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(Paris) – French President Emmanuel Macron should ensure that human rights are central to his policies, both within France and globally, Human Rights Watch said today in a public letter to the president with a proposed human rights agenda.

French President-elect Emmanuel Macron waves as he arrives to attend a handover ceremony with outgoing President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, May 14, 2017. © 2017 Reuters

With Macron’s inauguration over and his government nominated, it is important for them to familiarize themselves with the key human rights issues in France and in the world, and to show their willingness to engage on them.

“President Macron stated in his inaugural speech that ‘France will always make sure to be on the side of … human rights,’ and he should now translate his words into action,” said Bénédicte Jeannerod, France director at Human Rights Watch. “Macron and his government should adopt policies that respect and promote human rights at home and abroad.”

The “Human Rights Agenda,” designed by Human Rights Watch, is a series of recommendations on 11 themes: the right to asylum, identity checks, counterterrorism, bilateral relations, the role of France in multilateral organizations, the fight against impunity, France’s military intervention, arms sales, human rights and the protection of civilians in Syria, business and international financial institutions, and women’s rights.

During the presidential campaign, Human Rights Watch sent all candidates a questionnaire about these 11 key human rights issues. In his response, Macron outlined some of his policies with respect to human rights. He wrote, for example, that “peace and respect for human rights are essential values” and that “Europe must speak in a single voice on human rights.”

“Our human rights agenda indicates the path to take for the new president and his government on key issues,” Jeannerod said. “France’s president and government should address these issues head-on and place them at the heart of their policies.”

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