Human rights violations are the genesis to conflicts
Human Rights and prevention of conflicts - Remarks to the press by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - 18 April 2017
Just a few words on the important debate that we are about to have. This is a good initiative and I want to thank my colleague and friend, Nikki Haley, for this initiative.
You know the place of Human Rights here at the Security Council. You know that it has been gaining ground over the last years. Violations of Human Rights remain unfortunately a daily issue in our work at the Security Council, since they are usually the genesis to hatred, violence and destabilization of entire countries and even regions. Just think about Syria, just think about the barbaric war crimes committed by Assad, which is really at the heart of what we have to deal with on a daily basis. So what is at stake is our common values, the respect and protection of Human Rights, and, at the end of the day, the credibility of the Security Council.
If you think about it, second point, the Council has developed over the years a wide range of tools to address Human Rights: in the mandate of the peacekeeping missions, in sanctioning individuals, in creating Special Representatives and setting up principles for the protection of children and women in armed conflicts or the protection of journalists, all issues where France has been at the forefront of international efforts; it is also true in the fight against impunity through its various forms.
So much progress over the last years –we have many tools – and at the same time we can and must do more. For instance, we must have more information at the Security Council on Human Rights situations from relevant UN actors but also civil society players, it is something that is very important to us. In this regard, we are very worried about the situation in Burundi with the latest information regarding this militia calling for rape and violence. This is a source of particular concern for us. In the same token, we also want to strengthen the relations between the Human Rights Council and the Security Council. We think we can and must do even better in this respect. I’m thinking of a better access to the Council from the Special inquiry committee on Syria, for example.
So this public debate is a welcomed and potentially important step forward. There is no doubt that protection of Human Rights is at the core of the responsibilities of the Security Council. We need to make sure that Human Rights are our compass at all time: in the prevention of the conflicts, during the conflicts and after. And that’s why I believe this debate is important.
Q: Ambassador, I would like to ask you about, specifically regarding this meeting, the crimes committed by non-state actors like ISIS and Al-Qaeda. And my second question is about your comments about the recent referendum in Turkey which was a major political shift in the Middle-Eastern country.
Impunity has no frontier. And when I say that I mean that the fight against impunity must encompass everybody: the States, of course, but also the non-state actors. It is something very important.
With respect to Turkey it is not up to me to comment. France’s and European authorities have already made some important comments in this respect and I won’t go any further on that.
Q : Ambassador, what about the DPRK failed missile attempt, is the Council going to react?
As far as we are concerned, we as France have already reacted after the launch of the missile. With respect to the Security Council we should consult with our friends and partners.
Q : Ambassador, some critics have asked: what’s the point of this meeting today, other than a headline in tomorrow’s newspapers? There’s no product, it’s putting the spotlight on Human Rights, the Council has a lot of discussions on Human Rights in specific circumstances, Nikki Haley said they won’t be naming names during this meeting, so some people have asked: what’s the point?
I think it is always useful confronted with such an important issue, to put things into perspective. We already have important tools to promote and protect Human Rights. We think there is more we can do. So as I told you we consider that this debate is a welcomed and potentially important step forward. It’s not the beginning of the process, it’s not the end of the road, but it’s a step forward. And it’s up to us, the members of the Security Council, to use this opportunity, not to fight against each other, but to try to find a demanding, common path to a better protection of Human Rights. That’s what I believe - and that’s what France believes, more importantly.