On October 23, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian hosted representatives of several nongovernmental organizations promoting human rights and the protection of civilians in conflict zones.
The minister and the NGO representatives, most of whom are working in the field, discussed the humanitarian impact of major international crises, especially in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Burma/Myanmar, the Sahel, and East Africa, as well as the situation of refugees and migrants.
Their discussions dealt with international human rights violations, particularly the difficulties of accessing humanitarian assistance in conflict zones, the security of humanitarian and medical personnel, and the consequences of forced displacements, which affect nearly 65 million people. The minister and his interlocutors talked about ways to reform the global humanitarian system to boost its effectiveness and help it better serve the most vulnerable populations.
Mr. Le Drian said that he would like to increase financial resources for humanitarian action in 2018. Humanitarian aid and development are key aspects of France’s efforts and part of an integrated approach to crisis management. That is the case with the Alliance pour le Sahel initiative and in the Middle East, where the minister just announced the release of €10 million for the short-term stabilization of areas liberated from Daesh in Syria.
During this meeting, the minister reaffirmed the priority that French diplomatic efforts place on human rights, both in multilateral bodies and in dialogues with our partners. The shrinking space of civil society in numerous countries, threats against human rights activists and journalists, the promotion of gender equality, and the rights of LGBTI people were also discussed.
This meeting also included discussions on the aims on the French Security Council presidency with respect to the protection of civilians and the promotion of human rights. On October 30-31, Mr. Le Drian will preside over high-level events in New York devoted to the protection of medical personnel in conflict zones and the situation of children in armed conflicts.
Regular meetings between Mr. Le Drian and NGO representatives will continue, particularly ahead of the national humanitarian conference in spring 2018.