Photo: Gizmodo

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Farewell to a champion of Human Rights (... and rugby, catapults and 2CVs)

Yesterday, people living in extreme poverty lost a great friend. His name won't appear in newspapers. It won't even appear on his grave. In solidarity with all those whom he accompanied in over 40 years of combat for extreme poverty to be recognised as a violation of human rights, our friend asked to be buried alongside those whose passing, in death as in life, goes unrecognised.

My friend had a knack for engaging people from all backgrounds in his combat, myself included. I was fortunate to have spent a month sharing an apartment with him in Brussels and found his enthusiasm for human rights contagious (not to mention rugby, catapults and 2CVs).

I was not alone. In the English city of Hull, he gathered around him people intrigued as to how they could support this effusive Frenchman: some marked by long-term poverty themselves, others drawn to this cause by such demonstrative displays of conviction that poverty can and must be eradicated.

In 2002, he stood alongside elected officials and members of ATD Fourth World from Hull, other cities across the UK and from other European cities, to inaugurate, in the city's Northern Cemetery, a commemorative headstone for all those who had died and had been buried in nameless graves.

Henri Bossan: your name may not be engraved in your final resting place. But it will be forever remembered by all of us whom you inspired to fight for the human rights of every person condemned to live in extreme poverty.


  1. Marie-Rose BlunschiJune 16, 2010 at 12:12 PM

    Thank you Matt for this homage to our friend Henri.

  2. Thank you Marie-Rose. Henri was one of the first volunteers I met when I as a trainee I spent a month in Brussels and lived in his apartment. We'll miss him a lot.

  3. Very touching. Henri will be missed all.

    Thanks Matt!

  4. Thanks Chantal - Henri's final farewell on Monday will be a moving occasion for many people.

  5. Merci à toi l'ami et merci à Henri ...

  6. Merci pour le commentaire Jacqueline