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Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative, Olivier Nduhungirehe, at the UN Security Council open debate on protection of civilians

Mr. President,

I thank you for organizing this open debate on protection of civilians. I also thank Ms. Kyung-wha Kang, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator; Ms. Helen Durham, Director for International Law and Policy at the International Committee of the Red Cross, and Ms. Iwad Elman, from the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, for their respective briefings earlier this morning.

As the United Nations is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, we recall that our Organization was founded by we the peoples determined “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war” and “to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person”. Since the creation of the UN, the Security Council adopted a number of resolutions and strategies to protect civilians in conflict, including the landmark resolution 1265 (1999). Nonetheless, while the international community, and the United Nations in particular, has adopted an array of strategies to improve and implement protection of civilians mandates, we are extremely concerned by the increasing number of conflicts around the world and the frequent targeting of civilians, including women and children.

Mr. President,

Over the years, the world has witnessed armed conflicts marked by systematic violence and mass atrocities against civilians. And while the Protection of Civilians agenda has evolved to become the core mandate of UN peacekeeping operations, the increasing violence against civilians has tested the fundamental principles and capabilities of those operations and demonstrated that much remained to be done. Experience on the ground however, has demonstrated that peacekeeping operations that are ill-prepared, with no adequate means to address large-scale violence directed against civilians, will falter and may even collapse.

Often there exists a gap between the expectations of civilian protection and the actual military capabilities of peacekeepers.  We believe that threats to civilians and way of addressing them should inform mission mandates, strategies, structures, and resources allocation. In this respect, as a follow-up to the high-level summit on peacekeeping operations, held last September in the margins of the general debate of the General Assembly, Rwanda will organize, on 28-29 May in Kigali, an international conference on protection of civilians in armed conflicts, to further reflect on how to better implement the protection mandates of peacekeeping missions.

Mr. President,

Today, peacekeepers and other key actors who are supposed to provide protection to civilians in armed conflicts often struggle to deliver on the promise of protection of civilians, embodied in the very heart of the UN Charter. In the Great Lakes for example, we are unfortunately still facing roaming predators against civilians, mainly the so-called Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). Indeed, this genocidaire movement continues to use civilians as human shield, to forcefully recruit children and to rape and sexually abuse women and girls. Given this dark picture, MONUSCO and the DRC government need to show more commitment in the neutralization of the FDLR, in accordance with relevant decisions of the region and relevant resolutions of this Council. Four weeks after the expiration of the deadline given to the FDLR to peacefully disarm, we believe that time for announcements, communication and tough talks has passed. This is time for action.

Mr. President,

The conflict in South Sudan also raises serious protection gaps that require immediate attention. The situation in Syria and Iraq went from bad to worse, with terrorist activities by the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL), which commits the worst human rights violations against civilians, including journalists and humanitarian workers. As difficult as the situation might be, we believe that the international community still has a responsibility to use all leverage, and save those population in dire need. In this regard, we commend the role played by the international coalition against ISIL, led by the United States, which is in line of our collective responsibility to protect.

Mr. President,

On women and peace and security, the Government of Rwanda considers any violence against women and girls to be an assault to human dignity. We call for, and support the full implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) and 1960 (2010) which insist that all peacekeeping mandates incorporate provisions that specifically identity steps to address sexual violence. This should include the clear identification of women’s protection advisers alongside gender advisers and human rights protection units; as well as a clearly defined role of women in post-conflict recovery. We also call for improved monitoring of sexual violence, and for more effective identification of good practices and challenges.

To conclude, Mr. President, let me emphasize, as we did in the past two years of membership in the Security Council, that the best way to protect civilians is to prevent conflicts in the first place. And we call on the Security Council, the wider UN system, and regional and sub-regional organisations to ensure that addressing the root causes of conflicts remain on top of our collective agenda.

I thank you.

Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative, Jeanne d’Arc Byaje, on domestic and international private finance at the Preparatory Process for the 3rd International Conference on Financing For Development

Thank you distinguished co-facilitators for giving me the floor. My delegation associates itself with the statements made by the representatives of Suriname and Morocco on behalf of the G-77 and China and the African Group respectively.

