Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today praised the role of French-speaking States and their cooperation with the United Nations in helping to advance the cause of democracy and human rights in countries affected by the Arab Spring of revolution against autocratic rulers.
“Among the countries where the Arab Spring has had the most remarkable impact several belong the [International Organization of] Francophonie (OIF),” he told an informal meeting of the 56 member group, which brings together States with French as the mother or customary language, or where the French tongue and culture have had a significant impact. These include Tunisia and Egypt, whose revolutions initiated the Arab Spring.
“The fact that we are meeting here shows that your organization is ready to unite its forces with those of the UN and other international partners such as the African Union, Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to help advance democratic government and human rights where such transitions are under way,” he said, specifically citing Tunisia and Egypt.
He noted that Tunisia had not only shown immense courage and determination in establishing a new democratic order but had also endured the full brunt of the fall-out of the fighting in neighbouring Libya, affording shelter to the hundreds of thousands of people who fled across the border.
In Egypt, he called the efforts of the transition authorities so far encouraging. “I will continue to advocate the increased participation of civil society in the transition process,” he said. “The elections which will take place soon will be a decisive factor and the UN is ready to provide technical assistance.
“Egypt has made an enormous contribution to the promotion of peace and stability in the world, and I hope it will continue to play this important role,” he added.
“Given the difficulties in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, all the partners are going to have to increase their aid. The experience which Francophonie has in the fields of human rights, good governance, elections and reconciliation will be particularly useful.”
Press Conference on Tunisia’s Accession to International Criminal Court Statute
New Permanent Representative of Tunisia Presents Credentials
In Egypt, Tunisia and Elsewhere, Women Are in Vanguard of Demanding Democratic Change, Says Secretary-General in Message, Calling for Faster, Wider Progress
Secretary-General Says Tunisia, as First North African State to Join Rome Statute, Has Shown Strong Leadership in Common Fight to End Impunity