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Home arrow newsitems arrow French JHA Minister Collomb to "EF": Ecumenic Religious Dialogue can help Build Europe + Humanity

French JHA Minister Collomb to "EF": Ecumenic Religious Dialogue can help Build Europe + Humanity

Автор ACM
Friday, 27 October 2017
 
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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- It's by Continuous Dialogue also in Ecumenic, Religious aspects, that People can help Build a Strong European Society and even the Future of Humanity, nowadays, stressed in Reply to an "Eurofora" Question the experienced  French Top Minister of the Interior, responsible also for Religious affairs, Gerard Collomb, one of the closest supporters of new French President Emmanuel Macron,  (See also Infra).

 

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Gerard Collomb said that inside the CoE, just After a Joint appearance here, Together with the German President of the Bundestag (National Parliament), Wolfgang Schäuble, for the official Opening of a 3 Days-long Public Gathering of Protestants from all over France in Strasbourg, (as also in the Past : Comp., f.ex.: ...), giving such a reply to our relevant question, raised during an official Press-point.

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      Meanwhile, Collomb and Schäuble had been Welcomed here by former CoE Assembly's President, Luxembourg's MEP Anne Brasseur, and Strasbourg City's Mayor Ries, as well as EU Parliament's Anti-Terrorism Committee President, MEP Nathalie Griesberk, from nearby Lorraine, for a Ceremony which included playing the European Anthem.

 

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 - "Eurofora" had pointed at a Collomb's reference to Ecumenism, earlier Today at his formal Speech, and asked him about the Role that be believes it might play, Nowadays, particularly in Europe's Future edification.  

 

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 - "Yes, certainly, it (Ecumenism) is Important !", for that too, he Positively Replied immediately to "Eurofora"s Question, from the outset.


 - Especially "for the People to manage to have a Dialogue between them through their various Religions" too, Collomb specified.


- F.ex., personally, "I come from a City (Lyon, near Geneva) with a Strong Ecumenism, and where a Dialogue exists between (not only Christian) Catholics and Protestants, (but also) Jewish and Muslims", he reminded.


Gerard Collomb has been, indeed, the Long-Time Mayor of nearby Lyon City, located close to the Franco-Swiss Borders, (near International UNO's PanEuropean Headquarters at Geneva), almost as Strasbourg is located near the Franco-German Borders, which Both facilitate a greater proximity and even interaction between Catholic and Protestant Christians, and well beyond, while CoE's PanEuropean Headquarters, here, obviously evoke also Orthodox Christians (from Russia, Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, a.o. up to Finland, etc), added to Jewish (Historically spread almost Everywhere), and even Muslim people (f.ex. in Albania, part of Bosnia, extended to Turkey), recently also Budhist, etc.


 - "And I think that this is very Good, because that helps Build a Society, and strenghen its Foundations", he Replied, at least as far as "Eurofora"s initial Question on Europe was concerned as such.


+ But, moreover, "it's in such a Continuous Dialogue" that we can also help into "Building the Future of Humanity", Collomb went on to add furthermore, with an interesting and timely conclusion, towards a Wider and even more Fundamental Horizon

 

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>>> By his Last, Key Observation, indeed, Gerard Collomb obviously went well Beyond Europe alone, viewing it Today right at the Center of a World-wide Debate on the Present and the Future of all Humankind...  I.e. a Topical Viewpoint of Fundamental Importance Nowadays, when even Basic Human Values face, almost Simultaneously, he Different but Parallel big Challenges of Deadly Islamist Terrorism brutally targetting innocent Civilian People, from one side, and Fastly Growing New Bio-Technologies, bringing Both Hopes and UnPrecedented Dangers for all Humankind, including Genetics up to Brain, etc., from another side, (Comp. f.ex.: ...).


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    - Noting, Earlier at his official Speech in COE's Hemicycle, the "Major Upheavals" that "European Societies" Face Today, inter alia also by "Terrorist threats, Economic Crisis' remnants, Mass Migration", Political/Mediatic "Manipulations", Radicalisation trends, etc, he, had already Pointed Towards the "Educated Citizen" with a "Critical Mindset" and "Freedom of Conscience," of "the Enlightnment" era, "Inspired" also by the Historic Movement of Original "Protestantism", but also its more Recent contribution towards "promoting a profound Ecumenism at a European level", as he said.


    - Thus, Pleading, Nowadays, for "a Secularism of Freedom", "able to Recognize the Contribution of Various Spiritual Movements in Building our Civilisation", the French JHA Minister Welcomed also "a Tradition of opening to Ecumenism and Inter-Religious Dialogue", "which could  make Precious" contributions Today, (Comp. Supra).