Distinguished co-facilitators

In addressing today’s topic of domestic and international private finance, I won’t emphasize enough the need to forge a renewed and strengthened global partnership for sustainable development that will enable a conducive atmosphere to reaching agreements on several fronts including policies, financing, technology transfer and capacity building to meet the enormous financing needs for sustainable development our continent is facing. Indeed, delivering on financing requires a shift in mindset and cooperation of all stakeholders at all levels to mobilize and tap all available sources of finance if we are to meet the requirements of the post 2015 sustainable development agenda.

We believe that the private sector has an important role to play in development, through job creation (especially in micro, small and medium enterprises), payment of taxes and by providing goods and services. Concretely in my country, it translates in Government engaging with the Private Sector to identify business priorities so as to scale investments in several areas of our economy where they have an impact and create new opportunities that could attract more private sector led investments in infrastructure, agriculture, energy, mining, education, export and health where private sector would be better suited to take over or partner with the Government. So we have invested into the growth of private sector and in creating an enabling environment to attract foreign investments. To enable that, we have eased the requirements for starting a business in Rwanda where it takes a maximum of 6 hrs to register a new business.

In addition, we are of the view that enabling financial inclusion is another imperative especially for women in rural areas as it gives them confidence and empower them economically. In addition, they can access first hand timely information on where to get favourable markets for their goods. In this respect, more than 72% of Rwandans have access to financial services.

However, even though Rwanda and other developing countries’ domestic private sector activities have made some inroads due to legal and regulatory framework put in place to ease doing business, we are still confronted with challenges to attract Foreign direct investment (FDI). Therefore, this is an area that needs to be taken into consideration and incentives provided to attract and create a conducive environment for FDI to flourish in developing countries.

While accessing affordable financial services is key for the private sector to finance its micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the challenges to secure external private financing are still enormous. In this respect, International public finance will be necessary to address additional global goals and in leveraging private financing flows.

As for the contribution of remittances in addressing financing gaps, we believe that it should not be considered as a source of finance due to its voluntary nature and given that a high proportion of it remains for consumption rather than productive investment.

However, in Rwanda, it has translated in the diaspora participating concretely in the development of the country by sharing knowledge and skills and enabling their compatriots to access foreign networks. This has indeed benefited a great deal to the youth with entrepreneurial skills as members of the diaspora pay forward the knowledge acquired abroad to create jobs in their motherland.

Consequently, developing countries are still counting on an international public finance where ODA will be a major means of implementation to curb and end extreme poverty especially in countries with special needs lacking capacity to raise public resource domestically. In addition, ODA can be used to facilitate the mobilization of additional financial resources.

Distinguished co-facilitators, in conclusion, we wish to express our appreciation for the substantive information derived from this drafting session and pledge our continued participation in this constructive discussion.

I thank you

 

 

 

 

Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative, Jeanne d’Arc Byaje on trade at the Preparatory Process for 3nd International Conference on Financing for Development

Distinguished Co-Facilitators,

Thank you once again for giving me the floor.

At the outset, Rwanda wishes to align itself with the statements delivered by Suriname, Morocco and Benin on behalf of the G77 and China, the African Group and the LDCs respectively. I will, in addition, make a few comments in my capacity as a member of Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and will therefore focus on international trade and trade facilitation.

Distinguished Co-Facilitators,

On international trade, we believe that the patterns of international trade ought to change to adapt to sustainable patterns of consumption and production and ensure sustainable development.

Allow me to sate in this framework that many countries rely on trade as an engine for development and as a source of resources for both private and public sectors through import and export as well as tax collection. In addition, it has proven to be a source of income generation for many households especially in rural areas through intra, international and cross-border trade.

