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Ligue des droits de l'Homme


Last modified: 2017-08-10 by ivan sache
Keywords: ligue des droits de l'homme |
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Flag of the LDH - Image by Ivan Sache, 21 April 2017

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Presentation of the LDH

The Ligue des droits de l'Homme (LDH - Human Rights League; website) was established on 17 June 1898 by the lawyer Ludovic Trarieux (1840-1904) to defend Captain Alfred Dreyfus (1859-1935), a Jewish officer who had been wrongly convicted for treason. The Dreyfus affair ended in 1906 with the complete rehabilitation of Alfred Dreyfus.
The association was officially registered on 5 July 1905 as the Ligue française pour la défense des droits de l'Homme et du citoyen, with LDH and Ligue des droits de l'Homme as its abridged names. Ran by a Central Committee, the LDH is organized in Sections, Regional Committees, and Departmental Federations.
The name of the association is a straightforward reference to the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, adopted on 26 August 1789.

In the 1900-1920, the LDH campaigned for social justice and worker's rights. After the First World War, the LDH kept contact with the German and Belgian leagues to preserve peace, resulting in the establishment in 1922 of the Fédération internationale des Ligues de droits de l'Homme (FIDH). The LDH obtained the rehabilitation of several soldiers sentenced to death by War Councils.
In the 1930s, the LDH rallied the democratic and progressivist forces engaged in the struggle against fascism; the Pact of the leftist parties, unions and associations, which founded the Front Populaire alliance, was signed in 1935 in the headquarters of the LDH. The League was soon divided on the issue of rearmament, colonization, and support to Soviet Union; to maintain a broad alliance against Nazism, the LDH did not denounce the Moscow trials instigated by Stalin in 1936-1938.

During the Second World War, the grounds of the LDH were occupied while its archives were transferred to Berlin - to be retrieved in 2000 from Moscow, where the Red Army had brought them in 1945. Several of its leaders joined the anti-German resistance movements; at the end of the war, one third of the members of the Central Committee had been murdered or deported. President Victor Basch (1863-1944) and his wife Hélène (1862-1944) were shot in 1944 by the Milice française.
Reestablished with little institutional and political support and without significant membership renewal, the LDH focused its campaigns on decolonization and repression of human rights in the colonies during the 4th and 5th Republics, with special emphasis on the Madagascar insurrection (1947) and the Algerian War of Independence. The League was then joined by prominent members of anti-colonialist movements. After the proclamation of the 5th Republic, the LDH denounced the breaches to institution and civil rights, although several members of the Central Committee were also leaders of the Gaullist movement - such as René Cassin (1887-1976, Nobel Peace Prize 1968; Léo Hamon (1908-1993) and André Philip (1902-1970).
The LDH established in 1977 Droits et libertés dans l'institution militaire (DLIM), a collective aimed at defend civil rights in the armed forces and campaigned for the legalization of contraception and abortion and the abolishment of the capital punishment and repressive laws. In the 1980-1990s, the LDH campaigned for the rights of foreign workers and the regularization of the status of illegal immigrants.

Among the famous presidents of the LDH are the philosopher and politician Ferdinand Buisson (1841-1932, Nobel Peace Prize 1927, shared with Ludwig Quidde), the physicist Paul Langevin (1872-1946), the politician Daniel Meyer (1909-1996, President of the Constitutional Council from 1983 to 1986), the journalist and historian Henri Noguères (1916-1990), and the lawyer Henri Leclerc (b. 1934).

Ivan Sache, 21 April 2017

Flag of the LDH

The flag of the LDH (photo, photo, photo) is white with the organization's emblem, surrounded by the writing "Ligue / des / droits / de / l'Homme".
The emblem is made of a Liberty Cap with the scales of justice, in black, centered over the cockade.

Ivan Sache, 21 April 2017