CCW - General statement - Meeting of the High Contracting Parties Geneva, 16 November 2022 (National statement under item 6 of the agenda) [fr]
France congratulates you on your appointment and associates itself with the statement delivered by the European Union.
As you know, France is fully committed to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, which is an essential instrument of international humanitarian law and an inclusive forum, bringing together complementary expertise.
We must remain mobilized towards the common goal of universalisation of the Convention and its protocols, and the full implementation of its provisions. This is why France calls on all States that have not yet signed or ratified the Convention and its various protocols to do so and recalls that compliance with its obligations is an imperative.
This meeting should enable us to follow up important work led within the framework of the CCW. I would like to focus on 3 priorities.
Firstly, our discussions on lethal autonomous weapon systems (LAWS), which began in 2014 in this forum at France’s initiative, demonstrate that the Convention is capable of dealing in an effective manner with emerging issues. The work we have collectively carried out has with no doubt enabled us to make progress on the substance of the discussions and to identify points of convergence. We must continue and intensify our efforts within the GGE on LAWS to address the challenges posed by the potential development of those systems. The Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons allows for a variety of expertise to be brought together, which is necessary to address such a complex topic, at the intersection of legal, ethical, military, and technological considerations. Continued work within the GGE will allow us to make further progress in identifying possible ways to ensure that the development and use of potential lethal weapons systems featuring autonomy is carried out in full compliance with international humanitarian law. In this regard, we remain convinced by the relevance of the two-tier approach - to which an increasing number of delegations subscribe - in structuring our work.
Secondly, France would like to reiterate its commitment to combating the threats posed by improvised explosive devices, in particular through the coordination of the group of experts in the framework of amended Protocol II. It encourages all States to remain mobilised against this scourge.
Finally, France is gravely concerned by the allegations of indiscriminate attacks by Russia in Ukraine, in particular the use of anti-personnel mines, cluster munitions and explosive weapons in populated areas, and calls on Russia to immediately cease hostilities.
France is also concerned about the indiscriminate use of mines other than anti-personnel mines. The Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons is the most appropriate forum to address them. It is important that we use this framework to address their humanitarian impact, while preserving the legitimate security interests of States, given the important role of this Convention.
Thank you, Mr Chairperson.