Saturday, April 03, 2004

The Ghost of François Mitterrand

"Like imagery, such a need for humanitarian assistance crosses the boundaries of ideology, language, censorship and often state sovereignties. Because it belongs to every man, suffering is universal. The right of victims to be saved, from the moment they cry out for help and are saved by professionals who claim professional neutrality, out of what was recently called the humanitarian 'duty of intervention' in situations of extreme urgency; let us have no doubt that all this shall one day appear in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. So evident is the truth that no state can be accounted the owner of the suffering that causes or contains."

— François Mitterrand, speaking at the ceremony for the transfer of the ashes of René Cassin to the Panthéon in 1990. Documents officiels de l'Assemblée générale, 45ᵉ session, A/45/587, 27 octobre 1990, §26.

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