France: Catherine Billet of Pax Christi France is interviewed on the symposium they hosted on the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights


12/1/19 - Pax Christi France organised, on Saturday, 15 December with a dozen other Christian movements and associations, a symposium in Paris on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. What follows is an interview with Catherine Billet, National Coordinator of the Catholic movement Pax Christi France, regarding the symposium. 

La Croix: Why did you organise this symposium on human rights?

Catherine Billet: Seventy years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), it seemed important to us that  Christians address this issue, and that it is very much related to the social doctrine of the Church. This colloquium aimed to show that human rights are not a fact of history, but can be a compass in a world full of pain. It was also important that this meeting be organised between partners, in an ecumenical dimension. We at Pax Christi solicited others originally in order to build this project together.

Do human rights seem to you in danger today?

CB: In many parts of the world, they are flouted in an obvious way. According to an Amnesty International report, no country in the world fully respects human rights! Their universal dimension is also a cause: some blame the UDHR for corresponding to Western values which other cultures do not recognise. In Christian circles, here too, human rights are in question: some consider them to be individualistic values, which have led to a form of "social delinquence". But at Pax Christi, on the contrary, we are convinced that human rights and the common good go hand in hand.

What is the program of Saturday's symposium in Paris?

CB: There will be four highlights, through the expositions of four personalities:

  • Magistrate Antoine Garapon, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders
  • Human rights acticist Michel Forst
  • Theologian Dominique Coatanea
  • Lawyer and former president of Acat, Guy Aurenche

Various Christian associations will also be represented, such as Les Champs de Booz, the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) and the Foreign Missions of Paris (MEP). Finally, we will attend a theatrical performance of "The Last Day of a Convict", by Victor Hugo...

Click here to read the entire interview in the Pax Christi France newsletter on page 4.


Pax Christi France, France, Universal Declaration on Human Rights, 70th anniversary