Statements made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (Paris, March 1, 2013)


Iran – Report by the Human Rights Council on the human rights situation
Economic diplomacy – Creation of the new Directorate for Businesses and Global Economy (March 1, 2013)
Situation in the DRC

Iran – Report by the Human Rights Council on the human rights situation

We have taken note of the reports presented at the Human Rights Council on the prevailing situation in Iran. It’s a damning assessment of the situation.

France expresses its deep concern at the steady deterioration of the human rights situation in Iran.

We condemn the increase in the number of death sentences carried out in Iran, some of which are carried out in public, on the basis of trials that lack the fundamental guarantees of justice and fairness. France urges Iran to put an end to these practices and to establish a moratorium with a view toward the universal abolition of the death penalty.

Iran continuously stifles the voices of peaceful dissent. All sections of civil society are affected: the number of detentions of lawyers, human rights defenders and artists is increasing. The freedom of opinion and expression is being repressed, notably through internet filtering and satellite interference.

These actions are contrary to the international commitments undertaken by Iran. The crackdown against those who peacefully express dissent must end.

The report recalls the situation of Mr. Moussavi and Mr. Karroubi, the main leaders of the opposition who have been kept in isolation for more than two years now. We renew our appeal for their release.

France will ask the Human Rights Council to extend the mandate of the special rapporteur, who has a critical role to play, notably with respect to ensuring the protection of fundamental rights in the context of the forthcoming elections.

We call on Iran to end its isolation and to agree to cooperate with the international human rights mechanisms notably by granting the UN special rapporteur access to the Iranian territory.


Economic diplomacy – Creation of the new Directorate for Businesses and Global Economy (March 1, 2013)

The minister of foreign affairs has made the diplomatic economy a top priority of his action. This is why the new Directorate for Businesses and Global Economy has been created, as of March 1, 2013. This directorate will be the first point of contact at the ministry for businesses – for large groups as well as SMEs. It will also ensure that their interests are properly taken into account in negotiations that are likely to impact their activities, in particular with respect to issues relating to global economic regulation.

Mr. Laurent Fabius has appointed Mr. Jacques Maire, a diplomat with diverse and recognized experience, notably in the economic field, as head of the Directorate for Businesses and Global Economy. He will be responsible for effectively coordinating the action of our embassies, in conjunction with the Ministry for the Economy and the various economic and social actors concerned.

In addition to the diplomatic functions that he has performed, notably within the ministry and within our permanent mission to the EU, Mr. Jacques Maire has held important responsibilities in several administrations (prime minister, spatial planning and environment, employment and solidarity). He also has considerable experience in the private sector, having held various management positions within the AXA group from 2002 to 2012.


Situation in the DRC

Are you concerned at the renewed fighting in the eastern part of the DRC?

We strongly deplore the loss of life during the recent fighting in the DRC. Indeed, 36 people, including 10 civilians, were apparently killed on this occasion according to the most recent reports. The violence in the DRC must stop as a mater of urgency. It only makes the living conditions of the populations – who have already been hard hit – even more precarious. Everything possible must be done to stabilize the situation in the region.

The regional framework agreement signed on Sunday in Addis Ababa is an important step in this direction, which we welcomed. France reiterates the Security Council’s desire to ensure the swift appointment of a special envoy of the UN Secretary-General tasked with supporting, coordinating and evaluating the implementation of the framework agreement.

In addition, France is working, together with the UN Secretariat and all its partners, to strengthen MONUSCO in order to swiftly provide it with the means to contribute in a more incisive manner to ensuring the long-term stability of the eastern part of the DRC, notably through the establishment of a response unit.

What does the strengthening of MONUSCO involve in practice?

France favors strengthening MONUSCO’s capabilities, notably with respect to surveillance. This could notably include the provision, by the contributing states, of additional helicopters, and, for the first time within a peacekeeping operation, surveillance drones.

A response unit should also be established within MONUSCO. The battalions that would make up this unit would be provided by the countries of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region and the Southern African Development Community (which had initially proposed their deployment as part of a neutral international force). This unit, which will operate under the authority of the Secretary-General’s special representative and MONUSCO’s commander, should have a strong, clear mandate in order to allow MONUSCO to fulfill, in the best possible way, the stabilization mission entrusted to it by the Security Council.