An unprecedented wave of refugees
Protection of Journalists/Refugees/Myanmar/Syria - Remarks to the press by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations -
2 November 2017
As we are celebrating today the International day to end impunity for crimes against journalists, I want to recall France’s strong commitment to this fight for the protection of journalists, but also for the accountability. This commitment is deeply ingrained in our DNA. So, for us today is an important day. You may remember that France presented the first resolution to the Security Council in 2006 on this matter. In addition to the resolution on the safety of journalists currently discussed within the 3rd committee, we are very active within the group of Friends on the protection of journalists here at the UN. President Macron, as you may remember, called, during the UN General Assembly, for the creation of a mandate of a Special Representative of the Security-General on this. Now, we are working together with the Secretary-General and its team and with all partners of course to get a better UN response to put an end to crimes against journalists and the state of impunity that surrounds them.
In a minute, we will listen to Filippo Grandi. I believe it is very important, to answer your question, that Filippo Grandi comes to the Security Council. Why? Because the host of refugees is a moral obligation but also a legal obligation vis-à-vis our international commitments. But also because this unprecedented wave of refugees that is happening before our eyes is caused by insecurity and massive violations of Human Rights. We therefore strongly believe that the Security Council has a particular responsibility in addressing these causes of conflict and trying to promote on every situation a political solution. This is exactly the case of Myanmar. That will be the first illustration that I will underscore during my remarks to the Security Council. You remember the Arria formula meeting we had with Kofi Annan during our presidency. On this basis we are working on a text, in order to put maximum pressure vis-à-vis our three key priorities: to stop violence, to help humanitarian aid get through and to prepare for the return of refugees. These are the three key priorities. And then you have the longer term root-causes based on Kofi Annan’s report that we are also working on. In this respect, everything that can help promote these three short-term priorities and the longer-term priorities are welcome. And this is really the responsibility of the Security Council to put maximum pressure on the key players in order to bring them where we want to go.
As I said, every effort to address this concern and key priority is important and welcome.
Q: Ambassador, can I ask you about the meeting that the Russians are organizing in Sochi, the Syrians People Congress. What is France’s position on that? The Agency has already said that they are not going?
Our position is very clear on this. We consider that the UN must be front and center. Based on this, there is one criteria according to which we will judge the various initiatives: does it help the Geneva process or not? If it does, then, any initiative that reinforces the Geneva process is welcomed. Any initiative that would be outside of the Geneva process is not and is doomed to fail. That is the only criteria and our compass.
Again, we will look at any proposal with this criteria. Why ? Because this is the consensus of the international community: to support the Geneva process and to support Stephan de Mistura’s efforts. If we derive from that, we are lost. So we have to continue, we have to push, we have to have everyone on board, of course including the Russians. This is based on this very strong conviction that France has proposed, to summarize and oversimplify, this contact group initiative, to 1/ make sure that the key players do unite on a position, and we see how necessary it is, and 2/ based on this unified position, the key players have to give a boost to peace process and to push for the Geneva process to succeed.