The United Nations needs everyone’s support to meet the challenges of our time [fr]
Defending the United Nations Charter
Statement by Mr. Nicolas de Rivière, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 9 January 2020
I thank the Vietnamese presidency for convening this debate on upholding the Charter of the United Nations to maintain international peace and security. I also welcome the participation of the Secretary-General and Mrs. Mary Robinson and thank them for their briefings. Their message must be heard — we will prevent and stop wars only through a return to dialogue, negotiation and cooperation. That is the raison d’être of the Security Council and the United Nations.
As President Macron mentioned in his speech before the General Assembly on 24 September 2019 (see A/74/PV.3), it is up to us, in a world that has become multipolar, to reinvent robust multilateralism that sees the spirit of the United Nations Charter and diplomacy prevail over national isolationism, States respect their obligations unconditionally and the Security Council act to restore peace and security. That is more necessary now than ever in the Middle East, given the current tensions and the risk of conflict. At a time when civilian populations there have already suffered too much from the scourge of war and terrorism, it is time at last to move towards de-escalation.
Within the framework of this strong multilateralism, we believe in the imperative need to privilege the channel of political negotiation to put an end to conflicts where military and violent logic prevails, as is the case in Libya, Syria, Yemen, the Sahel, the Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic. The Secretary-General and his special representatives play an eminent role in this regard and we must support and accompany their efforts.
To be strong, this multilateralism must address the challenges of our time, whether it be the fight against inequalities, climate change or discrimination against women. In 2020, it is essential that all States fortify the commitments they have made under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. We must also take into account the impacts of climate change on international peace and security. We hope that the Secretary-General will regularly report on these risks and suggest measures to prevent these future sources of conflict.
The United Nations needs the support of all — regional organizations, civil society and business — to face these challenges. That is why, alongside Mexico and UN-Women, France will launch coalitions of actors resolutely committed to the emancipation of women during the Generation Equality Forum, which will be held in Mexico City and Paris in 2020, 25 years after the Beijing World Conference on Women. The Security Council must contribute to it within the framework of the women and peace and security agenda.
Our action in favour of international peace and security must be carried out within the framework of the rules and principles laid down in the Charter. The universality of human rights on which our organization is based cannot be called into question in the name of national, cultural or religious specificities.
The Security Council cannot remain silent in the face of massive violations of international humanitarian law and human rights. That is why France and Mexico called in 2013 for a suspension of the veto in the case of mass atrocities in the form of a political, voluntary and collective commitment on the part of the five permanent members. To date, 105 Member States have joined this initiative. We call on all States to join it.
The fight against impunity is essential to ensuring that these violations do not recur and that justice is done to the victims. In this regard, we call for the universal ratification of the Rome Statute.
Finally, our Council must pursue its efforts to take full advantage of the tools that the Charter makes available to us. First among those are the tools for the peaceful settlement of disputes. We welcome the establishment by the Secretary-General of the High-Level Advisory Board on Mediation. When other means for the peaceful settlement of disputes do not allow that, recourse to judicial methods of settlement may help States to reach a solution. When circumstances require, the Council must make use of the full range of tools at its disposal, in particular peacekeeping operations and sanctions.
We welcome the Secretary-General’s commitment to peacekeeping reform, through his Action for Peacekeeping initiative, to ensure that this tool is capable of addressing contemporary challenges. We must strengthen coordination between the United Nations and regional organizations and provide support for African peace operations.
Modernizing our Organization is critical to making it more efficient. France supports the reforms initiated by the Secretary-General. There is an urgent need to reform the Security Council to reflect the reality of the contemporary world.
To conclude, I recall that building peace requires courage. Let us form the wish that this courage and this responsibility will mobilize us for the year to come. It is in our common interest.