However, countries like my own that are landlocked are confronted with multifaceted challenges in logistics and transport due to the lack of access to the seaport, a vital link that can only be reached through road transport. This calls for a holistic approach to prevent such countries from redirecting to transport costs, funds that would normally be devoted to development projects or to the pressing needs in education and health as well as to poverty eradication. It is therefore an imperative to foster regional initiatives in the area of trade facilitation in order to eliminate transport bottlenecks.

We are of the view that this is a field where private investment, with appropriate infrastructure for trade and an adequately trained workforce would add value and we are counting on The World Trade Organization (WTO) to negotiate favourable multilateral trade rules that respond to the needs of LLDCs.

Furthermore, in order to curb challenges facing vulnerable countries, the international trading system has to contribute in resolving capacity constraints and in putting an end to trade subsidies in richer countries which make it difficult for developing countries, especially those in special needs, to sustain competition. That state of affairs can result in hampering economic growth and in creating trade imbalance.

In this respect, let me state distinguished co-facilitators, that despite all constructive ways identified by countries to reduce the average time taken to import or export goods both in transit countries as well as the heavy logistics and transport costs, this often leads to trade deficit and to the inability to compete on the global market.

Our status as LLDC calls therefore not only for a lot of interest in Trade Facilitation for the smooth flow of goods vital to economic growth but also for the development partners to respond to funding needs required to facilitate trade.

In the midst of this drafting session geared at shaping the next development agenda, affording adequate means of implementation and engaging all actors in this venture would definitely make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate of this world.

I thank you!

Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative, Jeanne d’Arc Byaje, at the first sessionon the Preparatory Process for the 3rd International Conference on Financing for Development

Distinguished co-facilitators,

Thank you for convening this important session and for providing us with a substantive elements paper to guide our discussions for the next two days. Let me also take this opportunity to align myself with the statements made by the Permanent Representative of South Africa, on behalf of the G-77 and the Permanent Representative of Morocco on behalf of the African Group and state that the Permanent Representatives of Benin and Zambia for the least developed countries and Landlocked developing countries did reflect our concerns.

Co-facilitators, drawing from Lessons learned in achieving the Millennium Development Goals, we believe more than ever that implementation of the Post-2015 agenda will require not only political will but also action on all fronts in mobilizing the needed resources. The process should therefore explore all possible sources of financing, including internal and external, public and private including through innovative sources.

This is of course no time to reinvent the wheel and we believe the zero draft should build on enforcing existing policy commitments, such as the Monterrey Consensus, the Doha declaration and the report of the Open working Group on Sustainable Development Goals and, the report of the intergovernmental committee of experts on sustainable development financing.

Distinguished co-facilitators,

The element paper provided to us, rightly emphasizes that the post-2015 agenda will be implemented primarily at the national and subnational levels. However, Rwanda is of the view that this will require not only an enabling domestic environment, but also an international system that takes into consideration the various needs faced by developing countries. In this respect, let me emphasize that the Common But Differentiated Responsibility principle must be taken into consideration. In addition, a global partnership should be based on mutual interest with a call to complement national priorities. In aspiring to become a middle income country in 2020, Rwanda is determined to continue mobilizing resources from domestic sources and widen her taxable base as a way of reducing dependency on foreign aid and ensuring sustainable growth. Pursuing that objective of reducing aid, we are committed to strengthening the domestic revenue base and strife to making improvements in revenue administration and tax policy improvements in agriculture, and service delivery, key areas of our economic development.

To complement our national efforts, developed countries should fulfil their ODA commitments as well as pledges on means of implementation, including financing, tech­nology development and transfer, capacity development, international trade and south-south cooperation. In addition, aid for trade would enable a country like mine to strengthen the capacity of trade support institutions and business associations in terms of skills and address our priorities as a landlocked country.

