13 April 2017 - Somalia : Human Rights Must Be Respected [fr]
Somalia and Eritrea - Statement by Mr Alexis Lamek, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 13 April 2017
I would like to begin by thanking, Ambassador Umarov, Chair of the Committee pursuant to resolutions 751 and 1907 concerning Somalia and Eritrea, for his statement and, through him, the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group for its latest report and investigative work.
In all their aspects, sanctions help support our political goals, and it is therefore our view that they are an important and necessary tool for the Security Council.
With regard to Somalia, I will address three points.
First, I would like to underscore that the fight against the terrorist groups in Somalia, Al-Shabaab and Da’esh, remains a priority and must involve more Somali and local forces.
We welcome the work, achievements and territory won by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) since 2007, and take note of the Mission’s desire for a planned and coordinated withdrawal. It is now important that the Somali authorities quickly adopt a national security architecture that reflects the Federal structure in Somalia.
The development of a Somali security solution is our priority. The goal is to establish Somali armed forces and police capable of progressively taking charge of the struggle against Al-Shabaab and stabilizing the territories that have been retaken, thereby taking over from the AMISOM. That is the rational of the ongoing reviews, which we support.
In that effort, the involvement of regional forces is crucial. We are encouraged by the success of the Puntland forces against Da’esh.
The misappropriation of funds and corruption within the Somali army and the non-payment of troops highlighted by the report of the Monitoring Group must spur us to remain demanding with regard to such issues and strengthen the training and professionalization of the Somali security forces.
Secondly, in Somalia as elsewhere the numerous violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law are unacceptable.
All those violations are equally reprehensible, particularly so in the case of human rights violations committed by the Somali security forces and the international forces that enjoy international support.
If combating terrorism is our priority, it must be done while respecting human rights. It is a matter of principle, but it is also a question of effectiveness, because a military response by the authorities, with AMISOM’s support, will succeed only if it enjoys the support of the Somali population.
That is why we support the recommendations of the Monitoring Group aimed at promoting better respect for human rights and international humanitarian law by all stakeholders.
Finally, I would like to underline that the ongoing drought in the region, which is threatening millions of lives, calls for an urgent and determined humanitarian response.
France has voluntarily contributed an additional €1.6 million to support the work of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for the benefit of people in situations of forced displacement, of which €1 million is earmarked for food aid.
Obstacles to the distribution of humanitarian aid, some of which are the responsibility of United Nations partners, especially at the local level, must cease immediately, as the Chair of the Committee said earlier.
Turning to Eritrea, we welcome the apparent lack of support for Al-Shabaab, but it is now incumbent on Eritrea to increase cooperation with the Security Council in line with the principle of cooperation with all United Nations mechanisms, including in particular by inviting the United Nations Monitoring Group to visit and confirm the lack of support for Al-Shabaab starting from Asmara. Such a step would be a sign of a clear desire on the part of Eritrea to move forward and be released from the embargo regime that it has known for eight years.
We must not forget that the embargo regime is also a response to the unresolved issue of Djiboutian prisoners.
France welcomes the release of four military Djiboutian prisoners who had been detained in Eritrea since 2008. It is now time to clarify the fate of the other Djiboutian soldiers who remain missing, according to authorities in Djibouti, and address the border issue. With regard to those issues, the Eritrean authorities have everything to gain in providing comprehensive clarifications so as to normalize relations with Djibouti.
Today, 13 April, also marks the fifteenth anniversary of the decision of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission regarding the delimitation of the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Like the European Union, France is committed to that decision and encourages all measures that will make it possible to move forward on demarcating the border in compliance with the 2002 decision. France, along with the European Union, is ready to support such a process so as to establish conditions for peaceful relations between neighbouring countries.
In conclusion, the Chair of the Committee can count on France’s continued support. I would like once again to commend his work and the Monitoring Group for its periodic and quality reports, and to reiterate France’s confidence in the usefulness of his mandate.