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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE/Vatican Conference for Human Rights' Universality, eve of Key UN/Geneva+ECHR-EU/Strasbourg moves

CoE/Vatican Conference for Human Rights' Universality, eve of Key UN/Geneva+ECHR-EU/Strasbourg moves

Written by ACM
Monday, 10 September 2018

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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- During a Well-Attended Symposium, in a Full Conference Room at the "Palace of Europe" in Strasbourg, an exceptional Cooperation between the PanEuropean CoE and the Vatican, on the occasion of the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights (1948-2018), focused into demonstrating how Topical is, in fact, the issue of the "Universality of Human Rights" Nowadays, at the Eve of 2 particularly Important Sessions organized in Parallel by the UNO at nearby Geneva, and by the CoE here in Strasbourg, on Monitoring several "Hot" Cases of Human Rights' Violations both in Europe and across the World.

 

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Emeritus Professor at Panthéon-Assas University, Paris II, Emmanuel Decaux, who has played an important role for the adoption of UNO's landmark International Convention on the Drama of "Missing" Persons, and still is a Key Member of the World Council on Human Rights in Geneva, reminded, inter alia, how even the Spiritual Father of the European Convention of Human Rights, René Cassin, (whose Institute is located in Strasbourg), had strived to promote the Universality of Human Rights at an International Level, being against the risk to practically restrict them, more or less, only inside Europe.

 

 
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The President of the PanEuropean Court of Human Rights, (involving 47 Member States), Guido Raimondi, observed, inter alia, that the relevant European Convention clearly Protects Any Person living in the jurisdiction of CoE's Member Countries, already from its 1st Article, and that Governments are Responsible not only inside their National Territories, but also in Other Areas which may come under their "Control". Moreover, a recently developed "Judges' Diplomacy", by bringing often Together the main Regional Human Rights Courts of Various Continents in the World, can Help to develop common Standards.

 

 

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Vatican's "Foreign Minister", Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, (who knows personally quite well Strasbourg), Warned against 3 main Challenges faced Nowadays by the Universality of Human Rights :  (1) Certain Economic Policy Views which are against Social Inclusion, (2) Claims that Multi-Culturalism might allow for Exceptions on Human Rights, and (3) Cases of States or Areas where Serious and Massive Violations of Human Rights have been Tolerated for too long.

He concluded mainly by Focusing on Pope Francis' key concept of "Integral Human Development", closely linked with the traditional Christian conception of "Human Dignity", "based on the Natural law inscribed on Human Hearts, and present in Different Cultures and Civilizations", as also his predecessor, Emeritus Pope Benedict had said during a Previous Anniversary of the International Declaration for Human Rights, at UNO's General Assembly, Back on 2008, in order to fight against Dangers of "Relativism".

Despite (or, perhaps : Because of...) an Exceptionally fertile and Timely context of Manifold on-going Developments involving "Hot" Issues of Human Rights, these Days, both inside the CoE (f.ex. : its Comittee of Ministers' supervision of the execution of ECHR's judgments next week in Strasbourg), and the UNO, (f.ex., the Beginning of the Annual Session of the World Council for Human Rights at nearby Geneva from this week), as well as in EU Parliament, (f.ex., among others, also a Controversy about the real situation in Hungary, etc, debated on Tuesday and Wednesday during this Weekly Plenary in Strasbourg, etc), surprisingly, Contrary to what had happened in the Past, when Mgr. Gallagher had visited the CoE at a Previous, Different Occasion, this Time there was No Press-Point organized.

 


Nevertheless, well-informed Vatican's sources, speaking "off the record" with "Eurofora", awknowledged the fact that a Serious Challenge for Human Rights Nowadays, having a Universal Character, are the Risks that may present eventual Abuses of Modern Genetic Technologies, particularly after the Recent, Controversial Discoveries also of "Gene Editing", whose Present and Future depend, inter alia, also from the development of Scientists' "Consciousness".

 

(../..)
 


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(NDLR : Headline PHOTO = Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher,
Secretary for Relations with States of the Holy See, and Vatican's Permanent Representative to the CoE, Msgr. Paolo Rudelli)
 
 
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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.
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    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.
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The precise Text :
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    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".

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Each MEP's vote will be registered !

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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...
 

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     (Draft due to be updated).
 
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