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Statements made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development Spokesperson (Paris, October 9, 2015)

Published on March 16, 2015

Democratic Republic of Congo / United Nations – Appointment of Maman Sidikou

France congratulates Maman Sambo Sidikou (Niger) who has just been appointed by the UN Secretary-General as Special Representative for the Democratic Republic of Congo and Head of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO).

On this occasion, we express our gratitude to his predecessor, Martin Kobler, for his commitment as head of this complex and challenging mission.

France assures Maman Sidikou of its support, as he assumes his position at a key moment for the Democratic Republic of Congo.


United Nations – Election of Sébastien Touzé to the Committee against Torture (October 8, 2015)

France welcomes the election of Sébastien Touzé to the Committee against Torture on October 8 in Geneva.

Sébastien Touzé, Secretary General of the René Cassin International Institute of Human Rights in Strasbourg, will bring to the committee his expertise in the area of international protection of human rights, notably with respect to the fight against torture.

The ten experts on this committee monitor the implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment by the 158 states parties. The committee is also responsible for examining communications from individuals.

Following this election, France reaffirms its commitment to combating torture and to promoting respect for fundamental rights.


European Union – Harlem Désir attending General Affairs Council (Luxembourg, October 12, 2015)

On October 12, Harlem Désir will attend the Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg, which will be chaired by the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The following points are on the agenda:

  • Syria: The ministers will review the evolution of the situation and efforts by Staffan de Mistura, the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy for Syria. They will look at how the EU could facilitate the political transition that we want and help civilian populations and refugees.
  • Migrations: In the aftermath of the High-Level Conference on the Eastern Mediterranean-Western Balkans Route on October 8, the ministers will work on the refugee crisis, particularly preparations for the Valetta Summit on Migration slated for November 11-12.
  • The EU’s relations with the countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific after 2020: The ministers will discuss ways to update the Cotonou agreements.
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina: Meetings will deal with extending the mandate of the Althea European military operation.


Syria / Human rights – Call for the release of Khalil Maatouk and Mohammed Zaza

France calls for the immediate release of the Syrian attorney and human rights defender Khalil Maatouk and his assistant Mohammed Zaza, arrested by authorities of the Syrian regime in October 2012 and held arbitrarily since then.

We call for the release of the thousands of prisoners held arbitrarily by the regime, in violation of international humanitarian law.

At a time when the legal authorities are investigating the allegations contained in the Caesar report, whose images document the extreme violence practiced at detention centers in particular, the situation of Khalil Maatouk and Mohammed Zaza again reflects the Syrian regime’s contempt for justice and human rights.

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