Francophonie ministerial meeting at the UN on the countries in transition

Bern, Press release, 20.09.2011

On the initiative of Switzerland, which is currently chairing the Summit of La Francophonie, an informal meeting of foreign ministers and representatives of the members of the International Organisation of La Francophonie (IOF) was held on 20 September 2011 at the UN headquarters in New York.

The meeting took place in the presence of the United Nations Secretary-General, the high representatives of international organisations and the IOF’s regional partners, including the Africa Union, the Arab League, UNESCO and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The meeting, which was chaired by the President of the Swiss Confederation, Micheline Calmy-Rey, enabled the participants to identify areas of action to support the process of transition that several African and Arab IOF member countries are currently experiencing.  

At a time when all the countries concerned are going through political changes with considerable repercussions for democracy and human rights in the world, the Francophonie has a key role to play due to its proven acquis, making it a principal actor on the international stage and a source of inspiration for promoting peace, democracy and fundamental freedoms.  

At the meeting, the participants emphasised the importance that the Francophonie attaches to rigorous application of the Bamako Declaration on democracy, rights and freedoms, and invited the Secretary-General of the Francophonie to pursue its initiatives in the countries in transition as part of a joint effort with member countries of the IOF and its partner international organisations.

Monitoring electoral processes is a priority for enabling the holding of free, genuine and transparent elections. Election observation missions conducted by the Francophonie, in particular in Tunisia, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Madagascar, will demonstrate this commitment in the coming months. Co-ordinated action in the countries of the Francophonie is necessary in order to avoid the risk of overlapping and duplication.  

Support in the search for solutions to resolve crises and facilitate reconciliation is actively provided as a way to return to peace and establish lasting democracy and a peaceful political life. To promote this process, concrete actions to support pluralism and the free media, to guarantee freedom of expression, human rights and international criminal justice must be pursued. 

The IOF’s support for the major political transition processes will be evaluated at the 27th session of the Ministerial Conference of the Francophonie on 1-2 December 2011 in Paris, which Switzerland will chair.  

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