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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE new Chairman, Minister Samuelsen - Danish Presidency to EF+ on big moves on Human Rights in 2018

CoE new Chairman, Minister Samuelsen - Danish Presidency to EF+ on big moves on Human Rights in 2018

Written by ACM
Wednesday, 15 November 2017

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*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/- Saluting with a Smile "Eurofora" and other participants to various CoE's Meetings Today, just after Taking over Officially the Presidency of the 47 Member States strong, PanEuropean Organisation for Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law, during the period of November 2017 - May 2018 included, Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen, (at the Same Time Radian, as all the Danish Presidency's Diplomatic Team, here in Strasbourg, also because of the Coincidence with an UnExpected, landmark Win, 5 to 1, of the Danish National Team of Football, even while playing inside Ireland, Guaranteeing the Qualification for the "Mundial's" Finals, Later this Year, in Russia), has just Wowed to Fight for Fundamental Human Rights, while also Ambitionning to Re-Launch a Far-Reaching New Reform of the ECHR, at the Eve of a forthcoming CoE's New Summit on 2019, (See Infra).


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           - Samuelsen "Ensure(d) that we (Danish 2017-2018 Presidency) will do our Best to Assist the CoE in Serving its Founding Values, and to Preserve and Protect the Fundamental Values on which the CoE is Build".


    - Informed by "Eurofora" about EU Parliament President, Antonio Tajani's, Readiness to Cooperate also with the CoE, as he told us Yesterday, for a European/International Monitoring of the necessary Investigation in order to Find and Punish the Killers and Instigators of Investigative Web Journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was recently Brutally Murdered by the Explosion of a Bomb in her Car at Malta, Triggering a Growing Series of EU/CoE's  Leaders' vibrant Condemnations, after also a Hot MEP's Debate, (See, f.ex. : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/euparliamentpresidentoncoeandjournalistmurder.htm l +
http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/wejournalistmurder.html ), Samuelsen Heard Carefully, appeared to Start Considering that, Thoughtfull, and asked to give More Concrete Details on this affair also to the Diplomats of the Permanent Danish Delegation to the CoE in Strasbourg, as it was done.


     - "Freedom of Expression" (which includes Press Freedom), is cited as Number 1 among several "Fundamental Freedoms", of which, Danish feel to be "strong and committed defenders", according to the New CoE Presidency's Program for the Period of 11/2017-5/2018, that Samuelsen presented, Earlier Today, to CoE's Committee of Ministers.      

   

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    + On this occasion, the incoming Danish Presidency of the CoE, apparently Intends also to Re-Launch on 2018, as well as Add to the process of ECHR's Reform, which had Previously Started, initially from 2010 at a Miisterial Conference on ECHR at Interlaken (Switzerland : See "Eurofora"s NewsReports from the spot, among others, also, f.ex.: ..., + ..., etc), followed by Izmir (Turkey) on 2011, Brighton (UK) on 2012, up to Brussels (Belgium) on 2015.


    Indeed, already Interlaken had Adopted an overall Timetable Plan, according to which, CoE should Examine and Decide, Before 2019, (which coincides with a French Presidency of the CoE), whether the achieved ECHR's Reforms were Satisfactory and Sufficient, or if it might Need to Advance even Further, Towards New, Additional Targets to reach.


    Considering also the Fact that a New, PanEuropean COE's Summit of 47 Heads of States/Governments, is currently Expected for about 2019, (as the Incoming Danish ensured Today "Eurofora", saying that they consider such a Summit, now,very Probable), then, it's Natural to have Formed a Clear Understanding on the State of Play of the Overall Situation of the ECHR's actual functioning at least on 2018, (i.e. , just 1 Year Earlier)...

 

    => Thus, a Key Importance is attributed to a Top Legal CoE "Experts Conference", organized Next Week at Kokkedal (a City Near Copenhagen : distant only 20 minutes), on 22-24 November 2017, Symbolically entitled "2019 and Beyond : Taking Stock, and Moving Forward, from the Interlaken process" :


    >>> Indeed, as the Danish Presidency of the CoE told "Eurofora", "according to the Results" of that, Inter-Governemental Legal Experts' Conference, CoE is due to Decide whether, and how, an eventual "Political Declaration" on Reforming, may be even Further, the PanEuropean Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights, will, or not, be Taken during a Subsequent, "Ministerial" Meeting, scheduled in Denmark for April 2018, (i.e., Near the Eve of the 2019 CoE Summit : Comp. Supra).


    + In Fact, a main Intention of the incoming Danish CoE Presidency, (which had taken, Previously, the Precaution to Prepare its Draft Proposals on ECHR's reforms, already from the Beginning of 2016, and with several Visits and Contacts in Countries such as the UK, but also Germany etc), appears Twofold :


- Not Only "Take Stock" of the Progress achieved, concerning the Objectives which had been Fixed at     Interlaken (2010 : Comp. Supra);


+ but Also, to Consider eventual "Further Reforms" of the ECHR, related to "Chalenges" of "the Future", and/or the "Vision of an ECHR" Focused on "Serious and Widespread Violations, Systemic and Structural Problems, and on Important Issues concerning the Interpretation and Application" (by the ECHR) of the PanEuropean "Convention" on Human Rights. (In that case, due Attention should be taken to sufficiently Saveguard also the Individual Right for Application to ECHR against Violations of Human Rights, as many NGO's have already observed in the Past). As well as to "ensure Support" for it, while "Populations and Decision-Makers are Increasingly Questioning the Authority of the Convention System", (as the Danish Presidency notes in its Draft Program).

