Press Releases

    21 September 2005

    Democratization, Development Go Hand in Hand, Secretary-General Says in Remarks to Summit of French-Speaking Heads of State, Government

    (Delayed for translation of text, originally delivered in French.)

    NEW YORK, 15 September (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's remarks at the meeting of Heads of State and Government of French-speaking member countries in New York on 15 September:

    Thank you for including me in your thoughts on democracy, rights and liberties in francophone communities.  It is a real pleasure for me to share my ideas on this subject, which I hold so dear.

    These past 10 years have been marked by undisputed advances in democracy, rights and liberties in French-speaking communities.  I note in particular the progress reflected by the holding of generally consensus-based elections, the growing respect for the separation of powers, and the increasing protection of individual freedoms.  All these advances bear witness to the French-speaking countries' desire to honour the commitments enshrined in the Bamako Declaration.

    But there have also been setbacks and even failures in some countries, including the seizing of power by unconstitutional means, refusal to share power, changes in basic laws, discriminatory treatment applied to a particular segment of the population and grave human rights violations.  These unacceptable behaviours, which exacerbate tensions and seriously weaken the national unity of the countries concerned, sadly reflect how far we still have to go.

    In this context, I congratulate the Parliamentary Assembly of La Francophonie for expressing the view, in July 2004 in Charlottetown, that leaders of countries where democratic institutions have been overthrown should no longer be invited to your summit meetings until constitutional order has been restored.  This measure would dissuade those who are tempted to seize power by force and would encourage them instead to make use of dialogue and political consensus-building in governing the affairs of the nation.  Such a step would also prevent many human rights violations.  I also welcome the close cooperation that has been established between the United Nations and the International Organization of La Francophonie in support of democracy, the rule of law and human rights, and in a series of other areas of mutual interest.

    This cooperation is based in particular on the shared belief that democracy promotes long-term security and stability, encourages citizens to participate fully in society and creates an environment that is conducive to economic and social progress.

    From all that we have seen, democratization and efforts to promote development go hand in hand.  In confronting the huge challenges facing some of your countries, we have the duty to express our solidarity at all levels throughout the world, in particular between the North and the South.  Last November in Ouagadougou, you reaffirmed that solidarity, deeming it essential in order to ensure a form of development that is both sustainable and equitable.

    The declaration you will adopt tomorrow following the World Summit meeting will point the way to a more cohesive international community.  Of course, it will not fulfil all our hopes, but it embodies real advances in crucial areas, including development, human rights and democracy.  We must now put into practice the decisions that have been taken and make every effort to settle any pending issues.

    The people of the world will measure the usefulness of this summit meeting by the changes in their daily lives and the new opportunities that become open to them.  The francophone countries can set an example by working together to achieve the objectives that the international community has set for itself and to promote the emergence of a freer, more just and more secure world for all its inhabitants.

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