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A Similar View, about a possible and nowadays more necessary than ever, Contribution of Inter-Religious Dialogue for the eventual construction of a Basic set of common Ethical Values, is shared also (as he had personally confirmed to "Eurofora" earlier : See ...) by EU Parliament's new President Antonio Tajani, who has notoriously Invited New French President Emmanuel Macron to visit and Debate with MEPs asap. in Strasbourg, where he is now expected to make an Important speech Next Week, precisely at the European Court of Human Rights.

 

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SCHÄUBLE :
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    - Meanwhile, New President of the German Parliament, Wolfgang Schäuble, the Longest serving elected MP, Many times Top Minister of Interior, Finances, etc.,

who had just Succeeded, Earlier this Week in Berlin, to make the 709 Members-Wide Assembly, (that has just started, after the September 2017 Election, with the Most Diverse Political Composition and the Biggest Contradictions in Modern Germany's History, since the Adenauer's era during the 1950ies, Spreading from "Linke'"s Leftists to "AfD"'s Rightists, etc), astonishingly Applaud him several Times quasi-Unanimously, particularly when he spoke about the "Necessary "Diversity", "Respect" due to each other's Opinions, "Pluralism" and even "Controversy", as well as "Co-Existence", "Basic Consensus", and "Majority" rule, in a "Democracy" with a "Rule of Law" providing for "Human Rights" and other "Checks and Balances", inside a "United Europe",

didn't shy away from finding a Similar Inspiration also on the occasion of "Protestantism"'s most useful Values Today :

 

schuble_speech_at_the_coe_eurofora_400
 

    - Indeed, Schäuble stressed, in his Official Speech (in French) at CoE's Hemicycle, Today, that "within a Unified Europe", we need Both a "Pluralism in Civil Society", as well as to "Negotiate" Political "Compromises" in order to "Find Just European Solutions", as he said.

 
    => Therefore, Reminding Martin Bucer's Theological work in the History of Strasbourg, "from where was "launched the 1st Ecumenic impulse", Schäuble added that we also "Need actively Committed (EU) Citizens Nowadays" on 2017, as the original "Commitment of Protestants" Christian People, 500 Years ago, Concluding among laud applause.


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    + It's also a Fact that, Luther, notoriously, had not really intended to establish a Separate Church, initially, but rather to Change, Reform the then existing Church, (comp. "Reform" denomination, etc), by Protesting against what he strongly felt to be Deviations, then, (many among which were, indeed, criticized and droped, afterwards, even inside the Catholic Church, through its own History's further developments). => This is a reason more for Christian Ecumenism Nowadays.


         ++ Moreover, by a Coincidence, almost at the Same Time, also here at the CoE, in Strasbourg, at least two separate, but successive, Public Events, raised Similar Topical Issues :

 
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- The Sudden Death of the experienced Ambassador of San Marino to the CoE, Guido Bellatti Ceccoli, mourned at two successive Ceremonies by almost All CoE's Leadership, earlier this Week in Strasbourg, timely Reminded that the Sympathetic Multilateral Diplomat, who had served Both at the CoE in Strasbourg, and at the UNO at nearby Geneva, had consistently pursued also an Agenda of Inter-Religious Dialogue, during almost a Decade (2008-2017). This gave an Opportunity to informally discuss, with certain participants, also "Eurofora"s suggestion, Last Year, to eventually Search to Find at least some Basic Elements for a kind of Elementary "common Human Ethical Values", supported by almost All main Religions, (that some compared, mutatis-mutandis, also with a notorious Attempt by Controversial but Interesting Philosopher/Theologian Kuhn, etc).


    - "Eurofora", who had Met Guido Ceccoli just 2 Weeks Ago, during CoE's Parliamentary Assembly's (PACE) Plenary Autumn Session, had Discussed with him about a Topical issue on Russia, (instead of Human Rights, etc., as in the Past), because of an Exceptional PACE - CoE's Committee of Ministers' meeting, which had Tried to Start Searching a Solution on the Problems raised by Moscow's Refusal to Pay its full Financial Contribution to the CoE, as long as Russian MEPs would be still Threatened to be Deprived from their Elementary Voting and Participation Rights, as a "Sanction" for the Controversial Ukranian conflict. Both for Legal and Practical Reasons, an eventual Deal had to be brokered before the 22th of January 2018, so that Time was Short...


