienced CoE's Senior Official ... ,

from Austria, the forthcoming President-in-office of the PanEuropean Organisation for the period, precisely, of November 2013 - May 2014.


+ Reacting to another "EuroFora"'s Question on the possibility, or not, for CoE's "Multi-StkeHolders" approach on Global Internet Governance in general, applied in such delicate issues, "to associate not only Governments, Companies, Civil Society's NGOs, perhaps enlarged also to "Technicians", or even "Internet Users" in general (f.ex. through Educational channels, etc), as some other participants suggested, but also certain Individual Persons, be it, f.ex. one or another key MP, an Engineer, a Journalist, a key User, etc., who have something important and useful to say, either in order to Denounce a negative fact, or to Suggest a Positive alternative as a Solution", etc.,, "without always going necessarily 100% Public", but using Methods f.ex. similar to those already used by several NGOs who inform CoE's Committee to Prevent Torture (CPT), the ECHR, and/or the PanEuropean Commissioner on Human Rights, etc., CoE's Senior Official appeared receptive, at least as far as WhistleBlowers are concerned :

- Indeed, "there are WhistleBlowers who go Public, but there are also (other) WhistleBlowers who want a limited, not General Public" audience, he observed.

- " I think that we should do whatever we can in order to reach People who want to share their Concerns with (European/International) Authorities" (that they can Trust). In this regard, "we (CoE) are Preparing an Instrument for WhistleBlowers", and, "in that context, it will" probably "make it clear, this sort of Detection that (CoE's) Member States may wish to exted to WhistleBlowers, and I think that in the Context of the Adoption of that, we (CoE)'ll also have a Debate on How WhistleBlowers can Best Raise their Concerns", i.e., "perhaps without necessarily going Totally Global, as it happened in this case", (of Snowden),

- Already, in this regard, the active "Polish Professor" Dr. Joanna Kulesza, from the University of Lodz, "joined by a NGO from New Zeland", "said that there is a Distinction to be made between WhistleBlowers who go Totally Public, and those who prefer to Communicate their Concerns to a Select group of People, but in order to Try to Change something", (that they find Wrong and/or Dangerous).


However, speaking earlier on CoE's decisions, Kleisjen observed, from one side, that the EHR "Increasingly uses CoE's Regulations on Intenet in order to define Freedom of Expression, f. ex. in an affair vis a vis Turkey, from last December 2012", etc. but also, from another side, that f.ex., a previous Proposal to set up a Monitoring mechanism on Fredom of Expression, supported by most CoE Member States and its Parliamentary Assembly, hadn't been finaly accepted by CoE's Committee of Ministers, because there were some opposals. So that some are thinking now about a kind of "Soft" Monitorig; which might work in practice. Because, menwhile, the Need to act adequately, becomes more and more perceptible : F.ex. various other CoE's Monitoring bodies, (such as COE's Human Rights Commissioner, the AV Observatory, CoE's Assembly, etc), even if they are not yet in a position to Monitor all CoE's Recommendations and Standards, also because of lack of Resources, neverthelees, "we find often Freedom of Expression at the Internet during our various (CoE Member) State Visits", as another CoE's Official acknowledged today.



PACE's Resolution


More Ambitious, the Draft Resolution, on "National Security and Access to Information", prepared for Next Week (Wednesday) by Spanish MEP Arcadio Diaz-Tezera, and voted Unanimously by PACE's Legal/Human Rights' Committee during this Summer, welcomes the recent adoption of "Global Principles on National Security and the Right to Information" designed to give guidance ...throughout the World (for) an appropriate Balance between public interests both in national Security and in Access to information", asks, inter alia, also an "Independent" body to review requests/refusals of Access to Information, as well as in order to exert Oversight over Security Services, with "robust powers of investigation and full access to protected information", particularly when it concerns Serious and grave Human Rights' Violations, such as "Enforced Disappearances", (etc), all this being placed, naturally, under Jucidial control accessible to affected citizens.


Belgrade's Ministerial CoE conference


+ In addition, placed under the Title "Freedom of Expression and Democracy in the Digital Age", the forthcoming CoE's Ministerial Conference at Belgrade, on November 7 and 8, and opened by the President of the Republic f Serbia, Tomislav Nikolic, together with CoE's Secretary General, Thornbjorn Jagland, and with the participation also of ICANN's President/CEO Fadi Chehade, as well as UNO's Rapporteur on freedom of opinion/expression, Franck La Rue, OSCE's Representative on Media Freedom, Dunja Mijatovic, and the PanEuropean Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks, etc., it's due, (according to its Draft Programme obtained by "EuroFora" from the competent CoE's servic, to focus from the start on "Opportunities", but also "Rights and Responsibilities" for Journalists and more "New Media Actors carrying a public watchdog function", by covering a Wide Spectrum of Classical and New Questions, such as, f.ex. :

