France is attached to the work of the UN Human Rights Committee
Event on « Universality of Human Rights and Regional Instruments »,
with the participation of Professor Hélène Tigroudja, Professor of International Human Rights Law and France’s candidate for the UN human rights Committee
Opening remarks by Mr François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
9 May 2018
First let me thank you all for being here, with a special of thanks to our distinguished panelists for accepting the invitation of Tunisia and France to take part to this important discussion on the “Universality of Human Rights and Regional Instruments”. With my dear friend and colleague, Ambassador Khiari from Tunisia, I am pleased to open this important debate, for at least two reasons: an exceptional panel and an exceptional context.
First of all, we have the honor to welcome an exceptional panel indeed with two remarkable speakers, Professor Yadh Ben Achour and Professor Hélène Tigroudja. At the intersection of theory and practice, of the universal and the regional, those two highly regarded Professors have a unique point of view, and a true and quite exemplary commitment to help strengthen the protection of human rights. Many of you know Ms. Stéphanie David from the International Federation for Human Rights. She will be serving as our moderator and will also offer the point of view of a highly respected human rights professional. After the Q&A session, Ms. Hui Liu of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights will conclude the discussion with all the expertise reflected by her position within this Office. I have no doubt that the discussion will be fruitful and exciting for all of us.
Secondly, it is also a pleasure to open this timely debate because it takes place in an exceptional context as we are celebrating this year the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The ceremonies began last December in Paris, in the presence of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, at the Palais de Chaillot, where the declaration was signed on 10 December 1948. Since the Universal declaration, which has truly become the backbone of international law in the field of human rights, the system for protecting of human rights has broadened its scope, both regionally and globally with a sophisticated and effective treaty body system. As you know, the fight for human rights is very much in France’s DNA, and today more than ever as the human rights, let’s face it, are often under threat.
In this respect, France particularly values the work of the Convention committees, including the Human Rights Committee. Together with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights signed by 170 States, this committee represents one of the most universal international instruments. This is why we hope that after the departure of its current French member, M. Olivier Frouville at the end of his first term, Mrs Tigroudja will be elected, and together with Professor Ben Achour, will continue the Committee’s universal project.
Chère Mme Tigroudja, I want to tell you, but also to everybody in this room, that we are lucky to have a candidate of your caliber and your commitment - and I know this is also the case for my neighbor.
Today’s debate will address the question of the universal and the regional, which has been raised since the Declaration of human Rights was drafted in 1948. Some believe that this relationship between the universal and the specific, the global and the local, is complex if not confrontational; but today we will see that we can envisage a thoroughly productive complementarity at the service of universality, without giving in to cultural relativism. I hope, actually I am sure, that the discussion, with your active participation, will show this is possible.
Without further a-due and with my warmest thanks to each and every one of you, I know give the floor to my dear friend and colleague Ambassador Khiari