 

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    - Indeed, as the Outgoing, former CoE's rotating Chairman, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek, (Comp., among his Replies to "Eurofora"s Questions also : ...., etc), in his Concluding Speech in Strasbourg, Earlier Today, stressed, inter alia, also the Fact that Recent Islamist "Terrorist Attacks and (UnPrecedented, sudden) Mass Migration", (particularly of that kind that was notoriously Selected and Smuggled into Europe by Turkish a.o. Traffickers since 2015-2016), have "Seriously Affected and Divided the European People" nowadays, as he Warned.


    Indeed, in such an Exceptional Context, it's obviously Easy to Guess, that, at least some, among ECHR's case-law Recent Extensive applications, might, eventually, appear as more or less excessive, Controversial, or even, perhaps, unjustified, at least to some People and/or Politicians in Europe nowdays, to the point that it might even provoke Sceptisicm, Negative reactions and/or loss of Trust, which could enDanger Core Human Rights, (particularly if such Problems might be Exploited by some Oppressive Groups and/or States) : As, f.ex., matters of Life or Death, Freedom or Slavery, Torture and Inhuman/Degrading Treatment (a "Classic" Priority of Danish CoE Presidencies, both in 2017/2018, as also more than 20 Years Ago, in the Past), Freedom of Expression, Family Life, Fair Trial, Private Property, Right to participate in Democratic Elections, and even some Elementary, Basic Social Rights of Vital Importance for People in real Need, etc.


    Even if this might Not concern particularly the current Danish CoE's Presidency, nevertheless, f.ex., Many Perople find very Controversial the Fact that some inside the ECHR have notoriously "Interpreted" recently the PanEuropean Convention's Article 12, on the "Right to Marry", in a so Extensive way, that, Instead of Focusing on Natural Couples of "Men and Women", as that Convention's Text Reads, (i.e. on Natural Marriage, generally able to give Natural Births), on the Contrary, they have Totally Ignored the Explicit Text of the Convention, (i.e. Silently Abrogated it !), and Allowed to Extend its application also Betwen Gays or Lesbians, including Submission of Children to the Power of Homosexual Couples under Pretext of "Adoption", and even went on as far as to Endorse Prosecutions, Threats, and Oppression of Liberties (including Financial a.o. Sanctions, Dismissals, Jailings/Imprisonments, etc) against Civil Servants a.o. who mightt try to express their Opposed Social and/or Religious Beliefs, trampled underfeet, (See, f.ex., several Cases in France, the USA, etc).


    => Therefore,  "Dialogue", particularly between COE's Commitee of Ministers (eventualy, even Civil Society, etx) and ECHR, about some "Interpretations" that EuroJudges use to give to the Original Text of the PanEuropean Convention for Human Rights, through the Developments of their Case-Law, is at the Forefront of this 2017-2018 Danish Presidency's priorities.


    - But, at the same time, the "Independence" of ECHR must be Saveguarded, the Dabish Presidency's paper admits.       


+ Last, but not least, "Third Party Interventions" in Cases pending at the ECHR, also by various Other Countries which might be Affected, in one way or another, by a Solution which could be given at an affair, may also come at the forefront of eventual ECHR Reforms, going Beyond the Interlaken process, Danish CoE Presidency sources told "Eurofora".


In the Past, Scandinavian Countries, including Denmark, had taken such an  Active Role in front of the ECHR mainly in order to Denounce some Exceptionaly Serious Violations of Human Rights, in cases such as Turkey, or the 7 Years period of the Colonels in Greece, etc.


The Last such Danish move was related to Torture cases inside Turkey, and, by a coincidence, had been close to the Previous Danish Presidency of the CoE from Strasbourg, Back more than 20 Years ago.


Nowadays, however, Samuelsen has, Recently, strongly Denounced as "UnAcceptable" the setting-up of a Systematic Spying Mechanism over European Citizens inside Europe itself, (through Turkish Consulates, and/or some "Imams" in Mosques controlled by the Turkish Government, special Phone Numbers for Delation, etc, as the relevant Scandals revealed in 2017 at Nearby Germany), in order to Inform a Foreign Government as Turkey, about Political Critics and Dissidents Opposed to Ankara's Controversial and notoriously Oppressive Policies. And he had Warned that, such an eventual activity would be considered as a Criminal Offense.


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    + On the Contrary, just after being Welcomed, meanwhile, Together with CoE's Secretary General, Thornbjorn Jagland, by the Head of Strasbourg City's European/International affairs service, the young Rafik Elmrini-Nawel, Samuelsen praised "Strasbourg" for being "not only a European City, but also a City of Europeans, Open and Inclusive, with Hospitality, which makes it a Perfect Home for both the CoE and EU Parliament", where "I was a Regular Guest, in my time as (former) MEP", until just a Few Years ago, and "it made a Big Impression on me. It's Hard to Imagine a Better basis for the task to Protect Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law", he stressed.

 

 

(../..)

 

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    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.

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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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