Discours à l’occasion de la remise du prix franco-allemand pour les droits de l’Homme et l’Etat de droit à l’ambassade d’Allemagne en Thaïlande - le 19 décembre 2018
Dear Khun June,
Ladies and gentlemen,
First of all, let me thank my colleague Georg for hosting this ceremony in his beautiful residence.
As Georg just said, this Franco-German Prize for Human rights and the Rule of Law is yet another demonstration of the importance our two countries attach to the promotion of human rights everywhere in the world.
An indeed, 70 years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration by the General Assembly, in Paris on December 10, 1948, the fight for the respect of human rights must continue.
To mark this anniversary, the minister for Europe and Foreign affairs recently announced a new international human rights strategy for France which highlights :
our commitment to victims of ethnic and religious violence.
the security of journalists, particularly through the implementation of the International Declaration on Information and Democracy. Initiated by Reporters without Borders and supported by our President, the declaration was signed at the Paris Peace Forum on November 11.
the unconditional protection of individuals entitled to asylum and our ongoing commitment to the security of rights activists.
our commitment to defend and promote the rights of LGBTI individuals, with the aim of achieving the universal decriminalization of homosexuality.
renewed support for international human rights law, the defense of multilateral institutions and the international criminal court, and the universal abolition of the death penalty.
And, finally, stepping up the fight for the universality of civil and political rights.
Human rights have always been challenged. As of today, the shrinking of the human rights space, including within democratic societies, is a trend that inevitably accompanies the resurgence of nationalism and populism - and Europe is not spared.
This is why we need to strengthen the role of civil societies. Every day, all over the world, they contribute to the promotion, protection and progress of human rights. They alert public opinions to our dysfunctions and give a voice to marginalized groups. They are paramount to developing pluralism and help strenghtening the very fabric of our societies.
So, yes, a vibrant, diverse and independent civil society, acting freely, is fundamental. And advancing human rights therefore requires enhanced dialogue between States and NGO’s, advocacy and grassroots actors.
Today, in awarding this prize to Mrs Sirikan Charoensiri, whom everyone here knows as "Khun June", it is to the work of the Thai civil society that we pay tribute, and especially to the organization in which you work, the TLHR (Thai Lawyers for Human Rights).
The hard and outstanding work that you and the team around you are carrying on to ensure the best access to justice for the victims of rights violations is as difficult as it is valuable. It exposes you to heavy judicial procedures, which some of the Embassies here are observing closely.
In the respect of the Thai Justice system and within the framework of what our diplomatic action allows, we also have a role to promote links between human rights defenders at the international level.
This was the purpose of the invitation we sent you recently, dear Khun June, to visit France as part of what we call PIPA, a specific program for foreign personalities with great potential.
Our ministry organized a week of visits and interviews with human rights experts, which I hope have met your expectations.
You also met our authorities, NGOs and several other stakeholders in the human rights field. And I understand that your visit to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg was particularly instructive.
France has always attached special importance to human rights defenders and will continue to fight for the implementation of the UNGA Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, 20 years after its adoption. This can obviously only be done with you, representatives of the civil society.
In conclusion, let me reiterate to you, Khun June, and to the people of the TLHR our utmost and sincere appreciation for keeping human rights and freedom of expression high on the agenda at a crucial time, when Thailand is moving closer to the elections.