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Official speeches and statements - March 15, 2021

Published on March 15, 2021

1. Hong Kong - G7 foreign ministers’ statement (Paris - March 12, 2021)

We, the G7 Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America and the High Representative of the European Union, are united in expressing our grave concerns at the Chinese authorities’ decision fundamentally to erode democratic elements of the electoral system in Hong Kong. Such a decision strongly indicates that the authorities in mainland China are determined to eliminate dissenting voices and opinions in Hong Kong.

The package of changes approved by the National People’s Congress, combined with mass arrests of pro-democracy activists and politicians, undermines Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy under the "One Country, Two Systems" principle. The package will also stifle political pluralism, contrary to the aim of moving towards universal suffrage set out in the Basic Law. Furthermore, the changes will reduce freedom of speech which is a right guaranteed in the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

The people of Hong Kong should be trusted to cast their votes in the best interests of Hong Kong. Discussion of differing views, not silencing of them, is the way to secure the stability and prosperity of Hong Kong.

We call on China to act in accordance with the Sino-British Joint Declaration and its other legal obligations and respect fundamental rights and freedoms in Hong Kong, as provided for in the Basic Law. We also call on China and the Hong Kong authorities to restore confidence in Hong Kong’s political institutions and end the unwarranted persecution of those who promote democratic values and the defense of rights and freedoms.

2. United Nations - Crimea: 7 years of violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity - Statement by Mr. Nicolas de Rivière, permanent representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council meeting in Arria Formula (New York - March 12, 2021)

Madam Chair, Ministers, dear Colleagues,

Let me first thank the panelists for their useful first-hand accounts of the situation in Crimea.

It has now been seven years since we witnessed the illegal annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol by Russia. Russia has thereby blatantly violated the principles and objectives enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and OSCE principles and commitments. We once again call on Russia to abide by its international obligations and commitments and respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders. We reaffirm our support for the European Union policy of non-recognition of the annexation.

The continued militarization of the peninsula is a source of concern. It has implications for the security of the Black Sea region and of the neighboring countries. We call on Russia to guarantee the freedom of navigation of all vessels in the Kerch Strait in accordance with international law. Illegal restrictions on ships passing through exacerbate tensions, with negative consequences for Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov and for the entire region. We also call on Russia to take steps to improve the environmental situation in Crimea, which has deteriorated significantly.

The illegal annexation of Crimea has led to serious and repeated human rights violations: extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detentions, abductions, enforced disappearances and discrimination, including on the basis of religion or belief. We deplore the continuous systematic persecution of Crimean Tatars and persons belonging to Ukrainian speaking communities. We call on Russia to put an end to this policy, which is clearly aimed at silencing those who dare to denounce the annexation of Crimea. Those responsible for these violations must be brought to justice. Russia must also stop its policy of demographic change in the peninsula.

In this regard, I would like to ask the Russian delegation when we can expect Russia to finally grant regional and international human rights monitoring mechanisms, in particular the human rights monitoring mission in Ukraine, safe and unfettered access to Crimea, as requested by General Assembly resolutions.

Let me use this opportunity to recall the efforts carried out by France, together with Germany in the framework of the Normandy format, to build a just and lasting peace in Eastern Ukraine and to restore full Ukrainian sovereignty over the Donbass. We renew our call to the Russian and Ukrainian sides to make progress in the full implementation of the Minsk agreements, in accordance with the conclusions of the Paris summit in December 2019. We do not accept Russia’s rhetoric of blaming Ukraine alone for the deadlock. We call on Russia to take its responsibilities and make use of the influence it has on the de facto representatives of the areas not controlled by the Ukrainian government.

I thank you.