Accessibility links

Breaking News

Way To Mark Rights Declaration Day

France's human-rights-crusader-turned-foreign-minister, Bernard Kouchner, made some stark, and perhaps surprising comments to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In an interview with "Le Parisien" he said:

"You can not govern a country's foreign affairs only according to human rights. To govern a country obviously distances you from a certain saintliness." (AFP translation.)

He said that, even in France, "there is a permanent contradiction between human rights and a nation's foreign policy" and that he thought he was wrong to create a Ministry for Human Rights.

Of course, his comments do raise some interesting questions about where on the values-interests axis a country decides to pinpoint its foreign policy. Or whether human rights should be chiefly the domain of state or nonstate actors.

But it seems his motivations for making the comments might be less than altruistic and more about internal politics, as French media reported that Rama Yade, France's first junior minister for human rights, has fallen out of favor with Sarkozy.

We have an interview with Yade here from October.

-- Luke Allnutt

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

Latest Posts