Marianne Initiative for Human Rights Defenders launched
Published on 10 December 2021
News from the Elysée website
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. While much has already been achieved by these partners for the promotion of human rights, the objective is to do more and better, by strengthening the means and working more collectively. This is the purpose of this initiative, which has a threefold ambition.
The international pillar of the initiative will support, on the ground, those who are committed in their countries to defend fundamental rights and civil liberties. The Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, through its diplomatic network, the Solidarity Fund for Innovative Projects, and the partnership established with the French Development Agency (AFD) and the " Human Rights Platform ", will support civil society organisations and rights defenders to strengthen their effectiveness, visibility and protection in order to increase their impact.
The second pillar of the initiative will help human rights defenders in France, a land of hospitality and refuge. Each year, an independent selection committee will honour some fifteen foreign laureates, representing a diversity of regions of the world and types of struggle: civil and political rights; the fight against violence; the rights of women, children, LGBTQI+ people; economic, social and environmental rights, etc. The first class will be assembled in early 2022. It will be made up entirely of women, in line with France's feminist diplomacy.
The laureates will benefit from personalised support within a place of exchange and training, open to all those involved in the cause of human rights, which will also be a means of promoting the coordination and complementarity of existing tools in France and Europe in this area, in particular the PAUSE programme of the Collège de France, the Répit programme of the Paris Bar Association, the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) grants, the Human Rights Defenders programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the emergency fund managed by the French association Agir Ensemble pour les Droits Humains (AEDH), the network of "refugee cities", the European mechanism ProtectDefenders.eu, etc.
Finally, the third pillar of this initiative will reinforce the effectiveness and coherence of France's action by federating the actors involved within the Marianne Association for Human Rights Defenders. This association will be fully responsible for the domestic pillar of the initiative, assisted initially by the inter-ministerial delegation for the reception and integration of refugees (Diair).
This initiative is fully in line with the French "human rights and development" strategy adopted three years ago to the day, and is fully in line with France's priorities at the Human Rights Council, in particular as an elected member for the period 2021-2023.
The President of the Republic also welcomes the existing awards recognising the work of human rights defenders, in particular the French Republic Prize awarded by the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights and the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law. It is through the collective work of all partners and a spirit of cooperation and commitment that France remains faithful to its tradition as a country of human rights.
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