- Access to the Internet, State Responsibilities for Guarantees of Safety against current Threats to Journalists and other Media Actors (Intimidation, Harassment, Surveillance, etc), and for Internet Freedom, its role in Democratic processes and vis a vis Social Cohesion, Creation and Innovation, but also "Pluralism, diversity and quality", as well as "Ethical and Professional Content", "Accountability" and "Self Regulation" from "Media", including how to Distinguish between "information or ideas that offend, shock or disturb", and a so-called "Hate Speeh", (according to a term that "EuroFora" initially read aming the usual pretets routinely invoked by the Turkish regime in attempts to excuse a notoriously brutal Oppression of Freedom of Speech, already since the early 1990ies, i.e. long before it was pushed, later-on, inside CoE's "official" vocabulary, hopefuly in a Clear and Positive way, given obvious Risks in case of possible Confusion which, otherwise, might, eventually, blur the borderlines in real practice)...


Meanwhile, another interesting point, related to Internet's Global and specific structure, is that the CoE has already stressed Member States' Duty to Protect Human Rights at the Internet also vis a vis Other, "Non-State Actors", while, currently, the Legal Committee of its PanEuropean Parliamentary Assembly is, in addition, drafting a Report extending, for the first time explicitly, also to various "International Organisations' Responsibilities" vis a vis eventual Violations of Human Rights.


As for Internet Users, widely speaking, the young CoE's Head of Internet Governance Unit, Lee Hibbard, confirmed to "EuroFora" that a pedagogical, comprehensive and crystal-clear "Compendium" on Web Users' Rights and Obligations, cureently under preparation, is due to be transmitted to the PanEuropean Organization's Comittee of Ministers for final Publication and Distribution "towards the End of this Year (2013), or at the Beginning of 2014".



(NDLR : "DraftNews", as already sent, earlier, to "EuroFora"s Subsrcibers/Donors. A more accurate and full Final Version might be published asap).



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    An "Eugenic" loophole Amendment, which might expose to Dangers reminiscent of "3rd Reich's" notorious Genetic Abuses, hidden at the last minute inside an otherwise Good, larger Health policy Package scheduled to be voted on Thursday, was strongly denounced by a coalition of MEPs from various Political Groups and Countries, in a Press Conference held this afternoon at EU Parliament in Strasbourg.

    Mainly calling to "Select Human Embryos", via "Genetic Counselling" and "pre-implantation" Techniques including "Genetic Tests", in order to "Eradicate Hereditary rare Diseases", it might open ways to Dangerous Practices in Future, they denounced in substance.

    But they also made it clear that a much larger Report inside which this Controversial Amendment "No 15" was added in dubious circumstances, officialy destinated to struggle against "Rare Diseases", and drafted by Professor Antonios Trakatellis, was otherwise "an Excellent Report", aiming at a "completely Uncontroversial target" of Health policy on which "all MEPs and Experts are united, believing that Europe should act" to protect People's Health (See "EuroFora"'s earlier News).

    The controversy came at a particularly delicate moment for the EU in relation to Citizens, at the eve of June 2009 EU Elections, and shortly before Ireland re-votes for "Lisbon Treaty"..    

- Denouncing risks of "an Eugenic demand, very similar to what we had during the 3rd Reich in Germany, but now coming from some Scientisists themselves", German ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Dr. Peter Liese stressed that critical MEPs were against "Eugenic" engineering with "Selection of Human Embryos", and anything which might ultimately lead up to to a "Selection of Human Race". It doesn't help to "eradicate" Human Lives, he added.

    Several Experts and NGOs expressed "Deep Concern", as f;ex. DR M.C. Cornel of the "European Society of Human Genetics", which stressed, on this occasion, that "the importance of Non-Directiveness in Reproductive issues is a Central characteristic of Human Genetics, after the Atrocities committed in the name of Genetics in the first half or the 20th Century".

     - "This is completely Unacceptable", stressed Italian Liberal MEP Vittorio Prodi, on the Controversial Amendment, also because pushes to "eliminate early Human Life", as he noted.

     - "This opens a Dangerous Road, rather a Motorway", denounced Danish MEP Mrs Margrette Auken, from the "Greens", observing that various similar attempts were made in the Past "not only in Germany, but also in several other Countries, "even at the 1970ies", "f.ex. on forced Sterilisation of Roma" People, and other criticisable situations f.ex. in the UK, in Sweden, etc. as she said.

    + Other NGOs, as f.ex. "LebenHilfe" from Berlin, added that, among various other Risks, could also be that, by exploiting the pre-implantation Genetic Diagnostics and the Selection of "healthy" Embryos, some may "propagate" several "Eugenic" aims, starting f.ex. by pushing to eradicate Human Livies which might "Cost too much" to preserve, ultimately exposing to dangers reminiscent of the "3rd Reich"'s atrocious abuses.

