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Autor Protection of Rights in Non-International Armed Conflicts and Internal Disturbances
Rafael Prince
Rafael Prince

Out 11, 07

(this is NOT an official document of the French Republic, but a mere position paper written by me for a Model United Nations)

7th AMUN (2004)


United Nations Economic and Social Council

UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR)

République Française

Republic of France

Position Paper


Topic: Protection of Rights in Non-International Armed Conflicts and Internal Disturbances



“How can one reconcile the sovereignty of nation-States with the duty to enforce the observance of human rights when minorities in them are oppressed or indeed massacred? In each case, the solution has to be proportionate, legitimate and tailored to the particular situation” - M. Dominique de Villepin, French Minister of Foreign Affairs, in his speech to the UNCHR, on March 24th, 2003



Evoking this quote from our former Minister, France reinforces all its concern about the potential menace that internal conflicts are to elementary principles of human dignity. Many States have long been using the principle of sovereignty as an excuse for the grossest mass violations of human rights ever seen. What can International Community do to prevent such atrocities? That is the great responsibility that this very Commission bears: to present a solution for such a grave problem. It is a hard duty, but France, with all the Member-States that prime for democracy and human rights, will save no efforts in searching for a solution. For the sake of future, we may answer this important question: how can one impose the observance of fundamental freedoms on a State which isn’t observing it? We firmly believe that one can’t advance the rule of law while at the same time circumventing it. While force must remain a final resort, its use can’t be made a principle of preventive and unilateral action. That would destroy trust between States and lead to a spiral of violence and war. It would above all harm the progress of human rights themselves.

Our action must be guided by two major principles. First: accountability and need for responsible action. We are accountable for our actions over the long-term. Democracies have a special responsibility toward the world’s peoples: solidarity. They manifest it through their action. It is also shown through the courageous and generous action of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), increasingly active in the defense of human rights. French NGOs working abroad receive yearly 4.12 million euros in the form of grants from our Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In this area, France also provides support to activities of multilateral organizations. Yearly, nearly 52 million euros are allocated to the programmes of international organizations and to different UN humanitarian agencies. France gives humanitarian action a specific place in its foreign policy, and also demonstrates it loyalty to the values it has inspired – as France has played a vital role in the development of humanitarian action and international humanitarian law.

Impunity generates repeated human rights violations. It contributes to the eruption of internal and external conflicts. This is why, with the International Criminal Court, we have given ourselves a model, strategic instrument for pushing back the borders of areas without the rule of international human rights law and ensuring the observance of it anywhere, anytime. We are asking for universal ratification of the Court’s Statute.

To prevent internal conflicts, we must defend and consolidate civil societies in the countries which have not completed their march towards democracy and development. Responsible action requires dialogue. An open, honest dialogue between countries, religions, civilizations. This is why we must recognize the equal dignity of every culture and fight every form of racism. Non-international armed conflicts and internal disturbances are often linked to ethnic, religious or other social factors.

Second principle: respect for human dignity. It is man’s bulwark against its own barbarity, always ready to spring up again. Since the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, France has been guided by an ideal. We have long placed civil and political rights at the very heart of our action. Indeed, respect for human dignity requires the recognition of the universality of these rights and, in particular, of our six major pacts and treaties. Tremendous progress has been made since the last world conference, a decade ago. We must complete the process and make these instruments a universal reference, being respected anywhere at anytime, even during any kind of internal disturbance. Those rights are inherent to the human being, and are the basis of its dignity. Protection of civilians, specially of children and women, is one of our main goals.

Finally, respect for human dignity also requires the recognition of economic and social rights. Internal conflicts are also caused by economic factors, that lead to famine and misery. Long-term measures must considerate this.

For us, there’s a simple, strong message: being a member of this Commission involves special duties.


Palavras-chave: Comissão de Direitos Humanos, Diplomacia, Direito Humanitário, França, Modelos da ONU, MUN, ONU, pesquisa, Simulação Diplomática

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