      - Already, several Years Ago, at Italy's Brixen-Bressanone (South Tyrol), Pope Emeritus Benedict had Launched a Dramatic Appeal to EU Leadership, Calling them to Urgently Act in order to Stop a Violent Clash between the attacking Tbilisi's National Army and South Ossetia, a Georgian pro-Autonomy Region which had asked help from neighbouring Russia, back on August 2008, to the point that "tragic events"  had "caused many innocent victims and obliged a great number of civilians to leave their homes", so that, in order to "Avoid to cause more, and Worse Sufferings to the Population", "Military actions" should "Immediately Stop",  and "Initiatives" for a "peaceful and sustainable solution" should "resolutely take, the road of negotiation and dialogue", "in the name of the common Christian Heritage" of "All Christians", as he had stressed, (See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/irish/benepeace.html ). This was, Immediately done, in a Few Hours, thanks to a Fast-Track Diplomacy by then EU Chair, French President Sarkozy, who visited Both Moscow and Tbilisi, brokering a Peace Deal between the Russian and Georgian Presidents, Later that Same Day.


    ++ A Similar Appeal was Later Launched also by the current Pope Francis, on Summer 2014, Urging to Stop Deadly Clashes in Ukraine, between Kiev's New Government and Donetsk-Luhansk pro-Autonomy Regions, which were mainly Killing a lot of Civilian People at the latter area : He called for "Dialogue" and "Reconciliation" among "all parties involved", and this was, at least Partly, done, after a Ministerial meeting on September 2014 and a Heads of State Summit, between French, German, Ukranian and Russian Leaders, in liaison with the Autonomist Regions, on February 2015, (See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/christiansonukraineviacoe.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/fulltextsofallukraineagreements.html ).


    +++ Mutatis-Mutandis, in a Less Tragic Context, an Artistic Exhibition organized by Moldova, earlier this week at the CoE in Strasbourg, pointed Well Beyond a simple "Inter-Cultural Dialogue", towards "Universal Emotional Feelings", as CoE's Deputy Secretary General, Gabriela Battaini-Dragoni observed at her Speech in the Inauguration of that Event, officially Named "Cultural Connexions"...


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    - Last, but not least, Later Today, President of French Protestants' Federation, Pastor Clavairoly, speaking to "Eurofora", stressed that, indeed, by Inviting Both Gerard Collomb and Wolfgang Schäuble, "we Wanted to underline the European Dimension, and Not Only French, of the Reform's 500th Anniversary" (1517-2017).

 

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    - For that purpose, "the presence of the French JHA Minister and the German Parliament's President (Comp. Supra), illustrates, indeed, the significance of the (Protestant) Reform, Both from the European and Political, as well as Civilisation's points of view", President Clavairoly told us. This includes "Protestantism's Commitments on receiving Refugees, on Ecology, Democracy, Citizens' involvement, etc", he highlighted in concreto, (Comp. Supra).

 

(../..)


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***


(NDLR : Fast Translation from the Original in French)

+


("DraftNews", as already send to "Eurofora"s Subscribers/Donors, earlier. A more accurate, full Final Version, might be Published asap).


***



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People in Europe and the World expect from CoE to make a succes of its "Monitoring" for Human Rights and Democracy, despite difficulties, said Finland's President Tarja Halonen to "EuroFora" at a crucial moment for the mecanism built 15 years ago by the paneuropean organization which celebrates its 60th Anniversary in 2009.

Halonen, known as "Mother" of CoE's "Monitoring" mecanism, a long-time MEP and former Foreign Minister before becoming Finland's President, holds a long experience in the mattter, after also serving twice as CoE and EU Chairwoman in the past. That's why she is well placed to judge how CoE's "monitoring" should deal today with some crucial issues of importance both to CoE and to the EU.

The move came just a Month before a crucial, last visit to Turkey, scheduled for June, by the President of CoE''s "Monitoring" Committee, Ukranian MEP Serge Holovaty, to finalize his Report on Ankara, the CoE Member State with the longest Monitoring procedure. From its results depends its overall credibility.

This is a Test-case, because, in fact, it's in order to avoid Sanctions threatened against Turkey by a CoE's Assembly's April 1995 Resolution for grave Human Rights violations, Democracy gaps, the continuing Military Occupation in Cyprus, the unresolved Kurdish problem, Aegean differend with Greece, etc., that MEPs decided to create, for the 1st time on April 1996, a "Monitoring" proces, allegedly destinated to check, without excluding Countries who did not fulfill all CoE's standards.