    In consequence, ChristianDemocrats/EPP and "Green" MEPs "decided by Majority to vote against" this Controversial Amendment, anounced to Journalists the 5 MEPs who participated in the Press Conference, representing a wide spectrum, from Liberals to "Greens" and ChristianDemocrats, and from Hungary, Italy, Germany and Danemark up to Ireland (Gay Mitchell), etc.
    Hungarian ChristianDemocrat MEP Laszlo Surjan said "that it was "Suddenly, at the End of the Procedure" in Committee, that "appeared this (Controversial) Amendment, which has nothing to do" with the main purpose of the Report, on which all agreed.

    He denounced an "Unhonest" move, and called to "avoid this kind of unacceptable situations". Nobody should "Select People", Surjan stressed.

    - "We (MEPs) had No Chance to Discuss" this last-minute Amendment earlier added at a Committee's level, said German MEP Peter Liese

    Speaking to "EuroFora", Dr. Liese, the Spokesman of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group in EU Parliament, said that MEPs didn't oppose other references of the Report f.ex. on "Genetic Tests", because they were "no proposals" to impose them, while, on the contrary, there was "a Problem" if anyone attempted to "impose" f.ex. this or that Genetic Technique and "Genetic Counselling", etc. to the People on human reproduction.
The precise Text :
    Controversial parts of Amendment No 15 ask mainly "to lead finally to the Eradication" of "Hereditary" "rare diseases", "through Genetic Counselling .., and ..pre-Implantation Selection of healthy Embryos".

    But  EU Rapporteur Professor Trakatellis, said to "EuroFora" that fears should be alleviated by Guarantees that all this should be done only "where appropriate", when it's "not contrary to existing National Law", and "always on a Voluntary basis", according to other Parts of the Amendment.

    He stressed that the main aim was to allow "a free and informed choice of persons involved", without imposing them anything :  - "It's not an obligatory, but advisary" text, he said.

    To make that point clear, he was ready, in agreement with many MEPs, to eventually drop at least that part of the controversial Amendment which initially called for "efforts to ..lead finally to the Eradication of those rare diseases" "which are Hereditary".

    But, until late Wednesday evening, reportedly together with many other MEPs, he stood by all the rest of the controversial Amendment, (fex. on the "Genetic Counselling" and the "pre-implantation Selection of healthy Embryos"), so that critical MEPs, going from ChristianDemocrats as Dr. Liese, to "Greens" or "Ind/Dem", observed to "EuroFora" that "this was not enough" to close the dangerous loophole.

    Particularly since, as Professor Trakatellis noted himself, "this is already allowed to the U.K.", and "other National Legislations would probably follow, sooner or later" in a similar direction. As for a general call to "Eradicate Hereditary rare Diseases", this "should happen, at any case, in practice, de facto", to protect public Health.

    On the contrary, "our goal should be to help patients suffering from rare diseases, not to eradicate the patients. In case of genetic disease risk, the decision should not be guided by scenarios" made by politicians. "Perents who may decide to accept a child, even if handicapped or with genetic disease, must be respected and supported with solidarity", critical MEPs stated.

    - "Any Pressure" to "a patient or couple (who "should be able to make an informed choice consistent with their own values"),"from health Professionals, Public Health Policies or Governemental Institutions, or Society at large, should be avoided", stresses the "European Society for Human Genetics".


Each MEP's vote will be registered !


The Socialist Group requested a "Split vote" on the Amendment 15, first without, and afterwards with the words "lead finally to the Eradication" etc.

    But the first "split vote" leaves intact all the other parts of the Controversial Amendment, (i.e. "Genetic Counselling", "Selection of healthy Embryos", etc).

    That's why, 3 Groups of MEPs : ChristianDemocrats/EPP, "Greens/EFA", and "Ind/Dem", have asked for "Roll Call Votes", on everything regarding the Controversial Amendment No 15, and on the final outcome of the resulting Report as amended, which will register all the individual positions to be taken by each MEP.   

Something which will obviously make each MEP think twice before voting for one or another choice, to be sure that he/she will make the right choice in front of EU Citizens, particularly at these pre-Election times...

    Crucial Votes were scheduled between 12 Noon and 1 p.m. local Strasbourg time, in the middle of a long series of various other Reports, and after a long Public Debate on the larger Health policy package, from 9 to 11.50 am.

    The specific Report inside which was hidden the controversial Amendment is due to be debated between 11 and 12 am.

    So that more last-minute Surprises may not be excluded a priori...

    Particularly at the present Historic moment, when even the Institutional Future of the EU depends on the result of a second Referendum on "Lisbon Treaty", later this year, in ...Ireland, a mainly Catholic country, where People are particularly sensitive in such kind of socio-cultural and values issues...

     (Draft due to be updated).


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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