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Official speeches and statements - July 20, 2020

Published on July 20, 2020

1. OSCE - Statement from the ministry for Europe and foreign affairs (Paris - July 20, 2020)

We deeply regret the failure to reappoint the Secretary General and the three heads of the OSCE’s autonomous institutions - the Representative on Freedom of the Media, the Director of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the High Commissioner on National Minorities - who were all appointed in July 2017.

Despite our efforts and those of the vast majority of participating States, no temporary solution was found to avoid the vacancy of these positions. We reaffirm our total support to the OSCE and its senior management, who have fully accomplished the mandate entrusted to them by the participating States with professionalism and impartiality.

In the light of the very important events for the OSCE in the coming months, including the Ministerial Council in December, and the upcoming 30th anniversary of the Paris Charter, this vacancy of essential posts will undermine the organization’s work. Alongside the other participating States, France will work to ensure a swift settlement of this institutional crisis to enable the OSCE to continue the work entrusted to it in the three dimensions: the politico-military dimension, the human dimension and the economic and environmental dimension.

2. United Nations - Conflict related sexual violence - Statement by the permanent representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council (New York - July 17, 2020)

[Translation from French]

Minister, Excellencies,

I would like to thank our speakers of the day and pay tribute to all the actors, in particular from civil society, for their work in the field. I also welcome the leadership of Germany and the Dominican Republic, chairs of the Informal Expert Group (IEG) on women, peace and security.

We share the concerns expressed in the Secretary-General’s report. Access to justice and basic healthcare for victims, including sexual and reproductive health services, are major challenges, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. We regret the politicization of these issues to the detriment of women and girls.

We strongly condemn the use of sexual violence as a tactic of war and terror, with the aim of permanently traumatizing populations and thus undermining all efforts to find a sustainable solution to crises.

The fight against impunity is the best deterrent. Those responsible for sexual violence must be systematically prosecuted and sentenced. This must be a priority at the national level. International justice also has a role to play in cases of mass atrocities. We therefore support the work of the International Criminal Court.

Preventing sexual violence requires tackling gender inequalities. Sexual violence remains exacerbated by discrimination, prejudice and stereotypes. The rise of overtly sexist, misogynistic or homophobic political discourse reinforces sexual and gender-based violence. This Council has clearly identified the solutions to combat this scourge: when the participation of women at all levels of the decision-making process is ensured and real attention is paid to their economic and social emancipation, societies emerge reinforced from crises, more just and equal.

Caring for survivors of sexual violence, including when court proceedings are inaccessible or blocked, is essential. This is why France has decided to grant 6.2 million euros to the Mukwege / Murad Global Fund. Survivor support must be comprehensive. To this end, France funded 5 million euros to a project that empowers women by improving access to sexual and reproductive health services and tackles sexual violence in the Wadi Fira region in Chad.

Madam Special Representative, your role in whistleblowing and documentation is crucial. We will continue to support the inclusion of conflict-related sexual violence in country-specific resolutions and to advocate for adequate resources for the teams on the ground.

We do urgently need to transform commitments in compliance. France will do its part, including in the context of the Equality Generation Forum, which we will organize in partnership with Mexico, UN Women and civil society.

Thank you Mr. President.