Participation of women for sustainable peace in Africa [fr]
Briefing on peace and security in Africa - Intervention of Ms. Anne Gueguen,
Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 10 August 2017
At the outset, I would like to thank the Deputy Secretary-General for her briefing and initiative to lead the joint United Nations-African Union solidarity mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria and for being personally involved in combating violence against women. It is a daily struggle that calls for commitment and initiative, and France will support all ongoing efforts in that area.
I would also like to commend the efforts and commitment of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict and of the Executive Director of UN-Women, and reiterate our full support.
I also commend the enhanced cooperation between the Security Council and the African Union’s Peace and Security Council, which is the focus of today’s meeting. In that regard, I would like to thank Ambassador Тéte António for his briefing.
Today’s meeting is in keeping with the Secretary-General’s cross-cutting and comprehensive approach, which we support as it seeks to avoid the silo mentality. We have stated on several occasions that, if we want the United Nations to fulfil the mandate that its Member States and peoples have conferred upon it, we must not address issues relating to peace and security, development and human rights separately. In that regard, we reiterate our support for the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and, in particular, the goals and targets aimed at empowering women and achieving gender equality.
Today’s discussions attest in particular to the need for the Council to take at least three issues into more regular and systematic consideration: upholding women’s rights, combating violence against women and, above all, encouraging their full participation in the process to achieve sustainable peace. The consensus today is that when we neglect half of humankind, we are sure to see ongoing conflict. That principle must be understood but it is also an urgent call for greater effectiveness. Through detailed accounts by Deputy Secretary-General’s and the various missions undertaken by the Security Council, we are well aware that the plight of many women is closely linked to our attempts to address threats to peace and security.
The next open debate on women and peace and security, which will be held in October, should enable us to offer and adopt concrete and operational solutions in that area and to again examine the specific ways to fully implement the eight resolutions on this agenda that have been adopted by the Council.
More must be done to ensure that the rhetoric and commitments so often repeated are translated into action and bring about veritable change so that women are no longer victims, but rather actors in their own right in their respective societies.
With regard to sexual abuse and sexual violence, France reiterates its full support for the Secretary-General’s strategy and the zero-tolerance policy towards those responsible for perpetrating such abuses.
I shall now turn my attention to the two countries the Deputy Secretary-General visited.
The situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo must capture the Council’s full attention. All efforts must be made to ensure that elections are held and that the crucial measures to ease the political tension outlined in the agreement reached on 31 December 2016 are implemented. Women must be fully involved in that process.
France is particularly concerned by the violence in the Kasais, which has reached an unsustainable level. The crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo will not be resolved unless justice is served for all those who were victims of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law and, in particular, women and girls. We call on the Congolese authorities to cooperate fully with the team of international experts set up by the Human Rights Council in June. Those experts must have unhindered access to the places and people concerned in order to find those responsible for the violence. This is a crucial step so that those responsible for the violence can be brought to justice. We also reiterate our call for the Secretary-General to establish a special board of inquiry to shed light on the death of two experts who were working with the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1533 (2004) concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Finally, we are also concerned about the humanitarian situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which affects women in particular, as Ms. Amina Mohammed just underscored. Long-term solutions must be developed and implemented to address the situation of displaced women.
Given the extent of the crimes committed by Boko Haram against civilians in the Lake Chad basin region, which the Council visited last year and was the subject of discussion surrounding the issue of violence against women, the Council recalled that it was crucial for the security response to the terrorist group to be tethered to a judicial response, and that it be coordinated with neighbouring countries. Combating impunity must also be a priority, along with respect for human rights and international humanitarian law.
The Deputy Secretary-General can count on France’s full support for her efforts. I would like to take this opportunity as she is here with us today to inquire about future missions to address the plight of women and the issue of sexual violence.