Burma: a safe, voluntary, dignified return of the refugees
Burma - Remarks to the press by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - 13 February 2018
Just a few words before the public briefing we are about to have on the situation in Burma. As you know this is a key priority for France, and we have three key objectives through this public meeting that we have requested together with seven other members of the Security Council.
1/ The first goal is to keep up the pressure, actually to increase the pressure for the full implementation of the demands as stated by the PRST of November 6. You remember our key demands. They are about the cessation of violence, putting an end to all violence. We are not there yet, let’s face it. Number two, to ensure full humanitarian access, we are not there yet, with a few exceptions, the CIRC and the World Food Program, otherwise the humanitarian access is not guaranteed at all. Upholding human rights and engage into thorough investigations on violations and abuses committed, we are not there yet. We all have in mind the recent horrors discovered in this country. Let me underscore here that we call for the immediate release of the two journalists of Reuters. This is a key priority. So number one, to keep up the pressure, to increase the pressure to make sure that the demands that we have, as stated in the PRST of November 6, are truly implemented, and it is not the case today.
2/ The second immediate objective of the meeting is to call for the full inclusion of UNHCR in the process of repatriation of refugees. As of now, the conditions for a safe, voluntary, dignified return of the refugees are simply not yet in place. Of course there has been a bilateral agreement signed between Bangladesh and Burma. This is a step in the right direction, but here again we are not there yet and only a tripartite agreement fully involving the HCR could guarantee that the conditions of safety, voluntariness and dignity are met.
3/ A third objective of this meeting, coming back a bit to my first point, is to reaffirm the need for a full mobilization of the Security Council. In this perspective, we trust the Secretary General to appoint a special envoy, the sooner the better. But we think this would be a very important step forward in order to strengthen the dialogue between the UN and Burma. So here is in a nutshell where we are before the meeting.
Q: Quick update on Syria: one, where is the draft resolution which is being discussed? And secondly, the Syrian government is now saying that they reject the Special Envoy’s right to draw up this committee list, and you’ll be hearing about that tomorrow. Does that worry you, does that mean that this proposal is dead?
With respect to what the regime just made public, we are not surprised. This is of course completely unacceptable. We believe that there is a clear agreement now, and a clear mandate to Staffan de Mistura, whom we fully trust, to go and work on this Constitutional arrangement, there is no doubt whatsoever in our mind on this.
The draft resolution on the humanitarian situation is absolutely needed, as you know. We have a solid draft now, which was what France was advocating quite strongly.
Number two, we have started, I would say good discussions among the 15 for the time being. This is a good start. What I hope is that this text will not meet any opposition in the coming hours and days. (...). And we call on all the colleagues at the Security Council to support the text and to make its adoption possible - and here again the sooner, the better given the sense of emergency if you look at the situation in Syria, in Eastern Ghouta and Idlib in particular.