In the Past, the obliged withdrawal of Greece's Military regime and of its "Civil" cover-up out of the CoE had helped bring back Democracy in 1974. But, on the contrary, since April 1996, the idea was to "monitor" Human Rights' respect while keeping most concerned Countries inside the CoE. After Turkey's oldest example, this was extended also to several former "Eastern" European Countries, even if CoE's Assembly has imposed to some of them (fex. Ukraine, Russia, etc., after Belarus, Serbia, etc) various "Sanctions", that Ankara always avoided. Curiously more succesful even than .. USA itself, (a CoE "Observer" since 1995), which has been at least threatened with sanctions some years ago..

EU-effects of CoE's Monitoring process became obvious between 2001-2008, since the "closure" of this procedure, when CoE felt that a Country had met most of its Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law obligations, (i.e. the "Copenhagen Criteria" for the EU), helped trigger Negotiations with the EU for "Accession" or other closer relations : This occured already before the 2004 and 2007 EU Enlargements to former "Eastern" European Countries, as well as for the commencement of "accession" negotiations with Croatia, and of "open-ended" negotiations with Turkey in 2005.

    But a stricking new development are Holovaty's recent findings that on core Human Rights issues as Torture and Freedom of Expression, Turkey, even "5 Years after" CoE closed its "Monitoring", back in 2004, inciting EU to start accession Negotiations in 2005, still presents grave problems.

    His findings are of crucial importance after a 2008 CoE Resolution called, "if need be", to "seriously consider the possibility of Re-Opening the Monitoring procedure for Turkey" : A move which might affect Ankara's controversial EU bid, since EU Accession Negotiations are based on the Hypothesis that the Candidate fullfils the "Copenhagen Criteria" (See above)..
-------------------------
    Holovaty expressed his will to check  "Matters still Outstanding" and  those that he "didn't have an opportunity to discuss" at an earlier visit this year, "in order to discuss the more complex issues in greater depth", at his forthcoming New Visit to Ankara, before the December 2009 EU Summit.  This is all based on the 2004 CoE Resolution which stresses that, CoE "will continue.. post-monitoring Dialogue with the Turkish authorities,...in addition to a 12-points list,..and on any Other Matter that might arise in connection with Turkey’s Obligations as a CoE member state".

    CoE's Resolution also asks  from Turkey "to secure the proper Implementation of Judgements, particularly in the Cyprus v. Turkey InterState case", of 2001, which concerns also the plight of many Hundreds of MISSING People. It adds Turkey's obligations to "execute" ECHR's Judgements in the Loizidou case,..and in particular adopt General Measures to avoid repetition or continuation of Violations found by the Court" to the detriment of Refugees.

    Nevertheless, Holovaty said to "EuroFora" that "MISSING" persons,"might be included" and cannot be excluded, but he has yet to examine the situation "to find out  which issues will be raised" to the Turkish Government.

    Therefore, "EuroFora" asked Halonen, as the Historic "Mother" of CoE's Monitoring mecanism, if she thought that, "whenever there are grave Human Rights Violations, as fex. "MISSING" persons, attested even by ECHR's judgements, they should be always checked by a Monitoring process. Or could they be forgotten ?"
    
     - "We (CoE) must be, at the same time, Fair, Realistic, but not in the mind that "now we have Forgotten", etc., replied to "EuroFora"'s question Halonen, speaking as a matter of general principle.

    - "When we think of those People that are suffering from the lack of Democracy, of Human Rights, and of the Rule of Law", "we should find a base on how to deal with the (Monitoring) system more rapidly"', she stressed.

    - "Sometimes it's very difficult to combine Transparency and Effectivenes together, particularly in this specific case", she went on to say. But, "I have not found a (CoE Member) Country who could be insensitive in this sens", Halonen answered concerning grave Human Rights violations attested by the ECHR.

    - "I have no ready-made answer. I have the expectations that you, in the CoE, will, step by step, find the different types of the monitoring systems."

    Also "because this is a part of the UN's Post-Conflict system, (fex. when it comes to Cyprus' MISSING persons), and it's a more Global system". So that, "If we make a succes in Europe, the others will follow", throughout the World.  "But they expect that we (Europe) are this opportunity, this Opportunity to make a Succes", Halonen concluded.

    In addition, she advised to extend CoE's Monitoring to all its 47 Member States, "because, as long as we hear that, all these monitoring systems are "OK for the neighbor, but not for me", "it's very difficult" to understand. Something which could make easier to Compare...

