International Human Rights Day – 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (10 December 2018)


70 years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris, France reaffirms its attachment to the 1948 declaration and to the universality of the principles that it embodies. As the minister affirmed at the United Nations in September, it is a common good of humanity which France is ready to defend and is determined to uphold.

On the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the minister for Europe and foreign affairs hosted two events at the Quai d’Orsay:

  • Today, Jean-Yves Le Drian invited Dunja Mijatović, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, and human rights defenders to debate and bear witness to the current human rights situation. During this event the minister for Europe and foreign affairs announced the broad outlines of a new international strategy proposed by France in the area of human rights. This strategy has been put together in collaboration with civil society. An exhibition of cartoons from Cartooning for Peace, an international network of cartoonists, organized with the support of the Council of Europe was presented for the first time during this event.
  • a scientific symposium devoted to the 1948 declaration and to one of its main authors, René Cassin, was organized on December 11 and 12 by the ministry’s Archives Directorate in partnership with the Council of State. Previously unknown documents and documents that have recently been made available to the public will be presented.

70 years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, international news is marked by a deterioration in human rights around the world, with a resurgence in war crimes primarily targeted against women and people from ethnic and religious minorities, as well as the shrinking space for freedoms and civil society in many countries. France is not resigned to this and will continue to work with its international partners to defend the primacy and universality of human rights in the face of all attempts to undermine them.

This is why France is working to strengthen the international system to promote human rights and will seek membership of the Human Rights Council for the period 2021-2023. It will also continue to advocate for the implementation of the UN General Assembly declaration on human rights defenders, 20 years after its adoption. It will also continue its efforts to promote the following priorities: respect for women’s rights, formally recognized by the awarding of the Nobel Prize to Nadia Murad and Dr. Denis Mukwege today; the fight against impunity for human rights violators and the accession by all states that have not yet done so to the Rome Statute; an end to arbitrary detentions and forced disappearances. Lastly, it will work to extend human rights to new areas, such as the digital space, and will remain committed to the universal abolition of the death penalty.