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Official speeches and statements - June 22, 2020

Published on June 22, 2020

1. Syria - Return of 10 young French children (Paris - June 22, 2020)

France has today returned 10 young French minors, orphans or humanitarian cases, who were in camps in north-eastern Syria.

The children were handed over to the French judicial authorities and are now undergoing special medical follow-up and being looked after by social services.

France thanks local leaders in north-east Syria for their cooperation, which made this outcome possible.

The decision was taken in view of the situation of these especially vulnerable young children and in line with the permission given by local leaders.

2. United Nations - Central African Republic/MINUSCA - Statement in national capacity by the permanent representative of France to the United Nations at the Security Council (New York - June 22, 2020)

I would like to thank our briefers for their presentations and to welcome the participation of the Minister of Foreign affairs of the Central African Republic and give her our condolences after the terrible attack that just took place in her country.

I would like to highlight three points.

First of all, I would like to express France’s solidarity with the government and the people of the CAR in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and of its humanitarian and socio-economic consequences. In this context, France has strengthened its bilateral support to the CAR in the health sector and underlines that humanitarian access must remain a priority. That’s why we have contributed, jointly with the European Union, to the organization of a humanitarian air bridge to several African countries, including the CAR. France also welcomes the efforts made by MINUSCA to continue delivering on its mandate and I take this opportunity to reiterate our full support for the Special Representative, Mankeur Ndiaye.

Second, I would like to welcome the progress made in the implementation of the peace agreement. The implementation of the agreement must continue, under the leadership of President Touadera and his government, because it remains the only path to lasting peace in the country. I think, for example, about the continuation of the deployment of the special mixed security units, the effective creation of the truth, justice and reconciliation commission and of the implementation of the decentralization process.

However, France remains very concerned by the violations of the peace agreement committed by some armed groups, in particular attacks against civilians, humanitarian personnel and security forces, grave violations against children, sexual violence, or unilateral declarations of withdrawal from the agreement. Our message must be clear: those who engage in these acts must be brought to justice and the measures provided for in article 35 of the agreement must be implemented. On our initiative, the Security Council recently sanctioned Abdoulaye Miskine, an armed group leader, and must continue to sanction those who deliberately hinder the return of peace.

Finally, I would like to welcome the progress made in the preparation of the 2020/2021 presidential and legislative elections. These elections must be held in a peaceful, inclusive, and transparent manner and according to the constitutional deadlines. In this context, France calls on all the Central African actors to engage in an inclusive dialogue on all questions related to the holding of the elections. France also cautions against attempts to destabilize the institutions of the CAR and against disinformation campaigns. France finally calls on the partners of the CAR to contribute without delay to the funding of the elections. In addition to our contribution through the European Union, we will thus provide an additional 300,000 euros.

Thank you.

3. United Nations - International day for the elimination of sexual violence in conflict - Statement by the deputy permanent representative of France to the United Nations (New York - June 19, 2020)

I would like also to thank the two SRSGs and the Mission of Argentina for organizing this very useful and informative meeting. I would like especially to thank all the briefers, in particular from the peace operations on the ground for their update on the impact of COVID and pay tribute to all actors, especially civil society, for their commitment and action on the ground. I think today’s format of the meeting with representatives of all ground peace operations is very interesting and very useful.

France shares the concerns that were expressed today and supports the calls that were made; in particular I note the three asks of Ms. Patten about stopping the violence, about considering SRH services as essential and about integrating fully the measures to address sexual violence into the COVID-19 national responses. France is also very supportive of the call for a global ceasefire and we fully support the joint statement that was issued by High Representative Borrell and SRSG Patten.

We are very preoccupied by the impact that the pandemic is having, both on the capacity to monitor, to report, to investigate and to prosecute sexual violence, but also preoccupied about the impact on the access to services for survivors, including sexual and reproductive health services. As Ms. Patten said, no crisis is gender neutral and the difficulties created by the lockdowns for proper reporting and monitoring are particularly concerning.

We also deeply regret that sexual and reproductive health services are restricted or cut down in places such as South Sudan, as we have just heard, because some politicize this matter. This is really not acceptable and quite shocking when we are talking about survivors of something that is as terrible as sexual violence, as rape in conflict.

Beyond the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects, we should not forget that both reports on conflict-related sexual violence and children in armed conflict show that there is a persistent and worrying trend in sexual violence across the world. There is vast underreporting; we see that the victims and survivors still fail to receive the support they need and that impunity remains rampant. We are also concerned about the low proportion of humanitarian assistance dedicated to victims of sexual violence. This is a concern that should alert us.

France firmly believes in the importance of justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence to put an end to this scourge. We therefore commend the ICC for its efforts towards ending sexual violence in conflict through justice.

The fight against sexual violence in conflict has been a top priority for France over the last 20 years since the adoption of RES 1325. France has supported the creation of the SVC mandate and of all relevant Security Council resolutions. We will continue to support the SVC mandate.

In this regards, it is fundamental that we walk the talk and France is proud to grant 6,2 million euros to the Mukwege/Murad fund for survivors of sexual violence, which was launched in October of last year for the 10th anniversary of the SVC mandate.

Lastly, France believes that women’s full, equal and meaningful participation in all decision-making processes is where lies the key for the systemic change that is needed to end conflict-related sexual violence. Thank you very much.

4. United Nations - BINUH - Statement in national capacity by the deputy permanent representative of France to the United Nations at the security Council (New York - June 19, 2020)

I too thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Haiti, Ms. Helen La Lime, for her presentation, as well as Mr. Jacques Létang, who has drawn up a clear assessment of the challenges facing Haiti.

First, I wish to express France’s support for and solidarity with the fight of the Haitian people and Government in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and its socio-economic and humanitarian consequences. More than anywhere else in the world, the health crisis in Haiti is adding to existing fragilities, in particular the humanitarian crisis that is already affecting millions of Haitians. The international community has shown that it is ready to lend its support. In 2020, France will contribute to the work of the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service in Haiti to promote humanitarian access. The European Union has announced the redirection of €165 million in aid. In return, the Haitian authorities must provide guarantees as to the proper use of these funds.

Unfortunately, this pandemic has not put an end to the violence nor human rights violations, on the contrary. The increase in insecurity and violence by gangs since the beginning of 2020 is a source of deep concern. The Haitian National Police is committed to face it, and it must be blameless. No human rights violations can be tolerated and, in order to rebuild confidence, it is necessary for the Haitian authorities to tackle impunity, first and foremost in cases as symbolic as the La Saline and Bel Air massacres, which have given rise to damning United Nations reports. Finally, we call on the Haitian authorities to defend and protect human rights defenders, who play a crucial role in this context.

Faced with the multidimensional crisis in which Haiti finds itself, we all know that the only solution lies in the political dialogue between all Haitians. We regret that the efforts at dialogue in February, with the support of BINUH, did not lead to the formation of an inclusive Government. France calls on President Jovenel Moïse, but also on all political forces in the country, in particular the opposition, as well as on civil society and the private sector, to resume an inclusive national dialogue in preparation for the elections and the revision of the Constitution, if that is the path that the Haitians choose.

Eight months after its establishment, the BINUH has been working tirelessly with the United Nations country team to support Haiti in its response to the pandemic. Our Council must continue to maintain full vigilance and to take appropriate measures, particularly if the situation continues to deteriorate in the country.

I thank you.

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