On the sad occasion of the death of Stéphane Hessel we publish a first obituary by the French Peace Movement. –
“It is with great sadness that we learnt today, 27 February, of the death of Stéphane Hessel at the age of 95. A diplomat at the United Nations, he took part in drawing up the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Citizens in 1948 together with the Nobel Peace Prize winner René Cassin. A former Resistance fighter, deportee, ambassador, writer and activist, his life course was one of the most atypical and remarkable — in keeping with the kind or man he was.
To his last breath, he was an example for the new generations, transmitting his conviction in peace and human rights to them, calling for resistance in his books “Be indignant” and “Commit yourselves”. Hence Stéphane Hessel has become the symbol of the “peaceful insurrection”. The international success of his first manifesto provoked, at this time of deep crisis a real enthusiasm throughout the world. He has awakened awareness by making the ideals of democracy and a society of solidarity re-emerge. He urged every citizen to play to the full his “role of heir of the National Council of the Resistance”, from which the Peace Movement was born, and “to defend the programme adopted in March 1944”.
He often told us how happy he was to answer “present” to the invitations at debates organised by the Peace Movement. For the last few years he worked for peace in the Near East, for the unregistered immigrants and always with the same intellectual and diplomatic exactness. More recently he committed himself to the elimination of nuclear weapons, with the publication of the book he co-authored with Albert Jacquard “Demand! Total nuclear disarmament”.
His departure is a great loss for progressive citizen thinking of a world of justice, peace and friendship between the peoples.
The Peace Movement sends its most sincere condolences to his wife, his children and grandchildren as well as his many friends.”
The Peace Movement
Saint-Ouen, 27 February 2013