Statements made by the Minisry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (Paris, January 11, 2013)

 

Presentation of the assessment “Gender and development” to M. Pascal Canfin, Minister Delegate for Development (10 January 2013)
Haiti – Third anniversary of the earthquake of 12 January 2010
Pakistan – Attacks
Vietnam – Prison sentences handed down to human rights defenders
Iran – Musicians’ arrest
Mali


Presentation of the assessment “Gender and development” to M. Pascal Canfin, Minister Delegate for Development (10 January 2013)


On 10 January 2013, M. Pascal Canfin received the recommendations of the French strategy assessment “Gender and development”, made by Mme Danielle Bousquet, Chair of the High Council for Equality between Women and Men, and Christine Lazerges, Chair of the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights.


M. Canfin welcomed the excellent recommendations and said they will enable gender to be better taken into account in French development policies.  In an international context in which universal rights and sexual and reproductive rights are being called into question, the Minister Delegate recalled the government’s determination to work for women’s rights and for the worldwide promotion of equality between women and men.


M. Canfin launched the consultation that will enable France’s gender and development strategy to be updated.  The consultation, due to be completed in the coming months, will be carried out in liaison with representatives of civil society, of the French Development Agency and of France Expertise Internationale [government cooperation and development agency].


The priorities of the new strategy will include equal access for women and men to development aid policies, and the fight against gender discrimination.  Special attention will also be paid to girls, who are particularly vulnerable.


M. Canfin also announced the financing of a forthcoming multiannual programme aimed at promoting economic autonomy for women in several countries of the Arab world.


France supports many programmes to help women:  economic autonomy, girls’ education, access to sexual and reproductive health services, combating maternal and child mortality, combating gender violence in partnership with the United Nations (UN Women, UNICEF, the United Nations Population Fund), and non-governmental organizations.


France has decided to incorporate the gender approach into all her development policies.  Events planned in 2013 – like the Francophone Women’s Forum in March and the Union for the Mediterranean meeting in July, devoted to the role of women in society – will be an opportunity to demonstrate this ambition.


Haiti – Third anniversary of the earthquake of 12 January 2010


Three years after the earthquake of 12 January 2010, which devastated the Port-au-Prince region and plunged Haiti into mourning, France is still standing alongside Haitians and supporting the reconstruction process and the country’s sustainable development.


Over the past three years, €326 million of bilateral and multilateral aid have been devoted by France to reconstruction.  Projects are continuing to be implemented.  It is a long-term job.  Among other things, France’s public aid has enabled Haiti’s state hospital to start being renovated, two working-class districts of Port-au-Prince to be rebuilt, and 12 university distance-learning centres and a huge land registry scheme to be created.


On his visit to Haiti last October, M. Pascal Canfin, Minister Delegate for Development, established with the Haitian authorities a road map for 2013-2015, aimed at supporting reconstruction, strengthening Haiti’s good governance and sustainable development and in particular supporting the modernization of the education sector.

Pakistan – Attacks

France utterly condemns yesterday’s attacks in the city of Quetta and the Swat Valley in Pakistan, in which, according to a provisional toll, more than 110 people were killed and hundreds wounded.

At this painful time, France expresses her solidarity with the Pakistani people and stands alongside them in the fight against terrorism.

The attack targeting the Shia community in Quetta was particularly deadly and is part of an intensification of attacks on this community in recent months.  We call on the Pakistani authorities to take every measure to stop interfaith violence and combat all forms of extremism on their territory.

Vietnam – Prison sentences handed down to human rights defenders

France condemns the heavy prison sentences handed down on 9 January to 14 human rights defenders by the People’s Court of Nghe An Province in Vietnam.  Several similar decisions have been taken by the Vietnamese authorities in recent months.

Such decisions are a serious attack on human rights, particularly the freedom of opinion and expression and the freedom of association.  France recalls that these rights and freedoms are guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Vietnam is party.  She also notes that ASEAN has just adopted a declaration on human rights, aimed at ensuring full respect for them in Asia.


Iran – Musicians’ arrest


France deplores the arrest of five members of a music group deemed illegal by the Iranian authorities.


This arrest comes at a time of growing repression of the arts community in Iran.


We call on the Iranian authorities to end the repeated hindrances to the work of Iranian artists and guarantee full respect for freedom of expression, in accordance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran subscribed.


Mali


Q. – Can you confirm that there are French forces now on the ground in Sévaré, northern Mali (where witnesses saw military cargo planes) and nearby in Mopti?  How many of them are there and are they combat forces or logistical/training forces?


On this specific point, I refer you to the Ministry of Defence, and on the situation in Mali more generally, to the answer to the following question.


Q. – Malian President Dioncounda Traoré wrote to President François Hollande yesterday to ask him for military assistance from France.  The French Ambassador to the UN promised a response from France today.  What is France’s response?


The situation is extremely serious.  The continuity of the Malian state and the protection of civilians are now at stake.


We’re extremely worried about this blatant aggression, which is a real, direct and immediate threat to peace and regional and international security.


This is why yesterday evening France called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council.  The Security Council unanimously expressed its deep concern and stressed the need for the swift deployment of the African force and the European mission.


As President Hollande has just said, France will respond, alongside her African partners, to the Malian authorities’ request.  She will do this strictly in the framework of the United Nations Security Council resolutions and will be ready to stop the terrorist offensive, were it to continue.


For the moment, the situation in Bamako is calm.  All steps have been taken to protect the French community in Mali.  We ask our compatriots to remain vigilant and in contact with our embassy.