Presentation of the Marianne Initiative
« Être défenseur des droits n’est pas une identité, c’est une pratique. »
Anna Shcherbakova - Interview the Big Continent - July 22, 2022
On the occasion of International Human Rights Day, which commemorates the adoption in 1948 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in an international environment that is increasingly threatening these rights, the President of the Republic has called for the implementation of a new initiative aimed at strengthening France's action in favour of their defenders, both abroad and in France.
The Marianne initiative for human rights defenders was launched on 10 December 2021 at the Elysée Palace, in the presence of all the partners who contributed to it: the State, associations and NGOs, foundations, local authorities and other actors invested in this vital cause for democracy.
Our mission: to support human rights defenders in their struggle
Launched in December 2021 by French President Emmanuel Macron, the Marianne Initiative for Human Rights Defenders aims to support the work of human rights defenders, both in their home countries through its international pillar and by hosting them in France for six months, through its national pillar.
The Marianne Association oversees the implementation of the national pillar, in coordination with the interministerial delegation for the reception and integration of refugees and the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs. It also relies on numerous public, private and associative partners.
Based on the common values of hospitality, exchange and sharing, the initiative aims to bring together and combine the skills of all these actors.
Our actions: a personalized program to strengthen skills
Each year, a group of about fifteen human rights defenders who have distinguished themselves by their exemplary fight for fundamental rights in their country of origin are welcomed in France. The laureates are selected from among several hundred candidates by a committee of independent experts.
They come from all continents and are engaged in various types of struggles: civil and political rights; environmental rights; women's rights, children's rights and LGBTQIA+ people in particular.
Housed and receiving a grant, they follow a 6-month program of support and training including individual and collective activities allowing them to share their experiences, strengthen their capacities, increase the visibility of their struggles and develop new projects. This hosting also allows a breathing space for women and men who often endure pressure or threats in their own countries.
The personalized program includes contact with the main actors involved in the field of human rights (State, elected officials, local authorities, non-governmental organizations, independent judicial and administrative authorities, representatives of international organizations), as well as support for the development of their activist project, aimed at strengthening the effectiveness of their action.
Recipients complete a comprehensive program consisting of:
- Training in negotiation, leadership, advocacy, physical and digital security, project management, etc. ;
- Courses from the School of International Affairs of Sciences Po Paris and French language;
- Contact with French or international personalities involved in human rights and development issues;
- Meetings with inspiring personalities and potential partner organizations (NGOs, foundations, institutions, etc.);
- Conferences and cultural activities ;
- Individual interviews to support the activist project;
- Visits to international institutions and organizations;
- Exchanges with members of the program's alumni network.
The international pillar of the initiative: supporting human rights defenders in their countries
The Marianne initiative is also part of the French human rights diplomacy deployed throughout the world.
With the support of the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, its French diplomatic network, the French Development Agency (AFD), the NGO Agir ensemble pour les droits de l'homme and the "Plateforme des droits de l'Homme", the international pillar allows us to support, outside of our country, rights defenders, national and international civil society organizations and institutional actors involved in the promotion and defense of human rights.
This pillar aims to support them in their fight by reinforcing their capacity to act, and to protect them by reinforcing their visibility.
Our ambition: to build a community of human rights defenders around the world
This program also helps to create lasting bonds of solidarity, notably through :
- The creation of links within each class and between successive classes, with the constitution of a network of alumni;
- Exchange and networking between the laureates and the association's partners, and more broadly, with human rights and hospitality actors in France;
- The establishment of partnerships with entities based in France;
- Synergies with European and international programs and the development of links with the human rights defenders they support.
By supporting human rights defenders, this initiative responds to France's ambition to promote fundamental freedoms and universal and inalienable rights, which are essential to guarantee the world more justice, prosperity and peace.
The association and its partners
Members of the association
Adoma, integration through housingWebsite
Working together for human rightsWebsite
The Ambassador for Human Rights, Ms Delphine BorioreWebsite
Coallia for integration, towards autonomyWebsite
Collège de FranceWebsite
Interministerial Delegation for the Reception and Integration of RefugeesWebsite
Director General for Globalisation of the Ministry of Europe and Foreign AffairsWebsite
Le Refuge FoundationWebsite
Refugee Forum - CosiWebsite
France Terre d'AsileWebsite
Paris Bar AssociationWebsite
Human Rights PlatformWebsite
Habitat & HumanismWebsite
City of NantesWebsite
Toulouse City HallWebsite
National Advisory Commission on Human RightsWebsite
Director General for Foreigners in France (DGEF)Website
French Coordination for the European Women's LobbyWebsite
City of VilleurbanneWebsite
The office of the association
Secretary GeneralPersonal page
The members of the selection committee of the winners, also members of the association
Alice BarbePersonal page
Claire Brice-DelajouxPersonal page
Michel ForstPersonal page
Michel EltchaninoffPersonal page
Yves PascouauPersonal page
Other partners in the initiative
The founders of the association
Olivier Ray, Frédéric Rose, Ombeline Gras, Jean-Marc Berthon, Thomas Piana, Florent Cheval, Stéphanie Dedaj, Augustin Rogy, Léa Robert, Arthur Faugeron, Léna Pawlyk, Nicolas Duguet, Camille Zalmanski and Louise Le Rhun.
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