FIDH calls on French President to fight for release of Leyla Yunus
“Karim Lahidji, FIDH President, Sidiki Kaba and Michel Blum, both FIDH Honorary Presidents have been promoted in the National Order of the Legion of Honour today, Friday 6 November 2015, by President François Hollande at the Elysee Palace. During the ceremony, President Hollande emphasized the courage of human rights defenders who risk their lives daily, and who are represented by FIDH, Worldwide Movement for Human Rights with its 178 member organizations throughout the world. The French President stressed the need for French diplomacy to participate in the protection of human rights defenders and promised to take advantage of all opportunities to do so,” FIDH website said.
“In the presence of all those present, President Hollande read out a symbolic, although incomplete list of imprisoned human rights defenders, the release of which has been sought by the Federation, and said that by awarding the Federation he paid tribute to all the brave human rights defenders who fight for human rights, sometimes at the cost of their freedom or even life, and undertakes to contribute to this struggle to the best of his ability,” said Sacha Koulaeva, Head of FIDH’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia Desk.
FIDH representatives gave Francois Hollande a T-shirt with the image of their Azeri colleague Leyla Yunus, who is also a Knight of the Legion of Honor and is currently in prison, just like her husband, Arif Yunus, and called on the President to actively fight for her liberation.
This is not the first time that the France authorities demonstrate support for the imprisoned human rights defenders of FIDH. In 2012, Souhayr Belhassen, the then-President of FIDH was promoted in the National Order of the Legion of Honour. President Hollande dedicated the award to all the FIDH activists, especially those in prison, including FIDH vice president Ales Bialiatski.