Mr. Gurría has written to the French President and Prime Minister to express these sentiments on behalf of the Organisation headquartered in Paris and whose staff and families live in the city and surrounding area. "Our heartfelt condolences, thoughts and prayers are with the citizens of our host country France and our host city Paris and most particularly the families of the victims of these atrocities. This is a moment when we must all stand more united than ever in defence of the freedoms our democracies hold dear."
Posted 13 November on www.oecd.org
We cannot comfort those who lost loved ones. We can–and we do–condemn the senseless attacks on Friday night. We can–and we do–reject terrorism and violence. So then, how can we pay tribute to the innocent victims and their families? The answer is clear: we can do so by carrying on the work that each of you do here at the OECD.
We are not soldiers or police or intelligence officers. But make no mistake, our challenge is just as great as theirs in fighting the scourge of terrorism. Our weapons are policies, passion and patience. We demonstrate our defiance by redoubling our efforts to make the world a better place, a safer place and a more inclusive place. We strike back against nihilism by doing everything in our power to improve lives everywhere.
The work that all of you do to expand access to jobs and education, to promote transparency and good governance, to pursue better policies for better lives: that is how we honour the victims. That is how we keep their memories alive.
A hashtag that emerged on social media in the hours after this terrible tragedy has stuck with me. #Porteouverte signalled open doors for those fleeing the attacks. It was a symbol of our city’s unity against violence, just like the long lines of blood donors on Saturday and those who gathered at Place de la République on Sunday.
But there is another message in the phrase “open door.” It reminds us that we must maintain open doors for those who are fleeing exactly the same mindless violence behind the attacks on our home. We must not give in to hatred. We must not succumb to those who would demonise the women, children and men desperate to find a safe haven. We must not condemn the whole for the acts of the few. We must not be confused about who our enemies are.
We at the OECD–we of all people–must remain committed to equality, inclusion and tolerance. As we mourn our own, we cannot forget those struggling to escape extremism. We need to keep our doors open. And we need to keep our hearts open.
Now, as we pause to remember the victims and their loved ones, I ask each of you to honour them by deepening your commitment to making the world a better place through our work here.
Douglas Frantz, OECD Deputy Secretary-General, delivered on 16 November 2015 to OECD staff before holding a minute’s silence in honour of the victims of the Paris attacks, 13 November 2015.
©OECD Observer No 304 November 2015