Paris, May 10, 2012

Excerpts from the daily press briefing by Bernard Valero, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ spokesman (Paris, 10th May 2012)

National Day of Remembrance of the Slave Trade, Slavery and their Abolition (May 10, 2012)

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery, France decided in 2006 to establish a National Day of Remembrance of the Slave Trade, Slavery and their Abolition on May 10. France commemorates this memory and recalls that many people are still victims of trafficking and are reduced to the worst forms of exploitation throughout the world. France remains fully committed to the fight against these modern forms of slavery.

The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and its diplomatic network are organizing several events to increase civil society’s awareness of the relevance and the universality of this scourge.

Human Rights Ambassador, Mr. François Zimeray, will represent the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs at the official ceremony which will take place today in the Jardin du Luxembourg, under the patronage of President Sarkozy.

France calls for the universal ratification of the Palermo Convention aimed at preventing, suppressing and punishing trafficking in persons and at implementing instruments to fight against these crimes.

The French Committee for the History and Remembrance of Slavery brings European civil societies together in order to examine the issues relating to remembrance and the struggle for abolition because the condemnation of trafficking and slavery is embedded in the European democratic identity.

Attacks in Damascus

France strongly condemns the two attacks that have just taken place in Damascus and which have left dozens of people dead and injured.

We extend our condolences to the bereaved as well as our sympathy to the injured.

Once again, these events tragically demonstrate the urgent need to fully implement UN Security Council resolutions 2042 and 2043 as well as Mr. Kofi Annan’s plan in order to put an end to this crisis by ensuring a peaceful and democratic political transition.

A double attack in Damascus this morning has left at least 29 people dead and more than a 100 injured. Does the Annan plan still have a chance of surviving this violence ?

The regime bears the full responsibility for the horrors taking place in Syria.

For more than a year now, the international community has been calling for the legitimate and peaceful demands of the Syrian people to be recognized.

By choosing to impose an indiscriminate and brutal crackdown, the regime has descended into a futile spiral of violence.

As the Ministre d’Etat has frequently stated, the plan presented by Mr. Kofi Annan is the last chance to resolve this crisis. It is now more urgent than ever for the Damascus regime to change its attitude and to seize this opportunity.

The international community’s mobilization must now focus on peace and democracy in Syria as well as the stability of the entire region.

Firing of rockets on southern Israel

France strongly condemns the latest rocket attacks on southern Israel launched from Gaza in recent days.

These rocket attacks are unacceptable. France calls for the respect of the ceasefire around Gaza, in accordance with UNSCR 1860, as well as for the utmost restraint in order to avoid any risk of escalation.

Dernière modification : 10/05/2012

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