January 23, 2010
As fewer legal professionals nowadays still take an interest in defending human rights, the city of Toulouse stands out as a shining example to the contrary. The well-known organisations such as Avocats sans frontieres, Cimade, the Institut d’Etudes Politiques and others organise regular events bringing human rights to the top of the political and civic agendas. Last month, for example, the city hosted the by-now-traditional Human Rights Week. Next week, the Toulouse-based human rights NGO’s have organised the 3rd Festival du film des droits de l’homme, aimed at raising awareness of human rights violations around the world.
In 2008, I have had the opportunity to participate at the annual Human Rights Week in Toulouse. The highlight was the ten-year anniversary of the creation in Toulouse of Avocats sans frontieres (France), presided by Maitre Francois Cantier. The guest of honour was Dr. Ashraf al-Hadjud, the Palestinian who had been on death row in Libya together with the Bulgarian nurses before being freed thanks to the ASF’s efforts and those of President Sarkozy. ASF is active in Africa, Latin America and Asia, helping local lawyers cope with corrupt justice systems and saving the lives of many victims in the process.
The Institut d’Etudes Politiques from Toulouse is very well-known, among other things, for its excellence in discrimination studies. This is a hot topic in France and in the European Union since the deregulation of labour markets and the massive privatisations that took place in the 1990’s.Florian Pantazi