Paris, May 22, 2012
Excerpts from the daily press briefing by Bernard Valero, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ spokesman (Paris, 22 May 2012) :
Visit to France by Ms. Michelle Bachelet (May 21 to 25, 2012)
Ms. Michelle Bachelet, former President of Chile and Executive Director of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) will visit France from May 21 to 25.
On May 24, Ms. Michelle Bachelet will meet Mr. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs. This meeting will provide an opportunity to exchange views on the major international issues in the field of women’s rights and the strategic priorities of UN Women.
During this visit, Mr. Laurent Fabius will sign with Ms. Bachelet a cooperation agreement between France and UN Women that will allow us to strengthen our exchanges and our cooperation.
Ms. Michelle Bachelet, who has already met with Ms. Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, Minister of Women’s Rights, will also be received by Mr. Jean-Pierre Bel, President of the Senate, on the morning of Friday May 25, and by Ms. Marisol Touraine, Minister of Social Affairs and Health (morning of May 23).
Ms. Michelle Bachelet will also participate in the OECD Forum, sign a cooperation agreement with the International Organization of La Francophonie, and participate in meetings with UNESCO at Sciences Po and the Institut du Monde Arabe. She will also participate, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in an exchange with the main French NGOs working in the field of women’s rights.
Women’s rights are one of the priorities of France’s external action with respect to human rights :
France notably contributed to the adoption of the Security Council resolutions “Women, Peace and Security" and adopted a national action plan to implement them in October 2010. These resolutions underscore the need to strengthen the protection of women in armed conflict and enshrine the principle that the full participation of women in decision-making processes, on an equal footing with men, is a key factor in establishing and maintaining lasting peace.
France was also instrumental in establishing within the Human Rights Council a working group on discrimination against women in law and in practice.
France actively participated in drafting the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, to which it was one of the first signatories (May 2011), and the ratification process of which is under way.
Lastly, France fully supports UN Women and provides almost €8 million in funding as part of its contribution and in support of actions such as the program to combat violence in the Arab world and sub-Saharan Africa and the program to promote women’s access to justice in Afghanistan and the fight against maternal and infant mortality.
Yemen – Evacuation of wounded to the military hospital in Djibouti
Last night, in response to an urgent request by the Yemeni authorities following the attack on May 21, France evacuated, on a special flight, 5 seriously injured persons to the military hospital in Djibouti.
A C160 aircraft belonging to French forces based in Djibouti landed in Sana’a during the night of May 21/ 22. French military doctors and our regional medical advisor responsible for Yemen identified those among the injured who would be most difficult to treat locally and evacuated them to Djibouti. The injured were treated at the military hospital this morning.
This action falls in line with France’s commitment to the Yemeni authorities and people in this transition phase that is especially important for Yemen’s future. It’s slated to be supplemented in the coming days by other proposals for medical cooperation.
France strongly reaffirms its condemnation of this vicious attack which, on the eve of the meeting of the Friends of Yemen group, cost the lives of more than 100 Yemeni soldiers, and reaffirms its full support for the efforts of the Yemeni authorities, in particular those of President Hadi, to successfully complete the political transition and restore stability in the country.
In this respect, the meeting of the Friends of Yemen group tomorrow in Riyadh will mark an important new stage. France will be fully involved in this process.
DRC – Murder of a UNHCR staff member
France condemns the murder of a UNHCR staff member, Rocky Kalume Makabuza, who was shot on Friday, May 18, in Goma and who died the following day.
It extends its condolences to his family and friends, as well as to the UNHCR.
It demands that full light be shed on this murder and that those responsible be arrested and brought to justice.
France reaffirms its concern with respect to the ongoing conflict in the Kivus. It commends the work of the international and non-governmental organizations, which provide vital assistance to the civilian populations, the main victims of this insecurity. It calls for the respect for the safety and physical integrity of the humanitarian workers, to whom it expresses its support and solidarity. It reaffirms its full support for MONUSCO which must be able to fully accomplish its mission to protect civilians, and urges all Congolese actors to respect this action.