    Finnish MEP Jaako Laakso, former CoE Rapporteur on the Occupied Territories of Cyprus and one of the 5 Signatories of the Historic CoE's call to create the "MONITORING" mecanism since 1996, was more specific :  - "We (CoE Assembly) have to find a way for the issue of Cyprus' MISSING People to be better followed", he stressed, anouncing his intention to "speak to Mr. Holovaty" about that. "There might be also other ways", added Laakso.

    - The 2008 "Year had been a very Bad one for Turkey with regard to Human Rights in general, and Freedom of Expression in particular", denounced, meanwhile, Holovaty's preliminary Post-Monitoringh Draft Report by Holovaty, published by the CoE on April 2009.

    "Amnesty International believes that freedom of expression is not guaranteed given the various articles of the Criminal Code that restrict it. .. "For example, 1,300 Websites are said to have been closed down by the (Turkish) authorities in 2008" ! While "the new Turkish Criminal Code was used to bring a total of 1,072 proceedings between June 2005 and April 2008, and led to the conviction of 192 people", for expressing views. "Representatives of the Özgür Gündem newspaper, which specialises in Kurdish affairs, ..complained about Numerous Attacks on their Freedom of Expression ...as was everyone who advocated a settlement to the question by means other than the intervention of the army" "According to their figures, 19 Newspapers had been suspended 43 times between 4 August 2006 and 4 November 2008" !...

    Moreover, on 2008,  CoE's "Ministers adopted its 4rth Resolution on the execution of the judgments of the ECHR, ...and outstanding issues regarding 175 Judgements and decisions relating to Turkey delivered between 1996 and 2008...  concerning Deaths resulting from the excessive use of force by members of the Security forces, the failure to protect the right to life, the DIisappearance and/or death of individuals, Ill-Treatment and the Destruction of property". CoE's " Ministers urged the Turkish authorities ...to ensure that members of Security forces of all ranks can be prosecuted without administrative
authorisation" for "serious crimes". Holovaty reminded.

"Nonetheless", Holovaty heard anew of "Several cases of Violence committed last year (2008) by the (Turkish) security forces". Amnesty International speaks of Many Cases of ill-treatment and Torture in the prisons and by the police". "Including, fex."'the death of Engin Ceber, a young man of 29 who died on October 2008 as a result of the TORTURE allegedly inflicted on him by police officers, prison staff and members of the gendarmerie. He was part of a group of people arrested on September 2008 during a demonstration and Press Conference in Istanbul'. Proceedings against suspects are "on-going" in this case.

- " I therefore noted an Obvious Contradiction between the Government’s stated “zero tolerance” policy.... of Torture and other forms of ill-treatment, and the different testimonies given", denounced CoE's Rapporteur.  Turkish "authorities must make considerable efforts to guarantee that proper investigations are carried out into allegations of abuses by members of the security forces and that perpetrators are effectively punished" "In this respect, I have requested detailed Statistics on the number of Investigations, acquittals and convictions in cases involving allegations of abuse in order to show the positive impact of the measures taken to date", Holovaty said, repeating a permanently unsatisfied CoE's demand to Turkey since a Decade...

    - "The Political Crisis that shook the country in the spring of 2008 highlighted the Weaknesses of the (Turkish) Constitution", which comes from the Military regime of 1982, "and the Urgent Need of Reforms", stressed from the outset CoE's Rapporteur in 2009. In particular, "the ...Democratic functioning of state institutions, including the independence of the judicial system, are crucial", he observes.

    But, "the Electoral  system and the ways in which it is circumvented do not appear to give those elected complete Legitimacy, and tend to pervert the course of direct universal suffrage", denounces Holovaty, observing that, even 5 Years later, Turkey did not yet change the 10% nationwide Threshold for a party to take any seat, which is "far higher" than the "3%" maximum in Europe and already condemned as contrary to European Standards by the CoE.

    + Moreover, EU Parliament's 2009 Report on Turkey, drafted by Dutch MEP Ria Oomen-Ruijten and adopted in Strasbourg on March, expresses "Concern over the Failure of the (Turkish) Judiciary to prosecute cases of Torture and Ill-treatment, the Number of which is Growing". EU also "is concerned about continuing Hostility and Violence against Minorities" in Turkey. It also "calls on the Turkish Government to launch, as a matter of Priority, a Political Initiatve favouring a lasting Settlement of the Kurdish issue, (while "condemning violence.. and terrorist groups"). EU "regrets that No progress has been made on establishing full, systematic Civilian suprevisory functions over the (Turkish) Military".

    The final results of Holovaty's 2nd and last visit to Turkley will be known later this year, and, at any case, before EU's December 2009 Summit.

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