The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - October 23, 2018
In this issue:

◢  Cameroon – Result of the presidential election

◢  UN Human Rights Committee – Opinion on the law of October 11, 2010 (October 23, 2018)

◢  Establishment of a testing mechanism for the Palermo Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (October 19, 2018)

◢  Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi

Cameroon – Result of the presidential election

Cameroon's Constitutional Council declared President Paul Biya the winner of the presidential election on October 7. France offers President Biya its best wishes for success during his next term in fulfilling the legitimate aspirations of the Cameroonian people for security, prosperity, and the full expression of their freedoms.

We note with satisfaction that overall, the presidential election unfolded calmly. We call for this climate of calm to continue and for legal procedures to be respected should the results be contested. We regret, however, that many Cameroonians were unable to express their choice, especially in the northwest and southwest of the country. We reiterate our condemnation of the acts of violence committed in these regions and renew our call for an inclusive political dialogue, the only way to resolve a crisis that has been exacerbated over the past year and which has consequences for the populations concerned. Together with other partners, France—which values Cameroon's stability and unity—naturally stands ready to support any dialogue process that could be instituted for this purpose.

In this regard, France will continue to work with Cameroon, our friend and partner, to expand bilateral relations in every area. It will continue to support development in Cameroon that benefits the Cameroonian people.

UN Human Rights Committee – Opinion on the law of October 11, 2010 (October 23, 2018)

The UN Human Rights Committee, which brings together experts responsible for overseeing the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, issued an opinion today on the law of October 11, 2010, forbidding the concealment of the face in public spaces, concluding that it violated the freedom of religion and the principle of non-discrimination.

As a reminder, the law of 2010 prohibits the concealment of the face in public spaces insofar as it is deemed incompatible with the principle of fraternity and the basic core values of a democratic, open society. Everyone is free to appear in public wearing clothing that expresses a religious conviction, so long as it allows the face to be seen.

France notes that the Constitutional Court determined that the law was in compliance with the Constitution. In its decision of July 1, 2014, the European Court of Human Rights itself ruled that this law did not infringe upon either the freedom of conscience or the freedom of religion and that it is not discriminatory.

France therefore emphasizes the total legitimacy of a law whose goal is to uphold the conditions for living together harmoniously while fully exercising one's civil and political rights, to which it is committed and which it promotes in its international actions. It will underscore its views in the follow-up report that it will convey to the UN Human Rights Committee as part of its dialogue with that body.

Establishment of a testing mechanism for the Palermo Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (October 19, 2018)

France welcomes the establishment of a testing mechanism for the Palermo Convention against Transnational Organized Crime thanks to its States Parties' unanimous adoption of a resolution put forward by France with Italy and Costa Rica.

It will take the form of a peer review mechanism that will make it possible to establish best practices in the implementation of the Palermo Convention and its protocols on the fight against the trafficking in persons, the smuggling of migrants, and the trafficking in firearms.

After 10 years of negotiations, the creation of this mechanism marks the international community's determination to more effectively combat organized crime with the help of civil society.

Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi

Do you want to see an independent (non-Saudi) investigation into the murder of Jamal Khashoggi?

As Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian emphasized yesterday, this matter is extremely serious. We are talking about a murder—initially unacknowledged—committed against a journalist. We are asking that the investigations being carried out—especially by the Saudi prosecutor but also by others—fully clarify what took place.

In a joint communique issued on October 21, the foreign ministers of France, Germany and the United Kingdom called for the investigation to be carried out in an in-depth manner, for responsibility to be clearly established, and for the perpetrators to be held accountable in a real trial.

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