Sudan : Darfur Donors' Meeting
Sudan : Darfur Donors' Meeting
Speech by Renaud Muselier,
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.
Source: Embassy of France, Washington D.C., Geneva,
June 3, 2004. (Excerpts)
Once again, the most vulnerable of Darfur's civilians, women
and children, are the targets of armed militia. Terror, massacres, rapes. There
are hundreds of victims, some displaced within the country and others refugees
Confronted with this tragedy, our duty of humanity demands
our total commitment. Because simply saying it's inevitable isn't acceptable
either for the victims or the international community. Our duty of humanity and
of solidarity must be translated into action not just to help these victims, but
also to make a stand against the perpetrators of these crimes.
Here, we have not only a moral responsibility, but also a
political and financial one. We, donor countries, must shoulder it. This is why
we have come together.
But all the parties involved in the conflicts also have an
obligation to shoulder their responsibilities. It stems from the rules of
international law and international humanitarian law, and particularly the
Sudan is, I know, Africa's largest country. But it's also a
country too long forgotten by the international community, despite the fact that
the longest-running conflict in Africa, and undoubtedly one of the bloodiest,
has been going on there since 1955.
And it's at a time when we're welcoming the signature, on 27
May in Naivasha, of three protocols which pave the way in the South of the
country for a return to peace and stability, that this major crisis in Darfur –
whose gravity we already emphasized several weeks ago – is worsening. Let me
remind you that the French Foreign Minister even went to Sudan in February this
What's happening in Darfur is extremely serious. The harvests
are in jeopardy and the rainy season is beginning. Hundreds of thousands of
people are going to suffer. This impending humanitarian crisis, the flood of
displaced people and growing instability at the borders are today threatening
Chad and the Central African Republic. This crisis can thus jeopardize the whole
Sudanese peace process. The Sudanese people who aspire to peace must not see
their hopes dashed. This is why, all together, we must act quickly because it's
At last April's meeting of the UN Commission on Human Rights,
held at France's initiative, a link was established between access to the
victims of armed conflicts and the safety of the humanitarian personnel. These
two issues are inextricably linked and France never fails to reiterate them in
Yet the High Commissioner for Human Rights has reported
massive human rights violations in Darfur: attacks against civilians, murders,
rapes and forced disappearances, destruction of property, uprooting of
populations. He even said that these acts of brutality could constitute "war
crimes or crimes against humanity".
And we well know that without security, the people won't
return to their villages, and without security, international aid can't be
delivered or distributed.
This is why the Sudanese government must today face up to its
responsibilities, particularly by ensuring the control and disarmament of the
militia, guilty of unacceptable brutality and human rights violations.
As regards access to the victims and the possibility for the
humanitarian organizations to assist them, the Sudanese authorities took
measures on 20 May to facilitate the access of humanitarian personnel. This is a
positive step forward and these measures go in the right direction. But the
humanitarian NGOs tell us that problems remain: the administrative procedures
for accreditation, authorization, visas and travel permits remain complex, long
and uncertain despite the emergency situation. The rainy season is going to
start, there's a significant risk of epidemics. The NGOs must be able to provide
So I call on the Government of Sudan to make greater efforts
to simplify the procedures, facilitate the access of humanitarian personnel to
the people in danger. The humanitarian personnel will thus be able, as soon as
possible, to start working on the ground.
This is also why it was so important to initiate political
negotiations, negotiations in which I participated in Ndjamena and which on 8
April led to a ceasefire agreement under President Déby's auspices.
It's imperative for this agreement to be honoured in its
entirety. It's imperative for the militia to be disarmed. It's imperative for
the international observers to be deployed on the ground.
France salutes the African Union's initiative, taken with the
international community's support, to send observers to Darfur. This deployment
is exemplary because of its speed. Through their presence, these observers are
going to contribute to stabilizing the situation. Their patrols will make
ceasefire violations more difficult and deter the militia. This will simplify
the work of the humanitarian personnel and encourage the people to return home,
in total security.
By the end of the first half of 2004, France will have
contributed up to €900,000 through programmes developed in cooperation with the
United Nations, International Committee of the Red Cross and NGOs.
I want to salute the exemplary work and dedication of the
humanitarian staff of the United Nations, UNHCR, ICRC and NGOs.
I can also announce to you €1.4 million of additional aid to
the United Nations World Food Programme, in the framework of food aid for the
Sudanese refugees in Chad.
This makes a total of over €2.3 million.
And aside from the emergency aid, France is preparing to
resume our development cooperation.
Finally, I should like to mention the important efforts the
European Union countries are making through ECHO, the European Commission
Humanitarian aid Office, 18% of whose funding is contributed by France.
To conclude, let me tell you that France will continue very
closely watching the progress of the negotiations to bring about a comprehensive
peace settlement in Sudan. This peace is of primordial importance for Sudan, the
Sudanese people, neighbouring countries and the whole international community.
This is the message I shall be taking not just to Khartoum,
but also to the south of the county and Darfur, during my visit there from 20 to