8 September 2014 - Security Council - Children and armed conflicts - Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Mr. Special Adviser,
I would like to thank the President of the General Assembly for organizing this Informal Interactive Dialogue, as well as the Secretary-General for his report. We support all of your recommendations, notably the formalization of this dialogue within the framework of a specific General Assembly agenda item.
France aligns itself with the speeches delivered by the EU and Rwanda respectively on behalf of the Group of Friends of the Responsibility to Protect.
In my national capacity, I would like to make three observations.
First of all, we welcome the approach adopted in the report that is based on ensuring that human rights instruments play a key role in preventing the most heinous crimes.
The General Assembly and the Security Council have made progress over the last few years in more effectively assuming their responsibility for the prevention of conflicts and atrocities. We ensure that the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Rapporteurs are more involved in our work. The Security Council has just unanimously - on two occasions - reaffirmed the early warning role of the Special Advisers on the Prevention of Genocide and on the Responsibility to Protect. We encourage greater civil society participation in our meetings. The protection of civilians is now the priority of numerous peacekeeping operations. These positive steps allow us to be better informed and to help states assume their responsibility to protect. In the Central African Republic, in Mali and in Iraq, it was the governments that asked us to intervene.
However, we cannot help a state whose policy is aimed at committing atrocities against its population. This does not however relieve us, in these circumstances, of our responsibility or our capacity to take action. We remain fully responsible. In these situations, coercive measures are key to forcing a government to protect its population. Sanctions, commissions of inquiry and referral to the International Criminal Court are essential tools of deterrence. And, under certain circumstances, we have a collective responsibility to use force to stop the massacres.
Lastly, we must be able to take action. When mass atrocities are committed, the Security Council must not add the failure to take action to the failure to protect. In Syria, four double vetoes meant that we were not able to take the necessary preventive measures and put an end to the impunity of the perpetrators of these crimes. That’s why France is working with its partners to establish guidelines for the use of vetoes in cases of mass crimes, within the framework of a voluntary and collective commitment on the part of the permanent members. France will organize, together with Mexico, an event on this initiative during the ministerial week.