Delegate Name: Natalie Swartz
Across the world, peaceful protest is a contested topic. With rising tensions between citizens and their governments, it is in the best interest of all nations to find solutions. The right to peaceful protest is outlined in two articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Article 19 — “ Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”, and Article 20 Subsection 1 — “ Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.” As a nation facing protesters on a host of political topics, France will work to ensure the rights of protesters internationally while upholding governmental rights to protect order and law.
The Republic of France has a complicated history with protesters, but throughout the decades has continued to improve on those relations. In 2017, Macron vowed to protect the rights of peaceful protesters when he took office as the current president. The Declaration of Rights of Man and of Citizen states in Article 11 that “The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious of the rights of man,” and further goes on to state that any citizen may write, speak, or print with freedom, but will be responsible under the law in the case of any abuses. The French government has only made efforts to shut down acts of political violence, as the right to dissident speech is protected by both the UDHR and France’s own Declaration of the Rights of Man.
Internationally, France supports collaborating with all nations in order to protect the rights of citizens to peaceful protest and for other states to protect themselves from political violence. Recognizing the Human Rights Council Resolution A/HRC/44/L.11, about the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests, France seeks to expand upon the thoughts gathered within this publication. Under the freedom of speech, states have a responsibility to allow their citizens space for dissidence in opinion through protest. France believes this to be true, though any and all abuse of these freedoms are allowed to be punished under the law if they are abused.
Declaration of the Rights of Man. Avalon Project – Declaration of the Rights of Man – 1789. (n.d.). Retrieved November 21, 2021, from https://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/rightsof.asp.
The promotion and protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests. A/HRC/44/L.11 – e – A/HRC/44/L.11 -desktop. (2020, July 13). Retrieved November 21, 2021, from https://undocs.org/en/A/HRC/44/L.11.
Human Rights Council adopts four resolutions, appoints four special procedure mandate holders, and concludes its forty-fourth session. OHCHR. (2020, July 17). Retrieved November 21, 2021, from https://ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=26113&LangID=E.
BBC. (2019, April 25). France’s Macron responds to yellow vests with promise of reforms. BBC News. Retrieved November 21, 2021, from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-48059063.