Group of Friends of victims of terrorism could contribute to greater awareness raising
Group of Friends of Victims of Terrorism
Statement by Mrs. Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
25 June 2019
M. Under-Secretary-General Voronkov,
I first really want to start by commanding Afghanistan and Spain for their long standing commitment to the support of victims of terrorism and for taking the initiative of launching this group of Friends. France is very honored to be one of the founding members.
As you know, for us, support to victims of terrorism is a major priority because as many others in this room, my country has had the very difficult experience of too many terrorist attacks in the past few years.
1/- As groups of Friends are very good places where to learn from each other and to support each other, I would like to start by sharing a few elements of information about the French experience in supporting victims of terrorism, and then by sharing a few thoughts about what our group of Friends could do. In France, the way we have organized the support for victims of terrorism is first a dedicated inter-agency unit which is in charge of overseeing the support to victims. This unit is also a focal point for various ministries, and this is important, for civil society and the associations of victims.
Then, some of other the measures that we have taken at the national level include: a wide system of reparation which has been in place for a very long time now, since 1986 through a special Fund which is a fund of guarantee to victims of acts of terrorism and other violations. Most recently, we have created a national center of resources and resilience led by a multidisciplinary team of health professionals and researchers to identify good practices in the management of psycho-social traumas. Two years ago, in 2017, we signed a framework agreement with our national employment agency to strengthen the support to victims of terrorism who are seeking to find work or to benefit from trainings. In order to make the information about the support more easily available, we have also set up and updated a website, and support committees have also been developed at the local level with points of contact at the governorate level so to speak, at each prefecture.
But we also are very aware that we need to constantly improve so we are looking at ways on how to improve our system of support: in particular with regard to the judiciary (Juge de l’indemnisation des victimes d’actes de terrorisme) and so a new function should be created in the judiciary with regard to the specific issue of reparation to the victims of acts of terrorism; this way a judge could better review the litigation related to reparations of victims. On a more symbolic level but important as well, we will observe for the first time a national day of tribute and remembrance of victims of terrorism, on March 11th, 2020 (which is the same day as the one celebrated in Europe in reference to the Madrid attacks of March 11th,2004) ; and finally, President Macron has recently announced that a memorial museum in tribute to the victims of terrorism will be created in the coming years. This was to give you a number of examples of what we are doing and to illustrate how it is a really strong national priority.
2/- This takes me to the second point I wanted to share with you, how our Group of Friends could contribute to greater awareness raising on this issue and to making sure that victims are better heard. We believe this group will be an appropriate venue to share experiences and good practices that have been put in place at the national level but maybe also at the regional level - the European union in the case of France. The group could also promote events aimed at raising awareness on the need to continuously improve our support to victims.
As you may have heard, France, Belgium, the UK, Spain and the EU, have co-organized last week, with the support of UNOCT and CTED, an event on this issue, part of it was a screening of a documentary on the Paris attacks, in the presence of one of the survivors – her name is Marie. I think this movie on the Bataclan attack was a very powerful event which has reminded us of the human dimension of our work on counter-terrorism. During that event, this survivor, Marie, also said that she thought it would be important to send of strong and stronger signals of support to victims at the international level. This is one of the reasons why we are very supportive of your initiative, Mr. Voronkov, to gather the first ever Congress of victims of terrorism next year in June 2020. We look forward to hearing more about it and how we can all contribute to the success of this new event.