Balneus

Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Archive for the ‘Europe’ Category

Fundamental Rights: EU: Article 3: Integrity of the person

Posted by Dave Bath on 2007-07-05

This is the third in a series of posts that will explore issues from the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the draft EU constitution (see official PDF or my reworking into HTML).

The first chapter of the charter concerns dignity.

Update to musings on profit from body parts here.

Article 3: Right to the integrity of the person

  1. Everyone has the right to respect for his or her physical and mental integrity.
  2. In the fields of medicine and biology, the following must be respected in particular:
    • the free and informed consent of the person concerned, according to the procedures laid down by law,
    • the prohibition of eugenic practices, in particular those aiming at the selection of persons,
    • the prohibition on making the human body and its parts as such a source of financial gain,
    • the prohibition of the reproductive cloning of human beings.

My first thought is that this is starting to get not only into the rights of individuals, but rights for collectives and abstractions: in this case, the article includes things that could be better termed the integrity of the species.

The item about financial gain for sale of body parts presents some administrative difficulties with the separation of financial gain versus fair compensation (e.g. for loss of pay when off work because you are donating a kidney and covering medical expenses for recovery of the donor), although it certainly has a problem with common practice in places other than the Europe, Australia, and probably NZ and Canada.

As stated in the first post in this series, I welcome debate with each post as to whether or not the associated article in the draft EU Charter is worthwhile and should be included in an Australian Charter of Fundamental Rights, but would be very interested to get a comment if you think the article should not be considered a fundamental right.


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Posted in Civil rights, Ethics, Europe, Politics | Leave a Comment »

Fundamental Rights: EU: Article 2: Right to life

Posted by Dave Bath on 2007-07-04

This is the second in a series of posts that will explore issues from the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the draft EU constitution (see official PDF or my reworking into HTML).

The first chapter of the charter concerns dignity.

Article 2: Right to life

  1. Everyone has the right to life.
  2. No one shall be condemned to the death penalty, or executed.

This is fairly straightforward.  The only real subtlety is the second part, which implies that receiving the death penalty (even if it is not carried out) is a violation of the charter, presumably because of the psychological impact of receiving such a sentence.

Another implication is the prohibition from extraditing someone who faces a capital charge, even where there is a promise from the nation holding the trial that any death sentence will be commuted.

If such rights existed in Australia, the Australian Federal Police handling of the Bali Nine case, causing arrests within Indonesia rather than arresting the drug mules on their return to Australia, would be unlawful.

As stated in the first post in this series, I welcome debate with each post as to whether or not the associated article in the draft EU Charter is worthwhile and should be included in an Australian Charter of Fundamental Rights, but would be very interested to get a comment if you think the article should not be considered a fundamental right.


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Posted in Civil rights, Europe, Politics | Leave a Comment »

Fundamental Rights: EU: Article 1: Human Dignity

Posted by Dave Bath on 2007-06-29

This is the first in a series of posts that will explore issues from the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the draft EU constitution (see official PDF or my reworking into HTML).

The aim of this series is to promote discussion of the Charter, and advocate adoption of most of these fundamental freedoms into the Australian constitution or a bill of rights.

Each post will highlight a single article, but the length of discussion of each article will vary.  Each article will be covered in numerical order.  Some will address the article in detail, others will discuss issues associated with that article.

I welcome debate with each post as to whether or not the associated article in the draft EU Charter is worthwhile and should be included in an Australian Charter of Fundamental Rights, but would be very interested to get a comment if you think the article should not be considered a fundamental right.

The first chapter of the charter concerns dignity.

Article 1:

  • Human dignity is inviolable. It must be respected and protected.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Civil rights, Europe, Law, Politics | 4 Comments »

A basis for an Australian Bill of Rights

Posted by Dave Bath on 2007-06-25

Before the rights get gutted by Britain, and before Poland degrades it with mention of one particular religion, it is worth showing Australians the nature of the European ideals for fundamental rights. (or get it as browseable HTML or PDF ).

After an introduction, this post contains the charter itself (Preamble, Dignity, Freedoms, Equality, Solidarity, Citizen’s Rights, and Justice) followed by a set of links to precedent declarations of rights and followup articles.

I particularly draw your attention to Article 37: Environmental protection which is I think the first time such a document has made a stand on this important issue, Article 49: Principles of legality and proportionality of criminal offences and penalties which bans retrospective legislation against persons, and Article 41: Right to a good administration.  The idea of taking a politician to a court for infringing your fundamental rights by being incompetent, rather than merely malicious, would do an incredible amount of good for the quality of government in this country, and cause preselection processes in major political parties to get cleaned up.

The only thing I’d definitely do is remove the bits inserted by Britain (e.g. Article 36) that give member states too much latitude to weasel around these rights, although I’d think about constraining the capitalist clauses

I dare all parties and politicians seeking office in Australia to say why any of these freedoms are undeserved by Australia citizens, and why party platforms should not codify these rights under Australia’s laws or Constitution.

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Posted in Australia, Civil rights, Europe, Politics | 2 Comments »

Oh dear! I agree with Andrew Bolt on something!

Posted by Dave Bath on 2007-06-10

Shock!  Horror!  Andrew Bolt and I share the similar concerns about Putin’s Russia (Bolt’s piece 2007-06-09 and my Bear Baiting Required 2007-05-17).

It’s a pity he didn’t write a lengthier piece on this subject.  Maybe he was too shocked at sharing an opinion with the Russian Communist Party!

Posted in Australia, Europe, Politics | Leave a Comment »

Surprise! Sarkozy woos the left!

Posted by Dave Bath on 2007-06-10

The new french president, Sarkozy has been shocking the lefties who demonized him as a right-wing demagogue.  The shock is not from being too right wing, but by appointing an inclusive cabinet (BBC: 1, 2), nearly 50% female, and with a lot of lefties, including as Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, a leftwing humanitarian crusader, and buddy of Chirac.

Sarkozy might just be playing cagey to increase the chances of the right winning seats in the forthcoming parliamentary elections, he might be trying to get cover for some tough economic reforms, or he might actually be doing something constructive.

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Posted in Australia, Europe, Politics | Leave a Comment »

What to do when the chips are down?

Posted by Dave Bath on 2007-05-22

Recent cyberattacks, most likely from Russia, against both the Estonian government and a Swedish-owned bank, should prompt questions about Australia’s preparedness for similar threats.

While the Estonian troubles are being labelled the world’s first cyberattack by and against nation-states, it is merely the first obviously destructive attack where the victim has an interest in making the attack public, and the perpetrator seeks advantage by displaying an unsheathed sabre rather than merely rattling it.

Estonia has not suffered a full-on attack, but merely a shot across the bow.

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Posted in Australia, China, Europe, Governance, Information Management, Politics, USA | 3 Comments »

Bear Baiting Required

Posted by Dave Bath on 2007-05-17

It’s a weird day when a self-professed lefty supports the USA throwing it’s weight around, NATO activity, and is angry that Australian politicians are not giving the USA enough support, but Putin’s Russia is a huge threat that must be controlled.  If terrorists are to get a dirty bomb or a weaponized haemorrhagic virus, Russia will be the source, not the Middle East.

With a neo-Stalinist cult of personality in their President, curtailed freedom of expression, vicious secret police, atrocities in Chechnya, huge hydrocarbon reserves (with the inclination to use capitalist blackmail tactics), loosely-guarded nuclear materials, and worst, the hybridization of oligarchs, "mafia" and ex-KGB nasties, Russia is a greater danger to world stability than Iraq ever was.

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Posted in Europe, Politics | 1 Comment »

 
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