UN Human Rights Council High Level: The powerful and emphatic speech of Michaelle Jean.


Michaelle Jean, Francophonie, Nations Unies, Conseil des droits de l'HommeMichaëlle Jean, Secretary General of the International Organisation of La Francophonie, delivered a strong and meaningful allocution, during the 31st session of the United Nation Human Rights Council. Representing 80 Francophone states and governments, she addressed the Human Rights Council by highlighting the problematic growing migrant crisis, in respect of the rights of individuals and equality. 

 (GENEVA-SWITZERLAND)- Michaëlle Jean emphasised the severity of the refugee situation from a more personal perspective in comparison to many other speakers monday, by referring to her own experience of relocating and starting again. Underlining the emotional difficulties of having to cope with the trauma of starting again in a new place, with the fearful hope of being accepted or able to redefine oneself, Michaëlle Jean’s message was loud and clear.  

By giving us just a mere fraction of an insight into the emotional ordeal migrants and refugees are enduring at this very moment, Michaëlle Jean encourages us to consider just how much these migrants are suffering. We have all by now become well aware of the cold hard facts; migrants are being tortured, migrants are dying at sea, migrants are being discriminated against in some countries when they arrive in Europe, and such facts have sadly become frequent news.  But we have rarely been encouraged to stop and emphathise on a raw and sentimental level with these migrants that make headlines on daily basis.   

Like many organisational and country representatives stressed today, Michaëlle Jean declared that there has never been a time more urgent than now, to demonstrate unity, eliminate violations of human rights and prevent discrimination. There has never been more need in the world for the values of human rights to be fulfilled.  And Mrs Jean assured the Human Rights Council that the Francophonie Organisation will be a determined actor in the efforts to protect human rights and humanitarian needs. 

Mrs Jean concluded her speech by stating the importance of multilinguisme. It is only then is it possible to reach out and speak to each country properly and accumulate the best universal principals.  By addressing each country individually with its own language, the United Nations Human Rights Council will demonstrate equality and respect to all cultures and it is this way that we can solidfy the positive values of human rights and international relations. 

Empathy, communication and understanding were at the core of Michaëlle Jean’s powerful speech to the UN Human Rights Council. For when you empathise with one another and understand each other correctly and establish universal values, it is only then that you can work towards making a significant positive change within humanitarian affairs. Hopefully, if we demonstrate more empathy and understanding towards migrants and refugees, we can work towards positive societal and cultural integration. 

Photo: UN Photo/Pierre Albouy

By Anoushka RAI, under the supervision of El hadji Gorgui Wade NDOYE. 

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