While we believe that the primary responsibility for social and economic development lies with all countries, we also are of the view that they cannot do it alone. Therefore we won’t mention enough how a genuine partnership delivering needed resources and capacity to decrease reliance on aid and increase our resilience to external shocks will be the game changer in our quest to achieve our overarching goal of eradicating extreme poverty and ensure a life of dignity for all. One way to do that would be investing in infrastructure development, which remains a key driver and a critical enabler for sustainable growth in Africa. Addressing our infrastructure gaps will undoubtedly create the economic pre-conditions required to sustain our growth and achieve the SDGs. Furthermore, another important element to my delegation that was not captured in the element paper is the need to ensure that there is gender equality. Drawing from our experience, ensuring women access to finance leads to greater prosperity. It is therefore vital to invest in women and youth to achieve tangible results in lifting people from extreme poverty.

Furthermore, in order to achieve the SDGs, countries such as my own will continue to require tailored assistance based on our national priorities, especially in developing the capacities of institutions and people to achieve those goals. Capacity building coupled with enhanced technical cooperation and assistance, and knowledge sharing will continue to be of vital importance.

Finally, just one point on the monitoring, data and follow up, which is a new segment to be addressed in the Addis Ababa outcome. We fully agree with the element paper on the need to agree on a monitoring framework that is relevant for the post-2015 agenda.

Distinguished co-facilitators, my delegation looks forward to this preparatory process and commits to continue constructive engagement.

 

I thank you

 

Statement by DPR Olivier Nduhungirehe at the UN General Assembly informal meeting on Anti-Semitism

Mr. President,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, let me thank H.E. Sam Kutesa, President of the General Assembly, for convening this important meeting on the current scourge of antisemitism, which requires greater attention of the United Nations and its member states. Yesterday, Rwanda was invited to speak in a conference on the prevention of genocide, organized by the Permanent Mission of Poland, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. As the 2004 Berlin Declaration of the OSCE reminded us, the Holocaust is the “devastating manifestation” of antisemitism. Next week, the UN will mark the annual International Day of the Commemoration in the memory of the victims of the Holocaust, and we believe that it is critical that UN member states take this opportunity to recommit to fighting Holocaust denial, which is a form of anti-Semitism.

In this 21st century however, the “devastating manifestation” of antisemitism is clearly terrorism. The killing of the four French Jews in the Kocher supermarket in Paris, two weeks ago, which followed regular attacks against synagogues in different parts of Europe, is a serious reminder that antisemitism is an evil that the United Nations and its members, as well as regional organizations, need to combat without reservation.

Rwanda believes that there should be no justification to antisemitism, as well as there is none to racism, xenophobia or any form of religious intolerance, including against Christians and Muslims. While we continue to believe in the peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we condemn any attempt to use this crisis as a pretext for antisemitism or religious intolerance throughout the world. Indeed, worshipers in synagogues and customers in kosher supermarkets must live anywhere in this world without fear of being killed or persecuted for their faith.

Mr. President,

Only tolerance, openness and pluralism can sustain progress in the modern World, where our societies are much more interdependent and interconnected than ever before. We therefore call for peaceful coexistence of all communities, including minorities, which should work together to cement what unifies humanity, as we are all human beings and citizens of the World. After all, “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”, as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This document proclaims human rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples, all nations, all races, all religions; and that every individual and every society shall constantly strive to promote respect for fundamental rights and freedoms.

In this regard, Rwanda feels that there is not enough interfaith dialogue; dialogue between believers and non-believers; and between religions, governments and the civil society, including the Medias. As a secular country, Rwanda believes in the separation of state and religion, and in the freedom of religion. Freedom of religion entails respect of all religions and their followers but forbid the use of violence and terrorism. Following the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, the world should step up its efforts in fighting terrorism and religious radicalization but should also initiate a permanent dialogue among all stakeholders aiming at protecting the freedom of speech and freedom of press, while promoting better respect for religions, believers, their symbols and places of worship.

To conclude, Mr. President, Rwanda reiterates its condemnation of antisemitism, racism, xenophobia and religious intolerance. The United Nations, which was founded by “we the people”, determined to reaffirm faith in the fundamental human rights and to practice tolerance and live together with one another, should commemorate its 70th anniversary of its creation with a renewed commitment to fight antisemitism and all forms of religious intolerance.

I thank you.