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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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Swedish Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt, speaking  to "EuroFora", denied rumors on Turkey's attempts to avoid an EU check of its obligations on Cyprus on December 2009 by blackmailing Nicosia to either accept any deal with intransigeant Turkish claims contrary to EU values on the island's political issue, or face threats against the territorial integriy of the EU island, semi-occupied by Ankara's army.

On the contrary, the incoming EU President-in-office, speaking exclusively to "EuroFora", promissed that he will act for EU Council's decisions on December 2009 assessment of Turkey's commitments on Cyprus to be kept.


    Bildt was asked to react to Cyprus' President Christofias' denunciation, earlier this week, that some want to exert "pressure" on Cyprus in order for Turkey to escape from its obligations.

    Avoiding to mention any precise Deadline, Bildt, however, warned about "Consequences" in case of "failure" to reunite Cyprus, but without saying whose responsibility an eventual deadlock might be.  

 Asked by "EuroFora" if there is a risk for "Turkey's commitments to "be forgotten or downgraded", "despite crystal-clear EU Council decisions and EU Parliament's latest Resolution on the assessment to make at the end of this year on Turkey's obligations", according to rumours that, instead of pressing Turkey, on the contrary, there might be "pressure on Cyprus", even "blackmail", as Media reported and President Christofias denounced this week, Bildt denied :

- "No ! ", he clearly replied.


- On the contrary, invited by "EuroFora", to "reassure that the Swedish EU Presidency (7-12/2009) will keep a fair stance, based on principles",  Bildt promised that "we (Swedish EU Presidency) will be very clear on all of the decisions taken by the (EU) Council".

He added, however, that "we have very numerous decisions that have been taken" by EU Council, as if he warned, also, on something else.

- "'I am not aware of any sort of statements coming out today''", Bildt started to say, on our reference to Cyprus' President Christofias" denunciation of Turkish lobby's manoeuvers this week, replying earlier to 'another"EuroFora"'s question during a Press Conference at EU Parliament in Strasbourg.


 - '"I know the issues that you' are concerned with'", he added, remembering  the statements he gave us when Sweden was chairing the PanEuropean CoE on 2008.

- "But, obviously, .. I think that Cyprus' Peace negotiations are extremenly important".

- And "'I think that we are at a unique moment in History, in the sens that both (Cyprus') President Christofias and Mr. Talat (the Turkish Cypriot leader), are personally convinced of the need to overcome the division".

 - "It's 20 Years since the fall of Berlin Wal, but we still have a Capital in Europe (Nicosia) that's divided". ,

- 'I don't that we should loose any time in overcoming that"..

 - ''We should be aware of the fact that success will bring great benefits, but failure, will also have major consequences. There will not be Status Quo' " It's a question of seeking a solution, or entering another situation, which is somewhat difficult to see exactly how that could evolve", he warned.

- "That being said, this is a negotiation for Cyprus itself", Bildt admitted.

 - ''We (EU) can support, the (EU) Commission primarily, be technically helpful, and then, of course, there is a specific role for the UN, when it comes to the Cyprus' situation".  

- "At least so far. It might not be for ever'. Certainly not for ever, but for this period of time", Bildt added, skiping now any reference to concrete threats on UNO's Peace keeping force in face of more than 40.000 Ankara's soldiers, contrary to some Press claims, (See previous NewsReports).


     Replying to another "EuroFora"'s Question,  if anyone might attempt to "impose a Deadline for the conclusion" of Cyprus' Talks on December 2009, Bildt avoided to speak of any precise Time-frame, and indirectly evoked the fact that  35 Years of Turkish Invasion/Occupation obviously durated too long :

'- "If I was from Cyprus, I would say that the Deadline was Yesterday ! '",
Bildt concluded.

Cyprus' Government Spokesman, Stephanou, reportedly pointed out that "a settlement is possible on December if Turkey changes its stance", accepting a solution for the reunification of the island based on UNO resolutiona and EU principles.

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Earlier, EU Chair, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeld, highlighted an "historic opportunity" to "re-Unite" Cyprus according to EU's "basic Values"' (i.e. Human Rights) and 'Rules'", in a last-minute change of his draft speech to EU Parliament in Strasbourg.

    The initial Draft spoke only about "healing" the island.

    Significantly, Reinfeldt linked Cyprus' reunification with Turkey's obligations to respect EU's "Values" and "follow" EU's "common Rules" :

    - What is "called Membership Negotiations" should lead, "at- the end of the day", into "sharing a set of common Basic Values (i.e. Human Rights, Democracy, etc), and following common Rules", stressed Reinfeld from the outset.
    
    - "This is something that those on the Outside (of the EU), are now  contemplating", up "to Ankara", for "a solution" on "Cyprus", observed the EU Chairman, immediately afterwards..  

    - "Both sides of Cyprus have been granted a historic opportunity to together reach an agreement on a solution to re-Unite the island, that has been divided for far too long", said Reinfeldt, modifying his draft text.


-  "The Swedish Presidency will act ...in accordance with Commitments EU has made, on the basis of Criteria that apply", "as a Honest Broker", he promised.    

- "To those on the inside (of the EU), allowing the membership process to become an opportunity to solve protracted disputes, can be tempting", he added.


    "In such cases, we must find solutions that can benefit both sides, and open up a way forward. Otherwise, it would jeopardize the progress we have made towards EU integration", Reinfeldt said.

***

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