Human rights activist Mary Lawlor receives French honour

Francophile ‘symbolises commitment of Irish and French governments to defence of human rights’

Mary Lawlor, founder and executive director of Front Line Defenders, after receiving the Order of Chevalier of the Legion d’Honneur from  French ambassador  Jean-Pierre Thébault at his Dublin residence last night. Photograph: Conor McCabe

Mary Lawlor, founder and executive director of Front Line Defenders, after receiving the Order of Chevalier of the Legion d’Honneur from French ambassador Jean-Pierre Thébault at his Dublin residence last night. Photograph: Conor McCabe

 

Human rights activist Mary Lawlor has been made a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, the highest honour the French government can confer.

Mrs Lawlor, the founder and executive director of Front Line Defenders, received the decoration from the French ambassador, Jean-Pierre Thébault, at a ceremony at the embassy in Dublin last night.

Describing her as Francophone and Francophile, Mr Thébault said Ms Lawlor symbolised the commitment of the Irish and French governments to the defence of human rights, and specifically to the security and protection of human rights defenders at risk.

“A committed and deeply humane person, Mrs Lawlor has shown her great commitment to serving Europe by helping to draw up the EU Guidelines on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, which represent a clear political commitment by the EU institutions and individual member states to the protection of human rights defenders,” Mr Thébault said. These guidelines in turn had inspired the governments of Norway, Switzerland and the US to prioritise protection of human rights defenders, he added.