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Official speeches and statements - August 4, 2020

Published on August 5, 2020

1. Hong Kong - Press briefing by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (Paris, 03/08/2020)

Q. - Does France share the EU’s concern with respect to the national security law in Hong Kong? Do you think that the measures adopted by Europe last week are enough? Has France decided to suspend its extradition treaty?

THE SPOKESPERSON - Please refer to recent statements. As the minister for Europe and foreign affairs recently reiterated, the national security law in Hong Kong is a change that compromises the inherited framework of the 1997 handover. It calls into question the "one country, two systems" principle and the respect for Hong Kong’s "high degree of autonomy" and related fundamental freedoms. This law also directly affects our citizens and our companies.

The EU has agreed on options for drawing the consequences of the new situation in Hong Kong. Indeed, the Council of the European Union adopted conclusions expressing its deep concern on July 28. These conclusions reaffirmed EU support for Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy, in accordance with the "one country, two systems" principle, as well as the EU’s solidarity with Hong Kong’s population, while adopting a coordinated set of measures in various areas including visa and mobility policies, efforts to support civil society, notably through scholarships and academic exchanges, the export of certain equipment and sensitive technologies and the implementation of extradition agreements and other relevant agreements between member states and Hong Kong. With respect to this last point, and in light of the most recent developments, as things stand, France will not ratify the extradition agreement signed on May 4, 2017, between France and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Following the decision by the Hong Kong authorities to postpone the legislative elections, France underscores the vital importance of holding the elections as swiftly as possible under conditions that will allow sincere democratic expression, in accordance with the rights and freedoms guaranteed by Hong Kong’s Basic Law./.

2. United Nations - Yazidi Minority - Commemorating the sixth anniversary of the genocial campaign against the Yazidi minority - Statement by the deputy permanent representative of France to the United Nations, chargée d’affaires a.i. (New York, 03/08/2020)

I would like to join others and at first thank both Nadia Murad and her initiative and the Mission of Germany for organizing this event on a tragedy that we really must not forget.

France shares the concerns that have been expressed today. I would like to underline 3 particular points in this regard.

The first one is that we need to ensure that the Yezidis of Iraq get back a full restoration of their rights and conditions of living. It must be a priority of the national reconstruction and reconciliation efforts in Iraq and an essential part of the efforts to stabilize the areas that have been liberated from Daesh. As you, France is strongly committed to Iraq’s recovery, as our Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian has highlighted many times. And we do this through significant financial support: we provided a multi-year line of funding of one billion euros to the Iraqi authorities in 2019 to facilitate reconstruction projects; this year, with regard to the stabilization the areas liberated from Daesh, we have already committed euro20 million, in particular to build a hospital in Sinjar, but also to support demining efforts and the provision of basic social and publics services.

The second point I would like to highlight, and that has been the focus of most of the speakers’ interventions today, is that we also need to make sure the Yezidis will get justice for the unspeakable horror they have suffered.

France firmly believes in the importance of justice and accountability and reparation for the victims of Daesh. We commend the concrete efforts that have already been undertaken. We are providing support for the documentation of the mass violations of human rights committed by Daesh against minorities in Iraq and Syria. We also support UNITAD work in Iraq. As Amal Clooney, as mentioned in her powerful remarks, France is among the countries where legal proceedings have been opened against perpetrators of crimes against the Yazidis. This has been done by the Paris Prosecutor’s Office for crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocides.

The third point I wanted to highlight is that we must continue and strengthen efforts to fight sexual violence and prevent its recurrence.

As you know, if we want to overcome sexual violence in conflict and prevent its recurrence, we need an approach that is focused on survivors of sexual violence and on the empowerment of women. Survivors must have access to medical, psychological and social follow-up to promote their return to a normal life.

In this regard, it is fundamental that we walk the talk and France is proud to have granted 6,2 million euros to the Mukwege/Murad fund for survivors of sexual violence, which was launched in October last year.

As President Macron promised to Nadia Murad, France has also welcomed more than a hundred Yazidis, in particular women and children and we provide them with protection, security, education and medical-social support.

Finally, France will host the Generation Equality Forum in 2021, in which the issue of gender-based violence will be tackled through a dedicated action coalition.

To conclude, we believe that the key for the systemic change that is needed to end conflict-related sexual violence, in Iraq as elsewhere, lies in the empowerment of women, politically, socially and economically. Thank you./.